Deputy General Counsel - Labor and Employment

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Sierra Club

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Oakland, CA, United States

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30 days ago

Job Title: Deputy General Counsel - Labor and Employment
Department: Office of General Counsel
Location: Oakland, CA; Washington, DC or Remote
Reports To: Chief Legal Officer
Supervises: N/A


Context: At the Sierra Club, we believe in the power of togetherness. Together, we remain committed to the fight for a healthy climate built on a foundation of environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice – a future where all people benefit from a healthy, thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. As the climate crisis and deeply entrenched systemic racism all fuel inequity, we will continue to fight for a bold, transformational agenda that recognizes the interconnectedness between our planet, our humanity, and our democracy. By recognizing that our destinies are tied, we continue to name that all things are fundamentally connected, and the overlap between ecology, race, gender, and representative government will move to either advance our collective humanity or to oppress it.

Sierra Club is comprised of staff across the country and a network of volunteer leaders and local chapters that support our grassroots engagement. We are also proud to be a unionized employer, with two labor unions representing more than half of our employees.


Scope: The Deputy General Counsel, Labor & Employment, is a full-time senior attorney who specializes in labor and employment matters for the Sierra Club. The Deputy works closely with the Chief Legal Officer and the People, Culture & Equity Department to support labor, employee and volunteer compliance with all applicable labor relations and employment laws. The Deputy also serves as a trusted legal advisor to the senior leadership team and provides advice and counsel across the organization on a wide variety of employment, labor, and human resources matters. The Deputy reports to the Chief Legal Officer.

In collaboration with the People, Culture & Equity Chief, Director of Employee & Volunteer Relations and the Labor Relations Director, the Deputy will drive training programs and other initiatives to ensure compliance with employment and labor laws (including EEO and harassment / discrimination laws) and work to ensure compliance with organization-wide programs & processes, drive continuous improvement in execution, provide advice and counsel on employee and labor relations matters, manage employment claims and litigation, and help the Sierra Club develop and implement streamlined equal opportunity and compliance activities. The Deputy serves as lead counsel in administering Sierra Club’s Collective Bargaining Agreements with our respective employee unions, and engages and oversees the work of outside employment counsel as needed in support of the collective bargaining process and complex labor law matters. The Deputy supports the Sierra Club’s enterprise risk management function and works to implement the organization’s strategy and advance its mission.


Job activities include but are not limited to:

Strategic Leadership

  • Provide strategic advice and counseling on a broad range of employment and labor laws and regulations applicable to the Sierra Club, including but not limited to the National Labor Relations Act, Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Title VII, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Employee and Labor Relations

  • Participate in collective bargaining negotiations.
  • Prepare, administer and negotiate collective bargaining agreements, memoranda of understanding, and other agreements in collaboration with internal labor relations staff.
  • Provide legal advice and counsel on labor relations, employee relations, and employment matters.
  • Manage employment litigation and regulatory matters.
  • Develop pre-litigation, litigation, and alternate dispute resolution strategies.
  • Manage the Sierra Club’s responses to complaints or inquiries from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other agencies charged with administering labor and employment laws.
  • Lead and support employment and labor training programs and compliance initiatives to ensure that all program activities and materials comply with applicable law and internal policies.
  • Support the Sierra Club’s compliance and enterprise risk management functions, with a specific emphasis on regulatory and enforcement issues pertaining to employment law and labor relations.
  • Supervise outside counsel and consultants.

The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:

The Sierra Club seeks a seasoned, mission-driven leader and attorney who understands the role of in-house counsel within a nationwide nonprofit organization. Among other qualities and experiences, this role requires the following skills and competencies:

  • A J.D. from an accredited U.S. law school and admission in good standing to a state bar within the United States.
  • At least 10-15 years of employment law experience with broad exposure and expertise in labor and employment issues, including organized employee units, compliance, litigation management, and dispute resolution.
  • Leading on Equity. You model effective equity analysis and practice and have a track record of operationalizing equity, and have embedded justice and equity throughout team/department policies, structures, culture, and programs.
  • Experience leading high-performing and multigenerational teams across multiple group identities.
  • Experience managing challenging group dynamics in ways that build credibility, trust, respect for individual differences, and equitable outcomes across all levels of an organization.
  • Working knowledge of federal and state employment laws and regulations, including at least five years of work experience supporting a multi-state employer with a unionized workforce.
  • Experience interpreting and advising clients on wage and hour laws, workplace safety, laws regarding rest and breaks, disability and leave requirements, workplace harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.
  • Working knowledge of NLRB rules and regulations; experience engaging with and/or appearing before the NLRB and the EEOC.
  • Demonstrated skill and effectiveness in preparing training and instructional materials and in delivering training programs.
  • Proven ability to solicit and synthesize input from a broad range of constituencies.
  • Demonstrated innovation, facilitation, communication, and decision-making skills in the context of a highly decentralized organization.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, presentation and communication skills, with the ability to motivate, inspire, and empathize with constituents.
  • Significant experience providing thoughtful and practical legal advice and counsel in or to a complex advocacy organization.
  • Experience and ease communicating with stakeholders at the most senior level as well as down and across an organization.
  • Exceptional strategic thinking and demonstrated success in planning and implementing new strategies and being a thought partner across an organization.

The strongest candidates will also demonstrate the following experience, skills and competencies:

  • Experience leading high-performing and multigenerational teams across multiple group identities.
  • An understanding and commitment to the Sierra Club’s core values of Anti-racism, Balance, Collaboration, Justice and Transformation.
  • Knowledge and interest in climate change, conservation, and other impactful environmental issues.
  • A passion and commitment to the Sierra Club mission.
  • Culturally competent, inclusive, and adept at meeting people where they are.
  • Adaptive and collaborative.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $200,000 - $210,000.

The Sierra Club offers a competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan.

This is a category 2 exempt non-represented, confidential position.

Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Sierra Club employees are not eligible to participate in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Sierra Club values the expertise and talents of foreign nationals. Sierra Club sponsors both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas when certain criteria are met, based on immigration laws and organizational needs. Such sponsorship is at the discretion of the Department Head and Sierra Club Human Resources in consultation with the employee’s manager. The Sierra Club cannot guarantee the approval of a visa petition. The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce diversity.


To Apply

Please remove your schools from your resume. You may leave your degree (e.g., “B.A. Philosophy”), but please remove any undergraduate and graduate school names.

This anonymous process is aimed at opening this opportunity to more candidates, reviewing applicants on performance assessments and mitigating bias in the decision-making process.

Lastly, we are intentionally not asking for a cover letter, so please do not send one in with your application.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.