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 has 'great knowledge of labor and employment law. He is reliable, responsive and provides practical legal advice.’"

Bricker client as quoted in Chambers USA, 2021

"Jim Petrie 'is one of the best attorneys I have ever worked with. He is accessible, responsive, and knowledgeable, but most of all he has been a true trusted advisor.'"

Tim Cahill, Adena Health System, as quoted in Best Lawyers, 2020

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

Bricker client as quoted in Chambers USA, 2020


  • COVID-19 management counseling

    Helped clients understand their legal obligations under new labor and employment laws passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drafted work-from-home, leave, and reopening policies; advised on mass layoff obligations, terminations, furloughs, unemployment issues, and alternative work arrangements; and recommended best practices for essential workers, safe reopening, employee testing and health assessments, employee travel, and face covering requirements.

  • Disability discrimination and harassment defense

    Defended a health care system against claims of disability discrimination and harassment and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) interference lodged by a 10-year employee against two members of the system’s human resources department and the employee’s former manager. Through extensive negotiations, resolved the matter for a fraction of the employee’s initial demand.

  • Healthcare client’s bonus program audit

    Conducted a full analysis of a healthcare client’s multi-faceted bonus programs to determine compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws. Developed options for changing the criteria of several bonus programs and pay calculations to avoid possible wage law violations regarding the calculation of overtime. Created a plan for correcting possible improper overtime calculations for a two-year look back period.

  • 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. 

Professional & Community Activities

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

Presentations & Published Works

  • Speaker, "Common Pay Issues Facing Hospitals, Including Pay Codes and Bonuses," Ohio Hospital Association Annual Meeting, June 2021
  • Speaker, "Impact of COVID on Hospitals as Employers," Ohio Society of Health Care Human Resources Administrators Fall Conference, October 2020
  • 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

  • Recognized, ChambersUSA, Labor & Employment with a Band 3 ranking, 2013–2021
  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Employment Law - Individuals; Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management; Litigation - Labor and Employment), 2012–2021
  • Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers (Employment & Labor: Employer), 2009–2021
  • 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


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