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Kathy R. Neal

Attorney

(918) 574-3020 | kathy.neal@mcafeetaft.com | Tulsa
Bio Menu
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Honors & Involvement
Bio overview

Kathy Neal’s practice focuses on the representation of employers with respect to all aspects of their relationships with employees. She has broad experience in both state and federal courts, before administrative and regulatory agencies, and in arbitration and mediation. Kathy’s litigation expertise includes defense of claims of discrimination, wrongful and retaliatory discharge, breach of contract, enforcement of non-competition and confidentiality agreements, wage and hour disputes, and disputes over the payment of commissions.

A significant portion of her employment practice is also dedicated to educating, training and counseling clients on litigation avoidance strategies and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations affecting the workplace. In addition to being a frequent trainer, lecturer and writer on employment-related issues, Kathy routinely counsels clients in connection with employee discipline and terminations, wage and hour issues, employee handbooks and policies, drug and alcohol testing, employee leave and disability, and employment and post-employment agreements.

Kathy has assisted national and regional employers with the implementation of reductions-in-force and group severance programs requiring compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act and Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA).

She has also defended organizations against claims of disability and race discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

Kathy has particularly unique experience counseling employers that are federal contractors on equal employment opportunity compliance-related matters overseen by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), representing employers in OFCCP audit proceedings, and defending employers undergoing investigation by the OFCCP for discrimination. If any violations are found, her representation includes negotiating reduced fines and penalties as part of the conciliation process.

In addition to her employment practice, Kathy has successfully litigated commercial claims involving such issues as breach of contract, fraudulent conveyances, bulk sales and manufacturers’ products liability.

Kathy currently serves as an adjunct settlement judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma and previously served as an administrative law judge for the Oklahoma Department of Labor.

Kathy’s achievements have earned her inclusion in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, where she was described as “enormously intelligent and well thought of…” Researchers at Chambers & Partners also quoted market observers who praised her as “a great problem solver and a skilled writer.” She has also been recognized by Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America (commercial litigation; employment law–management; labor law–management; labor and employment litigation) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers, which has named her to its lists of “Top 25 Women Lawyers” and “Top 50 Oklahoma Lawyers.” She was selected by Best Lawyers as the “Tulsa Employment Lawyer of the Year (Management)” for 2013 and 2017, “Tulsa Labor and Employment Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2015 and 2019, and “Tulsa Labor Law Lawyer of the Year (Management)” for 2016, honors given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each community.

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Experience, Honors, & Awards

Representative Experience

Labor & Employment:

  • Obtained a jury verdict in the Western District of Oklahoma in favor of a national retailer in a disabilities discrimination lawsuit.
  • Obtained a jury verdict in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, in favor of a regional hospital in a race discrimination lawsuit.
  • Obtained a verdict in the Eastern District of Oklahoma in favor a railroad company in a non-jury religious discrimination lawsuit.
  • Successfully defended a regional hospital in the Northern District of Oklahoma in a same-sex discrimination lawsuit where the case was dismissed after jury trial began.
  • Obtained a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) in Haskell County, Oklahoma, for a coal mining company in a workers’ compensation retaliatory discharge lawsuit after an adverse jury verdict.
  • Successfully defended in the Western District of Oklahoma a national wastewater company in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
  • Successfully defended a county official in a series of race discrimination lawsuits alleging violation of civil rights and disparate impact and treatment in the Northern District of Oklahoma.
  • Successfully defended grievances under collective bargaining agreements for a national forestry and paper products processing company.
  • Successfully defended a private school in the Northern District of Oklahoma in a national origin discrimination lawsuit.
  • Successfully prosecuted in Kay County, Oklahoma, claims against former employees unfairly competing with a national manufacturer of oilfield products.
  • Successfully defended a nuclear fuels manufacturer in the Eastern District of Oklahoma in a WARN Act lawsuit.
  • Successfully defended an integrated public energy company in an ERISA lawsuit in the Northern District of Oklahoma.
  • Represented numerous employers before the Department of Labor with respect to wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including the successful representation of a national restaurant chain in defending a lawsuit involving payment of its tipped employees.

Compliance and Investigations:

  • Successfully represented a manufacturer and distributor of beverages with respect to a comprehensive compliance audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs by participating in the defense of alleged violations and conciliation negotiations. Negotiated a favorable conciliation agreement that significantly reduced the penalty proposed by the OFCCP.

Commercial Litigation:

  • Obtained favorable jury verdicts in the Northern and Western Districts of Oklahoma in a series of breach of contract lawsuits against a private mortgage insurance company.
  • Successfully defended in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, a national property developer with respect to claims of breach of contract, fraudulent conveyances and violations of Oklahoma’s Bulk Sales Act.
  • Successfully defended in the Eastern District of Oklahoma a products liability claim against national manufacturer of burners involved in an explosion.

 

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Named a “Local Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (commercial litigation; employment law — management; labor law — management; labor and employment litigation)
  • Named “Tulsa Employment Lawyer of the Year (Management)” for 2013 and 2017, “Tulsa Labor and Employment Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2015 and 2019, and “Tulsa Labor Law Lawyer of the Year (Management)” for 2016 by The Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed in Oklahoma Super Lawyers
  • Named to Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of “Top 25 Women Lawyers” and “Top 50 Oklahoma Lawyers”
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings
  • Honored with the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award (2017)
  • Inducted into the University of Tulsa College of Law Hall of Fame (2015)
  • Honored with the University of Tulsa College of Law’s W. Thomas Coffman Award for Community Service (2015)
  • Honored with the Tulsa County Bar Association’s Neil E. Bogan Award for Professionalism (2013)
  • Named to the Tulsa Business Journal’s list of Power of Attorneys and Legal Professionals (2011)
  • Honored with the Fern Holland Award by the University of Tulsa College of Law Women’s Law Caucus for her work with Springboard — Educating the Future, a non-profit organization responsible for building 200 schools for young girls in rural Egypt (2005)

Professional Organizations and Memberships

  • Tulsa County Bar Association
  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • The Law Society of Alberta, Canada

Civic Involvement and Leadership

  • Springboard — Educating the Future (Board of Directors, 2005-2015)
  • The Tristesse Healing Hearts Grief Center (Former Member, Board of Directors)
  • Family & Children’s Services (Former Member, Board of Directors)

ATPs display in this column

At The Podium

Pay Equity Update

Third Annual Southwest Energy Conference
Tulsa, OK | September 20, 2019

Pay Equity Update

TulsaHRC HR Compliance Lunch & Learn
Tulsa, OK | May 1, 2019

Tomorrow Never Dies: New developments in employment law

EmployerLINC19
Tulsa, OK | April 4, 2019

Some Like It Hot: Ice cold answers for your burning questions

EmployerLINC19
Tulsa, OK | April 4, 2019

Tough Issues for Oklahoma Employers

Tulsa Small Business Summit & Awards Luncheon
Tulsa, OK | September 27, 2018

The #MeToo Movement

OBA 2018 Labor and Employment Law Update
Tulsa, OK | September 13, 2018

Labor & Employment All-Star Q&A Panel

EmployerLINC18: Workplace Issues in the News
Tulsa, OK | March 29, 2018

Employee Hiring and Departures: Do’s and don’ts for fair competition

EmployerLINC17: Back to Basics
Tulsa, Oklahoma | March 23, 2017

Employees in Disguise? Key issues for misclassification of contractors

EmployerLINC16: Employers Under Pressure
Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 5, 2016

Workplace Investigations: The right way to investigate wrongdoing

McAfee & Taft Webinar Series
JurisIQ.com | September 24, 2015

Failure to properly structure severance agreements

EmployerLINC 2015: Case studies in costly mistakes
Tulsa, OK | April 28, 2015

Pregnancy in the workplace: From antidiscrimination to accommodation?

EmployerLINC Webinar
Online | September 24, 2014

Common pre-hiring missteps and how to avoid them

EmployerLINC 2014: In Compliance, Out of Court
Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 17, 2014

Common pre-hiring missteps and how to avoid them

EmployerLINC 2014: In Compliance, Out of Court
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 16, 2014

Violence in the workplace: Prevention and survival

Tulsa Area Employer Council
Tulsa, Oklahoma | August 13, 2013

Department of Labor

EmployerLINC 2013: 'Government Gone Wild'
Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 26, 2013

Department of Labor

EmployerLINC 2013: 'Government Gone Wild'
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | April 23, 2013

Handling harassment (or similar types of) complaints

EmployerLINC Webinar
Online | July 18, 2012, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Hope for the Best or Prepare for the Worst: HR Best Practices for Hiring & Avoiding Employment Litigation

2012 Oklahoma Human Resources State Conference and Expo
Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 26, 2012

Dodging Bullets — Tips for handling FLSA audits and avoiding other wage and hour surprises

EmployerLINC 2012: ‘Adventures in HR’
Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 3, 2012

Hope for the Best or Prepare for the Worst: HR Best Practices for Avoiding Employment Litigation

HR Professional's Luncheon
Tulsa, Oklahoma | October 4, 2011

FMLA Hot Topics: In Loco Parentis, Retaliation and Handling Benefits

EmployerLINC 2011 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar
Tulsa, Oklahoma | April 26, 2011, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Now Hiring!

EmployerLINC Webcast
March 24, 2011, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

When the Feds Come Knockin’

Tulsa Area Employer Council
Tulsa, Oklahoma | November 10, 2010

Violence in the Workplace

Fall 2010 Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar - Tulsa
October 26, 2010, 8:25 AM - 12:00 PM

Curbing FMLA Abuse and Preventing Claims

HR Hero FMLA Master Class
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | May 26, 2010

How to Legally Terminate

Bartlesville Area Human Resources Association
April 8, 2010

Overcoming the 8 Toughest Wage & Hour Problems: How to avoid DOL’s ramped-up enforcement

Interactive HR Hero Audio Conference
Audio Conference | November 19, 2009

Recordkeeping Essentials

HR Hero Master Class
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma | October 2, 2009
Attorney Articles

Articles

workplace rumors

Sexual rumors as actionable harassment

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

‘Highly compensated exemption’ not as simple as it sounds

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Retaliation 101

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Are you prepared for overtime regulations?

The Link |

Revisiting the direct threat defense under the ADA

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

EEOC takes aim at Target for discriminatory pre‑employment tests

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Faith and consequences

The Journal Record |

Justice Department sues university in Oklahoma on behalf of transgender professor

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Amended Executive Orders expand employment discrimination prohibitions

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC Alert |

Prohibiting discrimination

The Journal Record |

Passing a DOT medical exam is a ‘marginal function’ of the job?

McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC |

Discrimination and document abuse in the hiring process

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Reality of ‘open carry’

The Journal Record |

Discrimination against an unknown disability?

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Getting tough on contractors

The Journal Record |

Age Discrimination: Back to the basics with discrimination claims

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Discrimination: Motherhood, the workplace and Oklahoma law

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Discrimination: Another turn in the long and winding road of Oklahoma’s Burk tort

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |

Handling the competition of a departing employee

The Journal Record |

Wage and hour law: Making deductions for lost or stolen property from exempt employees’ pay: trick or treat?

Oklahoma Employment Law Letter |
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Admissions

  • Oklahoma, 1982
  • Alberta, Canada, 2001
  • U.S. District Courts for the Western, Northern and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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Education

  • J.D., The University of Tulsa College of Law, 1982
  • B.A., with highest honors, Oklahoma University, 1979
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In The News

EmployerLINC19 draws largest audiences ever in Oklahoma City and Tulsa
Neal Johnston Music
Super Lawyers 2018
Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year 2019

The Best Lawyers in America names 107 McAfee & Taft attorneys to 2019 edition

‘Workplace Issues in the News’ seminar draws record numbers

Law requires reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs, practices

The Oklahoman |

McAfee & Taft, 19 attorneys honored in 2018 edition of Benchmark Litigation

Mary Quinn Cooper, Kathy Neal honored with 2017 Mona Salyer Lambird Spotlight Award

The Best Lawyers in America names 102 McAfee & Taft attorneys to 2018 edition

Chambers USA 2017 honors McAfee & Taft as top-ranked firm, 39 McAfee & Taft attorneys as leading lawyers for business

McAfee & Taft seminar draws large crowds looking for answers about new administration

McAfee & Taft, 19 attorneys honored in 2017 edition of Benchmark Litigation

Best Lawyers names 21 McAfee & Taft attorneys 2017 ‘Lawyers of the Year’ in 22 practice areas

Chambers USA 2016 honors McAfee & Taft as top-ranked firm, 41 firm attorneys as leading lawyers

‘Employers Under Pressure’ draws record attendance

McAfee & Taft, 20 attorneys honored in 2016 edition of Benchmark Litigation

Best Lawyers names 17 McAfee & Taft attorneys as 2016 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in 18 categories

Kathy Neal inducted into the TU College of Law Hall of Fame

Annual seminar offers employers real-world examples of costly, common mistakes

Executive orders may protect employees on sex, gender basis

The Oklahoman |

McAfee & Taft publishes video series from EmployerLINC2014 seminar

Annual seminar continues to draw more employers with timely practical guidance

Federal contractors face stronger rules on hiring vets

The Oklahoman |

‘Government Gone Wild’ seminar draws record numbers

Family Medical Leave Act applies to adult children in some cases

The Oklahoman |

Workplace gun policies need updating

Tulsa Daily Commerce & Legal News |

Three McAfee & Taft attorneys named ODOL administrative law judges

Limits placed on company’s ability to recover loss of equipment

The Oklahoman |

Health Families Act sparks debate

The Journal Record |

Veteran employment attorney Kathy Neal joins firm