Sarah Pierce Wimberly

Sarah Pierce Wimberly

Partner / Atlanta

Sarah Wimberly spearheads FordHarrison's airline employment practice. For 25 years she has focused her practice primarily on employment matters unique to the aviation industry. She is an industry leader on absence management and leave abuse, as well as disability accommodation and compliance.

She frequently works with aviation clients on complicated or sensitive harassment and discrimination complaints, complex discipline or discharge, and fitness for duty evaluations, with particular emphasis on flight crews. Sarah arbitrates employment-related union grievances, responds to crew-related administrative charges before the FAA, OSHA, EEOC and similar state agencies (including administrative trials), and litigates employment and labor (RLA) claims in state and federal court. Sarah has particular expertise and experience with leave of absence issues (FMLA and USERRA), disability accommodation (ADA), and whistleblower complaints (AIR21).

Sarah's practices across the country in all aspects of the industry. In her 25 years of practice, she has handled litigation, arbitrations and administrative charges and complaints across the country. She works with mainline carriers, low cost carriers, regional carriers, cargo carriers, charter and on-demand operators, ground support companies and MROs. Sarah is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and champion of the advancement of women in the industry.

Representative Experience
  • Obtained summary judgment on RLA preemption grounds in federal-court religious accommodation and retaliation case filed by religious advocacy group on behalf of flight attendant
  • Defended four related union animus claims during union campaign, obtaining summary judgment on two and voluntary dismissal of the other two
  • Secured summary judgment for an airline against the EEOC in a gender-harassment claim, which forced the EEOC to dismiss voluntarily a second, related lawsuit asserting retaliation
  • Secured dismissal of two sexual-orientation discrimination and harassment complaints filed by two pilots before a local human rights commission after a public hearing with significant media coverage
  • Obtained denial of grievance filed by captain over discharge for alleged date-rape of first officer and attempted assault of flight attendant on overnight trips
Honors & Awards
  • The Legal 500 United States, Recommended attorney in Labor & Employment - Labor and Employment Disputes (2020, 2021)
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell