Kara M. Maciel
Chair, Labor • Employment Practice Group
"Our ability to develop creative solutions to workplace challenges stems from our thorough understanding of our clients' industries coupled with our deep subject matter expertise."
5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW • Suite 660
Washington DC 20015
Kara M. Maciel is a founding partner of Conn Maciel Carey and Chair of the firm’s national Labor • Employment Practice Group. She focuses her practice on representing employers in all aspects of the employment relationship.
Ms. Maciel works to create workplace solutions for her clients across all industries. She defends employers in litigation at both the federal and state levels, including matters related to the ADA, FLSA, FMLA, Title VII, and affirmative action/OFCCP regulations. She advises clients regarding the protection of trade secrets and the misappropriation of confidential or proprietary information, both defending employers and pursuing enforcement against former employees. When relevant, Ms. Maciel provides advice and counsel to unionized and non-unionized workplaces regarding the employer’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Ms. Maciel also represents senior executives and managers in review and negotiation of executive contracts at the outset of the employment relationship as well as advising in disputes that can arise at the end of the employment relationship, including severance pay and benefits, change in control benefits, convenants not to compete, confidentiality agreements, indemnification agreements, and trade secrets. Ms. Maciel also has advised employees and companies on allegations of whistleblowing under the OSH Act, False Claims Act, and other whistleblowing protections.
Being located in Washington, D.C., Ms. Maciel provides a unique perspective to international and multinational corporations on doing business in the United States from a federal statutory and regulatory perspective as well as compliance with the myriad of state and local business requirements. Ms. Maciel is a member of IR Global in the Employment Law Group. IR Global is a multi-disciplinary professional services network that provides advice to companies and individuals across 155+ jurisdictions.
Ms. Maciel pays special attention to the issues facing companies in the hospitality (including hotel owners and managers, resorts, restaurants, spas, country clubs, golf clubs, and fitness clubs); retail; grocery; food and dairy distribution; healthcare; trade association; and non-profit sectors. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.
Defends employers before the Department of Labor regarding workplace safety whistleblower complaints filed under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act
Defended hospitality owners and operators and health care providers in lawsuits alleging discrimination from accessibility barriers by guests with disabilities under Title III of the ADA.
Advised employers on wage and hour compliance and conducting internal wage hour audits.
Testified before the NLRB on behalf of national trade association.
Defended hotel chains in class actions alleging improper tip credit and tip pooling arrangements and distribution of service charges.
Defended employers in Department of Labor investigations concerning compliance with child labor, overtime, and regular rate of pay calculations.
Obtained default judgment against a former employee and new employer for destruction of evidence and misappropriation of company trade secrets.
Represented management in union elections and unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board.
Secured defense jury verdict on behalf of restaurant in race discrimination lawsuit.
Defended food manufacturers and distributors in claims of noncompete litigation and misappropriation of trade secret information.
Represented fitness company in discrimination claims brought by members and employees.
Served as chief labor negotiator for management in collective bargaining negotiations.
Ms. Maciel is a popular speaker at conferences and events across the country and writes extensively on issues related to ADA accessibility, wage hour compliance, ACA strategies, prevention of harassment and discrimination, tip credit/tip pools/service charge compliance, effective employment policies and procedures, developing a compliant employee handbook, effective strategies for labor relations, and managing a unionized workforce. Prior to founding Conn Maciel Carey, she served as Chair of the Hospitality Employment and Labor Law Outreach Practice at an Am Law 200 firm.
Ms. Maciel received a 2014 Burton Award for Legal Writing for coauthoring the article “For Employers with High Turnover and Large Numbers of Seasonal Workers, the ACA Creates Unique Compliance Issues.” Ms. Maciel was also recommended in the Labor-Management Relations category of The Legal 500 United States (2013) and selected for inclusion in Washington, DC Super Lawyers from 2014 to present.
Ms. Maciel lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two young children.
IN THE NEWS
Hot Topics in Hospitality Law: Parts 1 and 2, in Law360
Major Changes in ACA Employer Mandate Final Rule, in HRA-NCA
Addressing ADA Issues in Hotel Management Agreements, as appeared in Law360
New IRS Rule Problematic for Hospitality Employers, as appeared in Law360
Tipped Employees Under the FLSA, in Practical Law Company
Revisit Food Allergy Accommodations for Guests and Employees, in Hospitality Law
Clemmons v. Academy for Educational Development, 70 F. Supp. 3d 82 (D.D.C. 2014) (granting summary judgment to employer on hostile work environment claim with novel allegations of workplace bullying)
Murphy v. LivingSocial, 931 F. Supp. 2d 21 (D.D.C. 2013) (granting motion to dismiss on defamation claim against company’s in-house counsel for sending a cease and desist letter)
Scherr v. Marriott International, Inc., 703 F.3d 1069 (7th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of Title III ADA claims against hotel involving the 2010 ADA Standards for door closures)
Arafi v. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, 867 F. Supp. 2d 66 (D.D.C. 2012) (granting motion to dismiss to employer on employee’s race and religion discrimination claims)
Peters v. Shamrock Foods Company, 262 Fed. Appx. 30 (9th Cir. 2007) (affirming summary judgment on gender discrimination claim)
Horne v. Reznick Fedder & Silverman, 154 Fed. Appx 3d (4th Cir. 2005) (affirming summary judgment to employer on race and sex discrimination claims)
Ms. Maciel regularly speaks to audiences about a broad range of employment-related issues. Recent invitations have included the following organizations:
National Grocers Association (NGA)
Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association (MACMA)
Resort Hotel Association (RHA)
California Lodging Industry Association (CLIA)
Hospitality Law Conference
HR in Hospitality Conference
International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
Hotel Association of Washington DC
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Illinois Chamber of Commerce
District of Columbia Hospital Association
J.D., American University, Washington College of Law, magna cum laude
B.A., Smith College
District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Board Member, Law360's Hospitality Advisory Board (2022-present)
Board of Directors, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (2018-2022)
Vice President, Legal Affairs and Compliance, DC SHRM (2016-2017)