John Gardner is a Partner at DeWitt LLP, one of Wisconsin’s largest law firms. He serves as Chair of the Firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, and is also a member of the Firm’s Litigation and Eminent Domain Practice Groups.
Employment/Labor Law and Related Specialties
Since 2004, John has regularly counseled employers regarding employment law compliance matters, helping employers to navigate a wide variety of employment issues, including termination and disciplinary decisions, leave and accommodation challenges, overtime classification and compensation considerations, employee/independent contractor classification questions, personnel policies and procedures, as well as collective bargaining negotiations and union-related challenges. Although John has successfully represented employers in lawsuits, arbitrations and administrative proceedings across the United States, he fully recognizes that the majority of businesses have little interest in incurring attorneys’ fees and other costs in the defense of employment-related lawsuits and tailors much of his practice to helping his clients avoid litigation – and the often exorbitant costs generated from litigation defense – in the first place.
At the same time, John is more than happy to aggressively pursue his clients’ interests through the defense or prosecution of lawsuits whenever necessary. In connection thereto, John has developed a specialty in an area of employment law in which an “all-out” approach in litigation is often critical – the enforcement of restrictive covenants (including non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements and non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements), and protection of an employers’ client relationships, trade secrets and/or other confidential information. John regularly advises his clients regarding the appropriate manners in which to structure and utilize restrictive covenants to best position the clients in the event they have to enforce the covenants through legal processes. In addition, he has successfully represented employers in Wisconsin and across the country in legal proceedings with respect to the enforcement of those agreements, and with respect to related claims for civil theft, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and trade secret misappropriation.
Employer Clients and Representative Laws
Since beginning his practice, John has represented employers of all sizes and from all types of industries, including, construction, trucking, agricultural, religious education, restaurant, cable installation, manufacturing, healthcare, software, engineering, redistribution, staffing services, and financial services, to name a handful. These employers include members of the Fortune 500, as well as businesses that have no more than one or two permanent employees.
Among many others, John has provided counseling and/or represented employers with respect to the following laws: the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”), Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Wisconsin Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (“WFEA”), the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”).
Eminent Domain, Licensing Representation and other Litigation
In addition to his employment law work, John regularly represents businesses and individuals in connection to a wide variety of other civil disputes. These include intellectual property litigation, commercial breach of contract actions, and defamation proceedings, among others.
In addition, John has developed two further legal specialties. First, for a number of years now, John has represented landowners with respect to condemnation/eminent domain disputes and proceedings. These include matters initiated by a variety of governmental actors, including utilities, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, cities, towns, villages and other entities with condemning authority.
Second, John regularly represents Wisconsin licensees, including chiropractors, veterinarians and physicians, in disciplinary actions initiated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, and in connection to complaints filed with other Wisconsin agencies, such as the Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection.