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.

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    Sample of Representative Cases

    • Grissom v. The Mills (favorable six figure judgment at trial)
    • Butler v. Southern States (dismissal reversed on appeal in favor of client, set new precedent regarding the legal test for liability in workplace assaults)
    • Jackson v. GMR, Inc. (million dollar verdict in favor of client; entire verdict affirmed on appeal)
    • Park v. SMIGMS (directed verdict at trial; affirmed on appeal)
    • ExcelaCom v. Garcia (favorable settlement in contract and trade secrets case on the eve of trial)
    • Doctors Groover, Christie & Merritt v. Olan (judgment reversed on appeal in favor of client)
    • Franey v. IBM (low-cost settlement for corporate client at a fraction of damages demand)
    • Anglinmatumona v. Micron Technology (successful dismissal of claims on summary judgment, appeal denied by the Fourth Circuit, certiorari denied by US Supreme Court)
    • Washington Workplace v. SupplySource, Inc. (favorable pre-trial settlement)
    • Bodrogligeti v. Borders, Inc. (disability discrimination case ultimately dismissed by court)
    • Schirf v. Alexandria Country Day School (plaintiff dropped case after exposure during deposition, related fees and costs awarded to client)
    • Mercadante et al. v. Xe Services, Inc. (among the lead attorneys selected to represent national corporation Xe Services, Inc. in two high-profile wage and hour class action suits)

    Examples of Diverse Counseling and Compliance Matters

    • Member and field co-leader of the largest of three attorney teams for AmLaw 100 law firm selected by US Agriculture Department to conduct year-long US$7 million, 14-state, discrimination investigation in response to decades old class actions brought by black and Native American farmers.
    • Guided a New York-based university through a US Department of Education audit that preserved its status and ensured full compliance with regulatory and civil rights requirements.
    • Advised a Florida nursing institution in ensuring its policies and procedures were consistent with legal and regulatory requirements allowing it to obtain accreditation.
    • Handled more than 100 administrative charges and complaints brought before the EEOC, US DOL, various inspectors general and state human rights agencies with nearly 100% dismissal rate.
    • Conducted dozens of internal investigations for public sector entities and Fortune 500 companies, including harassment, systemic discrimination, fraud, waste and abuse allegations, ethics violations, pay equity and workplace violence.
    • Developed risk reduction strategies for DC government agency, streamlining and strengthening compliance efforts, dispute resolution and internal investigative practices, leading to a 20% reduction in employment lawsuits from prior years and saving hundreds of thousands in potential litigation.
    • More than a decade of experience developing and presenting seminars, training sessions and leadership programs covering a wide range of employment topics from anti-harassment to workplace civility to trade secrets protection.

    Education

    • George Mason University School of Law, J.D., with honors, 2004
    • Ball State University, M.A., History, summa cum laude, 1996
    • Kenyon College, B.A., History, cum laude, 1993

    Admissions

    • District of Columbia, 2005
    • Virginia, 2004

    Memberships and Affiliations

    • Association of Corporate Counsel
    • American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section
    • Entertainment & Sports Industry Forum
    • DC Bar, Member, Arts, Entertainment, Media & Sports Committee; Chair, Sports Law Section
    • Virginia Bar Association
    • Fairfax Bar Association
    • Greater Washington Board of Trade
    • National Association of Women Business Owners, Virginia Chapter
    • Loudoun Chamber of Commerce
    • Sports Lawyers Association
    • Association of Women Investigators
    • Research Advisor, George Mason School of Law Institute of Economic Research, 2004
    • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Ball State University, 1994-95
    • Best Appellate Brief in Section Award, George Mason School of Law, 2002
    • Distinction, Master's Thesis, Oral Defense, Ball State University, 1996

    Publications

    • Contributing Author/Editor, Association for Corporate Counsel Employment and Labor Law Newsletter, 2015-present.
    • Author, “The Risks of Using In-House Counsel to Conduct Internal Investigations,” Virginia Employment Law Journal, 2013.
    • Co-Author, In the Arena: A Sports Law Handbook, Title IX Chapter, The New York State Bar Association, 2013.
    • Quoted, "Should Coaches Contracts Incentivize Academic Success?" Athletic Business Magazine, 2012.
    • Author, "Coaching Contracts and the Federal Incentive Compensation Ban," Win AD, 2012.
    • Author, "What Athletic Directors Need To Know – A Title VII and Title IX Primer," Winthrop Intelligence, 2012.
    • Contributing Author/Administrator, Bean Kinney & Korman Employment Law Blog, 2013-2015.
    • Contributing Author/Editor, Bean Kinney & Korman Employment Law Newsletter, 2013-2015.
    • Contributing Author, Jackson Lewis Sports Law Blog, 2011-2013.
    • Author/Lead Editor, County Executives of America Newsletter (writing hundreds of articles throughout tenure), 1996-2000.

    Speaking Engagements

    • Panel Member, “The Impact of the “MeToo” Movement on DC Employers,” sponsored by the DC Bar Association, April 2019.
    • Presenter, “Systemic Discrimination: Anticipating and Responding to EEOC Investigations,” Association for Corporate Counsel Bi-Annual Meeting, April 2016.
    • Presenter, “Litigating, Negotiating, and Settling Non-Competes,” Fairfax Bar Association, April 2014.
    • Chair, DC’s Pro Sports Teams Talk: “Law, Salary Cap, Salary Arbitration, Contract Negotiations and More,” Sponsored by the D.C. Bar Arts, Entertainment, Media, Sports and Technology Committee, February 2014.
    • Panelist, “Know Your Workplace Rights,” Sponsored by the Employment Law Forum for the DC Women’s Bar Association, January 2014.
    • Panelist, “Handling Scandal,” 3rd Annual Duke University Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium, January 2012.
    • Presenter, “Legislative Developments in Employment Law,” Society for Human Resource Management Lunch & Learn Series, June 2011.
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