Once a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Harry I. Johnson, III now serves clients as a management-side defense lawyer, with more than 20 years of experience in traditional labor matters before the NLRB and federal courts. Harry practices across the entire traditional union/labor field, including in NLRB unfair labor practice and representation proceedings, union representation campaigns, union corporate campaigns, labor arbitrations, collective bargaining, labor-management relations, labor-related advice for mergers and acquisitions, and federal and state labor injunction cases. Harry is the co-practice group leader of the firm’s nationally-recognized labor/management relations practice.
Harry has experience in California litigation and federal wage-hour class action defense and related wage-hour compliance counseling. He has regularly defended clients in complex wage-hour class and collective action litigation under both California and federal law, with prior experience in more than 40 such cases. Harry also provides compliance advice to businesses operating under California’s complex statutory requirements to reduce or eliminate exposure related to pay and working hours.
Finally, Harry advises and defends employers on many issues that arise generally under California and federal employment law. These include claims of racial, sexual, age, national origin, disability, and sexual orientation discrimination; harassment claims and investigations; and retaliation claims. Harry has also counseled clients concerning enforceable employment arbitration policies, handbook review, employee competition issues, plant closings, layoffs, employee/labor aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and employment contract drafting and claims.
Harry joined Morgan Lewis following two years of public service at the NLRB (2013–2015). While at the NLRB, Harry was involved in cases making many novel changes in the law. In several of those cases, he authored dissenting opinions that were eventually adopted, in whole or part, on appeal to the federal courts. One notable example was the recent Supreme Court decision Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16–285, (S. Ct. May 21, 2018), which held that the National Labor Relations Act did not render unlawful “class action waiver” provisions in employee arbitration agreements.
During his service on the NLRB, Harry participated in analyzing and deciding many landmark cases, whether in dissent or in the majority. A sample of such cases includes the following:
Browning Ferris Industries, involving the new joint employer standard created by the NLRB
Northwestern University, involving the NLRB’s jurisdiction over scholarship students participating in university athletics
Murphy Oil and related cases, involving the NLRB’s prohibition of “class action waivers” and other terms in employer arbitration agreements
Purple Communications and related cases, involving employee rights to solicit for unions and improved conditions of employment on their employer’s business email and electronic systems
Pacific Lutheran University, creating new standards both for the NLRB’s jurisdiction over religious institutions and the analysis of whether faculty members enjoy the right to unionize as employees at universities
DPI Secuprint and related cases, applying the NLRB’s new unit standards first formulated in Specialty Healthcare
Piedmont Gardens, Fresh & Easy, and other cases regulating what employers legally can and can’t do under the National Labor Relations Act in the course of their own internal investigations
The Finley Hospital and related cases, concerning how the NLRB interprets labor contracts and what contract terms survive after expiration as ongoing terms and conditions of employment
KAG West and other cases regarding the rules that govern how employers may lawfully act during strikes and union organizing campaigns
Babcock & Wilcox, creating new standards for the NLRB in evaluating whether to accept and defer to labor arbitration decisions
Harvard Law School, 1994, J.D.
Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1994, M.A.L.D.
Johns Hopkins University, 1990, B.A., International Studies
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, Labor Law - Management, Century City, The Best Lawyers in America (2023)
Ranked, Labor & Employment, California, Chambers USA (2021, 2022)
Recognized, Leading US Corporate Employment Lawyer, Lawdragon 500 (2020–2022)
Recognized, Top Labor & Employment Lawyers in California, The Daily Journal (2021)
Leading Lawyer, Labor and employment - Labor-management relations, The Legal 500 US (2020–2022)
Recommended, Labor and employment - Labor-management relations, The Legal 500 US (2016–2019)
Recognized, Top Labor & Employment Attorneys in California, The Daily Journal (2011, 2013, 2019)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Recognized, Los Angeles Super Lawyers (2008–present)