Sarah L. Wixson - Shareholder, Yakima

Sarah L. Wixson

Shareholder | Yakima

Sarah brings more than two decades of litigation experience working with closely held private companies in the agricultural industry on complex employment litigation matters. Clients rely on her pragmatic legal counsel and extensive knowledge of the issues impacting the agricultural industry to help minimize the risk of litigation. From assisting in resolving labor strikes to defending against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims, Sarah is committed to creating collaborative solutions that achieve her client’s desired outcome. Her practice encompasses a range of litigation matters – wage and hour claims, discrimination, and harassment and retaliation, policy and practice audits, trainings and investigations, to name a few. One of Sarah’s most noteworthy achievements includes obtaining a unanimous defense jury verdict for one of the largest apple growers in the United States in a multi-claimant class action brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A prolific write and speaker on complex employment litigation matters in the agricultural industry, Sarah has published numerous articles in regional publications, as well as presented to leading industry organizations.


  • Washington, 1998
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (1998)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho (1997)


  • University of Idaho Law School, J.D., magna cum laude (1997)
  • Texas A & M University, B.A. (1990)

Recognition & Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America in Agriculture Law (2021 - 2024)
  • Volunteer Attorney of the Year, Yakima Volunteer Attorney Services (2012, 2017)
  • "AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated," Martindale-Hubbell's highest ranking

Representative Work

  • Obtained unanimous defense jury verdict for one of the largest apple growers in the United States in a multi-claimant class action brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Following a two-and-a-half week trial a nine-member jury of women and men found that the government had failed to prove that any of the 14 individuals whose claims went to trial had experienced sex harassment or a hostile work environment. Earlier in the case the court dismissed at summary judgment claims brought on behalf of 11 additional claimants.
  • Obtained complete summary judgment on multi-claimant allegations of retaliation brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against one of the largest apple growers in the United States. The case involved extreme allegations of intimidation, including threats of violence up to and including a murder-for-hire scheme by a former ranch foreman. At summary judgment, the court concluded that the government and plaintiff-intervenors had failed to present any admissible evidence to support any of their very serious claims. Stokes Lawrence has asked the court for an order requiring the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay its client's fees for having to defend against a frivolous lawsuit.

Publications & Presentations

  • "Agricultural Employers COVID-19 Update: September 7 Deadline for Reimbursement Applications, Mandatory Paid Leave, Required Outbreak Testing, and More", co-author, blog post, StokesLaw Briefs (August 2020)
  • Planning to Claim Tax Credits Under the FFCRA? Here's What You Need To Know,” author, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (April 2020)
  • "Washington's Paid Family Medical Leave Act," co-presenter with Jr. Cuevas, Bilingual Business Workshop, What Employers Need to Know (November 2019)
  • "Guidelines for Responding to ‘No-Match' Letters From SSA," author, blog post and client update, Stokes Law Briefs (April 2019)
  • "Equal Pay and Pay Equity:  Litigating It, Achieving It," presenter, King County Bar Association Employment Law Institute (October 2018)
  • "Future of AG Wages: Converting From Piece Rate to Hourly Pay," presenter, webinar hosted by WAFLA (June 2018)
  • "Court Rules Agriculture Employers to Pay Hourly Wage for Non-Piece-Rate Work," author, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (May 2018)
  • "Piece-Rate and Non-Productive Time Pay Strategies," presenter, Washington Grower’s League 2018 Labor Conference and Annual Meeting (February 2018)
  • "Paid Sick Leave: 9 Things Every Washington Employer Needs to Know (Including Agricultural Employers)," co-author with Erika Hartliep, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (December 2017)
  • "Piece rate questions remain," author, article, Good Fruit Grower (May 2017)
  • "Navigating the Bermuda Triangle of ADA, Workers' Compensation & FMLA," presenter, Employment Law Institute CLE, King County Bar Association (March 2017)
  • "Current Ag Labor Law and Regulations," presenter, Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers Annual Meeting & Trade Show (February 2017)
  • "Breaks, Bonuses (Piece Rate), Plus Wage & Hour Issues," presenter, HUB International Northwest, LLC 4th Annual Large Employer Forum (November 2016)
  • "Bonuses May Increase Rest Break Pay for Farm Workers," author, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (August 2016)
  • "Who's Running Your Company? Managing the Middle Manager Prevention Tactics," co-presenter with Krista Nelson Slosburg, WAFLA webinar (June 2016)
  • "Education Surrounding Labor Lawsuits," presenter, Skagit Agriculture Summit (March 2016)
  • "How Will You Pay Workers?" panelist, WAFLA Labor Conference (February 2016)
  • "Labor Law Update," presenter, Washington Highbush Blueberry Workshop (January 2016)
  • "Do You Need a Farm Labor Contractor License?" author, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (January 2016)
  • "What Are You Growing Besides Fruit? Managing with a culture of compliance in the agricultural industry," co-presenter, Washington Growers League, Bellingham (October 27, 2015), Pasco (November 16, 2015), Wenatchee (December 10, 2015), Yakima (December 11, 2015)
  • "Employment Law Issues in Agriculture," presenter, Stokes Lawrence Employment Law Institute CLE (September 2015)
  • "Washington Supreme Court Rules Piece Rate Workers Entitled to Paid Rest Breaks," co-author with Dustin Yeager, blog post, Stokes Law Briefs (July 2015)
  • "Transportation Matters," co-presenter with Aviva Kamm and Brendan Monahan, WAFLA webinar (June 2015)
  • "Supreme Court to Address Piece-Rate Breaks," author, Good Fruit Grower (January 2015)
  • "Hot Topics in Wage and Hour Compliance," co-presenter with Andre Penalver, Sterling Education Series (November 2014)
  • "Avoiding Personal Liability: Advice for Owners and Managers of Privately Held Businesses," Co-presenter with Brad AxelSean GriffeeShannon Jost, Stokes Law Brief (November 2014)
  • "Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace," presenter, Sterling Education Series (November 2014)
  • "Supreme Court to Address Piece Rate Pay," author, Stokes Lawrence client update (October 17, 2014)
  • "Employment Law," panelist,  8th Annual Federal Civil Trial Practice Seminar (May 16, 2014)
  • "Wage and Hour Law for Ag Employers," speaker, DOL WHD Investigations: The Expert View, Washington Farm Labor Association (April 29, 2014)
  • "Wage and Hour Issues in Agriculture" and "Farm Labor Contractor Law Issues," co-presenter, Washington Grower's League Annual Meeting (January 2014)
  • "The EEOC is targeting Pacific Northwest growers," author, Good Fruit Grower (November 2013)
  • "Valley Farmers Better Be Prepared for EEOC Scrutiny," author, Yakima Valley Business Times(September 6, 2013)
  • "Prevention is the best defense against discrimination charges," author, Puget Sound Business Journal (August 23, 2013)
  • "Idaho's Farmers Should Prepare to be Targeted," author, Idaho Business Review (May 13, 2013)

Professional & Community Activities

  • President, Eastern District of Washington Federal Bar Association
  • Board Member and Former President, Yakima Greenway Foundation (2012)
  • Business Law Teacher, Yakima Valley Community College
  • Volunteer, Board Member, and Former President, Yakima County Volunteer Attorney Services (2010 - 2012)
  • Community Property Edition Editor, Idaho Law Review (1996 - 1997)

Background & Interests

Before joining the firm, Sarah was a shareholder with Velikanje, Moore & Shore, P.S. in Yakima. She served as law clerk to the Hon. John R. Stegner in the District Court of Latah County, Idaho in 1997, and as law clerk to the Hon. Lonny R. Suko, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Washington, from 1997 to 2000.