ARUNA MASIH (Chair)
Aruna Masih is a partner with the law firm of Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan LLP, where she practices civil rights and labor and employment law from the union/employee side. She was born in New York but raised in India by medical missionary parents. She earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations and French from Wellesley College and her law degree from Tulane University and Creighton University School of Law. She chose the area of civil rights and labor and employment law as a specialty to help working people and to promote international human rights and labor standards. Over the last decade, she has also been a part of her firm’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) team, representing the PERS Coalition of unions and public employees in their fight to preserve retirement benefits before the legislature and the courts. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Women Lawyers and has previously served as an Officer and on the Board of the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association and the Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation.
CLARENCE BELNAVIS (Chair-Elect)
Clarence Belnavis is a partner in the Portland and Seattle offices. He is a trial attorney with a primary emphasis in employment litigation, including disability, racial and gender discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and wrongful discharge. He also represents employers in wage and hour claims, employment class actions, and traditional labor matters.
Clarence also has significant experience counseling clients with respect to labor and employment matters, including disability and return to work issues, employee handbooks, termination procedures and litigation avoidance. Clarence routinely provides client trainings and speeches to industry groups regarding current and developing employment law issues in Washington and Oregon. He has been listed in Chambers USA, America’s Leading Business Lawyers since 2006 and The Best Lawyers in America since 2009. He has also been named one of Portland’s “Top 40 Under 40” by the Portland Business Journal, and he has been repeatedly recognized in Oregon Super Lawyers for his work in labor and employment law. He currently serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Columbia Northwest.
In 2011, Clarence was honored as a “Convocation on Equality Champion” in recognition of the diversity work that he has been engaged in during his career.
LISA AMATO (Past-Chair)
Lisa Amato is a full time mediator and conflict analyst, and the owner of Amato Mediation. She is a native Oregonian and graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1991.
Before transitioning to mediation and dispute resolution, Lisa represented clients in commercial and business litigation, employment litigation, and personal injury and tried cases to jury verdict in Oregon and Washington state and federal courts. Her mediation practice is founded on understanding the nature of the litigation or dispute from each party’s perspective, and creating a process through which they can craft a resolution that makes sense to them.
Lisa has mediated well over 300 cases covering a wide variety of substantive issues, including busienss and commercial, employment, personal injury and probate and elder litigation, and closely held businesses and partnerships. When Lisa is not mediating, she digs deep into mediation techniques and strategies, writes and presents, and takes time to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
STEPHEN BRISCHETTO (Treasurer)
Steve is a solo practitioner in private practice with a practice focused on employment and civil rights law. He practices in both the state and federal courts and handles both trials and appeals. He was admitted to the Indiana State Bar in 1977, the Oregon State Bar in 1978 and the Washington State Bar in 2002.
KYLE ABRAHAM (Secretary)
Kyle Abraham represents management in both traditional labor and employment law matters. He works with businesses of all sizes, government entities, and not-for-profit organizations. Kyle’s labor practice includes negotiating collective bargaining agreements and representing employers before labor arbitrators, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Oregon Employment Relations Board. In his employment law practice, Kyle works closely with employers to develop effective workplace policies and provide proactive advice and counsel, and he defends employers involved in litigation. Kyle is an experienced litigator who has successfully represented clients before U.S. district courts, Oregon and Washington state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, and other state and federal agencies. Kyle leverages his experience to help employers anticipate and resolve problems at the earliest possible stage and in a cost-effective manner, with the confidence and experience to defend employers if the matter escalates to litigation.
Kyle also provides workplace training to human resource professionals, supervisors and employees, and regularly speaks at industry conferences on a variety of employment and labor issues.
In additional to his work with the Oregon State Bar, Labor and Employment Section, Kyle is a Director on the Portland Human Resource Management Association Board. Prior to joining Barran Liebman, he served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) and represented the Air Force in labor and employment matters around the world. Kyle continues his service as a JAG in the Oregon Air National Guard.
J. ASHLEE ALBIES
Ashlee Albies has been practicing civil rights and employee-side employment law since 2005. She has devoted her legal career to providing zealous advocacy for clients who have been harmed by discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment by an employer or by the government. She is past chair of the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and of the Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Section, and currently serves on the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Oregon Council on Civil Rights. Ashlee was a part of a legal team honored with the 2010 “Law for the People Award” by the National Lawyers Guild, and has been recognized by SuperLawyers. She has presented at many public forums and continuing legal education seminars about employment law, the First Amendment, free speech, creative uses of the law, trial advocacy, and civil rights litigation. She is a partner in the firm Albies & Stark LLC.
Amanda Gamblin is a shareholder at Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt where she offers practical advice for the unique employment issues that arise in the construction, transportation and maritime industries. Her advice integrates complex and often contradictory legal requirements with the business realities facing a workforce that may be deployed for extended periods, unionized, seasonal or transitory, and safety-conscious.
On those occasions when the employment relationship breaks down, Amanda represents employers in litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and other state and federal agencies. Amanda has litigated large, complex class actions including wage and hour, race discrimination and Title III ADA disability cases.
Amanda also helps businesses create strategies that incentivize productivity while protecting company assets. These programs ensure her clients experience maximum value from future transition to a buyer or the next generation of employees.
Taking a proactive approach to employment problems, Amanda trains executives, managers, and directors to understand their legal obligations, recognize high-risk situations and balance the needs of the business with the rights of employees. Whether in litigation, strategic planning, or employment advice, Amanda is known for creative strategies that lead to positive business solutions.
Shirin Khosravi is a staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union, Local 503, a Union of 65,000 public services workers and care providers in Oregon.
Shirin completed her law degree at Lewis and Clark Law School, graduating with a certificate in public interest law in 2014. During law school, Shirin clerked with Legal Aid Services in Oregon and New York and completed a full-time externship with the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project. In addition to serving on the Oregon State Bar Labor &Employment Section, Shirin currently sits on the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project Board of Directors and was appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the Public Records Advisory Council.
Prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest, Shirin attended Bard College. After graduating, she worked as a grass roots organizer on various marriage equality campaigns in Maine and New York.
Jose Klein specializes in representing employees and small businesses in employment matters. He regularly prosecutes and defends cases involving race, gender and disability discrimination; wage and hour law; and protected leave issues. Prior to co-founding his own firm in 2017, Jose worked at national and boutique employment law firms where he practiced a mix of employer-side labor and employment law.
Jose is a former honors attorney with the Oregon Department of Justice, where among other things, he represented the Department of Human Services in termination of parental rights cases. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2008, he clerked for the Honorable Martha L. Walters on the Oregon Supreme Court. From 2002 – 2004, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Suriname, South America.
Sally LaJoie is a State Mediator with the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB). As one of three mediators for the board, she assists public employers and employee organizations throughout Oregon resolve disputes concerning labor relations. She mediates cases to help resolve collective bargaining disputes, grievances under collective bargaining agreements, unfair labor practice cases and State Personnel Relations Law appeals. Sally also provides joint trainings for labor and management representatives, both for interest-based bargaining and Labor Management Committees, and provides facilitation services as needed.
Prior to joining ERB, she worked in labor relations for the Oregon Nurses Association, a professional nursing organization, representing nurses in collective bargaining and contract administration matters. Sally worked as a public affairs attorney at the Oregon State Bar in the law improvement and government relations program. She started her legal career in private practice representing clients in individual and class action claims for Wage and Hour, Family Medical Leave Act, Title VII and other employment related cases.
She received both her BS and JD from Willamette Law School in Salem.
Haley is a partner at Tedesco Law Group. She represents labor unions and their members in both the public and private sectors in bargaining contracts, labor arbitrations, unfair labor practice hearings, and representation matters.
Haley received her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Willamette University. She previously served on the Employment Relations Board Rules Advisory Committee. Before becoming an attorney, Haley worked as a union organizer and ran political campaigns.
Elizabeth Semler assists clients in a broad range of business and employment matters. Elizabeth’s employment practice includes representing employers in court and before administrative agencies. She also provides advice, training and counsel to employers on a wide range of employment-related topics including: employee discipline and termination; issues related to competition and solicitation, and confidentiality; appropriate and effective employee documentation; harassment and discrimination investigations; medical, disability, and sick leave, wage and hour issues, and severance agreements. Elizabeth also represents parties in business disputes in federal and state courts and in arbitration, including disputes arising from contracts, restrictions on competition, franchises, intra-corporate relationships, and lender liability.
Elizabeth frequently writes and speaks on issues relating to employment law including, the federal and Oregon Family Leave Acts, Title VII and Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (and corresponding Oregon statutes), and issues relating to independent contractors versus employees.
Jennifer Sung currently serves as a member of the Employment Relations Board. Before joining the Board, she was a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP, where she represented labor organizations and employees in civil litigation, arbitration and agency proceedings, contract negotiations, policy development, and professional licensing matters. Jennifer also worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney at Altshuler Berzon LLP, based in San Francisco, where she gained significant experience in class action and constitutional litigation. Jennifer served as a law clerk to Judge Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and completed a Skadden Fellowship at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she helped community organizations to advance economic justice policies. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked for several years as a union organizer, helping workers win union representation primarily through National Labor Relations Board elections. Jennifer is a graduate of Oberlin College and Yale Law School.
Dennis Westlind is a partner at Bullard Law, where he practices both traditional labor law and employment litigation. He also provides clients with daily labor and employment advice, litigates grievance arbitrations, appears in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and responds to charges and investigations before federal and state administrative agencies.
Dennis received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 2000. Prior to joining Bullard, Dennis was in-house counsel for Providence Health and Services for seven years. Before that, he was a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Stoel Rives, and started his career as an attorney with Tonkon Torp, both in Portland. Dennis received his Ph.D. from Lund University, Sweden in 1996, where his doctoral thesis analyzed the rhetoric of fringe political movements using discourse analysis techniques derived from continental post-structuralist thought of the 1960s and 1970s; the resulting period of unemployment explains why he went to law school two years later.
SCOTT N. HUNT (Advisory Member)
Mr. Hunt started with the firm in 1992. A partner since 1997, he represents employees in wrongful discharge claims and all types of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblowing actions as well as medical leave claims and unpaid wages.
In 1999 he argued Albertsons v. Kirkingberg, a seminal disability discrimination case, before the United States Supreme Court. Since then his primary focus has been on disability law. He has also argued before the Washington Supreme Court, the Oregon Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Many of those cases have resulted in significant appellate court rulings, including Head v. Glacier Northwest, 413 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir. 2005). His practice ranges from negotiating separation agreements for present employees, through all phases of state and federal trial litigation, to appellate work at all levels of the state and federal courts.
Mr. Hunt graduated from Northwest School of Law, Lewis and Clark College, magna cum laude, in 1992. Since then he has exclusively represented employees and former employees in civil litigation of employment law matters.
Mr. Hunt has been listed in The Best Lawyers In America for Labor and Employment Law, since 2007. He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Oregon Super Lawyers from 2007 to the present, which is limited to only 5% of the attorneys in Oregon. Starting in 2010, he has been listed in Oregon Super Lawyers Top 50 attorneys each year. Martindale-Hubbell has awarded him an “AV rating”, its highest for legal ability and ethics.
In addition to his trial and appellate practice, Mr. Hunt is active in the Oregon State Bar continuing legal education program. He co-authored the “Reinstatement Rights of Injured and Disabled Workers” chapter of Workers Compensation (Oregon CLE, 1994), with his now partner, Richard C. Busse.
He is a frequent speaker on civil rights and employment law issues in general, with an emphasis on disability law. In addition to speaking at continuing legal education seminars, his bar activities include service on the following committees: Disability Section Executive Committee (2000-2002); Uniform Civil Jury Instructions Committee (2004 through 2006); the Civil Rights Section Executive Committee (2007 to 2009); and the Labor and Employment Section Executive Committee (2005 through 2006 and 2008 to the present). In 2010 he was appointed to The Bench and Bar Commission on Professionalism.
CHRISTINE FORD (Bar Liaison)
Christine Ford is the Director of Human Resources for the Oregon State Bar. She earned her BSBA and MBA from California State University – Hayward, focusing on HR Management and Economics. During her 35-year HR career, Christine worked in the music, manufacturing, education, entertainment, software development, insurance, and defense-related industries in California’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. She also worked as a consultant for large and small organizations in the USA and the United Kingdom, including Nike and Musicians Institute.
Ms. Ford volunteers her time as a Trustee for the Multnomah Bar Association Group Health Insurance Board of Trustees, as a Board Member for a non-profit organization, a mentor for young HR students and professionals, a teacher of job search skills for at-risk youth, and a dinner server at the Portland Rescue Mission. She has been asked to speak about HR-related topics for a variety of organizations including the ABA Lawyer Referral Service Workshops, the National Association of Bar Executives, the School of Business Administration at Portland State University, and the Convocation on Equality.
Christine has worked for the Oregon State Bar and served as the Bar Liaison for the Labor and Employment Section since moving to Portland, Oregon in 2003.