Bruce J. Kasten practices in the areas of employment law, labor relations and employment litigation. Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Mr. Kasten is a member of the Labor and Employment Law sections of the American and Pennsylvania bar associations and the Labor Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He is a 1979 graduate of the Columbus School of Law of The Catholic University of America and a graduate of the University of Scranton.
Areas of Practice
- Personnel Management: employee handbooks and personnel policies; substance abuse testing and control; effective discipline, maintenance of work performance standards and absenteeism management; managing risks in employment terminations.
- Wage and Hour: overtime calculation and payment, minimum wage, "prevailing wage", and wage payment counseling for compliance and litigation under applicable federal, state and local statutes.
- Employment Litigation: employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, "whistleblower" cases, ERISA claims, employment contract and wage claims.
- Occupational Safety and Health: compliance advice, assistance with OSHA investigations and litigation in citation proceedings.
- Mass-Picketing: manage worksite logistics to minimize interference of picketing by organized labor, obtain court ordered injunctive relief to facilitate uninterrupted operations.
- Collective Bargaining: negotiate labor agreements on behalf of employers with labor organizations; handle strikes and other forms of economic pressure in the collective bargaining process.
- Harassment Training: conduct training for employees and management on workplace harassment and "in-house" resolution of disputes involving harassment claims.
- Managerial/Supervisory Training: conduct training on numerous aspects of a manager/supervisor's responsibilities under applicable employment laws, with emphasis on aggressive, proactive, efficient and effective management of employment issues to promote compliance and minimize the risk of costly litigation.
- Family & Medical Leave: compliance and litigating claims under federal and state statutes
- Employees With Disabilities: counseling regarding the interactive process of reasonable accommodations and litigation of discrimination claims under federal, state and local statutes.
- NLRB Litigation: represent employers in unfair labor practice litigation at the National Labor Relations Board.
- Arbitrations: represent employers in grievance and interest arbitrations under applicable labor contracts and labor codes.
- Management Labor Relations: representation of employers in dealings with unions and attempts by employees to seek union representation.
- Union Representational Matters: counsel employers in maintaining a union-free environment and respond to union efforts to organize the employer's employees.
- Counsel to a public transit agency in difficult and acrimonious labor contract negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union seeking major concessions regarding employee co-pays for health insurance. Successfully defended against a mandamus action in the Court of Common Pleas and Commonwealth Court, the latter using the case to establish the policy favoring arbitration of disputes over contract interpretations as matter of Pennsylvania public policy. Also successfully obtained interest arbitration award reducing the employer's liability for health care insurance costs and introducing employee co-pay principle for first time, saving the agency more than $500,000 over the life of the contract.
- Counsel to major manufacturer of industrial lubricants in efforts by PACE to organize one of its manufacturing plants. Negotiated settlement of numerous unfair labor practice charges filed by the union in an attempt to obtain a Gissel bargaining order. Following the resolution of the charges, the firm counseled the company through a successful representation campaign.
- Counsel to numerous general contractors, construction managers and individual contractors in maintaining labor peace and uninterrupted progress on a number of major construction projects. Activities included establishing labor action plans for the projects to maximize control over developing issues, filing secondary boycott charges against offending unions with the NLRB and obtaining mass picketing injunctions to eliminate threats of violence and interruption of work on the project and reduce picketing activity.
- Counsel to a major financial institution in defense of claims that an employee was retaliated against for requesting benefits under an ERISA plan. Obtained the dismissal of all state common law claims in the case, establishing the principle of the pre-emptive effect of ERISA on state common law. The successful ruling facilitated the very successful and amicable resolution to the remaining minor federal claims.
- Counsel to a manufacturer of warehousing equipment in defense of actions by multi-employer ERISA trust funds for alleged unpaid delinquent contributions in excess of $100,000. The firm successfully obtained summary judgment on all claims, including complex issues of contract interpretation involving the eligibility of a substantial number of employees for participation under the terms of the plan.
- Counsel to a plumbing contractor and asbestos abatement contractor in defense of actions by multi-employer ERISA trust funds for alleged unpaid delinquent contributions in each case the plaintiff funds sought amounts well in excess of $1 million. In each instance, the firm was able to resolve the litigation amicably without the payment of any additional contributions to the plaintiff funds.
- Counsel to six different employers in manufacturing and heavy construction cited by OSHA for willful violations of the federal statute involving the fatality of at least one employee. The statute permits the criminal prosecution of responsible officials in such circumstances, in addition to monetary fines and penalties. In some of these cases, the proposed penalties ranged from $500,000 to $1 million. In each instance, the firm resolved the cases without criminal prosecution or individual liability to any company officers and for only modest monetary payments, without extensive litigation.
- Counsel to a major pharmaceutical company in defense of claims by a competitor that the hiring of a prominent research and development executive amounted to theft of trade secrets, invoking the inevitable disclosure doctrine. Successfully negotiated resolution to the federal court action while allowing the employee to continue to work for the firm's client without substantial restriction.
- Counsel to a non-profit corporation successfully obtaining dismissal of claims under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The case presented the unique question as to the scope of the Act's protection of employees who claim retaliation during a dispute with their employer over the appropriate medical treatment of individuals receiving services through the agency. The Court ruled that the statute does not provide employees with a cause of action in the event of such disputes; the firm obtained the dismissal of all federal claims.
- Counsel to a non-profit corporation in defense of claims for wrongful discharge. The case presented the issue of the scope of wrongful discharge tort under state law. The Court's decision substantially narrowed the scope of claims cognizable against employers under this cause of action.
- Counsel to a non-profit corporation in employment discrimination litigation involving questions concerning the retroactivity of amendments to civil rights statutes and the scope of Section 1981 of the statute to at-will employment relationships. The firm obtained an important ruling for all employers that the amendments did not have retroactive effect, rejecting the plaintiff's more broad interpretation of the scope of Section 1981.
- Counsel to a trucking company in the defense of claims under the WARN Act for failure to provide statutory notice of layoffs in the event of the closure of numerous trucking terminals. The potential liability for a group of individual plaintiffs numbering over 100 was approximately $1.5 million. The matter was amicably resolved for a very modest payment without extensive litigation and prior to costly discovery.
- New Jersey
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
- Supreme Court of New Jersey
- Columbus School of Law of The Catholic University of America, J.D., 1979
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 1987-present
- Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey, Newark, New Jersey
- Associate, 1979-1981
- American Bar Association
- Labor and Employment Law Section
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Labor and Employment Law Section
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Labor Law Section
Honors / Awards
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2013-2014
- Listed in Who's Who in Executives and Professionals
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Author, "Federal Court Rules NLRB's Union Posting Rule Unlawful," Duane Morris Alert, April 16, 2012
- Co-author, "The Employee Free Choice Act - What's an Employer to Do?" New York State Bar Association Journal, September 2009
- Co-author, "Employee Free Choice Act Moving Forward Ahead of Schedule: Is Your Company Ready?" Duane Morris Alert, March 13, 2009
- Co-author, "President Issues Executive Order Encouraging the Use of Project Labor Agreements on Federal Construction Projects," Duane Morris Alert, March 9, 2009
- Author, "The Employee Free Choice Act—Is Your Organization Prepared?" Employment Law Strategist, March 2009
- Author, "The Employee Free Choice Act—Is Your Organization Prepared?" Duane Morris Alert, December 3, 2008
- Co-Author, "Court Leaves Arbitration Issue Open," The National Law Journal, January 11, 1999
- Co-Author, "Domestic-Partner Benefits Plans Raise Legal Issues," The National Law Journal, June 8, 1998
- Co-Author, "Recent Cases Brought Under the Americans with Disabilities Act Hinge Upon Interpretations of 'Disability' as Well as 'Essential Functions' of a Particular Job," The National Law Journal, September 30, 1996
- Selected Seminar Presentations:
- "Developments in Workplace Privacy and Email, Wage-and-Hour Law, and Occupational Safety and Health," Duane Morris' Developments in Workplace Law and Practice 2010, Philadelphia
- "Effective Hiring Practices," ADP Hiring Workshops, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey
- "Americans with Disabilities Act," Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, Delaware Valley Hospital Council, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA
- "Personnel and Employment Law in New Jersey," Federal Publications, Inc., Princeton, NJ
- "Pennsylvania Labor and Employment Law," National Business Institute, Philadelphia, PA
- "Business Law Update" (Labor Relations and Employment Law Developments), Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, PA
- "Managing in the Era of Emerging Employee Rights," Federal Publications, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, NV
- "Remaining Union Free," Pennsylvania Nursing Home Association
- "At-Will Employment in Pennsylvania," Federal Publications
- "At-Will Employment in New Jersey," Federal Publications
- "Wrongful Discharge Litigation," Federal Publications
- "Managing in the Era of Emerging Employee Rights," Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association
- "At-Will Employment Doctrine," Montgomery County Bar Association, Bench-Bar Conference
- "Emerging Employee Rights," Bux-Mont Industrial Relations Group
- "Controlling Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace," International Bridge, Turnpike and Tunnel Authorities, San Diego, CA
- "Emerging Employee Rights," Area Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury, MD
- "Managing in the Era of Emerging Employee Rights in Delaware," National Business Institute
- "Living With The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)," PENJERDEL Employee Benefits & Compensation Association, Philadelphia, PA.
- "The Top Ten Employment Law Issues in a Challenging Economy," Fluid Power Distributors Association, Plain Desert, CA; Orlando, FLA.