- Labor and Employment
- Labor and Employment Litigation
- ERISA Claims
- Labor Relations / Collective Bargaining
- University of Toledo College of Law, J.D., 2009
- Marietta College, B.A., 2006
Licensed to Practice
- State of Ohio
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Joseph J. Brennan is a partner at Walter | Haverfield and works out of its Cleveland, Ohio office. Joe’s practice focuses on representing employers in a wide variety of labor and employment legal matters, including wage and hour, employment discrimination, occupational safety and health, traditional labor, and ERISA litigation matters.
Joe has extensive experience defending and advocating for national, regional, and local employers in front of federal and state courts as well as administrative employment agencies such as the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, various state civil rights commissions, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the Ohio State Employment Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Board. When not representing clients before the various labor and employment tribunals, Joe represents employers’ interests in union contract negotiations, collective bargaining agreement administration, union grievances and labor arbitrations, and the ins and outs of the disposition or acquisition of a unionized business. Joe recognizes the importance of proactive human relations management and counsels employers on the various legal implications arising from workplace injuries, safety compliance, occupational safety and health hazard abatements, in addition to employee leaves, discipline, and termination to mitigate liability, financial exposure, and the potential for costly litigation.
Employment Litigation, Employment Administrative Agency, and Employment Counseling Experience:
- Counseled clients on day-to-day human resources issues implicating Title VII, FMLA, ADA, FLSA, USERRA (and analogous state laws) and other state laws concerning payment of wages, leaves, workers’ compensation, work breaks, background checks, drug testing, and separation of employment.
- Defended administrative charges filed with the EEOC, DOL, Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Illinois Human Rights Division, New York Division of Human Rights, Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission and numerous 11(c) “whistleblower” complaints filed with OSHA.
- Prepared various dispositive motions, including motions to dismiss and summary judgment, and other procedural motions, such as motions to compel discovery, to compel arbitration, to stay proceedings, and to obtain sanctions before both Ohio and federal courts.
- Took and defended numerous depositions for lawsuits and hearings arising under Ohio and federal courts.
- Defended clients in federal (FLSA) wage and hour class action lawsuits alleging unpaid overtime by preparing motions opposing conditional certification, drafting notices for opt-in collective action plaintiffs, overseeing extensive discovery, preparing motions for decertification and summary judgment, and mediated the cases to final disposition.
- Advised clients on wage and hour law compliance and assisted several employers with wage and hour audits launched by the DOL-Wage and Hour division.
- Counseled clients on immigration compliance, Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) Form I-9 audits, and responding to Social Security Administration “No-Match” letters.
- Assisted clients in OSHA inspections, negotiated with OSHA to minimize penalties and citation classifications for alleged OSHA violations, including citations arising out of employee injuries and fatalities.
- Litigated cases before the Occupational Safety Health Review Commission proceedings from complaint to hearing before an administrative law judge and, when necessary, appeals before the Commission in Washington, D.C.
Traditional Labor Experience:
- Negotiated initial and successor collective bargaining agreements in manufacturing, credit union, trucking, private education, and private acute care hospital industries.
- Litigated unfair labor practice cases before administrative law judges and representation hearing cases concerning appropriateness of petitioned-for collective bargaining units.
- Successfully sought review and obtained reversal of representation hearing decision reached by a Regional Director before the NLRB in Washington, D.C.
- Planned, developed, and implemented employer strategies in union election campaigns.
- Defended management in union arbitrations for both discharge and contract interpretation cases.
- Defended and obtained dismissals or withdrawals to numerous NLRB unfair labor practice changes.
- Counseled and advised clients on traditional labor legal questions, implementing collective bargaining agreements, and other legal obligations arising under federal labor laws relating to plant closures, mass layoff, reduction in force, and mergers, acquisitions and dispositions of unionized businesses.
- Represented state-funded and self-insured clients in workers’ compensation administrative and court proceedings.
- 2015-2022 – Selected to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. Area of practice: Employment & Labor
- It’s 2012 and the NLRB is off to a Fast – and Controversial – Start, Labor Letter, February 2012
- The Hidden Cost of your Unpaid Interns, Crain’s Cleveland Business Blog, April 23, 2013
- OSHA Proposal is Causing a Bit of a Dustup, Crain’s Cleveland, April 2014 (contributing interviewee)
- Case Throws Wrench in National Labor Law, Crain’s Cleveland Business Print Edition, July 14-20, 2014
- The Developing Labor Law, 7th Edition, Chapter 9 Contributing Editor
- The Developing Labor Law, 2018 Supplement, Chapter 9 Contributing Editor
- Labor Management Law Answer Book (2019 Edition), Chapter 8 Editor
- American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section; Ohio State Bar Association, Cleveland Metro Bar Association
- Cleveland Employment Lawyers Inn of Court
- 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 Super Lawyers, Rising Star
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