Cathleen P. Welsh

Cathleen P. Welsh


Cathy Welsh has concentrated her practice in employment law for the last twenty-eight years. She helps clients work through complicated employment situations including investigating employee misconduct; understanding and managing employee leaves of absence and requests for accommodation; I-9 and immigration law compliance, exempt/nonexempt classification and pay procedures; and employee discipline and termination. She has assisted clients of all sizes from small businesses not covered by most federal employment laws to healthcare, manufacturing and hospitality clients with thousands of employees. She has also represented governmental employers and federal contractors who have additional compliance obligations. 

In working with clients, Cathy gives practical cost effective answers allowing clients to determine which level of risk management and cost best suits their organization. She is extensively involved in human resource and business organizations and is frequently asked to speak to community and professional groups on all areas of employment law.


  • Represented employers in employment litigation in state and federal courts and private arbitration
  • Advocated for numerous employers before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and Virginia Human Rights Council
  • Advocated for numerous employers in charge proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Drafted Affirmative Action Plans and conducted data analysis for annual progress
  • Defended employers undergoing compliance audits with the OFCCP
  • Represented employers being investigated for wage and hour violations by the U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Represented employers being investigated for wage payment violations or safety citations (VDOLI-VOSH)
  • Defended unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB
  • Represented and assisted employers being investigated for immigration law violations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Represented and assisted employers being investigated by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (DOJ)
  • Assisted employers in reporting conduct to the Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP) and preparing for those proceedings
  • Drafted Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements, including noncompete, nondisclosure and nonsolicitation agreements
  • Conducted HR audits reviewing documentation and practices for compliance with applicable employment laws
  • Conducted FLSA audits
  • Advised employers of legal obligations and responsibilities implicated in mass layoff and plant closing situations (WARN)
  • Drafted and revised personnel policies and employment handbooks
  • Trained hundreds of supervisors and human resources personnel on sexual and other harassment, employment law risk management, proper interviewing, discipline and discharge, managing workers’ compensation, FLSA compliance, FMLA/ & ADA compliance, employee privacy, and union avoidance strategies, among other topics


  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia


  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)
    • Workers’ Compensation Law, 2006-2010;
    • Workers’ Compensation Law - Employers 2011-2022
    • Labor and Employment, 2008-2010
    • Employment Law – Management, 2011-2022
    • Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2011-2022
  • Named Best Lawyers® Charlottesville Employment Law - Management “Lawyer of the Year,” 2013, 2017, 2019, 2021 (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)
  • Selected to “Legal Elite,” Virginia Business, Labor/Employment, 2003-2010, 2012-2020
  • Selected to “Virginia Super Lawyers,” Employment & Labor, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2009-2021

Professional Involvement

  • Virginia Bar Association, Board of Governors (2017-2020)
    • Governance Committee, Member
    • Membership Committee, Member
    • Labor and Employment Section, Member
  • Harrisonburg-Rockingham Bar Association, Member

Community Involvement

  • Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation, Inc.
    • Board Member (2012-2018)
    • Chair (2017-2018)
    • Director Emeriti (2019)
  • Blue Ridge Community College Board
    • Rockingham County Appointee (2019 - 2023)
  • National Society for Human Resources Management
  • Shenandoah Valley Chapter Society for Human Resources Management
    • Legislative Chair
  • Rockingham Educational Foundation, Inc.
    • Board Member (2007-2018)
    • Executive Committee
  • Harrisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce
    • President (2006)
    • Board Member (2000-2007)
    • Vision 2020 Leadership Board
    • BOLD Steering Committee (2011-2017)
  • United Way
    • Board Member (2008-2014)
    • Wampler Society Member, 2018
  • Virginia Chamber of Commerce
    • Board Member (2002-2008)
Practice Areas Education

University of Virginia School of Law
Charlottesville, Virginia
J.D., 1992

College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia
B.A., 1988

Highlighted Recognitions
The Best Lawyers - Lawyer of the Year of 2021 badge logo.