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Kerry A. Shad

AA Contact Info

Tracy Benning
Phone: 919.821.6654


Kerry's practice focuses on representing employers in all types of employment related litigation. She regularly defends employers against EEOC charges and lawsuits in federal and state courts involving alleged discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Kerry advises companies of all sizes, including global companies, on a wide variety of employment law issues across a range of industries, including healthcare (insurers and hospitals), pharmaceutical and CRO, technology, biotech, agtech, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.

Kerry's practice also focuses on United States Department of Labor wage and hour investigations and related disputes. Kerry was part of the defense team that successfully represented GlaxoSmithKline in a case that went to the Supreme Court where the issue was whether pharmaceutical sales representatives are exempt as outside sales people under the FLSA.

Kerry has been recognized as a leading employment lawyer by Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. She is a graduate of Florida State University and received her law degree from UNC Chapel Hill.

Kerry holds key leadership roles in the firm, including as an elected member of the Management Committee and Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

  • American Bar Association, Employment and Litigation
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Employment and Litigation Sections
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Employment and Commercial Litigation
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Best Lawyers®, Employment Law - Management, Litigation - Labor & Employment (2009-2022)
  • Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Raleigh Employment Law - Management (2022)
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers, Labor & Employment (2012-2021)
  • Benchmark Litigation, Top 250 Women in Litigation (2021)
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Labor and Employment Star (2018-2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2012-2021)
  • Business North Carolina Magazine Legal Elite, Employment
  • Triangle Business Journal's "Women in Business Award" (2015)



  • Successfully represented leading employers before the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state and local fair employment practices commissions across the country in connection with investigations of single claimant and class allegations.
  • Retained as lead counsel for global pharmaceutical company to defend claims filed in arbitration under the company’s ADR program.
  • Represented hospital in two lawsuits filed in federal court in North Carolina alleging discrimination in violation of the ADA (secured dismissal under Rule 12(c)) and national origin discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII (stipulation of dismissal with prejudice with no payment after successful deposition of Plaintiff).
  • Conducted in depth analysis for acquiring companies to determine whether target companies had properly classified employees as exempt under the FLSA, determined financial risk of misclassifications to support indemnity provision, and recommended changes to classifications to avoid future liability.
  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in series of class and collective actions filed in Arizona, California, Florida and New York alleging that the company’s failure to pay its pharmaceutical sales representatives overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week violated the FLSA and state law. The Supreme Court ultimately affirmed the entry of summary judgment for the company.
  • Retained as special counsel by employers in a variety of industries to conduct internal corporate investigations into allegations of:
    • harassment, discrimination and employee misconduct, including allegations of pattern and practice sexual harassment and racial discrimination
    • retaliation against “whistleblowers”
    • misconduct by high-ranking company officials
  • Successfully defended wage and hour audits and complaint investigations conducted by the federal and state departments of labor involving donning/doffing in manufacturing plants, overtime, and misclassification issues (in a variety of industries) with exposure well in excess of $1 million.
  • Represented publicly-traded company in action brought under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) by former Internal Auditor who asserted his termination was in retaliation for having reported accounting and reporting irregularities to the company.
  • Represented convenience store chain in action filed in federal court in North Carolina by a member of the Sikh religion alleging religious and national origin discrimination in application of dress and grooming standards to screen out applicants.
  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in action filed in federal court in Tennessee and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by former manufacturing plant employee alleging race and gender discrimination and harassment and retaliation.
  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in federal court action alleging race discrimination by employee in research and development.
  • Represented employers to secure (and to defend against) TROs and preliminary/permanent injunctions to enforce confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements against former employees, and protect employers’ trade secrets in many industries, including technology, logistics/transportation, health care (physicians/physical therapists), insurance (agents/brokers), construction, and contract research organizations.
  • Represented medical group in action filed by former physician-employee alleging that miscalculations of compensation due under an employment contract violated the NCWHA.
  • Retained by employers after EEOC issued cause findings for representation during the conciliation process and risk management of potential liability exposure.
  • Served as "in-house" employment litigation counsel to large company managing employment litigation in jurisdictions across the country.
  • Represented clients in arbitrations arising out of business sales and alleged violations of non-competition agreements.
  • Developed highly participatory and mock trial training exercise for HR professionals and investigators for large global pharmaceutical company in which they experienced first-hand how their decisions and actions play out in front of a jury. The program was customized to client’s policy and workforce.

News & Publications


Speaking Engagements


  • Panelist, "A Stronger Workforce: The Business Case for Second Chance Employment, Part 2," hosted by the NC Chamber
  • Presenter, "COVID-19’s Next Wave – Legal Claims Looming for Employers,” Smith Anderson 28th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
  • Panelist, "The Role of ERGs in the Time of COVID-19,” NC Chamber Diversity & Inclusion Conference
  • Co-Panelist, "Panel Discussion - Hot Topics in Employment Law," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • Co-Presenter, "Recognizing and Avoiding Common Pitfalls Under the FLSA," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • Co-Presenter, "Mandatory Arbitration - It's a No-Brainer - or is it?” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • Co-Presenter, "The Future of Work 2019: 2 Challenges HR Cannot Ignore,” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • Co-Presenter, Wage and Hour Update: New Rules, New Interpretations and More, Smith Anderson’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Update, October 2015
  • Panelist, Today's Top Five Employer Mistakes (and Answers to Questions on Your Mind...), Smith Anderson's 23rd Annual Employment Law Update, October 2015
  • Presenter, The Golden Age of Whistleblowing: How Employers Can Recognize and Limit Risk, Smith Anderson’s 22nd Annual Employment Law Update, October and November 2014
  • Presenter, Gender-Based Discrimination in Compensation Claims: Do You Have A Bull's Eye On Your Forehead?, Smith Anderson’s 21st Annual Employment Law Update, November 2013
  • Presenter, Are Your Employees Properly Classified?, Webinar, August 2013
  • Presenter, What is "Work Time" Under the Fair Labor Standards Act?, Webinar, June 2013
  • Presenter, Recent Developments under the FLSA, Smith Anderson’s 20th Annual Employment Law Update, November 2012
  • Presenter, Conducting Internal Investigation: Tips and Pitfalls for Investigating Misconduct in the Workplace, Smith Anderson’s 19th Annual Employment Law Update, November 2011

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • All North Carolina State Courts


University of North Carolina, J.D., with honors, 1991

  • Editorial Board, North Carolina Law Review
  • Order of the Coif

Florida State University, B.S., 1985

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