Ryan Kunkel is a trial lawyer who litigates employment-related disputes in federal and state court, and counsels employers to help mitigate risk and prevent disputes from reaching litigation in the first place. Ryan specializes in pursuing and defending cases involving employee non-competition, non-solicitation, and trade secret obligations, especially in the financial and manufacturing industries. His practice also includes litigating before the National Labor Relations Board and helping management navigate and resolve complex labor disputes, including organizing drives and work stoppages.

You can find Ryan frequently contributing to the award-winning blog Stoel Rives World of Employment.


Lewis & Clark Law School, J.D., 2015, summa cum laude, Legal Writing Fellow

University of Portland, B.A., 2005



United States District Court for the District of Oregon

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


Representative Employment Experience

  • Obtained full defense verdict in private arbitration for Fortune 500 manufacturer on claim for age discrimination related to a reduction-in-force
  • Obtained full defense verdict in private arbitration for Fortune 500 retailer on claims of sex and age discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation
  • Successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed summary judgment in favor of Fortune 500 retailer on a class-action wage claim
  • Received favorable settlement when pursuing claim for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of restrictive covenants for large real estate company
  • Obtained summary judgment in federal court with “undue hardship” defense in case alleging failure to accommodate a disability for small Oregon branch of national hardware distributor; affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Successfully resolved claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and violation of non-competition and non-solicitation covenants for semi-conductor manufacturer and its Chief Financial Officer before preliminary injunction hearing.
  • Assisted in bringing victorious claim in arbitration that a financial advisor breached non-solicitation obligations in taking our client’s customers; client was awarded liquidated damages pursuant to non-solicitation agreement.
  • Awarded costs after prevailing at summary judgment on race discrimination claim in federal court for international retailer.
  • Successfully defended agency charges against numerous employers in manufacturing, health care, and other industries.
  • Assisted timber industry client with WARN Act compliance in an acquisition.
  • Assisted in obtaining dismissal of a $1 million lawsuit against a healthcare industry client that alleged race, national origin, and disability discrimination and whistleblower retaliation.
  • Obtained favorable result at arbitration for an insurance company defending claims of unlawful payment of final wages and wage deductions.

Representative Labor Experience

  • Regularly represent national health care provider in labor arbitrations to defend contract and discharge grievances.
  • Defended numerous unfair labor practices charges for regional grocery store during and after unionizing campaign.
  • Part of a team that successfully opposed a union’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would have delayed or blocked the sale of an insolvent company.
  • Advised long-term care and skilled nursing facility in withdrawing recognition from a union and defeated related unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB.
  • Assisted construction client in defeating unfair labor practice charges related to an alleged unlawful termination.
  • Obtained favorable result for a construction industry client that was the target of union salts.


Insights & Presentations

  • What to Know About Recent Non-Compete and Salary Basis Changes in Light of Expected Legal Challenges” (co-author), Stoel Rives LLP, May 15, 2024
  • “Tips on Restrictive Covenants in Mergers & Acquisitions,” Stoel Rives internal presentation
  • “What Oregon’s Overtime Rules Mean for Agricultural Employers,” “Don’t Be a Headline: Tips to Avoid the Legal Spotlight,” “How Agricultural Employers Should Prepare for Oregon’s Legislative Changes,” Wafla, H-2A Summit, November 2022
  • “Important Changes to Nondisclosure and Settlement Agreements,” Stoel Rives LLP webinar, June 2022
  • "Oregon Legal & Legislative Updates,” Salem SHRMA, April 2022
  • “Restrictive Covenants,” SHRM/Stoel Rives 20th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, March 2022
  • “NLRB Changes and What They Mean for You,” Stoel Rives LLP webinar, July 2021
  • “Legislative & Labor Law Update,” SHRM/Stoel Rives 19th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, March 2021
  • “Navigating the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act,” SHRM/Stoel Rives 19th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, March 2021
  • “Employee Handbooks: Best Practices,” Stoel Rives LLP webinar, September 2020
  • “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” SHRM/Stoel Rives 18th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, February 2020
  • “Breakout Session: Labor Law,” SHRM/Stoel Rives 17th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, February 2019
  • “Trump NLRB Shakes Up the Labor World in Striking Down Numerous Obama Board Decisions,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2017
  • “Employers Need Not Disclose Pay Data on EEO-1 Reports; September Deadline Moved to 2018,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2017
  • “Department of Labor Seeks Input on New Rules for White Collar Exemptions,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2017
  • “Time to Revise Your Job Applications: Oregon Prohibits Salary History Inquiries in Effort to Address Systemic Wage Inequality,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2017
  • “Landmark Seventh Circuit Decision Interprets Title VII Protections to Prohibit Sexual Orientation Discrimination,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2017
  • "Whistleblower Retaliation Protection Expands in Oregon," Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2017
  • Presenter, “Wage and Hour Update (Focus on New Oregon Paycheck Law and Check-in on DOL Exempt Status Rules),” SHRM/Stoel Rives 15th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, March 2017
  • Presenter, “Employee Classification Best Practices with an Update on the New Department of Labor Regulations,” Stoel Rives Breakfast Briefing Seminar, September 2016
  • Co-presented on “Labor Update” and “Legal Update” panels at the 14th Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, 2016
  • “It’s a Trap! Students Receiving Credit Need Not be Paid?” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2016
  • “EEOC Promotes Gender Equality by Imposing Another Burden on Employers,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2016
  • “What Employers Can and Cannot Say During a Union Organizing Campaign,” Stoel Rives World of Employment, 2016
  • Co-presented “Barrel Racing: Weaving Through Complicated Scenarios under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” HR Rodeo: 13th Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, Multnomah Athletic Club, 2015
  • See more of my blog posts at Stoel Rives World of Employment blog


  • Included in Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America (Litigation—Labor and Employment), 2021–present
  • Listed among Rising Stars (Labor & Employment), Oregon Super Lawyers®, 2021–2023
  • Best Appellate Brief and Outstanding Oral Advocate Awards, First-Year Moot Court Competition, 2013



  • Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Board Member
  • Southeast Portland Little League, Board Member and Coach
  • Lewis & Clark Law School Moot Court, Judge, Judge
  • Lincoln High School and Wood Middle School Constitution Teams, former Coach
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