Public Sector Employers

We are concerned with every aspect of the employer-employee relationship in the public sector. Our decades of experience across a wide range of industries and practice areas helps our clients control their labor costs, avoid workplace disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises.

Venable has extensive experience in the field of labor and employee relations, representing public sector employers. On behalf of major metropolitan areas, state agencies, and the federal government, Venable attorneys have served as chief negotiators in collective bargaining, advocates in binding interest and grievance arbitration, and litigators on behalf of government personnel officers in both administrative agencies and the courts. The issues have included union wages and benefits, labor contract interpretations, non-union class actions for both discrimination and overtime, and individual employee discrimination complaints. Clients tell Chambers and Partners that "Venable has a very credible core of labor and employment lawyers."

Venable’s labor and employment lawyers have frequently served as behind-the-scenes advisors as well, counseling public sector officials in the administration of both union and non-union personnel policies.

Practice Focus

  • Arbitrations
  • Audits
  • Class actions
  • Collective bargaining
  • Diversity / affirmative action
  • EEO / harassment claims
  • Employee benefits
  • Employment agreements
  • Employment disputes
  • ERISA compliance
  • Financial services wage compliance
  • Government contracts
  • Healthcare cost reduction
  • Intellectual property litigation
  • Immigration sanctions
  • Labor cost reductions in mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, and healthcare
  • Litigation
  • NLRB, union campaigns, and ULPs
  • OSHA counseling and litigation
  • Personnel policies
  • Trade secrets / non-competes
  • Wage and overtime claims
  • WARN Act compliance
  • Whistleblower

Industry Focus

  • California
  • Colleges and universities
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Entertainment / media
  • Financial services
  • Government contracting
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Independent schools
  • Information technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Nonprofits / trade associations
  • Public employers
  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation


Venable’s representative engagements on behalf of public sector employers include the following:

  • Acted as lead negotiators on behalf of dozens of local, state, and federal government agencies dealing with many different public sector unions, including AFSCME, ATU, FOP, IAFF, OPEIU, SEIU, Teamsters, AFT, NEA, and UFCW. Venable attorneys have negotiated bargaining agreements covering every conceivable type of public employee, including teachers, police, firemen, office clericals, healthcare workers, parks and recreation, water and sewer, transportation, and public housing
  • For more than a decade, Venable attorneys have served as chief negotiators and strategists for a major metropolitan area transit authority, including bus and rail transit operations, maintenance personnel, transit police, and office clericals
  • Other agency representations have included water, power, housing, and sewer authorities
  • Represented federal government agencies in connection with union organizing and collective bargaining, and defense of class action discrimination claims
  • Serves as labor consultant to a state university system. In that capacity, Venable advises the chancellor regarding the proper interpretation of and compliance with the state higher education collective bargaining law and serves as chief negotiator for a seven-member coalition of state university institutions which bargains with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) regarding economic and other core terms and conditions of employment of the non-exempt employees at the member institutions
  • Represented many county boards of education in negotiations, grievance handling, and arbitration of employee disputes
  • Handles personnel matters for numerous city and county governments, including defense against discrimination claims, grievance handling, and employee arbitrations
  • For many state and local government agencies, Venable has negotiated changes to pension and retirement plans and advised on all manner of pension, health, and welfare issues
  • Represented government agencies in both state and federal courts, defending against wage and overtime collection actions, proceedings to set aside or confirm arbitration awards, discrimination claims, and wrongful discharge complaints


  • Chambers USA, Labor & Employment, Maryland, 2004 – 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2006 – 2022 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)