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Kathleen has a general litigation practice, with a particular focus on employment law. She has advised employees and employers on workplace policies, employment contracts, terminations, and human rights issues. She also has experience conducting workplace investigations into issues of harassment and sexual harassment.

Kathleen is a passionate advocate for her clients and aims to provide attentive and well-rounded services, making sure her clients feel heard and understood throughout their legal challenges. She ensures her clients understand their rights and obligations so that they can make the best decisions for their situation.

Kathleen maintains a call in the Northwest Territories and is eager to provide solutions to employers and employees who conduct work in the North and address the complexities that arise. Having been born and raised in the North, Kathleen is well-positioned to assist clients in navigating legal challenges related to employment in Northern Canada.

Kathleen joined Carbert Waite in 2022 after practicing at a large regional firm. After graduating from Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law in 2020, Kathleen completed her articles with the Government of the Northwest Territories in both the Department of Justice and Legal Aid Commission. Kathleen was involved in an array of regulatory prosecutions and regularly appeared in Territorial Court.

While at law school, Kathleen completed a secondment to the Workers’ Advisers Program with the Government of Nova Scotia, representing workers who were denied benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Kathleen also served as a legal researcher for the Lionel Desmond Fatality Inquiry and performed pro bono work with the Elizabeth Fry Society.

Prior to attending law school, Kathleen earned a Masters’ Degree in Political Science from Dalhousie University, where she completed a thesis on the administration of mental healthcare in the armed forces, and also conducted research on the wrongful dismissal of personnel. For her research, Kathleen was awarded the Women in Defence and Security Scholarship. She has also published research on the mental trauma incurred by Syrian refugee children. During her studies, Kathleen assisted in the formation of a charity that provided temporary accommodations for service personnel while receiving healthcare. Kathleen received an undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s University, where she was a four-time Academic All-Canadian member of the varsity women’s hockey program. 

Outside of the office, Kathleen enjoys hockey, adventures with her dog and running.


  • St. Mary’s University, BA (Hons) 2014
  • Dalhousie University, MA Political Science 2017
  • Dalhousie University, JD 2020

Professional Memberships

  • Law Society of Alberta, 2022
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories, 2021
  • Canadian Bar Association

Kathleen O’Brien Comments on Whether Employers Can Elect to Provide Lieu Time Instead of Overtime Pay in the Globe and Mail

December 8, 2023

Carbert Waite LLP Associate Kathleen O’Brien was recently asked to comment in The Globe and Mail for their Career Advice Column. The question asked was whether employers can elect to provide employees with lieu time instead of overtime pay. Ms. O’Brien’s answer begins as follows: Most employees, full-time or part-time, are entitled…

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Sexual Harassment and Constructive Dismissal

February 9, 2023

On November 3, 2022, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal released its decision in HFX Broadcasting Inc v Cochrane. Cochrane had sued her former employer, HFX Broadcasting, for constructive dismissal. Cochrane alleged that over a period of several years, she had been subjected to a litany of repeated sexual harassment…

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