Sullivan Hall 322
(206) 398-4073


B.A., with great distinction, McGill University, 2000
J.D., cum laude, New York University School of Law, 2003
LL.M., with distinction, Georgetown University Law Center, 2010


Labor and Employment Law
Constitutional Law
Legislation & Regulation

Charlotte Garden

Associate Professor of Law

Curriculum VitaePDF


Charlotte Garden is an expert in labor law and the regulation of work & workers. She is an Associate Professor at the Seattle University School of Law, where she teaches Labor Law, Constitutional Law, Appellate Litigation and Legislation & Regulation. She also teaches in the Civil Rights Amicus Clinic, serves as the Faculty Advisor for the School's chapter of the American Constitution Society, and is the Litigation Director at the School's Korematsu Center for Law & Equality.

Professor Garden's scholarship focuses on the intersection of work/labor law the Constitution. Her articles have appeared in the Emory Law Journal, Boston University Law Review, George Washington Law Review, Fordham Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She regularly writes opinion and analysis pieces for non-academic audiences at popular outlets such as The Atlantic, SCOTUSblog, Salon and the blog of the American Constitution Society. Her legal analysis has been featured in the mainstream media, on platforms such as the New York Times, APR's Marketplace, Bloomberg News, the Washington Post, The Nation, and Politico. Professor Garden is a co-author of a Labor Law casebook, with collaborators Seth Harris, Anne Marie Lofaso, and Joe Slater.

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Professor Garden serves on the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law, is a co-chair of the Labor Rights Collaborative Research Network of the Law & Society Association, and is a co-editor of the Work Law section for the online legal journal JOTWELL. She also regularly authors amicus briefs in cases affecting unions and workers, most recently in Vergara v. California, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, and Harris v. Quinn.

Before joining Seattle University, Professor Garden was a teaching fellow in the Appellate Litigation Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center, where she also received her LL.M. While there, she argued cases before the Fourth and D.C. Circuits. Professor Garden then clerked for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A graduate of NYU School of Law and McGill University, Professor Garden also spent several years in practice as a public interest litigator. From 2005-2008, she was an associate at the union-side labor law firm Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was a guardian ad litem at the Children's Law Center in Washington D.C., and held the Abraham Fuchsberg Fellowship at Public Citizen Litigation Group, where she focused on consumer safety issues, class action fairness, and Internet privacy.


Disrupting Work Law, __ CHI. L. FORUM __ (forthcoming 2017) (in progress).

Comments on the Restatement of Employment Law (Third), Chapter One, __ EM. RTS. & EMP. POL'Y J. __ (forthcoming 2017) (in progress) (with Joseph Slater).

The Deregulatory First Amendment at Work, 51 HARV. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 323 (2016).

Religious Employers & Labor Law: Bargaining in Good Faith?, 95 B.U. L. REV. 109 (2016)

Toward Politically Stable NLRB Lawmaking: Rulemaking vs. Adjudication
, 64 EMORY L.J. 1467 (2015).

Meta Rights, 83 FORDHAM L. REV. 855 (2014)
Selected for peer review in JOTWELL, available at

Citizens United & the First Amendment of Labor Law,43 STETSON L. REV. 571 (2014).

Unions & Campaign Finance Litigation, 14 NEVADA L.J. 364 (2014).

"So Closely Intertwined": Labor Interests and Racial Solidarity, 81 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 1135 (2013) (with Nancy Leong).

Union Made: Labor's Litigation for Social Change, 88 TULANE L. REV. 193 (2013).

Teaching for America: Unions and Academic Freedom, 43 U. TOL. L. REV. 563 (2012).

Citizens, United and Citizens United: The Future of Labor Speech Rights?, 53 WM. & MARY L. REV. 1 (2011). Selected for peer review in JOTWELL, available at

Labor Values are First Amendment Values: Why Union Comprehensive Campaigns are Protected Speech,
79 FORDHAM L. REV. 2617 (2011).
Cited in Cox et al., LABOR LAW, 572 (15th ed. 2011).

Recent Activity

Two Federal Lawsuits Could Spell Big Trouble for Uber

April 10, 2017
How can Seattle defend its driver unionization ordinance? Charlotte Garden offers her thoughts.

Seattle Driver-for-Hire Union Law Hits Bump in Road

April 05, 2017
Teamsters need driver lists in order to organize effectively, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Opinion analysis: Court unanimously adopts abuse-of-discretion review for district court decisions to enforce EEOC subpoenas

April 04, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden analyzes the high court's opinion in McLane v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Judge Blocks Seattle Law Allowing Uber and Lyft Drivers to Unionize

April 04, 2017
The court ruling could cause a loss in momentum for unionization efforts, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Unionize Uber? Legal fight over Seattle drivers draws national attention

March 29, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden comments on the potential for driver unionization to spread to other cities.

Argument analysis: The court dives into Water Splash

March 23, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden analyzes a Supreme Court cases about mailing judicial service documents.

Seattle Law Letting Drivers Unionize Survives Uber Legal Attack

March 17, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden calls the ruling a victory for Seattle and the Teamsters.

Unions Are Wondering: Resist or Assist?

March 15, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden writes that the future of the American labor movement is at stake under Trump.

Uber Gears Up to Block Bid to Form a Union in Seattle

March 11, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden says the driver unionization effort could spread to other cities.

Uber Deal Giving Drivers $1 Each Sparks Feud Among Rival Lawyers

March 10, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden comments on a lawyer rivalry in the class action case against Uber.

The Fallout From 'A Day Without Immigrants'

February 21, 2017
Can workers be fired for participating in Day Without Immigrants? Professor Charlotte Garden explains.

Argument preview: Feats of strength and standards of review

February 14, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden previews a labor law case pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Uber Deal Offers Drivers $1 Each to Wipe Away Labor Threats Valued in Billions

February 01, 2017
Uber wants to settle drivers' claims for $7.75 million. Professor Charlotte Garden says that's way too little.

Uber Sues Seattle Over Driver Unionization Ordinance

January 18, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden says ride-share companies want driver unionization efforts to end in Seattle.

Labor Opponents Already Have The Next 'Friedrichs' SCOTUS Case Ready to Go Under Trump

January 04, 2017
Professor Charlotte Garden comments on the case likely to challenge union fees at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Force Behind Minimum Wage Protests Is Slashing Its Spending

December 28, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden describes challenges facing the Service Employees International Union.

ICYMI: Why Hotel Groups Say Seattle's New Worker Protections Are Illegal

December 23, 2016
A legal challenge to Seattle's worker protection laws is an "uphill climb," says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Labor Law Faces Dire New Threats From Supreme Court Under Trump

December 03, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden predicts that Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominees will bring bad news for organized labor.

Donald Trump's Supreme Court will be a real threat to labor — and that’s going to hurt the Democrats

November 17, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden breaks down the major labor law issues and how they will fare under President Trump.

Uber's Drivers Win the Backing of U.S. Labor Watchdog

November 02, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden discusses the National Labor Relations Board's involvement in the class-action case against Uber by its drivers.

Volkswagen faces bumpy road in challenge to 'micro-union'

September 26, 2016
Courts have supported the rights of small groups of workers to form a union, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Machinists pass bill of rights to reassert member control

September 19, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden says the future of organized labor depends on energizing workers.

Solo Arbitration Violates Right to Concerted Activity

August 23, 2016
Federal appeals courts are divided on the issue of forcing employee disputes into arbitration, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Uber's $100 Million Driver Pay Settlement Rejected by Judge

August 18, 2016
Court order sends Uber and its drivers back to the table, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Uber in Dare to Judge Says It's Ready to Ditch Driver Settlement

August 01, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden commented on Uber's threat to walk away from a deal with its drivers.

City of Seattle and U.S. Chamber face off in hearing over Uber union law

July 19, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden commented on a court challenge to Seattle's unionization law for "for hire" drivers.

How Boeing's relations with unions have evolved

July 16, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden commented on The Boeing Co.'s history with its union over the years.

Texas Judge Blocks Obama's Union-Buster Disclosure Rule

July 07, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden discusses the flawed 1st Amendment argument against the U.S. Department of Labor's persuader rule.

Judge's Ruling Re-Opens a Major Loophole that Allows Union Busters To Remain in the Shadows

July 05, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden called the ruling one of the most one-sided orders she'd ever seen.

Amazon Proves Infertile Soil for Unions, So Far

May 16, 2016
Do anti-union efforts at Amazon qualify as coercive speech? Charlotte Garden explains.

Lead Uber Driver in Class-Action Suit Criticizes Settlement

May 16, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden says it's unlikely the lawyer representing Uber drivers will be replaced.

Uber Settlement Attacked by Drivers Saying Lawyer Sold Out

May 13, 2016
Uber drivers would have faced several risks in continuing their lawsuit, Professor Charlotte Garden says.

What Would a Merrick Garland Confirmation Mean for the Future of Gig Work?

May 11, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden writes that the U.S. Supreme Court could decidewhether workers can challenge their status as independent contractors.

Uber deals put spotlight on Seattle showdown

May 10, 2016
Seattle's collective bargaining ordinance could complicate legal settlements for Uber, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Is Uber's deal with the Machinists legal?

May 10, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden speculates on the legality of an agreement between Uber drivers and the Machinists union in New York.

Student takes inmate's civil rights case to federal court

April 29, 2016
As a student in the law school's Civil Rights and Amicus Clinic, Katie Loberstein has a rare opportunity to argue a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, May 2. She hopes her diligent preparation will pay off for her client, Anthony Merrick.

Uber Drivers' $100 Million Deal May Set Pace for Gig Economy

April 21, 2016
How gig-economy employers treat their workers will continue to be tested in lawsuits, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

The Legal Argument That Could Overturn 'Right-to-Work' Laws Around the Country

April 21, 2016
Charlotte Garden discusses legal challenges to right-to-work laws and whether the takings clause applies to them.

Lyft Pays Price for Success in Rejected Driver Pay Accord

April 07, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden said a judge's ruling offers guidance for an acceptable settlement with drivers.

Uber Tries to Stall Driver Pay Trial Armed With New Order

April 06, 2016
An appeals court's decision to review is not a good sign for the plaintiffs, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association & Why We Need Nine

March 30, 2016
A tie vote in this major public sector union case before the U.S. Supreme Court shows the need for a ninth justice, says Professor Charlotte Garden.

What Will Become of Public-Sector Unions Now?

February 16, 2016
Justice Antonin Scalia's death could affect a high-profile union case at the U.S. Supreme Court, writes Professor Charlotte Garden. Her essay was also featured in RealClearPolicy, Politico's Pro Morning Shift, and OnLabor update.

Lawyer in Lyft Accord Vows to Make Uber 'Respect' Drivers

January 27, 2016
Arbitration clauses make a big difference between Uber and Lyft contracts, says labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden.

Why Some States Want Strong Public-Sector Unions

January 17, 2016
Strong unions benefit both employers and employees, says labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden.

The End of Public Sector Agency Fees?

January 12, 2016
Oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court "went very badly" for unions, Professor Charlotte Garden writes. (This piece was included in the SCOTUSblog round-up on Jan. 14.)

Supreme Court signals it's ready to hand CTA, public unions big setback

January 11, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden offers her thoughts on an important union case after hearing oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Tackles Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association: What’s At Stake For Public-Sector Unions And Workers?

January 11, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden predicts "wave of contract renegotiations" if precedent is overturned by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Why Are Unions So Worried About an Upcoming Supreme Court Case?

January 08, 2016
Previous court rulings could provide some insight into the latest union challenge, Professor Charlotte Garden explains.

Why the US Chamber of Commerce Dislikes Seattle's New Uber Unionization Law

January 05, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden explains legal regulations at the heart of challenges to Seattle's driver unionization law.

High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court

January 05, 2016
Professor Charlotte Garden says a pending Supreme Court case could upset labor contracts for teachers.

Seattle councilmember who created Uber union law: 'We can be pro-innovation, but also pro-worker'

December 17, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden offers legal analysis of Seattle City Council's for-hire driver union measure.

Legal Clash Looms Over Seattle Legislation to Organize Uber and Lyft Drivers

December 15, 2015
Employee classification and antitrust are the major legal hurdles for the new law, said Professor Charlotte Garden.

Airport employers seek new hearing on SeaTac minimum wage

December 15, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden sees little "wiggle room" for plaintiffs to reverse a ruling by the Washington Supreme Court.

Alaska Airlines, Other Businesses Continue Legal Battle Over SeaTac Minimum Wage

December 15, 2015
The latest twist in the legal fight over a $15 minimum wage at SeaTac airport is likely a delaying tactic, said Professor Charlotte Garden.

Seattle Considers 'Unprecedented' Ordinance To Allow Ride-App Drivers To Unionize

December 14, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden says state and city laws can protect workers when federal laws exclude them.

Seattle Passes Law Allowing Uber Drivers To Unionize

December 14, 2015
The new law is more worker-friendly than federal labor law, said Professor Charlotte Garden.

Seattle allows Uber, Lyft drivers to unionize

December 14, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden is quoted in this Associated Press story, which was published by news outlets around the country.

Uber Pushes New Contract on Drivers as Pay Fight Escalates

December 11, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden said Uber is trying to limit the size of a pending class action.

Uber Drivers’ Lawsuit Over Pay Just Got Much Costlier

December 09, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden says a court ruling could dramatically increase the number of Uber drivers joining a lawsuit against the company.

Will Uber And Lyft Drivers Get A Union In Seattle?

December 07, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden says Seattle is on the forefront of worker protection laws.

Wash. Supreme Court Again Says SeaTac Minimum Wage Applies To Airport Workers

December 01, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden says further appeals are unlikely in the legal battle over SeaTac's minimum wage law.

Ed Murray team rolls out stronger labor laws

November 19, 2015
Labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden offers insight into Seattle's new protections for workers.

Washington State Sued a Failed Kickstarter Project and Won

October 30, 2015
Professor Bryan Adamson comments on the consumer's financial risk of sites like Kickstarter.

Labor board's shift in legal interpretation could allow many taxi drivers to unionize

October 29, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden explains the determination of what makes an independent contractor or an employee.

Seattle's Audacious Plan To Let Uber And Lyft Drivers Unionize Raises Eyebrows In The On-Demand Economy

October 09, 2015
Uber may challenge the right of Seattle drivers to unionize but Professor Charlotte Garden thinks that effort would be unsuccessful.

Here's What You Can Expect in The Next Action-Packed Supreme Court Term

October 06, 2015
This U.S. Supreme Court preview quotes Professor Charlotte Garden's essay on public sector union challenges.

Korematsu Center defends teacher protections in California case

September 17, 2015
State laws that protect teachers from arbitrary or discriminatory dismissal should be retained because they help students, especially those in underprivileged schools, according to an amicus brief filed by our Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, the American Association of University Professors, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and 17 award-winning California teachers.

Labor law has been frozen for 60 years. Democrats are trying to crack it open.

September 16, 2015
Labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden says she isn't optimistic about a new bill that would better protect workers' rights to organize.

Scott Walker sets sights on unions, outlines plan to alter US labor law

September 14, 2015
A plan by presidential candidate Scott Walker would gut union protections, says labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden.

City Council member says let Uber drivers unionize

August 31, 2015
Professors Charlotte Garden and Liz Ford comment on a Seattle City Council plan to let Uber drivers collectively bargain.

Washington Supreme Court Rules That $15 Minimum Wage Applies At Sea-Tac Airport

August 20, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden says the city of SeaTac was a political pioneer in the fight for a higher minimum wage.

State's high court extends SeaTac minimum wage to airport workers

August 20, 2015
Does a court ruling in favor of a $15 minimum wage at SeaTac airport apply retroactively? Professor Charlotte Garden comments.

Friedrichs v. Calif. Teachers Association: Union Fair Share Fees Endangered in One of Next Term's Biggest Cases

July 03, 2015
Next year's blockbuster Supreme Court case could be one that affects public sector unions, says labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden.

Supreme Court will hear case on public sector union fees

July 01, 2015
A pending case against the California Teachers Association could impact public sector unions across the country. Professor Charlotte Garden offers her thoughts and analysis.

Why A New Supreme Court Case Is An Existential Threat To Unions

July 01, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden explains that a pending Supreme Court case could curtail unions' efforts to get out the vote.

Unions divide labor movement over LA minimum wage exemptions

May 29, 2015
The labor community is divided over a new $15 minimum wage law in Los Angeles. Professor Charlotte Garden explains how union escape clauses could come into play.

The Assault on Unions Is Hurting All Workers

May 14, 2015
Analysis by Professor Charlotte Garden is cited in this opinion piece about how the right-to-work movement affects all workers.

In Major Anti-Labor Case, Union-busters No Longer Even Pretend Unions Don't Benefit Workers

April 29, 2015
Labor expert Professor Charlotte Garden tackles a First Amendment question at play in a case against a California teachers' union.

Will the Supreme Court Do More Damage To Public Sector Unions?

April 28, 2015
Will the Supreme Court take a case that could undermine public sector unions? Professor Charlotte Garden weighs in.

Exclusive: Amazon makes even temporary warehouse workers sign 18-month non-competes

March 26, 2015
Professor Charlotte Garden says a tough job market makes workers vulnerable to restrictive contracts.

Big fast food seeks injunction against Seattle’s $15 minimum wage

March 10, 2015
Labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden speculated that a federal judge would be unlikely to grant an injuction against Seattle's $15 minimum wage law for franchises of large chain businesses.

Students take third place in national Indian law moot court competition

March 09, 2015
Team Steel Eyes — also known as Seattle University School of Law students Jocelyn McCurtain and Drew Pollom — took third place at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition this past weekend.

SCOTUS deals blow to retirees

January 27, 2015
Labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden finds the silver lining in a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on retiree health benefits.

The Supreme Court Case That Could Decimate American Public Sector Unionism

January 26, 2015
Analyzing a lawsuit over "fair share" fees for public sector unions, labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden explains the differences between lobbying and collective bargaining.

Space Needle Told To Stop Unfair Labor Practices, Rehire Workers

January 26, 2015
Employers can't make staff feel like their union activities are being watched, says labor law expert Professor Charlotte Garden in this piece about a ruling against the Space Needle.