Timothy J. O'Connell

Timothy J. O'Connell

Seattle, WA

About Tim

Tim O’Connell is a partner of the firm in the labor and employment and telecommunications law sectors. His practice includes collective bargaining, unfair labor practice and representation proceedings before the NLRB and public sector agencies, labor arbitrations, equal employment and discrimination cases before administrative agencies and courts, wrongful discharge litigation, wage and hour counseling and litigation, and general personnel management. He has also been actively involved in the rulemaking process, both drafting and negotiating new rules and leading litigation challenging agency action.

Tim is the Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee for the Association of Washington Business, Washington’s state-wide chamber of commerce.

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Labor Relations

  • Represented a major non-profit agency challenging the city’s attempt to require union ‘neutrality agreements.’ Result: the city withdrew the attempt to make ‘neutrality agreements’ mandatory.
  • Served as lead negotiator for an Oregon-based medical center in client’s first collective bargaining contract. Result: successfully reached a contract deal following 18 months of bargaining.
  • Served as lead negotiator for an industrial repair company in collective bargaining with the Communications Workers of America.
  • Represented a hospital in federal court defending against union attempt to force the consolidation of grievances arising under different collective bargaining agreements. Result: federal district court agreed that consolidation was a question of substantive arbitrability, and the union’s petition to compel arbitration was denied.
  • Represented a hospital in labor arbitration on the issue of whether certain training time was compensable. Result: complete rejection of union claims.
  • Represented an acute care hospital after the Labor Board issued a complaint concerning cafeteria access. Result: persuaded the Region to dismiss the charges over the union’s objections, without a hearing.
  • Advised a health care system throughout a sustained union election campaign by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Result: rejection of union petition.
  • Represented a telecommunications company in arbitration challenging client’s ability to bar employees from using certain tools they had used for many years, resulting in work being sent to contractors. Result: arbitrator rejected all union claims.

Labor and Employment Law

  • Washington State Nurses Ass’n v. MultiCare Health System - Represented client defending against claims that its mandatory flu vaccination program failed to reasonably accommodate disabilities or religious beliefs. Result: defeated a motion for temporary restraining order filed the business day before it was argued.
  • Washington State Nurses Ass’n v. Sacred Heart Medical Center - Prepared amicus briefing on behalf of several clients addressing the rate of pay for missed “rest breaks.” Result: the court ruled in the client’s favor on the grounds used in our briefing.
  • Verizon v. Employment Security Department – Served as lead counsel before the Washington Supreme Court, whose decision overturned an adverse summary judgment ruling by the administrative agency and instead granted summary judgment to our client. Result: grants of unemployment compensation to over 300 employees who accepted early separation incentives were repealed.
  • WE CARE v. Dept. of Labor & Industries – Served as lead counsel for a coalition of over 150 businesses and business associations challenging Washington’s “ergonomics” regulations. Result: while the case was pending before the Washington Supreme Court, the regulation was struck down by a voter-approved initiative.
  • Zuver v. AirTouch, Inc. – Represented amicus Association of Washington Business and argued to the Washington Supreme Court. Result: obtained favorable decision on the enforceability of employee arbitration agreements.
  • Roberts v. Dudley - Represented amici Association of Washington Business, National Federation of Independent Business and Independent Business Association, and argued to the Washington Supreme Court on this expansion of the tort of wrongful discharge.
  • Washington Regulation of Salary Payments for White Collar Workers - Served as sole employer representative in this negotiated rulemaking. Result: rules were adapted (WAC 296-128-500, -532 and -533) that effectively overturned adverse case law from the state supreme court.
  • Led all labor and employment related aspects of due diligence and contractual negotiations for merger of two leading health care providers.

Employment Litigation

  • Malloque & Rachner, et al. v. MultiCare Health System - Lead counsel in this putative class action challenging health care system’s practices regarding the provision of meal and rest breaks.
  • Wise v. Verizon and MetLife – Obtained summary judgment for clients, establishing new case law regarding the appropriate statute of limitations for a claim for ERISA benefits under Washington law.
  • Dalgliesh v. Verizon Northwest, Inc. – Represented employer in a class action claiming unpaid wages for “home dispatch” time. Claims settled on favorable terms.
  • Olson, et al. v. Community Transit - Obtained dismissal of all federal claims in this multi-plaintiff wrongful discharge case. On remand back to state court, remaining claims were settled on favorable terms.
  • Bliesner v. CWA and Verizon Northwest, Inc. – Represented employer before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Result: decision established new law on order of proof in hybrid Section 301/duty of fair representation cases.
  • Stollar v. PacifiCorp – Represented employer in this age discrimination action. Result: following vigorous discovery, case settled for nominal payment.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Communications Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Seattle, 2014, 2016 and 2019
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America© (currently: Communications Law, Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management, Health Care Law), 2009-2019
  • Listed in Washington Super Lawyers® (Employment & Labor, Communications), 2012-2018
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington) by Chambers USA (currently: Labor & Employment), 2004-2018
  • Selected as a “Labor & Employment Star – West” by Benchmark Litigation 
  • Editor, Washington State Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section Website, 2008-2011
  • Past Chairman, Employment Law Committee, Association of Washington Business
  • Association of Washington Business Chairman’s “Heavy Lifter” Award, 2002
  • Member, Labor and Employment Law Sections of King County Bar Association, and Administrative and Corporate Law Sections, Washington State Bar Association
  • Vice Chair, Legal Affairs Committee, Liability Reform Coalition

Civic Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Association of Washington Business
  • Vice-Chair, Mercer Island Utilities Board
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “Labor and Employment Update,” Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2017
  • “Washington Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave,” Stoel Rives Breakfast Briefing, 2017
  • “WSHA Ebola and Employment Law Webcast,” Washington State Hospital Association, 2014
  • “If You Don’t Like the Score, Change the Rules: The Campaign to Increase Unionization,” Stoel Rives Breakfast Seminar, 2014
  • “Wage and Hour Law Update,” Ash Grove Cement National Human Resources Conference, Overland Park, Kansas, 2014
  • “Labor and Employment Update,” Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2012-2014
  • “Lessons for California’s Minimum Wage Proposal,” LA Daily Journal, July 1, 2014
  • Quoted in “Machinists Continue Filing Claims Against National Union over Boeing Vote,” Puget Sound Business Journal, Jan. 2014
  • Labor Relations for Health Care Employers: Turbulent Times Call for Careful Measures Across Providers“ (coauthor), Health Care Law Roundtable, The Advisory Board Company, March 2013
  • “Meal and Rest Break Litigation: Theories, Themes and Prospects,” Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, 2011
  • “A Long and Proud Tradition: Major Idiosyncrasies of Washington Labor and Employment Law,” The Seminar Group, 2011
  • Seminar Co-Chair, “Annual Labor and Employment Law Update,” Law Seminars International, 2000-2011
  • “Changing the Rules: The Federal Government Makes Union Organizing Easier,” Washington Healthcare News, Nov. 2011
  • “2010 Labor and Employment Law: Year in Review,” Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys, 2010
  • “2010 Labor and Employment Law Year in Review,” Stoel Rives LLP, 2010
  • “Changes Coming for Rest and Meal Breaks?,” Washington Healthcare News, March 2010
  • “The Post-RIF Workplace,” Stoel Rives LLP Breakfast Seminar, 2009
  • “Legislative Update,” Stoel Rives LLP Breakfast Seminar, 2007
  • “Discrimination Law Update; Wage and Hour Developments; Recent Significant Court Decisions,” The Seminar Group, 2007
  • “Breaking News: A Legislative Update,” Stoel Rives LLP Seminar, 2006
  • “Ergonomics: Every Employer’s New Nightmare,” 15th Annual Employment Law Seminar, Association of Washington Business, 2001
  • “Hiring, Firing and Staying Out of Court,” Washington Employment Security Department/Everett Community College, 1996
  • “Labor Law Update,” Annual Employment Law Seminar, Law Seminar International, 2002-2009
  • “Making it Stick: Documenting Performance Problems and Misconduct,” Lorman Business Education Institute, 2000
  • “The FLSA at Sixty: Developing Areas in Wage and Hour Law,” Washington State Bar Association, 1997
  • “The Employer’s Obligation to the Disabled,” Association of Legal Administrators Newsletter, 1989
  • Comment, “Oregon Adopts Comparable Worth Study Legislation,” Willamette Law Review, 1984

Related News & Publications

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