Employers in a range of industries, including health care, retail, hospitality and insurance, count on attorney Kathleen Barrett to defend them in employment litigation in state and federal courts. She has represented companies across the country in wage and hour class actions.

Kathleen also regularly represents companies in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or wrongful termination brought by single-plaintiff employees at all levels of a company. In addition, she proactively counsels clients to ensure their employment practices comply with current or new workplace laws and regulations. For example, she has guided clients through new workplace issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also offered training and guidance on the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis and its impact on a client’s workplace drug policies, complaint procedures, disciplinary action policies, and accommodations practices.

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Before joining Epstein Becker Green, Kathleen worked in medical prosecutions at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. She has published numerous articles and presented on a variety of employment law topics, including the impact of the legalization of cannabis on the workplace, wage and hour compliance, and reasonable accommodations in health care workplaces. She also speaks on developments in wage and hour class action law, managing remote employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Labor Standards Act classification, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and cannabis workplace issues.

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Focus Areas


  • Defended and advised retail clients in national collective actions in which store managers alleged they were misclassified as exempt. Kathleen and her team’s strategy for decertification resulted in favorable settlements for their clients.
  • Guided a national health care client through the creation of employee handbooks and state supplements. Kathleen oversaw the creation of the employee handbook and rolled out trainings for the employer’s human resources representatives.
  • Achieved victories before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for health care employers in which nurses and radiologic technologists alleged race discrimination in violation of Title VII.
  • Guided a health care client through a nationwide reduction in force. Kathleen and her team drafted individual release agreements for hundreds of affected employees, which decreased litigation risks.
  • Achieved a victory in sexual harassment action in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff, a former retail worker, did not utilize the retailer’s internal complaint reporting procedures. The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit upheld the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the retail client.
  • Guided clients through all aspects of electronic discovery collection and production to ensure that electronic discovery was handled in a defensible and cost-effective manner. Kathleen successfully advised clients on issues related to the preservation of evidence, strategies for data collection and review, computer forensic issues, and negotiations with opposing counsel regarding electronic discovery.
  • Served as second chair at a jury trial in Chicago in which the plaintiff alleged malpractice and joint employment against a physician and a private practice group. Kathleen assisted in winning a defense verdict for the physician and private practice group, which the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed.




  • DePaul University College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2014)
    • Order of the Coif
  • Northwestern University (B.A., 2010)

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association





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