People

James G. Petrie

Jim Petrie is chair of Bricker & Eckler's Employment & Labor group with a practice emphasizing employment-related disputes and litigation, including allegations of discrimination or harassment and wrongful termination. Jim mediates and negotiates settlements of claims against employers of all sizes, from small businesses to national corporations, and provides regular training on how to maintain compliance and avoid costly litigation.

Jim has extensive experience counseling clients on leave and accommodation issues, taking an approach to ensure employers remain compliant with the regulations governing leave and accommodation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), while being able to meet staffing and operational needs.

He also advises clients on the full gamut of labor and employment issues arising under federal and state laws, such as the ADEA, FLSA, Title VII and NLRA. In addition, Jim is experienced in drafting employment agreements, separation agreements, independent contractor agreements, releases, non-compete/non-solicitation agreements, affirmative action plans, and employee handbooks, policies and procedures.

Jim regularly represents clients in federal and state courts and courts of appeals and before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the State Personnel Board of Review.

In addition, Jim represents employers as defense counsel approved by Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) and Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (D&O) carriers.

"James Petrie is ‘experienced, very thorough and really knows his way around the courts.’"

Bricker client as quoted in Chambers USA, 2020

"James Petrie 'is both an excellent legal adviser and a practical thinker. He is strategic in thinking through how people will respond and being prepared for their responses.'"

Bricker client as quoted in Chambers USA, 2017

Experience

  • Union-related risk for hospital acquisition

    Managed employment law aspects of merger effort between a major health system and eastern Ohio hospital system with several unions. Counseled the health system on the risks of proceeding with the acquisition and on options for complying with the existing labor contracts. The hospital was able to successfully merge and close an inpatient unit that was unprofitable for the health system without union intervention.

  • Title VII and Title IX settlement

    Advised higher learning institution’s leadership and a board chairperson regarding the investigation and ultimate resolution of Title VII and IX harassment and retaliation claims made against multiple board members. Negotiated a favorable settlement and withdrawal of the claims through mediation prior to litigation. 

  • Sexual harassment and retaliation claims against a physician

    Advised a hospital board of trustees regarding an investigation into the CEO’s handling of an employee’s sexual harassment and retaliation claims against a supervising physician. Negotiated transition package for the CEO and the removal of the accused physician from the hospital.

  • Sexual harassment termination and subsequent claims

    Represented a regional health system in a harassment lawsuit following the termination of an employee related to her affair with a coworker.  She had claimed that ten other influential employees were engaged in consensual affairs with coworkers. We successfully negotiated a settlement on behalf of the health system and avoided depositions and cross-examinations of other employees in court.

  • Health system crisis protocol

    Advised a regional health system’s vice president of human relations regarding the investigation, suspension and ultimate termination of a nurse who allegedly made off-duty threats to an on-duty coworker, including threats of violence involving a firearm. Assisted in revising the health system’s weapons-free policy and crisis protocol for emergency situations.

  • Employee misclassification appeal

    Successfully appealed a decision by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that a cargo and freight company had misclassified approximately 40 truck drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees. Through successful appeal, the client avoided paying at least seven years’ of workers’ compensation premiums and up to ten years of withheld taxes.

  • Sexual harassment investigation

    Advised a private school regarding the investigation and termination of a semi-retired teacher after the school discovered harassment complaints occurring at a different school. Assisted school leadership with cooperating with local police, terminating the teacher and managing potential public relations backlash. 

  • Hospital executive compensation and severance

    Advised a nationally recognized hospital on the negotiation of the departure of multiple members of senior leadership. Drafted employment and separation agreements and negotiated severance amounts. Also advised hospital general counsel on public relations aspects of managing the departures.

  • Sexual harassment allegations against church

    Assisted a church’s pastor with the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by the director and termination of the director. Developed an announcement of the termination to the congregation and a response to media inquiries. 

Professional & Community Activities

  • Member, Ohio Management Lawyers Association
  • Board Member, Habitat for Humanity MidOhio
  • Board Member, St. Agatha School Board

Presentations & Published Works

  • Speaker, "Revisiting #MeToo Movement's Impact on Hospitals," Ohio Hospital Association Annual Meeting, June 2019
  • Panelist, “Getting practical: Tips for managing difficult ADA issues in the workplace,” Hot Topics in Employment Law Seminar, November 2018
  • Speaker, "#MeToo: Preventing Harassment and Investigating Harassment Complaints," Ohio Hospital Association Annual Meeting, June 2018
  • Panelist, "When the ADA, FMLA and Workers' Compensation Intersect," Hot Topics in Employment Law Seminar, November 2017
  • Speaker, "New Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Rules," Hot Topics in Employment Law Seminar, November 2016

Bar Admissions & Activities

  • Admitted, State of Ohio
  • Admitted, United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • Admitted, United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • Admitted, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Member, Columbus Bar Association; Ohio State Bar Association

Awards & Recognition

  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Employment Law - Individuals; Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management; Litigation - Labor and Employment), 2012–2020
  • Recognized, ChambersUSA, Labor & Employment with a Band 3 ranking, 2013–2020
  • Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers (Employment & Labor: Employer), 2009–2020
  • Listed, Top 50 Columbus, Ohio Super Lawyers, 2015, 2017–2018
  • Columbus Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers In America (Employment Law - Individuals), 2015
  • Recipient, Client Choice Award, The International Law Office and Lexology, 2013

Education

  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (J.D.)
  • Miami University (B.A. with honors); Phi Beta Kappa