Elizabeth McKanna



J.D. 1977, with honors, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
M.S. 1972, Syracuse University
B.A. 1971, with honors, Luther College, Iowa and Schiller College, Germany

Practice Information

Liz emphasized work in the areas of labor and employment throughout her 30-plus years of practice. She was a founding partner in McKanna Bishop Joffe,  LLP and is now an Emeritus Attorney (inactive) with the firm.  She represented employees in both state and federal courts and in administrative hearings. She advised employees in licensing matters before the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker Board. Her employment law advice covered a wide range of topics including wage and hour questions, review of employment and severance agreements, hostile work environment matters, and claims involving wrongful discharge and/or any unlawful form of discrimination and retaliation. In particular, Liz provided advice and litigates cases involving sexual harassment, disability discrimination, race, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and retaliation for opposing any unlawful conduct by public or private employers. She also worked to protect the rights of victims of domestic violence who experience problems with their employment.

Her labor practice was mainly focused on public sector employers and particularly employees of public schools and colleges. She provided advice to individual members on virtually every aspect of the collective bargaining agreement and has handled matters before the Employment Relations Board, Public School District, Community College Boards, and many arbitrators.

Liz also served as a mediator in employment cases.

Notable Cases

Sex discrimination trial against WalMart

Class action sexual harassment case against a school district

Class action school desegregation case against Cincinnati School District and 17 suburban districts

Representation of two women filing complaints with the Senate Ethics Committee against Senator Bob Packwood

Sexual harassment trial on behalf of a deaf employee

Establishing protected class status under the US Equal Protection Clause for a domestic violence victim to challenge discrimination in her employment conditions

Police brutality claim under 42 USC Sec. 1983

Overtime pay claim

Age/injured worker discrimination

Professional Organizations/Activities

Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Board Member (1993 – present)
Employment Section Chair
Women’s Caucus
New Lawyers Committee
National Employment Lawyers Association
OSB, Federal Practice and Procedure Committee Chair
Labor and Employment Section
Civil Rights Section
BOLI Advisory Committee on Proposed Rule Changes
Multnomah Bar Association

Relevant Employment

Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert M. McRae, United States District Court of Tennessee (1977)
Ratner & Sugarmon, Memphis, Tennessee (civil rights/employment) (1978-82)
Durham, Smith, Wiser, Gamson & Diamond (labor/employment) (1989)
Bennett and Durham (labor/employment) (1990-91)
Bennett, Hartman & Reynolds (labor/employment) (1992-2000)
McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP (labor/employment) (2001- present) (2017-2018- Of Counsel) (2018-present- Emeritus Attorney (inactive))

Admitted to Practice

United States District Court of Oregon (inactive)
United States District Court of Tennessee (former)
United States Courts of Appeal for the Ninth and Sixth Circuits (inactive)
United States Supreme Court (inactive)
State Court in Oregon (inactive)
State Court in Tennessee (former)

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