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Calfee’s Labor and Employment litigators have extensive experience defending companies and individually named management representatives in both administrative proceedings and in federal and state courts.

Our lawyers represent employers in matters involving the EEOC, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, other state FEP agencies, the Department of Labor and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Our experienced trial lawyers defend against claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as alleged violations of the FSLA, NLRA, OSHA, WARN and other employment-related laws.

Our team has extensive experience litigating claims involving alleged breaches of noncompete and other agreements involving restrictive covenants.

We represent management before the National Labor Relations Board on petitions for union representation and in defense of unfair labor practice charges.

Our lawyers defend management in state and federal court litigation arising from complaints of age, sex, race, religion, national origin, and/or disability discrimination under state and federal laws, as well as in cases involving the Family and Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and other federal and state workplace laws.

Calfee's Litigation attorneys provide aggressive, cost-effective defense of claims of “wrongful discharge” and violations of individual employment rights and specialize in the enforcement of noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and confidentiality agreements.

Our Workers’ Compensation practice attorneys regularly defend state-fund and self-employers in claims for workers’ compensation benefits in both administrative and court-related proceedings.


Chambers USA, Band 3 Ranking in Litigation: General Commercial (Ohio)

For well over a decade, our Litigation group and individual litigation attorneys have been ranked and recognized by Chambers USA. In 2020, Chambers USA researchers noted that the team "frequently advises on plaintiff and defense-side commercial litigation matters, offering considerable strengths in securities, product liability, antitrust and construction disputes." They also offer experience in white-collar investigations and litigation, "defending a range of individuals and businesses facing regulatory enforcement actions." And they represent "clients in sectors including healthcare, financial services and manufacturing."

"One client praises the team as 'experienced, insightful, practical, efficient and client-oriented.' They continue, 'When you pose a question, you can rest assured that they will respond promptly with cogent, clear and practical responses.'"

"Another client praises the Litigation group for providing 'high-quality and cost-effective legal advice; the team has been crucial to our litigation defense, and we have been very happy with all of their efforts.'"

Chambers researchers noted that a commentator stated, "This is an excellent firm that does a great job for us. The team is cost-effective, practical and has strong expertise."

Chambers USA, Band 4 Ranking in Labor & Employment (Ohio)

For a number of years, Calfee’s skilled Labor and Employment group has been recognized for its work by Chambers USA. Most recently, in Chambers USA 2020, Calfee was ranked in Band 4 for Labor & Employment in Ohio. Chambers USA 2020 commentators note that the practice is known for its strength in the "representation of management in collective bargaining negotiations with unions, defending clients against claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination and day-to-day employment counseling. Their expertise also stretches to the enforcement of post-employment agreements."

"They are able to quickly get to the root of any issues we bring to them and consistently drive us toward concise and effective resolutions. They are very knowledgeable about our business and industries; they understand and manage risk extremely well, which in turn translates into innovative commercial advice," stated one client.

A market commentator remarked, "They have a solid team that is very responsive and consistent and has a good reputation with judges and other law firms."

Another source noted, "Their biggest strength is their ability to develop cost-effective defense strategies; they deliver the same results as bigger firms at a much more manageable cost."

Additionally, one client noted :"The team cares about making sure they do what you as a client need to be done, and they are personable as they do it. They're quick, give you good value for your money and get the job done in a timely way."

Practice Chair, John R. Cernelich, has been ranked by Chambers USA 2020 in Band 3 for Labor & Employment in Ohio. "John Cernelich is extremely professional, knowledgeable and a good resource in each and every case we pursue. He is proficient at putting together a case that is sound, logical and meets the needs of the company."

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2021 "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in Employment Law - Management (Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland), Workers' Compensation Law - Employers (Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland) and Labor Law - Management (Metropolitan Tier 2 Cleveland).

Benchmark Litigation Rankings

Calfee has been selected for inclusion by Benchmark Litigation 2020 as a Tier 2 Labor & Employment law firm in the Midwest. Several of Calfee's Labor & Employment attorneys have been ranked as "Labor & Employment Stars - Midwest" by Benchmark Litigation 2020.




  • Represented major municipality in action against state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to recover multimillion-dollar overpayments of workers’ compensation premiums charged over nine-year period.
  • Defended employer in disability discrimination litigation to establish that discharged plaintiff-employee had engaged in physical activity during period of alleged disability, which was prohibited by medical limitations imposed by his treating physicians.
  • Obtained worldwide injunctive relief to enforce unfair competition agreement to preclude former Senior Product Development Engineer from providing product development services to competing manufacturer of safety products.
  • Obtained consent agreement following commencement of litigation to enforce noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure covenants in Management Stockholder’s Agreement to preclude unfair competition by former employee in national industrial gas business.
  • Successfully defended against $8 million third-party claims brought by administrators and fiduciaries of employee benefit plans against employer of plan beneficiaries alleging violations of ERISA and the Labor Management Relations Act, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, indemnification, and contribution.
  • Successfully enforced claims by national manufacturing client against former employee and new employer in Florida following discovery that, while on medical leave, former employee had misappropriated and forwarded confidential designs and proprietary information to new employer in direct competition with manufacturing client, resulting in discharge of employee, return of all proprietary information, and shut down of competing enterprise.
  • Obtained summary judgement on a “wrongful termination” claim pursued by a former employee discharged for sexual harassment. Pursued claim for reimbursement of legal fees against employee and counsel due to frivolous nature of lawsuit.



  • Defense of charges/complaints filed with state and federal agencies
  • Employment discrimination litigation in federal and state courts 
  • Defense of “wrongful discharge” claims
  • Representation of management in National Labor Relations Act litigation
  • Collective bargaining agreement enforcement action
  • Actions concerning wage and hour issues under federal and state law
  • Defense of actions concerning affirmative action laws and regulations
  • Trade secret and confidentiality protection and prosecution
  • Defense of intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress, interference with business relationships, and/or defamation claims
  • Actions to enforce and contest non-compete covenants
  • Litigation of actions concerning the federal plant closing (WARN) law
  • Defense of claims under Ohio’s wage payment, “whistle blowing” and other employment related statutes
  • Defense of intentional tort claims relating to workplace injuries
  • Defense of actions filed by discharged executives


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Calfee's Litigation team is "experienced, insightful, practical, efficient and client-oriented. When you pose a question, you can rest assured that they will respond promptly with cogent, clear and practical responses."

Chambers USA 2020

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