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Calfee’s Labor and Employment attorneys support clients by providing day-to-day employment counseling, defending administrative complaints and representing clients in litigation concerning state and federal discrimination laws, the National Labor Relations Act, the Family & Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and workers’ compensation claims.

Additionally, our team provides aggressive, cost-effective defense of claims of wrongful discharge and violations of individual employment rights, and we litigate cases involving noncompete agreements and other restrictive covenants.

Calfee’s Labor and Employment attorneys represent publicly and privately held corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships, including unionized and non-union employers as well as public-sector entities. 

In the union setting, Calfee attorneys represent management in grievances, arbitrations, and collective bargaining negotiations. They also provide advice to clients in the context of mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions, including potential effects of labor agreements, severance programs, and state and federal plant closing/mass layoff laws. With the continuing challenges presented by the increasing number and complexities of laws affecting the workplace, Calfee’s attorneys provide timely guidance and counsel as to the constantly changing laws affecting the workplace.

Calfee’s Labor and Employment attorneys are committed to addressing workplace-related concerns and disputes that often arise on a moment’s notice. We provide immediate guidance as to the termination of employment, alleged sexual and other discriminatory harassment, drugs/alcohol in the workplace, OSHA investigations, and other HR concerns. Working with human resources professionals, our practitioners assist clients in avoiding potential liabilities and in maintaining working environments committed to mutual respect and appreciation of individual contributions.


Chambers USA Leading Law Firm Rankings

Since 2019, Calfee has been recognized as a Leading Law Firm for Labor and Employment by Chambers USA, most recently in Band 3 in Ohio (2023).

Chambers USA researchers note that the practice is known to be "proficient in the handling of a wide range of labor and employment matters. Areas of strength for the firm include 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. Calfee's expertise also stretches to the enforcement of post-employment agreements." 

Clients interviewed by Chambers USA said, "The Calfee team has a high level of knowledge. Calfee is consistently responsive, thorough, and knowledgeable. The attorneys we work with at Calfee are able to quickly distill and interpret the relevant information pertaining to a matter, cut past the emotional and subjective factors, and focus on the law. The firm is very thorough and concentrates on the details; they are experts in the law and how it applies to the issues while understanding the business needs. The group is accessible and calls you back very quickly. They are a pleasure to work with and every one of them knows their stuff. They are spot-on technically, on top of everything and always provide good solid counsel. We are extremely satisfied with the work Calfee has done for us. The group is thorough, creative, and responsive."

Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2024 "Best Law Firms" rankings in the following areas:

  • Employment Law – Management (Regional Tier 1 Cleveland)
  • Labor Law – Management (Regional Tier 2 Cleveland)

Benchmark Litigation Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion by Benchmark Litigation 2024 as a Highly Recommended Law Firm in Dispute Resolution in Ohio. Additionally, 14 of Calfee's Litigation partners have been ranked by Benchmark Litigation as "Litigation Stars" in the U.S. (National), Midwest, and Ohio and as “40 & Under" and "Future Stars" Honorees.




Labor and Employment Relations

  • Routinely advising a multi-billion dollar, multinational holding company based in the U.S. on employment agreements and separation agreements for executive employees and prepares said agreements, which reduces the company's risk of hiring and terminating high-level executives who command robust compensation and benefits packages.
  • Represented employers in lengthy strikes that resulted in the union returning to work with contract terms less favorable than the employer’s final pre-strike offers; in each case, the employer successfully maintained operations during the strike.
  • Prepared comprehensive employee handbooks and developed workplace policies incorporating recent changes in the law.
  • Prepared employment agreements for highly compensated executives involving complex compensation schemes and changes in control provisions.
  • Prepared separation agreements by which employees were separated from employment with the release of all claims against the employer while assuring compliance with the requirements of the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act.
  • Represented employer in unfair labor practice investigation, including hearings regarding subcontracting of work, resulting in total victory when the court of appeals denied enforcement of National Labor Relations Board order.
  • Counseled clients acquiring the assets of unionized corporations concerning their rights to negotiate terms and conditions of employment consistent with company-wide compensation and benefits schemes.
  • Conducted numerous in-house training seminars for management concerning compliance with all state and federal labor statutes and regulations, union avoidance, sexual harassment, the Family & Medical Leave Act, and other laws governing the workplace. 
  • Prepared employment agreements including nondisclosure, noncompete and nonsolicitation covenants, as well as assignment of inventions complying with federal and state law. 

Discrimination and Workplace-Related Litigation

  • Served as counsel for a privately held Midwestern company in a cease-and-desist matter involving a former multi-state Regional Manager. While employed by Calfee’s client company, the former employee solicited approximately 20 employees over a period of months, prior to his resignation. When he resigned, he took with him to a competitor nearly all the employees from multiple store locations within his region. The former Regional Manager did not have a non-compete agreement, but Calfee sent cease-and-desist letters to our client’s former employee and his new employer and had a series of telephone calls with the new employer’s counsel, threatening to bring claims related to breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy with his new employer, if there was any further solicitation of Calfee’s client’s employees. Calfee achieved the result the Company wanted without needing to file suit.
  • Served as counsel for the Respondent, a global manufacturing solutions company, in an EEOC charge against the client. The Charging Party employee's complaints articulated in a resignation email did not include allegations of racial or national origin discrimination, but their subsequent charge before the EEOC focused on discrimination allegations. Based upon the comprehensive position statement and supporting materials submitted by Calfee in response to the Charging Party’s allegations, the EEOC issued a “Determination of Charge” indicating that it would “not proceed further with this investigation,” essentially concluding that it found no basis to believe that the Charging Party was a victim of discrimination. The Commission elected to not further pursue this matter and did not initiate a lawsuit against Calfee’s client based upon the allegations.
  • Serving as counsel for Respondent/Defendant in an EEOC Charge in which the Charging Party filed a charge of disability alleging that Calfee's client company, a global manufacturing company, discriminated based on disability when he did not receive an offer of employment. Based upon the comprehensive position statement and supporting materials submitted by Calfee in defense of the allegations of discriminatory non-hire, the EEOC issued a “Determination of Charge” indicating that it would “not proceed further with this investigation,” essentially concluding that it found no basis to believe that the plaintiff was a victim of disability discrimination. The Commission elected to not further pursue this matter and did not initiate a lawsuit against Calfee’s client. Subsequently, the Charging Party initiated a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination under state law, but the Defendant later voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice.
  • The former employee of Calfee’s client, an Ohio manufacturing company, filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that he was a victim of age discrimination because his employment was terminated. The Plaintiff had operated his machinery at approximately 10-20% of the speed at which other employees ran their machines, resulting in significant delays and backups. When the company’s plant manager repeatedly instructed him to run his machine at the appropriate speed, Plaintiff refused or would do so only to turn the speed back down when the plant manager walked away. Since his termination, the company’s ability to run and ship products on time has increased dramatically. On behalf of the company, we aggressively defended against the Plaintiff’s allegations. While we were prepared to file a summary judgment motion, we ultimately resolved the case for significantly less than the nuisance value.
  • Serving as counsel for the Defendants in a recent matter involving a former employer who brought claims against the client company for Intentional/Negligent Misrepresentation, Breach of Contract, Promissory Estoppel, Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Unjust Enrichment, Violation of state Wage Law for failure to pay wages and PTO on the date of his alleged termination, and COBRA Notice Violation. Following a meeting with company management in which the employee was not granted a salary increase they were seeking, the employee departed the company premises for the day, not indicating that they were resigning or would be unavailable for any length of time. After several workdays passed without the Company hearing from Plaintiff despite the Company's attempts to contact the employee, including requesting local law enforcement to perform a wellness check (which proved the employee to be alive and well), it was clear to the Company that Plaintiff had abandoned their job. In the lawsuit, among other damages, Plaintiff claims they were owed a higher salary than the one indicated in their job offer letter, for the time worked at the Company, that they are owed reimbursement for expenses and various other damages. Calfee aggressively represented the Defendants through initial written discovery, demonstrating to Plaintiff and his counsel that their allegations were untruthful and that they had no legal basis to pursue them. On behalf of our clients, we negotiated a settlement for less than one month of salary to Plaintiff, significantly less than a nuisance value.
  • Served as counsel for Defendants, a multi-billion-dollar, international construction company in a matter in which the Plaintiff company brought several claims, including breach of duty of loyalty, breach of contract, conspiracy, misappropriation of trade secrets, and interference with prospective business relationships, against (1) two members of a group of its former employees who quit and joined its competitor, Calfee’s client, (2) Calfee’s client company, and (3) a member of the client company’s management team. Upon being served with the Complaint, Calfee mobilized its client’s response to preserve electronic data, seizing all relevant company-issued electronic devices in the possession of Plaintiff’s former employee. Calfee’s clients moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint and the court dismissed five of Plaintiff’s Claims against the client company and dismissed the client management team member from the lawsuit entirely. With just the destruction of evidence and misappropriation of trade secrets claims still pending, the parties engaged in discovery and began taking depositions. Subsequently, the parties signed a settlement agreement in which Calfee’s client paid nothing, there was no confidentiality provision (meaning Calfee’s client is free to discuss the case with its customers), and the lawsuit was dismissed.
  • Represented Plaintiff (two related companies) in the filing of a Complaint and Application for Injunctive Relief against a former employee who separated from their organizations two months previously to join Calfee’s client company. Plaintiff alleged that the former employee/Defendant violated covenants not to solicit customers and not to disclose or use confidential information and misappropriation of trade secrets. Following expedited discovery and conferences with the Court preparatory to a preliminary injunction hearing, the parties agreed to submit the case to mediation before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. At the mediation conference, the parties reached a favorable settlement of Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant, terms of which included a modest cash payment to the Plaintiffs and a brief extension of an Agreed Temporary Restraining Order, which restricted Defendant from calling on certain enumerated clients.
  • Serving as counsel for a billion-dollar, multi-state company charged with alleged age discrimination and retaliation arising out of the company's non-renewal of an employment agreement and subsequent termination from employment of the Charging Party, who served as an executive of the company.
  • Serving as counsel for a U.S. manufacturing company with nearly 10,000 employees in a matter in which the company was charged with disability discrimination by a terminated employee, a charge that was dually filed with the EEOC and a state Human Relations Commission. Following Calfee’s submission of a letter to the EEOC contesting that agency’s jurisdiction over the Company, the EEOC terminated its processing of this charge and transferred the matter to the state Human Relations Commission. The matter remains ongoing.
  • Serving as defending counsel for a global medical treatment company against an allegation of religious discrimination and failure to accommodate in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. The Plaintiff, a former employee alleged religious discrimination and failure to accommodate religious beliefs based on their discharge following refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in violation of a company-wide vaccine mandate. This case is one of a few cases addressing the validity of a vaccine mandate during a worldwide pandemic and the scope of religious accommodation in the workplace. There is no direct governing authority on the issues raised in this case, and litigation of this dispute will contribute to the development of employer rights and religious accommodation jurisprudence.
  • Serving as counsel for the Defendant in a matter involving a former employee of Calfee's client, a packaging company, producer, and supplier with operations in the U.S. and Canada. The former employer filed a petition against the client company alleging workers' compensation retaliation. Calfee vigorously defended against these baseless claims and was able to negotiate the case to a favorable resolution at a nuisance value.
  • Served as counsel for the Respondent, a global manufacturing company, in an NLRB Charge filed by a union on behalf of an employee who served as the local union president. The employee filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge (ULP) against Calfee’s client, alleging that the Company violated Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act when it issued a disciplinary write-up allegedly because of the employee's Union support and/or activities. The Company denied these allegations. It has had a long-standing rule against having food and open drink containers, including open soda cans, on the shop floor. These are safety rules designed to keep its work area clean and its employees safe. The Company had announced at Company-wide meetings that it would begin enforcing the rule with renewed vigor since oral warnings had proven ineffective in curbing the problematic behavior to date. The employee received the write-up because they were observed violating the rule. The Company filed its position statement in response to the charge. Following a favorable settlement between the Company and the Union, the Union withdrew the Charge, and the matter was closed.


  • Served as counsel for a European, publicly traded, multinational company in a matter involving the United Steel Workers Union and its Local members, which filed a grievance against Calfee’s client company relating to the discharge of a bargaining unit member. The Union contended that this member, who worked at one of the client’s U.S. plants, was unjustly discharged for an alleged violation of the client’s safety/work procedures. Calfee represented the company at a formal arbitration hearing conducted before a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) arbitrator. Calfee presented the Company’s defense to the Union’s claims of unfair/inconsistent treatment of a long-service employee by thoroughly recreating the incident before the arbitrator and explaining in detail the consequences of not only the grievant’s conduct but the possible catastrophic results that could occur if the grievant’s disregard of safety protocols was condoned by the arbitrator. After comprehensive post-hearing briefs were submitted by both parties, the arbitrator issued his decision denying the Union’s grievance and stating that the member was terminated for “just cause” consistent with the terms and provisions of the Union contract. Calfee has represented the client at various worksites across the country litigating disputes before impartial arbitrators based upon grievances filed by Unions. We have succeeded in every case to date based upon the company’s appropriate, lawful personnel actions and careful documentation allowing Calfee to explain convincingly to various arbitrators that the Company at all times has respected the collective bargaining agreements at issue.
  • Served as legal counsel for its client, a European, publicly traded, multinational company, in a matter in which an outside operator working for Calfee’s client company's U.S. location filed a grievance on behalf of all outside operators, alleging that management was performing bargaining unit work in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator subsequently denied the grievance in full.



Employment Counseling

  • Employment at-will
  • Personnel policies and employee handbooks
  • Employment agreements
  • Discipline, discharge and other personnel actions
  • Mergers, acquisitions, divestitures
  • Workforce restructurings, downsizings, force reductions
  • Post-employment covenants
  • Employment law compliance training

Workplace Discrimination

  • Title VII and state discrimination laws
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Sexual and other workplace harassment
  • EEOC and state agency proceedings
  • Discrimination and “wrongful discharge” litigation
  • Affirmative action plans, programs and compliance

Labor Management

  • Union avoidance and defense
  • Employee relations counseling
  • Collective bargaining agreement negotiation
  • Proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board
  • Grievance counseling and arbitration
  • Strike contingency planning/security operations
  • Strike injunction litigation
  • Ohio Public Employers’ Collective Bargaining Act
  • Union decertification/deauthorization

Employment Laws

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (wage/hour)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • “Whistleblower” Acts
  • Federal mass layoff/plant closing laws (WARN Act)
  • Trade secret laws
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Older Workers Benefit Protection Act
  • Drug testing
  • Immigration Reform & Control Act


News & Events




Practice Contacts

Calfee's Labor and Employment practice is "proficient in the handling of a wide range of labor and employment matters. Areas of strength for the firm include 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. Expertise also stretches to the enforcement of post-employment agreements."

Researcher comments, Chambers USA

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