John counsels employers with both unionized and non-union workforces on every aspect of the employment relationship, including discipline and termination issues, medical leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, workplace safety concerns, drug/alcohol in the workplace and in conducting internal investigations. John offers guidance regarding non-discrimination laws and addresses claims of discrimination based upon race, sex, national origin, age, religion and other protected characteristics.
John serves as a resource for clients involved with claims of sexual or other discriminatory harassment and provides practical guidance responsibly to address and resolve such claims.
He has significant experience assisting employers in accommodating persons with disabilities and otherwise complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
He defends claims of unlawful retaliation based upon employees pursuing civil rights claims.
John also provides guidance to clients on a regular basis as to rights and obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
He has appeared in appellate courts throughout Ohio, as well as before the Sixth Circuit and D.C. Courts of Appeals in federal cases.
John assists employers in drafting and promulgating restrictive covenants designed to avoid unfair competition, such as non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements. He appears in court to obtain temporary restraining orders and other injunctive relief as to former employees who violate these restrictive covenants.
He regularly handles administrative proceedings before the Wage & Hour Office, the OFCCP regarding affirmative action obligations, OSHA, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He defends employers and management representatives sued in court by former employees claiming “wrongful termination” on a variety of grounds.
John’s experience representing employers with unionized work forces includes extensive involvement with the National Labor Relations Board, including counseling employers in representation elections and as to unfair labor practice charges. He has extensive first chair experience negotiating labor contracts for several employers involving many different unions, including the Teamsters, UAW, IBEW and the Steelworkers Union.
John regularly counsels employers as to contract administration and interpretation and successfully has arbitrated many grievances involving both disciplinary actions and contract interpretation.
John advises clients as to a wide variety of issues that arise in the workplace on a daily basis, including discipline/termination and leave-related issues which arise with little advance notice. He recognizes that immediate responsiveness is critical to best serve in-house counsel, human resources professionals and management representatives.
John drafts and revises employment contracts and personnel policies, including those concerning non-discrimination, the FMLA, electronic communications, and confidential business and technical information.
John regularly conducts in-house training sessions for management and supervisors to assist them in complying with the wide array of laws impacting the workplace. John is a frequent speaker at Calfee’s regular half-day Labor and Employment seminars and at the firm’s “Workplace Breakfast Series” sessions.
He serves as a member of the firm’s Practice Planning & Growth Committee (formerly known as the Executive Committee).
John has routinely been recognized as a "Top Ranked" Lawyer in Chambers USA, most recently in 2018 for Labor and Employment (Band 4 Ohio). He also has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© (2013-2018) in the areas of Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management. He is ranked by Benchmark Litigation 2019 as a “Labor & Employment Star – Midwest. He has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell and is listed in Cleveland’s Top-Rated Lawyers Guide.
Honors & Recognitions
Chambers USA, Labor and Employment (Band 4 Ohio), 2018
The Best Lawyers in America©, Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management, 2013-present
Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment Star – Midwest, 2019
Martindale Hubbell, AV Preeminent rating
Cleveland’s Top-Rated Lawyers Guide
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1986
B.A., cum laude, Harvard University, 1982
- Provided daily counsel to a large employer facing an aggressive organizing campaign by a Teamsters local Union. The production and maintenance employees at issue voted to maintain a union-free workplace in a formal election conducted on-site by the National Labor Relations Board on site. Successfully defended all unfair labor practice charges filed by the Union relating to this election resulting in the NLRB certifying the victory for the employer.
- Successfully represented a manufacturer of high tech safety helmets in avoiding an engineer with significant knowledge of its confidential designs and technical information from joining a competitor in California in violation of his non-compete and other restrictive covenants by obtaining an emergency TRO and further injunctive relief in the Court of Common Pleas for Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The former employee was made to comply with his post-employment obligations, as the competing employer revoked his offer of employment when faced with the Preliminary Injunction issued by the Court.
- Assisted a large employer in a reorganization resulting in the separation of several employees within several protected classes. Prepared and revised internal memoranda to assist management in communicating the reorganization, as well as “Separation Agreements” for the affected employees complying with the Older Worker’s Benefit Protection Act. Assisted client in obtaining meaningful outplacement resources to assist displaced employees in transitioning to alternative employment.
- Conducted on-site investigation at employer’s premises regarding allegations of sexual harassment allegedly affecting the work environment of several co-workers. Interviewed several co-workers with on-site HR manager and confronted alleged harasser with his inappropriate behavior. Counseled employer as to appropriate remedial action leading to the alleged harasser being transitioned from the workplace.
- Successfully defended claims of disability discrimination in violation of the ADA in federal court regarding an employee who was terminated after two years of uninterrupted medical leave. Discovered additional grounds for termination by obtaining physician’s records indicating that employee had obtained a full release to return to work well prior to his eventual discharge, thus implicating the company’s three-day “no show, no call” rule.
- Successfully represented a trucking industry client in a comprehensive investigation conducted by the Wage & Hour Office as to their drivers categorized as independent contractors, classification of employees as “exempt” or “non-exempt” from overtime entitlement, and as to workplace practices concerning the tracking of working time.
- Enforced non-compete covenant against vice president of sales resigning clients’ employment and immediately soliciting business for a local competitor from the client’s existing customers. Case was resolved with former employee resigning from competitor and agreeing to abide by the terms of his post-employment covenants, with his new employer compensating client for all business lost due to disregard of the non-compete restriction.
- Successfully resolved acrimonious employment termination involving highly placed executive through face-to-face meetings with the executive’s counsel and disclosure of personnel documents outside of the discovery process to evidence the company’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for transitioning the executive. Able to avoid costly litigation and arrive upon a practical solution which benefited all concerned.
- Assist clients with managing leaves of absence to comply with the Family & Medical Leave Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and workers’ compensation Laws. Prepare comprehensive “medical” and “family” leave policy statements to assist HR professionals in promulgating straight forward, “user friendly” policy statements to allow employer to manager leaves effectively.
- Negotiated collective bargaining agreements with both a Teamsters Local and a USW Local providing each employer with its first five-year labor agreement, both including favorable wage and benefit provisions. First chaired all negotiation sessions with regular communication with, and guidance from the president of each company to achieve client’s bargaining objectives.
- Provided onsite training to managers and supervisors at a manufacturing concern in several sessions to accommodate personnel working on all shifts at multiple facilities. Engaged management team with “real world” scenarios involving the interplay of the FMLA, the ADA and worker’s compensation laws.
- Assisted client in closing unionized production and maintenance facility and relocating work to a nearby non-union facility. Negotiated and drafted Contract Termination Agreement with union, prepared required WARN Notices and counseled as to severance an outplacement assistance to assist affected workers with their transitions.
News & Events
- Forty Calfee, Halter & Griswold Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in Lawyers of the Year and The Best Lawyers in America 201908.15.2018
- Thirty-Seven Calfee, Halter & Griswold Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 201811.13.2017
- The Sixth Circuit Supports NLRB’s Position That Class Action Waivers Are Illegal - Battle Now Headed to the U.S. Supreme Court06.14.2017
- Changing the Way Employers Screen Applicants for Criminal History: EEOC Guidance and Ban the Box Laws05.31.2017
- New Ohio Law Nixes Employer Bans on Concealed Handgun Licensees Keeping Firearms in their Vehicles in the Company Parking Lot12.21.2016
- New Law Restricts Employers’ Ability to Litigate Outside of California or Use Non-California Choice-of-Law Provisions in Employment Agreements11.22.2016
- Most, But Not All, of Contractor “Fair Pay” Rule Enjoined; Likely to Disappear Under President Trump11.17.2016
- Employers Will Likely Pay Overtime to Millions More Employees as a Result of DOL’s New Final Overtime Rule05.20.2016
- Obama Signs Into Law Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, Including Notice Requirement for Agreements Governing Trade Secrets05.17.2016
- EEOC Proposes Changes to EEO-1 Reports to Collect Pay Data from Large Employers and Federal Contractors02.05.2016
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit