Board of Directors

Rebecca L. Salawdeh, President

Rebecca_Salawdeh_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteRebecca L. Salawdeh, The Institute’s Secretary since 2008, has devoted her legal career to the representation of individuals in employment litigation. She opened Salawdeh Law Office (Wauwatosa, WI) in 2007, where she successfully represents employees in federal court, federal employees before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and complainants in state administrative hearings.

Ms. Salawdeh has been a member of the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association since 2005 and currently is Co-Chair of NELA’s Low Wage Workers Practice Group. She is a member of the Wisconsin Employment Lawyers Association (WELA) and a former WELA Co-Chair. In 2000, Ms. Salawdeh, in conjunction with other WELA members, helped to form the Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic. She serves as a volunteer attorney for Wisconsin’s ACLU and the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP Legal Redress Committee.

Ms. Salawdeh received her law degree and her master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1996.

Patricia A. Barasch, Immediate Past President

Patricia_Barasch_employee_rights_advocacy_institutePatricia A. Barasch, a partner in the law firm of Schall & Barasch, LLC (Moorestown, NJ), was appointed President of The Institute in 2014. From 2010 to 2013, she served as President of the National Employment Lawyers Association and was a member of its Executive Board from 2004 to 2015.

Throughout her nearly 25-year career, Ms. Barasch has represented employees in cases involving all types of unfair and illegal employment practices, including claims relating to race, sex, age, and disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation, the Family Medical Leave Act, wrongful termination, breach of contract, retaliation, and non-compete agreements. She has won a number of trial victories against some of the largest corporations in New Jersey, including PSEG, Raytheon, and Harrah’s Casino Hotel.

Ms. Barasch’s accomplishments as an employment lawyer have been recognized repeatedly. In every year since 2005, Ms. Barasch has been named by her peers to the list of “Super Lawyers” in New Jersey in the field of employment litigation-plaintiff. In 2006, South Jersey Magazine chose Ms. Barasch as one of the region’s “Top Women in Business” for her personification of “diligence, success, diversity of talent, and philanthropic spirit that characterizes an outstanding business leader.” In 2002, she was selected as one of New Jersey’s “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40” by the New Jersey Law Journal. Ms. Barasch graduated from Cornell Law School in 1993 and Wesleyan University in 1987. Prior to law school, she worked as a Research Assistant at Harvard Law School where she actively participated in the successful union organizing drive of approximately 3,500 clerical and technical workers across Harvard University.

Diane S. King, Treasurer

Diana_King_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteA partner in King & Greisen, LLP (Denver, CO), Ms. King concentrates her law practice in the areas of civil rights, employment, and anti-discrimination litigation, primarily in the federal courts. She has successfully tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of employment cases on behalf of employees.

Throughout her career, Ms. King has been committed to community service and has performed substantial pro bono work as well as served on numerous nonprofit boards. In addition to being The Institute’s Treasurer since 2008, she is the Vice President of Public Policy of the National Employment Lawyers Association.

Ms. King received her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in 1983 and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1987.

Joanne Irby, Secretary

In her role as Chief Operating Officer for The Raben Group, Joanne brings to bare more than twenty years of operations and organizational development experience across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Her charge at Raben is to provide vision and leadership to a wide range of internal and external-facing efforts, including business operations, talent management, strategic planning, client service delivery and special initiatives. Her True North? Getting the right people into the right roles, ensuring the right systems and tools are in place, and nurturing the right culture that allows our staff to do their very best work for our clients.

Prior to joining Raben, Joanne served as the COO for the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit advocacy organization. During her tenure, Joanne stewarded CFED through its most comprehensive and ambitious strategic planning process, setting the stage for greater, more measurable impact. As CFED’s Director of Human Resources she completely transformed the talent management function, recruiting and nurturing a truly diverse staff that was also the highest performing team in the organization’s history.

Earlier in her career, Joanne served as deputy to the head of HR for the Association of American Medical Colleges, and spent a decade engaged in the full life cycle of HR functions for the association, as well as for The George Washington University, the Arlington County Fire Department, Hechinger Stores Company, and the Advisory Board Company.

Joanne earned a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University, holds both Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) designations, and in fact contributed to the development of these certification standards for the HR profession. Joanne is privileged to serve on the boards of the National Employment Law Association and the Green Diversity Initiative/Green 2.0. She is an avid NFL fan, an amateur powerlifter, and as the proud but busy Mom of two tween girls, an active proponent of breakfast foods for dinner.

Wade B. Cowan

Wade B. Cowan is the current President of NELA and has served on NELA’s Executive Board since 2011. He is a solo practitioner in Nashville, Tennessee, who advises and represents employees in matters involving employment law and civil rights, with an emphasis on employment discrimination and retaliation claims arising under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Mr. Cowan is a 1978 graduate of Vanderbilt University and a 1981 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School in 1981. He is a member of the Nashville and Tennessee Bar Associations, and he is a founding member and past President of the Tennessee Employment Lawyers Association.

Bruce A. Fredrickson

Bruce_Fredrickson_employee_rights_advocacy_instituteBruce A. Frederickson served as President of The Institute from 2008 to 2014 and is a partner in the Washington, DC law firm Webster & Fredrickson PLLC. The firm is perhaps most noted for its 25-year sex discrimination class action, Hartman v. Powell, which settled for a record-breaking $508,000,000 plus more than $25 million for 48 claims tried and decided.

A 1973 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Mr. Frederickson obtained his law degree from the National Law Center, George Washington University, in 1976 with high honors.

Mr. Fredrickson is a Past President of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. He is a member of the American Association for Justice, and the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington DC. Since 1986, he has taught trial practice as an adjunct professor of law at the Washington College of Law of the American University.

Alicia K. Haynes

Alicia Haynes practices exclusively in the area of plaintiffs’ employment law in Birmingham, AL. She also serves on the executive boards of NELA-Alabama and the Labor and Employment Section of the Alabama State Bar.

A tenacious trial lawyer for almost 30 years, Ms. Haynes has successfully represented workers from every walk of life in cases involving sexual harassment, hostile work environments, and age, gender, race, and family status discrimination. Ms. Haynes has had two cases heard before the United States Supreme Court, which resulted in favorable outcomes for her clients. One of them, Ash v. Tyson Foods, Inc., in which she represented two African American men who were discriminated against because of their race, significantly changed the standard in employment discrimination cases involving promotion decisions. She is a frequent speaker on trial practice strategy and development.

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