Overview

Kim Korando is recognized as one of North Carolina’s leading employment lawyers by Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers, Law and Politics North Carolina Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers® and Business North Carolina Legal Elite. She founded the firm’s Employment, Labor and Human Resources practice group and served as its inaugural leader.

For more than 30 years, Kim has served as a trusted advisor to public and private companies throughout the U.S. in matters of financial, reputational and operational significance. Her work has led to ChambersUSA client reviews describing her as “simply outstanding on employment law,” “a diligent top tier attorney,” who does “a first class job” and “has a way of looking at several different sides of a situation to evaluate it clearly,” and “is exceedingly bright, capable and practical, and gives current pragmatic advice.”

Kim serves as general outside employment and labor and human resources counsel to public and private companies in a wide variety of industries including utilities, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, hospitals and healthcare, automotive, semiconductor, paper/cellulose and furniture manufacturers, insurance, banking, retail, hospitality, and food and beverage distribution, as well as municipalities and law firms.

Kim is retained as special counsel to conduct independent internal investigations, workplace compliance audits and workplace culture assessments, including those arising from #Me-Too and Social Justice movements and allegations of hostile and toxic work environments.

Kim is a thought leader who frequently speaks and writes on human resources compliance and risk management issues in the business and legal community. She regularly collaborates with companies developing in-house training programs and has trained thousands of supervisors, managers and Human Resources professionals in legally compliant employment practices, as well as investigators for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She serves on the Board of Editors for the nation’s leading employment discrimination treatise, and authors a leading North Carolina workplace policies and forms guidebook that is updated annually through the North Carolina Chamber.

Areas of Focus

Credentials

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers, Labor & Employment (2005-2023)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Employment Law - Management (2007-2024)
    • Labor Law - Management (2007-2024)
    • “Lawyer of the Year,” Raleigh, Employment Law - Management (2024)
    • “Lawyer of the Year,” Raleigh, Labor Law - Management (2013, 2021)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite, Employment Law (2022)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2006-2024)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated since 1999
  • Oklahoma Law Review, Note Editor

Education

  • University of Oklahoma, J.D., with honors, 1986
  • University of Oklahoma, B.S., in psychology, 1980

Bar & Court Admissions

Affiliations

  • ABA Equal Employment Opportunity Committee 
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • American Employment Law Council
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section

Experience

Crossborder

  • Regularly advises global companies based outside the U.S. (Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, France, U.K. and Canada) and outside North Carolina with regard to establishing North Carolina workforces and associated compliance with U.S. and North Carolina laws.

Compensation and FLSA

  • Conducted enterprise-wide compensation analyses focusing on identifying and correcting pay equity issues.
  • Developed discretionary and “unlimited” paid time off programs implemented to replace accrued leave programs.
  • Conducted enterprise-wide audits of worker classification and developed strategies for reclassifying misclassified workers and practical solutions for time recording practices (including donning/doffing, automatic clocking/deductions and use of remote devices for work) for manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, distribution, technology and other industry employers.

Affirmative Action, Diversity Initiatives and EEO

  • Developed and presented briefings for boards and other governing bodies addressing institutional leadership on these initiatives.
  • Successful defense of EEOC investigations and OFCCP compliance audits focusing on allegations of class-wide race, gender and disability discrimination in hiring, promotion, compensation and terminations, including challenges to criminal history, testing and other employee selection criteria.
  • Successfully resolved (pre-litigation) allegations of systemic race and gender discrimination, including those made by current employees and supported by national and local civil rights groups, and allegations of harassment against executives and high ranking officials.
  • Regularly establishes and annually updates affirmative action plans for defense and other federal contractors (financial, healthcare, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, consulting, distribution, hospitality) with special emphasis on risk management regarding analysis of employment activity, compensation, recruiting and selection procedures.

Whistleblowing/Retaliation

  • Strategic advice on managing whistleblowing employees.
  • Successfully defended whistleblower and retaliation complaints before the U.S. Department of Labor, EEOC and other agencies, including environmental and financial fraud complaints.

Internal Investigations

  • Retained as special counsel to conduct internal investigations into allegations of harassment, discrimination, code of conduct violations, embezzlement and root cause of management failures.

Restructuring and Organizational Changes

  • Designed RIFs, lay-offs, furloughs and recovery programs.
  • Designed comprehensive workforce restructuring programs, including voluntary separation programs and employee selection and staffing processes that have been successfully defended before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

WorkHealth Initiatives and Risk Management

  • Developed and integrated corporate policies for hospitals, banks and pharmaceutical, manufacturing and technology companies to manage leave (FMLA/STD/ADA reasonable accommodation leave/workers’ compensation leave) and mandatory paid sick leave obligations. Developed fitness for duty programs including functional capacity testing for manufacturing, healthcare and distribution worksites.
  • Developed mandatory vaccine policies designed to maximize herd immunity while minimizing liability for ADA and Title VII reasonable accommodation violations and served as reviewer of exemption requests.
  • Developed drug-testing programs, including random testing programs and programs in medicinal and recreational marijuana and CBD jurisdictions.
  • Led interdisciplinary publicly-traded Fortune 500 corporate ADA task force charged with: identifying Title I and Title III compliance issues; reviewing and modifying corporate policies, procedures and practices including medical testing, qualification standards and test administration accommodation.

Crisis Management

  • Regularly develops and executes strategies and plans for minimizing liability in high risk terminations.
  • Coordinated and managed regulatory, communication and risk management response to high profile workplace crises, including those arising from #Me-Too and Social Justice movements and employee and community social media postings, and industrial accidents.

Labor

  • Coordinated responses to union organization campaigns and collective bargaining with USW and IBEW.

Training

  • Develops customized content for training programs on establishing and maintaining respectful workplaces (including diversity, inclusion and microaggressions), interviewing and selection, performance management and legal aspects of managing people.
  • Developed highly participatory mock trial training experience in which supervisors experience first-hand how their decisions play out in front of a jury which has been customized for employers in a wide range of industries and delivered across the country.
  • Developed highly participatory mock trial training experience in which human resources professionals and internal company investigators experience first-hand how their decisions in conducting an investigation play out in front of a jury which has been customized for employers in a wide range of industries and delivered across the country.

Technology and Related Policies

  • Assisted companies with development of BYOD, remote work, social media and departing employees procedures designed to protect company reputation and assets.

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Advised an international research-oriented healthcare group on employment-related matters in its acquisition of worldwide product rights to a rare disease therapy.

Insights

News

Publications & Alerts

Events & Programming

  • Co-Presenter, "Using AI in HR 2.0 and ChatGPT Too!" Smith Anderson's 31st Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "Beware: Your Common(sense) Workplace Policies and Practices May Now Be Unfair Labor Practices," Smith Anderson's 31st Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "Using AI in HR: Best Practices and Avoiding Traps for the Unwary," Smith Anderson's 30th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
    Speaking Engagement
  • Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "Closing the Equity Gap: Communicating Your Worth," NC Chamber Women > A Force in Business, Raleigh, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "COVID-19 Roundup," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Panelist, "Hot (Non-COVID-19) Topics in Employment Law," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "The Here, There and Everywhere Workforce: Tips, Traps and Best Practices," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
    Speaking Engagement
  • Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "Good Trouble: Making It Good, Avoiding the Trouble," Catawba County Chamber's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Virtual Summit
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Restoring the Workplace: Implications and Considerations for Returning to the Office or Continuing Work from Home," NC Bar Association Government and Public Sector 2021 Annual (Virtual) Meeting
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "2020 OFCCP Developments: What Federal Contractors Need to Know For 2021 AAP Compliance," webinar in partnership with Ellen Shong & Associates, LLC
    Speaking Engagement
  • Panel Member, "Hot Topics in Employment Law,” Smith Anderson 28th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Good Trouble: Making It Good, Avoiding the Trouble," Smith Anderson 28th Annual Employment Law Update
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Getting Practices Back to "Normal": HR Best Practices and Legal Compliance Issues," Live Webinar hosted by Virginia MGMA
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Getting Practices Back to "Normal: HR Best Practices and Legal Compliance Issues," Live Webinar hosted by Virginia MGMA
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "When Employees Go Rogue: How to React and Prepare for the Worst," NCBA Corporate Counsel Section Annual Meeting, NC Bar Center, Cary, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Webinar
  • Co-Presenter, "Boomers, Bots and Gen Z," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "HR Legal Eagle Top 10 List," CED Accelerate Series, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "Sex, Money, Religion and More: Latest Word from the Federal Courts," UNC School of Government Public Employment Law Update
    Speaking Engagement
  • Webinar
  • Co-Presenter, "The Post-#MeToo Era: Emerging Trends & Best Practices,” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Co-Presenter, "The Future of Work 2019: 2 Challenges HR Cannot Ignore,” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • "The Post-#MeToo Era: Emerging Trends, Best Practices," Deloitte Smith Anderson 2018 Technical Update
    Event
  • Creating Respectful Workplaces in a #MeToo World
    North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
    Webinar
  • Moderator, "Emerging Legal Trends: Current Legal Landscape and Organization Liability," Sentinel Risk Advisors
    Event
  • Moderator, "Protecting Your Business - Sexual Harassment & Discrimination," Association for Corporate Growth Meeting, Durham, N.C.
    Event
  • Webinar
  • Presenter, "Employee Handbooks & Policies—Recent Developments, Common Mistakes, & Best Practices,” NCACPA Annual Symposium, Greensboro, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Being Social—The Changing Face of Employer Social Media Policies,” NCACPA Annual Symposium, Greensboro, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, “Recruiting to Onboarding: Leveraging Technology, Minding the Law,” Smith Anderson 25th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Guest Speaker, "Contracts: Negotiating with a Group or Hospital," The Carolinas Anesthesiology 2017, Annual Meeting, Asheville, N.C
    Event
  • Presenter, “Fitness for Duty Exams: What Are They and When Does the Law Allow Them?” UNC School of Government Public Employment Law Update, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "LGBTQ and You: Important Information for Secular and Faith-Based Schools," North Carolina Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference, Pinehurst, N.C.
    Event
  • Webinar
  • Presenter, "Gender Fluidity, Millennials and the Workplace," Smith Anderson 24th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Guest Speaker, "Contracts: Negotiating with a Group or Hospital," The Carolinas Anesthesiology 2016, Annual Meeting, Charleston, S.C.
    Event
  • Moderator and Panelist, "eCommerce and Public Agency Transactions: Don’t Get Left Behind," NCBA Government and Public Sector Section Annual Meeting
    Event
  • Webinar
  • Presenter, "Paperless HR: Best Practices, Costly Mistakes," Smith Anderson’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Panelist, "Today's Top Five Employer Mistakes (and Answers to Questions on Your Mind...)," Smith Anderson's 23rd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Recent Workplace Developments: Latest Word from the Fourth Circuit on Employer Obligations," NCBA Government and Public Sector Annual Meeting
    Event
  • Presenter, "HR Update--Rethinking Key Employee Policies and Practices," NC Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) 2015 Not-for-Profit Conference
    Event
  • Presenter, "Employee Personal Devices: Employer Monitoring and Access Rights and Limitations," NCBA What Happens When I Click This Red Button? Hot Topics and the Law
    Event
  • Webinar
  • Presenter, "When IT Meets HR: Four Policies Every Workplace Needs," NCACPA Annual Symposium, Greensboro, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Carolina In My Mind: Not So Much, Multi-State Employers," Smith Anderson’s 22nd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "In Pursuit of Relevance: Continued Attack on Common Practices and Policies," Smith Anderson’s 22nd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Family and Medical Leave Act," Introduction to Public Employment Law, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Employer Monitoring of Employee Devices," Mobile Device Security, NC Technology Association
    Event
  • Presenter, "Legal Stuff: Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Forecast," Raleigh-Wake SHRM
    Event
  • Presenter, "OFCCP Final Vets and Rehab Rules Compliance Checklist Part II: Data Collection and Analysis, Hiring Benchmarks and Utilization Goals," Live Webinar
    Event
  • Presenter, "OFCCP Final Vets and Rehab Rules Compliance Checklist Part I: Compliance Timeline, Narrative Obligations and Outreach Requirements," Live Webinar
    Event
  • Presenter, "OFCCP's Final Rules for VEVRAA and Section 503," Smith Anderson’s 21st Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Diversity, Inclusion and Employee Engagement: Two Birds, One Stone," Smith Anderson’s 21st Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Keynote Speaker, "Diversity and Inclusion: What's In It For Me?," U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission TAPs, Charlotte, N.C.
    Event
  • Keynote Speaker, "Diversity and Inclusion: What's In It For Me?," U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission TAPs, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "View from the Top: A Primer on NC Unemployment Insurance Reform for the C-Suite," Part 1 of a two-part webinar co-hosted by the North Carolina Chamber and Smith Anderson
    Event
  • Presenter, "Nuts and Bolts of Unemployment Insurance Law Changes: A Primer for Managers and Human Resources Professionals," Part 2 of a two-part webinar co-hosted by the North Carolina Chamber and Smith Anderson
    Event
  • Presenter, "From Unemployment to Reemployment: Preparing Your Business for HB4," Smith Anderson and N.C. Chamber Live Webinar
    Event
  • Webinar
  • Panelist, "Expert Panel on Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA," UNC Friday Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Employment Litigation in the Fourth Circuit: Current Issues and Trends," University of North Carolina Festival of Legal Learning, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Top Workplace Compliance Issues for 2013 and Beyond," NCACPA Annual Symposium, Greensboro, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "OFCCP Initiatives: A Post-Election 2012 Conversation," Smith Anderson's 20th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Non-Union Workplaces: New Attacks on Common Practices and Policies," Smith Anderson's 20th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Workplaces: Dealing with the Inevitable," Smith Anderson’s 20th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Federal Labor Initiatives," NC Chamber Human Resources Conference, Charlotte, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Federal Legislation and Regulatory Update," Triangle Society for Human Resources Management, Research Triangle Park, Durham, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "ADAA: Retooling Your Practices for Compliance," UNC School of Government, Public Employment Law Update, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Employment Litigation in the Fourth Circuit: Current Issues and Trends," University of North Carolina Festival of Legal Learning, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "When Technology Meets the Law: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times," Smith Anderson's 19th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Federal Legislation and Regulatory Update," NCACPA Annual Symposium, Greensboro, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Latest Word from Washington: New NLRB and OFCCP Initiatives and Proposed Legislation," Smith Anderson's 19th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "HR War Stories," ESOP Association Conference, Pinehurst, N.C.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Hot Topics," International Public Management Association, Charlotte, N.C.
    Event
  • Moderator/Panelist, "Expanding Concepts of Sex Discrimination," ABA 2nd Annual National CLE Conference, Denver, Colo.
    Event
  • Presenter, "Selection Interviewing: The Legal Aspects," Duke University Fuqua School of Business, Durham, N.C.
    Event
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