Brian J. Kelly Photo

Brian J. Kelly

Partner | Chair, Labor and Employment Practice Group

Overview

Brian is the Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group and is named to the prestigious Chambers USA: America’s Guide to Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Employment and Labor.

Brian focuses his practice on the representation of management in all phases of labor relations and employment litigation. Brian regularly represents employers in litigation before federal and state courts, administrative agencies and arbitrators involving employment discrimination and harassment, wrongful discharge, theft of trade secrets, breaches of non-compete agreements and other employment contract topics. Brian also has extensive experience counseling employers on employment topics ranging from FMLA and ADA compliance to reduction in workforce planning and implementation. In the labor relations area, Brian has significant experience in collective bargaining negotiation, union avoidance techniques and strike disputes. Brian has also developed and implemented personnel policies and in-house training programs on a variety of labor and employment law topics.

 

Practices

    • Represented and assisted multiple employers in collective bargaining negotiations with unions such as the United Auto Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Steelworkers of America, the Service Employees International Union and others.
    • Assisted steel manufacturer, auto parts manufacturer and other employers during strikes, lockouts and associated unfair labor practice charges.
    • Represented health care providers, manufacturers and service providers and secured dismissals of hundreds of charges of discrimination, harassment and retaliation filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and other agencies in states such as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
    • Represented health care providers, manufacturers and service providers in state and federal court claims and administrative proceedings based on alleged failures to pay overtime wages to employees.
    • Represented manufacturers, service providers, financial services firms and staffing companies in litigation involving the violation and enforcement of non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements, including litigation involving temporary restraining orders, preliminary and permanent injunctions and claims for damages.
    • Obtained favorable summary judgment rulings in more than 25 cases in state and federal courts involving the complete dismissal of claims for employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, wrongful discharge and other matters.
    • Represented construction contractor in state court trial regarding claims by former management employee for gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Secured defense verdict in favor of the construction company following a jury trial.
    • Represented health care facility in federal court trial regarding claims by a former care provider for race discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Secured defense verdict in favor of the health care facility following a jury trial.
    • Represented national restaurant chain in federal court trial regarding claims by a former server for hostile environment sexual harassment and constructive discharge. Secured defense verdict in favor of the restaurant chain following a jury trial.
    • Represented medical service provider in state court trial regarding claims by a former commissioned employee for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Secured defense verdict in favor of the medical service provider following a jury trial.
  • Education

    • University of Michigan Law School J.D., cum laude, 1994
    • University of Michigan B.A., Economics, with High Distinction, 1991

    Admissions

    • Supreme Court of the U.S.
    • Supreme Court of Ohio
    • State of Ohio
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Southern District of Ohio and Eastern District of Michigan
  • Professional Affiliations

    • Ohio Management Lawyers Association—Member
    • Cleveland Employment Inn of Court—Member
    • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—Pro Bono Mediator
    • Federal Court Panel of Alternative Dispute Resolution (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio)—Past Panelist
    • Ohio State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section—Member
    • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section—Member
    • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association—Bar Admissions Committee
    • University of Michigan Alumni Association—Member
    • Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter—Member

    Community Involvement

    • U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission—Pro Bono Mediator
    • Providence House—Board of Trustees

    Firm Involvement

    • Chair, Labor and Employment Practice Group - Frantz Ward LLP
    • Named Best Lawyers’ “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland in Employment Law-Management (2019)
    • Named to Chambers USA: America’s Guide to Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Labor and Employment (2010-2018)
    • Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management, and Litigation-Labor and Employment (2013-2019)
    • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (2005-2018)
    • "Employment Contracts: When and Why to Use," Northeast Ohio Association of Corporate Counsel, Cleveland, OH (June 2018)
    • "Ironing Out the Wrinkles: NLRB, DOL and Other Agency Developments and Updates Under the Trump Administration," Frantz Ward Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Cleveland, OH (May 2018)
    • "Joint Employer and Staffing Issues," Association of Corporate Counsel, Cleveland, OH (June 2017)
    • “Managing Transgender and Social Media Issues in the Modern Workplace,” Frantz Ward Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Cleveland, OH (May 2017)
    • “New DOL Overtime Rules and Other FLSA Developments,” Ohio State Bar Association’s 53rd Annual Midwest Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Columbus, OH (October 2016)
    • “New Department of Labor Overtime Rule,” The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Webinar (June 2016)
    • “Protecting Your Confidential Information—Best Practices for Non-Competition and Con-Solicitation Agreements,” Crain’s Cleveland Business, Webinar (June 2016)
    • “Dual Representation Issues in Employment Litigation,” Ohio Management Lawyers Association
    • “The 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” The Cleveland Employment Lawyers Inn of Court
    • “LGBT Issues in the Modern Workplace,” Ohio Management Lawyers Association
    • “Training Supervisors to Avoid Mistakes in the Hiring, Evaluation and Disciplinary Processes,” Construction Employers Association
    • “Protecting The Company’s Competitive Edge: Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Agreements,” NEOACCA
    • “Social Media: HR Trends and Legal Issues”
    • “Litigating Cases in Federal Court,” Federal Bar Association
    • “The Ohio Healthy Families Act,” Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    • “The Ohio Healthy Families Act,” Employers’ Resource Council
    • “The Hiring Process,” Lorman Educational Services
    • “Navigating the Personnel Policy Jungle,” Employers’ Resource Council
    • “Ohio Employment Law Form A to Z,” Lorman Educational Services
    • “Employment Law Issues Under Ohio Issues 2 and 4,” Council of Small Enterprises (COSE)
    • “Management Training: HR Compliance,” Ohio Management Training
    • “Fair Labor Standards Act, The New Regulations,” Ohio State Bar Association
    • “Developments Under FLSA,” Sterling Education Services
    • “Pros and Cons of Arbitration Agreements,” Employers Resource Council
    • “Discipline and Termination: Supervisor Training,” Lorman Education Services
    • “Recent Developments in Labor and Employment Law,” Northern Ohio Human Resources Conference
    • Human Resource Audits in Ohio,” Lorman Education Services
    • “State and Federal Laws on Employee Leave, Vacations and Holidays,” Lorman Education Services
    • “Keeping Yourself Out of Court: Conducting Timely and Thorough Sexual Harassment Investigations,” Council on Education in Management
    • “Employee Discharge and Documentation in Ohio,” Lorman Education Services
    • “Ohio Employment and Labor Law for the Construction Industry,” Lorman Education Services
    • “Documenting the Termination Process: Separation Agreements,” Ohio State Bar Association
    • “How to Reduce the Risks When Hiring and Firing Employees,” ADP Institute for Excellence
    • “FMLA/ADA: What Every Employer Should Know,” ADP Institute for Excellence
    • “Mandatory and Discretionary Time Off for Ohio Employees,” Lorman Education Services
    • “Documenting the Hiring Process,” National Business Institute
    • “Labor and Employment Update,” Northern Ohio Human Resources Conference
    • “Strategies for Effective Recordkeeping and Employment Actions,” Lorman Education Services
    • “FMLA, ADA and Workers’ Compensation,” Council on Education in Management
    • “Designing and Changing Personnel Policies,” The Association of NonProfit Organizations
    • “Basic Wage and Hour Law in Ohio,” National Business Institute
    • “Character & Fitness Investigations,” Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association