Practice Expertise

  • Non-Compete and Trade Secrets
  • Employment, Labor and Benefits
  • Employment Litigation
  • Business Transitions

Areas of Practice

  • Business Transitions
  • Employment Litigation
  • Employment, Labor and Benefits
  • Non-Compete and Trade Secrets
  • Privacy and Data Security
  • Privately Held Businesses & Enterprises
  • Wage and Hour
  • View More

WSG Practice Industries

WSG Leadership

  • Employment and Labor Group - Member
  • WSG Coronavirus Task Force Group - Member


Jean Back brings more than 25 years of experience in helping manufacturers and technology-focused employers solve problems to complicated employment scenarios.  She has broad expertise in litigation, mediation and settlement of employment and business tort claims.  She is fluent in all areas of state and federal employment, wage and hour, discrimination, and leave laws.  She is skilled at training managers and employees in employment compliance. 

Track Record of Success

  • Leadership – Highly skilled mentor and advisor at all levels.
  • Committed to Manufacturing and Technology – As the Secretary/Treasurer on the Board of the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Jean has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by Oregon manufacturers.  Jean is also involved with and has spoken on several panels for the Technology Association of Oregon.
  • Litigation Budgeting – Well versed in managing detailed budgets for complicated litigation matters.
  • Communications –  Adept creator of collaborative written and oral communications with clients, courts, administrative agencies, colleagues, and opposing counsel.
  • Writing – Skilled in written advocacy, including drafting briefs, EEOC and state administrative charge responses, and in contract drafting, including, but not limited to employment agreements, separation agreements, non-disclosure/non-solicitation agreements, and intellectual property agreement.
  • Affirmative Action Plans – Experience creating and developing Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) Affirmative Action Plans, Wage Hour Audits, and Equal Pay Audits for clients in a variety of industries.

"Michael Garone and Jean Back are who I work with most. They are always on top of current ‎employment & case law decisions. They tailor their advice based on my company's existing ‎policies, practices, and culture so that I can easily apply it to our current work environment. They ‎quickly grasp complex issues and come back with a logical solution or the right document that I ‎need for every situation. Their fast responses & expertise saves me time & based on a proven track ‎record, I am always confident I've got the best advice from them.‎"

-SEH America

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon State Courts
  • Washington State Courts
  • United States District Court, District of Oregon
  • United States District Court, Western District of Washington
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


  • University of Oregon School of Law, Juris Doctor degree (1991)
  • University of California at Santa Barbara, Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, minor in French (1983)

Areas of Practice

  • Business Transitions
  • Employment Litigation
  • Employment, Labor and Benefits
  • Non-Compete and Trade Secrets
  • Privacy and Data Security
  • Privately Held Businesses & Enterprises
  • Wage and Hour

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

Trusted Advisor, Collaborator

Jean’s practice is split between advice and litigation.  Acting as a legal advisor, Jean gets to know your organization and industry and takes on the role of a trusted and knowledgeable extension of your business.  Armed with this knowledge, Jean can step in quickly to provide advice regarding risks and strategies to tackle key problems.  Examples of Jean’s work include:

  • Stepped in after three key employees left an organization, set up a competing company with a similar name, and solicited employees. The new organization’s advertisements and web page were similar in appearance to the client’s, which caused confusion for the client’s customers.  Jean quickly sent a cease and desist and Complaint to attorneys for the competing employees. The matter was resolved in mediation, avoiding expensive litigation
  • Drafted a cease and desist letter to employees who left a design firm and were using the firm’s trade secrets and work product for their new employer.  Jean was successful in obtaining agreements to cease using any work product from the original employer, and in obtaining affidavits from each employee regarding their agreement not to compete in the future.
  • After complaints of harassing and bullying behavior by one employee who claimed to be disabled, Jean met with the key company managers involved in employment compliance and provided advice on discipline for the employee, whether a harassment investigation was warranted by behavior, and talking points for future interactions.  Jean provided step-by-step advice that resulted in the company’s ability to stop bullying behaviors, and to retain a key employee.


  • Ryman v. Sears Roebuck and Co. (achieved complete summary judgment in Federal District Court for Sears on Plaintiff's OFLA, FMLA, and wrongful termination claims).
  • Masons Supply Co. v. Lindsey (prevailed in a preliminary injunction hearing on behalf of Masons to enforce its non-competition agreement with a departing employee).
  • Dixon v. Western States Insurance Agency (achieved a complete walk-away and dismissal of all claims by the Plaintiff after summary judgment briefing).
  • Carson Oil v. Snyder (achieved a favorable settlement that included adherence to a non-solicitation provision preventing solicitation of Carson's customers by Snyder, a former employer.


Additional Articles
  • FTC Announced New Deadline for Commentary on Proposed Rule Barring Non-Competes
  • National Labor Relations Board Rules that Non-Disparagement and Confidentiality Provisions in Separation Agreements May Violate Section 7 of the NLRA
  • Update: FTC Publishes Proposed Rule Barring Non-Compete Agreements
  • FTC Proposes Regulations Barring Non-Compete Agreements
  • Top 10 Employment Law Red Flags
  • OP-ED: What If You Need to Do a Layoff? Practical Steps for Reduction in Force
  • Employers Can No Longer Require Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims
  • DHHS Vaccine Mandate Decision
  • OSHA Moves to Implement Large Employer ETS by January 10, 2022, After Sixth Circuit Lifts Stay
  • Implementation of OSHA’s 11/5/2021 Emergency Temporary Standard Stayed 
  • OP-ED: Making (Some) Sense of Evolving Vaccine Mandates for Employers
  • Summary of New Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
  • Administration Actions Regarding COVID-19 Protocols for Federal Contractors and Large Employers
  • Reopening Oregon's Offices in the Midst of the Delta Variant 
  • Six vaccination considerations for your post-Covid return-to-work plan
  • Oregon OSHA Repeals Mask and Social Distancing Requirements—What This Means for Employers Moving Forward
  • Policies and Practical Tips to Prepare for a Hybrid Work Culture
  • Oregon OSHA Issues New Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Employees
  • Congress Makes Additional Paid Family Leave and Paid Sick Leave Optional
  • Vault Your Business Out of the Pandemic: Three Employment Topics to Keep an Eye On
  • OP-ED: Portland Real Estate Trends to Monitor in the Year Ahead
  • New Federal Contractor Requirements under Executive Order 13950: Prohibiting Race or Sex Stereotyping or Scapegoating
  • Oregon Health Authority’s New Mask Guidance Affecting Oregon Businesses
  • The CDC Revises the Definition of Close Contact
  • COVID-19: Emergency Imposition of Paid Family Medical and Sick Leave
  • Oregon Upholds Meal-Break Compliance
  • Drafting Legally Sound Job Descriptions
  • Oregon Employment Law Update: Summary & To Do List
  • Oregon Minimum Wage Increase
  • New Requirements for Noncompetition Agreements in Oregon and Washington
  • Avoiding Discrimination Claims as the Result of a Reduction in Force
  • Federal Overtime Rule Updates
  • Oregon Equal Pay Act: What Employers Need to Know
  • A Human Resources Manager’s Guide to the GDPR (Part 4)
  • Key Steps to GDPR Compliance for U.S. Companies (Part 3)
  • Key Privacy Requirements of the GDPR for U.S. Companies (Part 2)
  • How the GDPR Will Impact U.S.-Based Companies (Part 1)
  • Congress Paves the Way for Tip Pooling to Include Back-of-the-House Employees
  • New Proposed Rule Allowing Tip Pooling Between Servers and Back of the House
  • BOLI Publishes Final Manufacturing Overtime Rules and Sample Overtime Consent Form
  • Public Hearing Set for Amended Overtime Statutes
  • Department of Labor and Industries Issued Final Paid Sick Leave Rules 
  • 2017 Manufacturing Employment Law Update
  • Federal Contractors Must Now Provide Privacy Training to Employees Who Handle Personally Identifiable Information
  • Top Employment and Employee Benefit Issues to Look for in 2017
  • BOLI Changes Rule Regarding Overtime Payment For Manufacturing Employees
  • Federal Court Issues Injunction Blocking DOL Salary Rule
  • OSHA Citations for Workers’ Compensation Retaliation, and More
  • OP-ED: Choosing the next-level leader for a family business
  • Manufacturing and Technology Industry Skills Gap for Incoming Youth: Takeaways from Gateway to College Panel Discussion 
  • DOL Announces Final Rule Updating Overtime Exemptions
  • Update on Salary Increase for the FLSA White-Collar Exemptions
  • New Restrictions on Tip Pooling
  • City of Portland Passes More Restrictive Ban the Box Ordinance
  • Schwabe in the Field: New Paid Rest Break Ruling Burdens ‎Washington Agriculture — Oregon May ‎Be Next?‎
  • It's Time (It's Really Time!) to Evaluate Independent-Contractor Classifications
  • Don't Forget About ‎Employment Agreements
  • ADA Best Practices For Employers Engaging in an Interactive Process Conversation with Employees‎
  • Protecting Social Media Information When an Employee Leaves


  • 2022 State of Manufacturing in the PNW Forecast Series: Workforce Challenges
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Compliance for Federal Contractors
  • DOL Audits - What to Expect & How to Limit Your Exposure
  • The Next Steps: Policies, Practices & Procedures in a Post-COVID Workplace
  • Trends in Tech Talent Management
  • Making Sense of Mask Guidance in the Workplace: Best Practices for Implementing Mask Requirements for Employees and Customers
  • Schwabe + OMEP: Utilizing Technology to Find, Train, and Retain Skilled Workers
  • Data Breach and Privacy Workshop for the Manufacturing, Distribution and Retail Industry
  • Manufacturers Roundtable: Returning to Work and Employment Liability
  • Webinar: Employment Law COVID-19 Updates
  • Webinar: Social Distancing Best Practices
  • Manufacturing Employment Roundtable
  • Town Hall: Managing in Scary Times
  • Webinar: Employment Law Covid19 Updates
  • DOL Salary Regulation Changes and more
  • Employment Law Roundtable
  • Employment Law Seminar
  • Food Northwest Leadership Summit 2019
  • 2018 Oregon Society of Association Management's Annual Conference
  • Employment Law Updates – Free Webinar
  • Oregon Manufacturers' Summit
  • Legal Changes After Trump's First Year – What is New in Employment Law?
  • Webinar: Legal Changes After Trump's First Year – What is New in Employment Law?
  • Manufacturing Symposium
  • Webinar: Privacy, Security & Confidentiality - Keeping Your Employees Compliant
  • Top State and Federal Employment Issues to Look for in 2017
  • Oregon 2017 Employment & Employee Benefit Seminar
  • Top Employment and Employee Benefit Issues to Look for in 2017
  • Human Resource Law: What You Need to Know Now
  • Oregon Manufacturers’ Roundtable 
  • Sterling Education Services Seminar: Essentials of Employment Law
  • Willamette University Law School Symposium: Privacy and Data Security for Counsel
  • Webinar: Legal Awareness for Supervisors
  • Webinar: How To Create a Consistent Workplace Culture
  • Webinar: War for Talent—Attracting & Retaining Staff

Meet our Firms and Professionals

WSG’s member firms include legal, investment banking and accounting experts across industries and on a global scale. We invite you to meet our member firms and professionals.