Kevin C. Donovan Partner

     

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Kevin Donovan concentrates his practice on all aspects of labor law and employment litigation and counseling, including certain employee health benefits issues facing employers. He represents clients at the trial and appellate levels as well as in administrative actions.  He has more than 30 years of labor and employment law experience representing employers of all sizes. Kevin also is an advocate for clients in emergent injunction actions involving union-management labor disputes and other employment matters, including the protection of intellectual property assets.

Kevin believes in the power of tenacity and presents an innovative and aggressive defense. The other side of that coin is his unfailing ability to exploit the weaknesses in his opponent’s case, using both long-term strategy and diligent preparation. Leaving nothing to chance, Kevin educates his clients on the law as it applies to them, counsels them on best practices and practical solutions, and looks for the quickest and most efficient path to a successful conclusion. In that regard, Kevin believes it is critical to acquire an understanding not only of each client’s business but also its culture, to match his litigation strategy with the client’s goals.

Areas of Focus

Employment & Labor
As a trial attorney, Kevin defends management against alleged employment discrimination and wrongful discharge actions under federal and state law. Kevin advises clients regarding their rights and obligations under federal labor law (NLRA), and prepares and tries arbitration cases under collective bargaining agreements. He uses his knowledge of the myriad laws regulating the workplace to guide clients through difficult employment issues as they arise, and advises employers regarding their obligations under federal and state fair employment practice laws and many other employment and employee benefit laws, including Title VII, ADEA, ADA, FLSA, FMLA, COBRA, ERISA and the federal health care privacy rules (HIPAA). Kevin counsels businesses seeking to design effective organizations, assisting them in creating handbooks and personnel polices suited both for compliance with the law and for ease and effectiveness in implementation. Kevin also has provided management/non-management training throughout the nation on employment law issues, particularly the subject of unlawful harassment.

Life, Health, Disability & ERISA
Kevin advises and defends clients facing claims brought under ERISA and non-ERISA covered plans. Such matters/claims include alleged breach of fiduciary duty, denial or termination of life, disability and accidental death benefits, wrongful discharge in alleged violation of ERISA, eligibility for early retirement benefits, failure to disclose claims, and denial of severance benefits. Kevin has prepared COBRA and HIPAA Privacy Rule policies and plan language.

Fair Housing & Discrimination Claims
With more than 30 years of experience in the defense of unlawful discrimination claims, Kevin also has successfully defended numerous property managers and real estate owners before HUD and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights against charges of sex, race, disability, family status, sexual orientation and source of income discrimination. He also advises property owners on wage and hour requirements, including the proper treatment for wage purposes of on-site housing provided to site managers and maintenance staff. Additionally, Kevin has successfully litigated fair housing and other discrimination claims in New Jersey state and federal courts, including the New Jersey Appellate Division and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Municipal
Kevin has represented government-related clients facing issues such as alleged wrongful discharge, failure to promote, discrimination, denial of due process, Section 1983, breach of contract and other claims.

Representative Matters

Defeated a multitude of allegations brought against a client under the National Labor Relations Act. The claimant ultimately withdrew all of her claims.

Persuaded the court to dismiss state common law employment claims of employee who alleged that she was wrongfully discharged despite superior performance.

Persuaded the court to dismiss alleged wrongful discharge claims brought under federal and state law. The plaintiff had argued that her discharge, shortly before the effective date of a new enhanced retirement package and allegedly in violation of company policy, violated her alleged employment contract and was designed to deprive her of that ERISA benefit. 

Successfully argued before Third Circuit Court of Appeals that employer’s policy of docking employees’ leave banks for hourly absence does not destroy FLSA exempt status; also defeating putative nationwide class action. 

In a case of first impression, court extended “collateral order” doctrine to permit immediate appeal from trial court denial of enforcement of unexecuted Title VII settlement agreement. 

Defeated plaintiff's argument that her discharge, allegedly in retaliation for filing Title VII action and to “chill” filings by other employees, provided the irreparable harm element necessary for immediate injunction reinstating her to employment. 

Defeated alleged employment contract claims of multiple employees brought against a public university. 

Obtained injunctive relief against ex-employee who sought to exploit employer's customer/opportunity to the benefit of his own company; trial commenced. 

Successfully obtained and defended, after contested hearing, temporary restraints prohibiting ex-employee manager from disclosing trade secrets of former employer. 

Evidence of multiple prior acts of alleged discrimination sought to be used by plaintiffs were excluded from trial, and motion for leave to appeal to Supreme Court denied. In the same case, successfully argued that inadvertent disclosure to potential plaintiff of in-house attorney's legal analysis memorandum does not destroy its privileged status. 

Employee's own receipt of manual allegedly promising job security fails to state implied contract claim due to, inter alia, limited distribution among overall workforce. 

Persuaded Administrative Law Judge, after trial, that truck driver was not discharged in retaliation for refusing to violate DOT regulations governing maximum driving hours.