Jennifer Harper utilizes her experience as in-house counsel and as a public policy professional to represent a wide range of companies on the full range of labor and employment matters, including workplace litigation, legislation and regulations. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, mid-size businesses, and smaller and start-up enterprises in industries including technology, finance, sports, media and entertainment, utilities, government contractors, healthcare, hospitality, education and retail.
Jennifer has more than 20 years of combined experience in labor and employment law and public policy. As a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice, she advises on all aspects of talent management across an organization's matrix starting at entry-level positions up through C-suites and boards of directors. As a member of the firm’s Public Policy Group, Jennifer represents clients on all workforce legislation, regulations and executive actions issued by federal agencies, Congress, the White House, states and municipalities.
Jennifer’s expertise covers the entire spectrum of people operations, from recruitment through separation, including hiring, work agreements, compensation, health and benefits, job performance, corporate governance, ethics, organizational change, RIFs, retirement plans, separations, audits, investigations, union relations, due process and EEO/regulatory compliance. She further advises on employment-related business operations with particular emphasis on M&As, workforce integrations and restructurings, employee mobility, data privacy/cybersecurity, restrictive covenants and trade secret protection. A skilled litigator, Jennifer’s background includes more than 15 years of demonstrated experience as a first and second chair trial lawyer, representing public and private entities before federal/state courts, government agencies, arbitration tribunals and on the global stage.
Jennifer has specific expertise in EEO and equity compliance across regulated platforms, such as higher education, government contracting, nonprofits, utilities and public sector services. Throughout her career, she has guided organizations through compliance audits and investigations commenced by federal and state agencies, as well as represented entities in agency lawsuits and enforcement actions. She has represented organizations in trials and administrative hearings before the US Department of Labor, US Department of Education, EEOC, NLRB, and state and local agencies. She also works closely with organizations to ensure internal compliance with laws and regulations. Her expertise includes the effective development/management of employee hotlines, reporting and investigative policies, inspection and assurance processes, and investigations of internal complaints. Her work includes a multimillion nationwide diversity review for a US government agency, corporate-wide wage audits, comprehensive pay equity analyses, HR performance optimization reviews, employee classification evaluations and internal investigations for private and public sector organizations involving issues such as discrimination, whistleblower violations, fraud, waste and abuse, conflict of interest/ethics rules and corporate governance.
Jennifer’s extensive law practice includes serving both as an outside and in-house counsel to public and private sector organizations. Previously, she was an attorney and law partner at AmLaw 100 international labor and employment firms, as well as a shareholder at a well-established regional firm in Virginia. She also was the principal employment counsel for a US$4 billion District of Columbia independent agency created by Congress. There, she served as chief counsel for labor and employment law and litigation, as well as EEO compliance. In both roles, she has managed the legal aspects of internal business operations, including HR, procurement, commercial transactions and corporate governance. While in-house, Jennifer was the architect for the agency’s global compliance initiative that sought to streamline assurance, reporting, investigations and resolutions across multiple operational platforms. She led investigations into complaints related to discrimination, whistleblower laws, federal labor law violations, conflict of interest/ethics issues, standards of conduct, health and environmental issues, and claims filed with inspectors general. She also was the primary attorney advising the General Counsel, President and Board of Directors on employment and compliance matters, while serving as the legal liaison to related federal and local government agencies.
In private practice, Jennifer has represented domestic and foreign organizations in diverse industries, including education, government contracting, information technology, retail, hospitality, sports, entertainment, finance, healthcare, energy, utilities and manufacturing. Her clients include global conglomerates, Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size businesses, and startup enterprises. Internationally, she advises companies on cross-border employment issues and guides foreign-based companies in structuring their workforce upon entry to the US market. She has worked directly with government officials and corporate leaders to help establish public-private partnerships in the US backed by her past leadership as a co-founder of the International Institute for Regional Development, a successful nonprofit organization dedicated to improving economic ties between business and local governments in Europe and the US. In that capacity, she facilitated deals between local governments and European businesses seeking to locate operations in the US, hosted economic events and even taught seminars to locally elected officials in emerging east European countries.
A proactive thought-leader, Jennifer stays ahead of public policies that can often change the way people work, particularly in the realm of federal labor legislation. Jennifer brings nearly a decade of experience managing strategic initiatives for stakeholders in workplace legislation and regulations. She was an original member of the government affairs practice at another major law firm, serving as Secretary/Treasurer for one of the firm’s separate nonprofit groups, where she directly advocated for client interests before Congress, the White House and federal agencies. Previously, Jennifer held roles as an executive and lobbyist for local government groups, trade associations and independent businesses. She was a founding member and Associate Director of the County Executives of America, a preeminent Washington DC association representing more than 700 elected county executives across the US. She served as Director of Government and Community Affairs for the City of Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and started her career as a government affairs professional at the National Industries for the Blind, advocating for workplace opportunities for people with disabilities.
Jennifer does pro bono work with political campaigns and citizen groups on voting rights protection and integrity in the election process. As part of that work, she has served as Associate General Counsel and a three-term member of the Steering Committee for Virginia’s Promote the Vote campaign.
Jennifer has been active in numerous professional associations that support law and business, such as the American Bar Association, DC and Virginia State bars, Greater Washington Board of Trade, National Association of Women Business Owners, Sports Lawyers Association, and Association of Women Investigators. She is a former national member of the Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) Employment and Labor Law Committee, serving as Co-Chair of the Communications and Policy Subcommittees for three years. She also served as an ACC advisory board member on employment law. From 2012-2105, Jennifer was elected by the DC bar membership to serve a three-year term as Chair of the Sports Law Subcommittee.
Jennifer is a frequent speaker at professional events and has been featured in local and national news media. She has been quoted by major news outlets, such as USA Today, and has written extensively on workplace laws and regulations. Jennifer co-wrote the Title IX chapter of the New York State Bar’s published handbook on sports law and regularly teaches CLE courses on equity, compliance and employment law.
Sample of Representative Cases
Examples of Diverse Counseling and Compliance Matters