Todd A. Dawson

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7652
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Todd Dawson concentrates his practice in the labor relations, wage and hour, and class litigation areas. He assists employers in all phases of labor relations, with a particular focus on the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, strike preparation and assistance, and the defense and prosecution of unfair labor practices. In the wage and hour arena, Todd has handled class and collective actions ranging from several hundred putative class members to several thousand. Todd has also handled class actions involving plant closings, changes in retiree healthcare benefits and various state law issues. With a passion for negotiating and reaching mutual resolutions, Todd collaborates with his clients to understand all facets of their businesses and address their individual inner workings and needs.

Todd is listed in The Best Lawyers in America©. He is a regular contributor to BakerHostetler's Employment Class Action blog, offering commentary on recent class action decisions and trends affecting employers.

Select Experience

  • Experienced in assisting clients with preparing for and defending against union organizing efforts under the National Labor Relations Board's "ambush" and "micro-unit" election rules, including litigation over supervisory status, appropriate unit considerations and alleged campaign violations.
  • Represented a Tier One auto supplier in association with union negotiations at a plant of approximately 500 workers, including negotiation of significant concessions in wages, health insurance and pension benefits, necessitated by industry conditions.
  • Assisted a client in the negotiation of a plant shutdown and the relocation of bargaining unit work following an impasse in collective bargaining negotiations and a lockout of employees. Successfully argued before the National Labor Relations Board for pre-complaint dismissal of multiple unfair labor practice charges filed by the union.
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Experience

  • Experienced in assisting clients with preparing for and defending against union organizing efforts under the National Labor Relations Board's "ambush" and "micro-unit" election rules, including litigation over supervisory status, appropriate unit considerations and alleged campaign violations.
  • Represented a Tier One auto supplier in association with union negotiations at a plant of approximately 500 workers, including negotiation of significant concessions in wages, health insurance and pension benefits, necessitated by industry conditions.
  • Assisted a client in the negotiation of a plant shutdown and the relocation of bargaining unit work following an impasse in collective bargaining negotiations and a lockout of employees. Successfully argued before the National Labor Relations Board for pre-complaint dismissal of multiple unfair labor practice charges filed by the union.
  • Successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that implemented a two-tiered wage scale, a new health insurance structure and the freezing of a defined benefit pension plan following client acquisition of a unionized facility.
  • Won a trial court verdict in a class action involving approximately 800 potential class members alleging unlawful termination of their collectively bargained retiree health insurance under Sixth Circuit Yard-Man precedent. Affirmed on appeal before the Sixth Circuit.
  • Obtained dismissal of a class litigation involving approximately 1,000 potential class members alleging unlawful implementation of caps on employer contributions toward retiree health insurance premiums. Affirmed on appeal before the Sixth Circuit.
  • Successfully argued a case of first impression before the Sixth Circuit in which the appellate court held that retirees can be required to arbitrate disputes over collectively bargained retiree health insurance.
  • Represented a client in the negotiation of a plant closing agreement caused by a global reorganization that closely followed (but did not result from) the unionization of employees. A favorable closing agreement was reached without the filing of unfair labor practice charges.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Legal 500 United States (2017)
    • Recommended in Labor-management relations
  • Acritas Star (2016)
  • BTI Client Service All-Star (2016)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2013 to present)
    • Ohio: Labor Law – Management
    • Ohio: Litigation – Labor and Employment

Memberships

  • American Bar Association: Labor Law Committee 
    • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Subcommittee: Contributing author to the FLSA Midwinter Report
    • National Labor Relations Act Development Subcommittee
  • Ohio State Bar Association: Labor Law Committee

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 1999
  • Ohio

Education

  • J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1998
  • B.A., Political Science, Youngstown State University, 1994

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
Employer's Profit-Sharing Plan Is Not Covered by ERISA, Pennsylvania Federal Court Finds
By Gilbert P. Brosky
July 2, 2019
One of the most fundamental, but often overlooked, defenses in ERISA litigation is that the plaintiff did not allege a violation of an actual ERISA plan. An at-issue document/provision cannot be an ERISA pension plan unless it provides...
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Employment Class Action Blog
NY Law Doesn't Prevent Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims
By John B. Lewis
July 1, 2019
Recent New York legislation in reaction to the #MeToo movement has sought to limit or foreclose arbitration of employment-related disputes. See N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 7515 (“§ 7515”) and its June 19, 2019, amendment, bill S6577/A842. The bill...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Tennessee District Court Conditionally Certifies ADEA Collective Action
By Gregory V. Mersol
June 14, 2019
Connecting the dots will likely be a problem down the road . . . The overwhelming majority of employment class or collective actions today are wage and hour matters. The two-step paradigm for certifying wage and hour claims under the Fair...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Can Delivery Drivers Be Compelled to Arbitrate After New Prime? New Jersey Appellate Courts Seem to Take Conflicting Positions
By John B. Lewis
June 10, 2019
After New Prime v. Oliveira, 139 S. Ct. 532 (2019), many wondered if state arbitration law could be applied when transportation workers were found to be exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) based on § 1. See our January 17, 2019...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Sixth Circuit Affirms Complex Settlement of FLSA Claims Involving Exotic Dancers
June 6, 2019
An FLSA collective action involving exotic dancers is brought in 2008 and settles in 2011. Five years later, the same attorneys file essentially the same case with many of the same dancers as class members against some of the same...
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