Karen E. Pointer is Principal of the firm and co-chair of the Labor and Employment practice group.
Advice and Counseling
Karen represents clients in a wide variety of industries in all aspects of employee/employer relations and employment law. Her expertise includes day-to-day counseling of clients with respect to hiring, professional development and promotion, discipline and termination, contract negotiations, and compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws, including wage and hour matters, leaves of absence, disability accommodation, and matters involving harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.
Karen assists clients in the formulation, implementation and enforcement of employment policies and procedures and drafts a variety of employment-related agreements, including employment agreements, confidentiality and trade secret agreements, arbitration agreements, and separation agreements. She provides employee and management training in harassment, discrimination, implicit bias, and bullying.
Karen has substantial experience conducting workplace investigations. She navigates expertly highly sensitive and complex investigations at all levels, including investigations involving managerial and nonmanagerial employees, senior executives, boards of directors, and non-employee third parties. Her expertise includes investigating complaints of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, implicit bias, bullying, whistleblowing, fraud, and other allegations of workplace misconduct. She has investigated allegations of single incident misconduct as well as allegations of patterns of misconduct, workplace culture concerns, and intersectionality of multiple protected characteristics.
Karen has conducted investigations for a wide variety of business entities, including, without limitation, law firms, entertainment companies, news media, cultural institutions, healthcare providers, real estate developers, auto dealerships, and non-profit organizations. She is enlisted by inside and outside general counsel, employment lawyers, chief executives, boards of directors, human resources professionals, and business managers seeking neutral and objective fact finding and the highest level of discretion and judgment.
Karen’s commitment to a fair and neutral process engenders trust from interviewees and her thorough yet sensitive interview style elicits candor and completeness in witness testimony.
To best position clients to understand thoroughly existing workplace problems and to resolve conflicts, Karen prepares comprehensive, clear, and well-reasoned written reports designed to withstand legal scrutiny and to allow clients to assess potential exposure.
Litigation and Administrative Actions
Karen has extensive experience litigating a wide variety of employment and business disputes, including disputes involving wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination, failure to accommodate, wage and hour violations, unfair competition, trade secrets, and breach of contract. She represents clients through trial in state and federal courts, in arbitration, and before public agencies, including the California Labor Commissioner, the United States Department of Labor – Wage and Hour Division, the California Civil Rights Department, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her client base ranges from individuals and small businesses to publicly traded entities, large national and international corporations, and large and small nonprofit organizations and foundations.
Prior to joining Bartko, Karen was a founding partner of Lerman & Pointer LLP, a law firm focusing on employment law, business litigation, and business advice and counseling. Prior to forming Lerman & Pointer LLP in 2000, Karen practiced for several years in the employment law group at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger in Los Angeles.
Karen participates in a variety of community activities:
- Board of Directors of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA), an organization formed in 2015 as a strategic initiative of Boys & Girls Clubs of America dedicated to helping steward clusters of metro-area clubs in building strong, sustainable organizations, to increasing programmatic offerings, and to serving more kids, more often, in areas most in need of youth development services. Since 2018, Karen has served as Chair of the Board.
- Board of Directors of HealthRight 360, an internationally recognized family of agencies providing comprehensive health, mental health, and substance abuse rehabilitation services. Karen chairs the Board’s Human Resources and Compensation Committee.
- Board of Directors of Loyola Marymount University’s African American Alumni Association (AAAA), which provides financial assistance to deserving undergraduate LMU students who achieve academically and are active in supporting their communities. AAAA also promotes and fosters a sense of community among African American students and alumni through professional development activities and social events.