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Eric J. Johnson

Partner

Eric Johnson

Overview

Learn about Eric

Eric Johnson, partner and chair of the Walter | Haverfield Labor and Employment Group, brings more than 20 years of experience to the fields of labor and employment and education law. He is consistently recognized for his work by The Best Lawyers in America© and represents both private and public sector clients in a wide range of employment-related matters. He defends employers against discrimination, harassment and wrongful discharge allegations, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims, Fair Labor Standards Act (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 founded the firm’s Education Law Group in 2006 and continues to guide its impressive year-over-year 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 State Employment Relations Board (SERB) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Recognition

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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 about the school district’s implementation of the standards-based evaluation framework over union’s demands to bargain
  • Defended school districts in a variety of matters before the State Employment Relations Board (SERB)
  • Served as chief negotiator on behalf of school districts of various sizes and financial states
  • Provided “behind-the-scenes” collective bargaining support to school districts of various sizes
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
  • Achieves arbitration victories on high-profile teacher and non-teaching discipline cases, as well as high-stakes contract interpretation matters
  • Represents school districts in proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) 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 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FMLA, FLSA, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and other employment laws
  • Represents districts in defamation lawsuits
  • Argued to overturn an arbitrator’s decision holding that the school district did not have grounds to terminate a teacher
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 responded 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
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ASSOCIATIONS

  • Member of the Board of Directors, Hershey Montessori School
  • Member, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Fellow, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Member, Cleveland Employment Law Inns of Court
  • Member, Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys
  • Member, National Council of School Attorneys
  • Member, Ohio Management Lawyers Association
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PRESENTATIONS

  • “BASA Summer Legal Update,” Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio, 2022
  • “Summer Legal Update,” Trumbull County Educational Service Center, 2022
  • “Collective Bargaining Update,” Walter | Haverfield Legal Update for Portage County, 2022
  • “Presentation to Field 1 Students,” Lake Erie College, 2022
  • “Legal Update,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators (OASPA), 2022
  • “Legal Update,” Trumbull County Educational Service Center, 2022
  • “Administrative Update,” Woodridge Local School District, 2022
  • “Legal Update,” Trumbull County Educational Service Center, 2021
  • “Professional Conduct for New Educators,” Lake Erie College, 2021
  • “Classified Supervisors HR Role in Employee Management,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2021
  • “Legal Update,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, 2021
  • “Legal Update,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, 2021
  • “Human Resources During a Pandemic,” BASA – New Superintendent Transition Program, 2020
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2020
  • “Legal Update,” Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio, 2020
  • “Legal Update,” OASPA Fall Conference, 2020
  • “HR Legal Update,” Summit Co. Educational Service Center 2020 Leadership Symposium, 2020
  • “Talking Points & Other Related Considerations: Re-Open and Re-Start Guidance for 2020-2021,” W|H Education Webinar, 2020
  • “Legal Update (v. 2020),” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2020
  • “Serving Students with Mental Health Challenges,” Chagrin Valley Conference – Mental Health Summit, 2020
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, 2020
  • “Legal Update (v. 2019),” Northeast Ohio Association of School Business Officials, 2019
  • “New Superintendent Transition,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, 2019
  • “Fall Legal Update,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, 2019
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, 2019
  • “School Human Resources,” Summit County ESC, 2019
  • “Investigations and Employee Discipline,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Business Officials, 2019
  • “Professional Conduct and Managing Social Media,” Trumbull County ESC, 2019
  • “Professional Conduct: Managing Social Media,” ESC of Medina County, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Summit ESC 2019 Leadership Symposium, 2019
  • “Summer Legal Update,” Ashtabula/Lake/Geauga ESCs, 2019
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, 2019
  • “Quarterly Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2019
  • “Social Media for School HR Professionals,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2019
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Business Officials, 2018
  • “Legal Update for Building Administrators,” Trumbull County ESC, 2018
  • “New Superintendent Transition,” Buckeye Association of School Administrators, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Trumbull County ESC, 2018
  • “Employee Investigations,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2018
  • “Licensure Code and Personal Conduct,” Lake Erie College, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2018
  • “Costing Out Your Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Ohio Association of School Business Officials, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Ashtabula County School Administrators Conference, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” 2018 Leadership Symposium for Educational Leaders in Northeast Ohio, 2018
  • “Managing Social Media in District Communications,” Lake-Geauga Superintendents’ Collaborative, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2018
  • “Managing Social Media in District Communications,” Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center, 2018
  • “Legal Update,” Northeast Ohio Association of School Personnel Administrators, 2018