Eric Johnson

Eric J. Johnson

Partner

Direct:  216.928.2890 | 614.246.2162
Fax:  216.916.2442

ejohnson@walterhav.com

Focus Areas

Education

  • Duke University, J.D., 2000
  • Denison University, B.A., 1997, summa cum laude

Licensed to Practice

  • All Ohio courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

Overview

Eric Johnson brings more than 20 years of experience to the fields of labor and employment and education law, and he is consistently recognized for his work by The Best Lawyers in America©.

As chair of the Walter | Haverfield Labor and Employment Law Group, Eric represents private and public sector clients in a wide range of employment-related matters. He defends employers against discrimination, harassment and wrongful discharge allegations, FMLA and FLSA claims, non-compete issues, and various tort actions. Eric regularly counsels clients on general compliance and risk management strategy and provides training in almost every area of employment law.

Eric also founded the firm’s Education Law Group in 2006 and continues to guide its impressive growth. U.S. News-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” continually ranks the group in its top regional tier, and Walter | Haverfield’s education law attorneys are consistently recognized as leading education lawyers in Ohio and nationwide.

Within the field of education law, Eric represents boards of education throughout Ohio in all facets of school law, providing general counsel to public school districts across the state. Eric has achieved precedent-setting decisions related to unilateral implementation of contract terms and the supremacy of the teacher evaluation system over collective bargaining rights.

Eric also has substantial labor law experience. He represents public and private sector employers at the bargaining table as the lead negotiator with a variety of labor organizations. Furthermore, he counsels employers on bargaining issues from behind the scenes. Eric has successfully represented clients’ interests in the arbitration of claims brought by employees and unions and has prosecuted and defended unfair labor practice charges with SERB and the NLRB.

Download Eric J. Johnson's Full Bio

Experience

SCHOOL DISTRICT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
  • Guided school district client through the process of unilaterally implementing the client’s last best offer over the unfair labor practice challenges brought by the union.
  • Represented client in achieving a precedent-setting decision with regard to the school district’s implementation of the standards-based evaluation framework over union’s demands to bargain.
  • Defends school districts in a variety of matters before the State Employment Relations Board (SERB).
  • Has served as chief negotiator on behalf of school districts of various sizes and financial states throughout the state.
  • Has provided “behind the scenes” collective bargaining support to school districts of various sizes throughout the state.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
  • Achieved arbitration victories on high-profile teacher and non-teaching discipline cases, as well as high-stakes contract interpretation matters.
  • Argued to overturn an arbitrator’s decision holding that the school district did not have grounds to terminate a teacher.
  • Represents school districts in proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ohio Civil Rights Commission with respect to claims of race, sex, age, gender and disability discrimination.
  • Represents school districts in teacher termination and discipline proceedings.
  • Represents school districts in proceedings regarding discipline and termination of classified employees including negotiation and implementation of last chance agreements.
  • Counsels clients regarding compliance with the ADA, FMLA, FLSA, ADEA and other employment laws.
  • Represents districts in defamation lawsuits.
GENERAL COUNSEL
  • Provides day-to-day advice to school districts regarding operational issues.
  • Assists school districts with negotiating vendor contracts and interpretation of existing vendor contracts.
  • Assists school districts with land-use and facilities issues.
  • Assists school districts with policy review and development.
SUNSHINE LAW/PUBLIC RECORDS
  • Counsels school districts faced with voluminous public record requests and respond to same on behalf of clients.
  • Counsels school districts on various aspects of compliance with Ohio’s Open Meetings Act, including impact of social media and text messaging.
  • Counsels school districts on compliance with Ohio’s Public Records Act, including the impact of new technologies on public records.

Recognition

  • 2019-2022 – Selected for inclusion in the 2019-2022 editions of The Best Lawyers in America©.  Listed in the current edition for Education Law.
  • In the November 30, 2009 issue of Crain’s Cleveland Business, Eric Johnson was named to the publication’s prestigious “Forty under 40” list. In this annual listing, Crain’s honored forty of Greater Cleveland’s young professionals from a variety of fields and industries, who have taken an active role in the local business community and demonstrated leadership and vision in helping to revitalize the region’s economy.
  • In the June 2009 issue of Inside Business magazine, Eric J. Johnson was featured in the special section, “High Bars,” which highlighted 15 of Northeast Ohio’s leading young lawyers.
  • 2007; 2009; 2011-2015 – Selected to Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. Areas of practice: Employment & Labor; Schools & Education.

 

 

Articles

Presentations

  • “Professional Conduct for New Educators,” Lake Erie College, March 29, 2021
  • “Classified Supervisors HR Role in Employee Management,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, January 29, 2021
  • “Legal Update,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, January 8, 2021
  • “Legal Update,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, January 6, 2021
  • “Human Resources During a Pandemic,” BASA – New Superintendent Transition Program, December 10, 2020
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, December 7, 2020
  • “Legal Update,” Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio, September 25, 2020
  • “Legal Update,” OASPA Fall Conference, September 24, 2020
  • “HR Legal Update,” Summit Co. Educational Service Center 2020 Leadership Symposium, August 7, 2020
  • “Talking Points & Other Related Considerations: Re-Open and Re-Start Guidance for 2020-2021,” W|H Education Webinar, July 8, 2020
  • “Legal Update (v. 2020),” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, March 6, 2020
  • “Serving Students with Mental Health Challenges,” Chagrin Valley Conference – Mental Health Summit, March 5, 2020
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, February 24, 2020
  • “Legal Update (v. 2019),” Northeast Ohio Association of School Business Officials, December 13, 2019
  • “New Superintendent Transition,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, December 12, 2019
  • “Fall Legal Update,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, November 5, 2019
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, October 14, 2019
  • “School Human Resources,” Summit County ESC, September 26, 2019
  • “Investigations and Employee Discipline,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, September 20, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Business Officials, September 10, 2019
  • “Professional Conduct and Managing Social Media,” Trumbull County ESC, August 14, 2019
  • “Professional Conduct: Managing Social Media,” ESC of Medina County, August 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Summit ESC 2019 Leadership Symposium, August 7, 2019
  • “Summer Legal Update,” Ashtabula/Lake/Geauga ESCs, June 21, 2019
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, April 24, 2019
  • “Quarterly Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, April 9, 2019
  • “Social Media for School HR Professionals,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, March 1, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, January 22, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Business Officials, December 14, 2018
  • “Legal Update for Building Administrators,” Trumbull County ESC, December 12, 2018
  • “New Superintendent Transition,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, December 4, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Trumbull County ESC, November 16, 2018
  • “Employee Investigations,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, September 21, 2018
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, October 22, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, September 11, 2018
  • “Costing Out Your Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Ohio Association of School Business Officials, September 7, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Ashtabula County School Administrators Conference, August 6, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” 2018 Leadership Symposium for Educational Leaders in Northeast Ohio, August 3, 2018
  • “Managing Social Media in District Communications,” Lake-Geauga Superintendents’ Collaborative, March 16, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, March 2, 2018
  • “Managing Social Media in District Communications,” Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center, January 18, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, January 16, 2018

Associations

In addition to serving as pro bono legal counsel to a number of non-profit entities, Eric serves as a member of the board of directors for Hershey Montessori School. Eric is also active in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In 2004, City Year awarded Eric the Idealism in Action Award in recognition of his community service efforts in the Greater Cleveland area.

  • Fellow, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Cleveland Employment Law Inns of Court
  • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys
  • National Council of School Attorneys
  • Member, Ohio Management Lawyers Association

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