William D. Edwards

Partner | Chair, Employment & Labor


Practice Areas:

Chair of the Employment & Labor Group, Bill routinely represents employers in all aspects of the employment relationship. Bill has extensive experience representing employers in matters ranging from EEOC collective action litigation to single-plaintiff wrongful termination claims.

As a seasoned trial lawyer, Bill also assists employers in taking proactive steps to stay out of the courtroom through, among other efforts, advice and training on employee-disciplinary issues. He has been recognized among The Best Lawyers in America® in Employment Law – Management and has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list.

Education & Admissions

Education

  • Wittenberg University

    (B.A., cum laude, 1989)

  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law

    (J.D., 1993)

Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

State of Ohio

Experience

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • A national credit card company, accused of breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA for failing to provide spousal death benefit coverage to an employee (obtained dismissal of all claims, affirmed on appeal).
  • A regional transportation authority accused of non-compliance with the ADA’s Accessibility provisions (obtained dismissal of all claims).
  • A regional housing developer/builder accused by six different families and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission of discrimination on the basis of race by not offering favorable purchase terms to African-American buyers (obtained dismissal of all claims).
  • A regional multi-family housing provider accused of gender discrimination in connection with the termination of a female employee (obtained dismissal of all claims, affirmed on appeal).
  • A national multi-family housing provider accused of race discrimination in the leasing of apartment units to fair housing testers (obtained dismissal of all claims).
  • A national multi-family housing developer, accused of constructing apartment buildings in non-compliance with the Fair Housing Act’s Accessibility provisions (obtained dismissal of all claims).
  • A national television company accused of unlawful retaliation in response to an employee complaint of same-sex sexual harassment.
  • A regional multi-family housing provider accused of unlawful retaliation in the eviction of plaintiff tenant (favorable jury verdict, affirmed on appeal).
  • A national broker-dealer accused of unlawful race discrimination by a former employee (obtained reversal of $2.2 million jury verdict on appeal).
  • A national apartment management company accused of the wrongful termination of an employee in violation of public policy (obtained dismissal of all claims).
  • A global manufacturing company accused of improper denial of an employee promotion in violation of the FMLA and the Labor Management Relations Act (obtained dismissal of all claims).

REPORTED CASES

  • Yeager v. FirstEnergy Generation Corp., 777 F.3d 362 (6th Cir. 2015) (Religious Discrimination).
  • Ross v. Rockwell Automation, Inc. et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, 2015 WL 3970128, June 30, 2015 (Sexual harassment, Hostile Work Environment).
  • Morrissette v. DFS Services LLC, 2013-Ohio-4336, 2013 WL 5451109 (10th Dist. App. Ct.) (Affirming dismissal of plaintiff’s age discrimination claims via summary judgment at trial court level).
  • Veltri v. DFS Services LLC, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, 2011 WL 3667447, August 22, 2011 (Disability Discrimination, Wrongful Termination).
  • Fredebaugh v. Rockwell Automation/Reliance Electric Technologies, Case No. 1:08-CV-621, United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, 2010 WL 4365876, October 28, 2010 (ERISA)
  • Osadciw v. Ganley Chrysler Jeep, Case No. 1:09-CV-486, United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, 2010 WL 3767590, September 24, 2010 (Age Discrimination)
  • Fields v. NCR Corp., 683 F.Supp.2d 980 (S.D. IA 2010) (Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements)
  • Eppert v. Swank, Case No. 3:07-CV-221, United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11804, February 14, 2008 (ERISA, Wrongful Termination)
  • Meeker v. Vitt, Case No. 1:04-CV-1318, United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15009, March 31, 2006 (Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination)
  • Showe Mgmt. Corp. v. Kerr, Case No. 83406, Court of Appeals, Eighth Appellate District, 2004 Ohio App. LEXIS 2272, May 20, 2004 (Directed Verdict Affirmed on Appeal)
  • Rucker v. Everen Secs, Case No. 81540, Court of Appeals, Eighth Appellate District, 2003 Ohio App. LEXIS 1103, March 13, 2003 (Promissory Estoppel)
  • Page-Walters v. Discover Financial Servs., Case No. 02AP-899, Court of Appeals, Tenth Appellate District, 2003 Ohio App. LEXIS 1811, April 15, 2003 (ERISA)
  • Elliot v. Sterling Mgmt., 744 N.E.2d 560 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001) (Gender Discrimination)

Publications & Presentations

Publications

  • “Coming Soon – Watch for New Department of Labor Overtime Exemption Regulations,” Ulmer & Berne LLP, Client Alert (March 2016)
  • “Facts and Fallacies About Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” National Retail Tenants Association Newsletter (November 2014)
  • “Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection Expanded,” Ulmer & Berne LLP, Client Alert (March 2014)
  • “Employment Practices Liability Insurance: You Better Shop Around,” The Employment Law Strategist (April 1999)
  • “Stating Preferences Under the Fair Housing Act:  What You Say (or Advertise) Can Hurt You,” Suites Magazine – Northeast Ohio Apartment Association (Fall 1998)
  • “Marketing Critical in Fair Lending Cases,” Crain’s Cleveland Business (October 1998)
  • “Think Before You Offer: Rule 68 Offers of Judgment,” The Cleveland Bar Journal (May 1998)

Presentations

  • “Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Law: Everything an Employer Needs to Know in 20 Minutes,” Ohio ABC Seminar (March 2017)
  • “Background Checks, References, and Pre-Employment Testing: Best Practices for Employers,” webinar, Ohio Chamber of Commerce HR Academy (October 2016)
  • “Understanding and Complying with the New Final EEOC Wellness Program Regulations,” webinar, Ohio Chamber of Commerce HR Academy (August 2016)
  • Best Practices for Responding to an EEOC or OCRC Charge of Discrimination,” presenter, Effective Strategies for Managing Employment Litigation Pre-Trial Practice and Discovery seminar presented by Ulmer & Berne (March 2016)
  • “Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in the Interview Process, ” 10,000 Small Businesses Legal Clinic, Goldman Sachs (November 2014)
    “Minimizing Liability in Problematic Civil Cases (Rule 68 Offers of Judgment & Other Methods),” Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Federal Court Training Seminar (June 2013)
    “Proactive Strategies for Managing Your Workforce,” Cohen & Company’s Annual CPE Half-Day Seminar (June 2013)
  • “ADAAA Update/Final EEOC Regs,” Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 12th Annual Northern Ohio Labor & Employment Law Conference (May 2012)
  • “Downsizing the Right Way – How to Avoid Reduction in Force Litigation,” Hot Topics: Financial Services Update 2008 (December 2008)
  • “Winning Employment Discrimination Cases,” PriceWaterhouseCoopers General Counsel Forum (August 2008)
  • “Practical Tips When Dealing with Allegations of Discrimination in the Workplace,” ACCA Seminar (August 2008)
  • “Effective Interviewing and Hiring,” Hiring and Orientation from A to Z (October 2006)
  • “Retaliation Claims: When Two for One Is No Bargain,” Rockwell Automation (August 2006)
  • “Employment Litigation Update,” Hot Topics: Financial Services Update 2006 (May 2006)
  • “Working Your Way From the Courtroom Backward: Developments in Employment Discrimination Litigation,” Hot Liability Topics for Financial Service Providers (March 2005)
  • “Hiring and Firing Landmines,” ERC 2004 Employment Litigation Series (June 2004)
  • “Workplace Surveillance and Employee Privacy… Is Anything Private?,” Best Practices in Employment Law 2003 (July 2003)
  • “Criminal Background Checks and The Fair Credit Reporting Act – How to Reject Applicants and Not Get Sued,” The Northeast Ohio Apartment Association, (February 2003)
  • “Accommodating Disabled Residents and Potential Tenants with an Eye Towards the Requirements of the Fair Housing Act and ADA – Recent Developments,” National Multi-Housing Council Lawyer’s Forum (April 2002)
  • The National Multi-Housing Council (April 2001)
  • “Batson Challenges – Is The Judge’s Intuition Sufficient?,” Lucent Technologies Inc., (August 2000)
  • “Proactive Counseling – How to Avoid a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit,” The Cleveland Bar Association (March 2000)
  • “Funneling Your Way From the Courthouse Backwards:  Advanced Tips on Conducting an Effective Internal Investigation,” NASA (March 1999)
  • “Act in Haste, Repent in Leisure: Investigating a Sexual Harassment Complaint,” The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business (February 1998)

Involvement

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • American Bar Association (Litigation – Corporate Counsel and Employment Sections)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Northeast Ohio Apartment Association

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Wittenberg University, Board of Directors
  • Little Italy Redevelopment Corporation, Board of Directors
  • NE Ohio Chapter, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (Former Board Member)
  • NE Ohio Affiliate, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (Former Board Member)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 3 R’s Program (Volunteer)
  • Cleveland Foodbank (Volunteer)

FIRM INVOLVEMENT

  • Employment & Labor Litigation, Chair

Honors

HONORS

  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law – Management (2009-2018)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (2011; 2013-2015; 2017)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (2005-2007)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation (Fellow)