Patricia V. Pierce

Partner

Chair, Employment Law

Co-Chair, Civil Rights Litigation

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Patricia V. Pierce is a partner in the Philadelphia based law firm of Greenblatt Pierce Funt & Flores, LLC (GPFF). Ms. Pierce heads the Employment Law Practice at the firm and serves as a principal in the firm’s Corporate Investigations practice. Ms. Pierce has represented individuals and groups of workers who have suffered employment discrimination and workplace harassment litigating individual and class action employment lawsuits, as well as employee benefits cases in state and federal courts in California, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her practice includes multi-party wage and hour matters and Consumer Fraud litigation. Ms. Pierce frequently provides advice to executives in negotiating employment contracts and in managing sensitive trade secret and restrictive covenant/non-compete issues.

In addition, Ms. Pierce is regularly engaged by individuals, small businesses and nonprofit corporations to provide advice and counsel in litigation avoidance and the defense of all types of employment actions, including the defense of federal and state discrimination claims, whistleblower and wrongful discharge matters, and contract disputes. In her role as counselor, Ms. Pierce advises corporate clients on a host of personnel related matters including workplace policies and procedures, performance management best practices, including discipline and termination policies and decisions, and the conduct and content of supervisory training.

In addition to building on-going relationships with individual and corporate clients, Ms. Pierce has been sought out by colleagues to conduct independent in-house investigations of claims of discrimination as well as corporate malfeasance and fraud. Recently, Ms. Pierce has been engaged by insurance companies and law firms to provide expert advice and testimony on claims of attorney malpractice employment/EEO best practices, and has served as a neutral mediator.

Throughout her forty year career, Ms. Pierce has tried hundreds of matters to verdict, including jury and bench trials and has been successful in handling every kind of employment litigation matter including age, gender, hostile work environment, race, national origin and religious discrimination matters as well as claims brought by whistleblowers under state and federal laws.

In addition to managing her individual and class employment litigation practice, Ms. Pierce has teamed with GPFF’s managing partner, Ron Greenblatt, to co-manage the firm’s extensive civil rights practice handling claims of police misconduct that have resulted in wrongful arrest, prosecution and incarceration as well has traumatic injury. Since joining GPFF in 2011, Ms. Pierce and Mr. Greenblatt have successfully represented GPFF’s clients in state and federal court actions that have resulted in recoveries of millions of dollars.

Ms. Pierce has been admitted as a Fellow of the prestigious American Bar Association’s College of Labor & Employment attorneys. Ms. Pierce was honored by her alma mater, Rutgers School of Law-Camden’s Black Law Students Association with the “Champions for Social Justice and Equality Award. Ms. Pierce has been listed each year among the Best Lawyers of America since 1995. In 2013 Best Lawyers named Ms. Pierce its “Attorney of the Year” in the practice area of Employment-Individuals. Ms. Pierce has consistently been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer since 2004 and has repeatedly been named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women Lawyers. She has also earned the preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubell for both her legal ability and ethical standards. Ms. Pierce has lectured extensively on issues of attorney ethics and has served as a Senior Disciplinary Committee Member for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Ms. Pierce is a frequent author and lecturer for the ABA-ALI Continuing Legal Education Program; the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and the National Employment Lawyers Association where she served on NELA’s 2011-2012 Convention Committees and continues to act as a moderator and presenter. Ms. Pierce was a Visiting Professor of Law at Santa Clara University in the mid-1990s where she founded an Employment Law Clinic and taught Evidence. In Philadelphia, Ms. Pierce has served as an Adjunct Professor at Temple’s Beasley School of Law and taught law students in Temple’s Introduction to Trial Advocacy and Advanced Trial Advocacy programs as well as practitioners in Temple’s prestigious LLM Trial Advocacy program. Ms. Pierce also taught Employment Law Practice and Procedure at Rutgers School of Law, her alma mater and taught trial advocacy for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, which named her as a distinguished faculty member. Ms. Pierce has published a law review article which analyzed the pedagogical experience of an innovative clinical program she spearheaded : The Santa Clara Experiment: A New Fee-Generating Model for Clinical Legal Education, with Ridolfi, 3 CLINICAL LAW REVIEW 439-470 (1997). Ms. Pierce earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, with High Honors and Distinction in Political Science and a juris doctor from Rutgers School of Law with High Honors where she was a 1974 Rutgers Community Scholar.

Honors

Honors:

  • AV (Preeminent) peer review rated attorney from Martindale-Hubell
  • Employment Attorney of the Year (2013) – Best Lawyers
  • Top 50 Women Attorneys in Pennsylvania (2012 – present)
  • “Champions For Social Justice and Equality Award” Rutgers Black Law Student Association (1999)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers since 1995
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyer since 2004
  • NITA Distinguished Faculty Member
  • Rutgers Community Scholar (1974)

   

   
   

Professional Activities

Professional Activities:

In The News:

Professional Memberships & Leadership Positions:

  • American College of Labor & Employment Attorneys – Fellow (2010)
  • American Bar Association
  • National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Director of Defender Association of Philadelphia (1996 – 2011)
  • Past President of Women Organized Against Rape
  • Master – Temple Inns of Court (1989 – 1993)
  • Adjunct Professor, Temple School of Law (1983 – 1993)
  • Director Juvenile Law Center (2008 – 2010)
Presentations

Presentations

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • 2016: Speaker ALI-ABA “Emerging Issues in Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims” December 6, 2016
  • 2015: Course Planner-Speaker ALI-ABA Employment Law Essentials and Best Practices
  • 2015: PACDL White Collar Panel – “Corporate Criminal Investigations, Employment Law and Whistleblowers: Navigating Your Client to a Safe Harbor”
  • Course Planner-Speaker 2014-Al: ABA Employment Law Essentials and Best Practices
  • Moderator/ 2014 Annual Convention of the NELA – Effective Strategies for Drafting Executive Employment Contracts
  • Speaker and Moderator, 2012 Annual Convention of the National Employment Lawyers Association – Using Focus Groups Early and Often on a Tight Budget.
  • Speaker, 2012 ALI-ABA, Top Ten Pitfalls for Employment Lawyers.
  • 2011 Annual Convention of the National Employment Lawyers Association. “ERISA – Let There Be No Right without a Remedy: Maximizing Recovery Under Section 510.
  • 2011 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute: “Retaliation Litigation Hot Spots.”
  • 2011 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute: :“Choosing Your Cases Wisely.”
  • 2010 Annual Convention of the National Employment Lawyers Association. “The Discovery Exchange.”
  • Speaker, 2010, Pennsylvania Bar Institute 16th Annual Employment Law Institute. “You get What You Pay For: How to Successfully Challenge Releases under the OWBPA in the Post-Guidant Era.”
  • Speaker, 2010, on a panel for the litigation track concerning the use of jury research, focus groups, shadow juries for litigation and ADR techniques.
  • 2006 – “Employment Law Update 2006,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Allentown, Pa., Mechanicsburg, Pa. And Philadelphia, PA., 2006.
Publications

Publications

  • 2015 “Corporate Criminal Investigations, Employment Law and Whistleblowers”, with Lori Mach Ortiz
  • 2015 “Ethical Issues Involving ESI In Employment Law”, with Lori Mach Ortiz
  • 2014 “Avoiding Potential Ethical Minefields”, Ali-ABA Employment Law Best Practices
  • 2014 “Retaliation Claims After Vance and Nassar”, Ali-ABA Employment Law Best Practices
  • “It’s Not Just White Men Anymore,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute 14th Annual Northeast Regional Employment Law Institute, 2008 (with James A.A. Pabarue, Esq.).
  • “Trial Presentation Strategies That Work,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute 14th Annual Northeast Regional Employment Law Institute, 2008 (with Harold Goodman, Esq. and Ronald Surkin, Esq.).
  • “Mixed Motive Cases – Finding the Line,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute 13th Annual Northeast Regional Employment Law Institute, 2007 (with James A.A. Pabarue, Esq.).
  • “Update and Recent Developments in the Law of Workplace Harassment,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute 12th Annual Northeast Regional Employment Law Institute, 2006 (with James A.A. Pabarue, Esq., Susan B. Thauer, Esq. and Andrea B. Wapner, Esq.).
  • “Preparing a Case on a Shoestring Budget: Your Friend Hal,” We the People: Reclaiming the Justice System, National Employment Lawyers Association, 2005.
  • “The Jury Charge in Sexual Harassment Cases – or You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Santa Clara Experiment: A New Fee-Generating Model for Clinical Legal Education, with Ridolfi, 3 CLINICAL LAW REVIEW 439-470 (1997).
Representative Cases

Representative Cases

Age

  • $975,000 recovery in age and race discrimination case brought on behalf of two women in a construction company.
  • $650,000 recovery in age and gender discrimination case brought against Media Company.
  • $425,000 recovery in age discrimination case on behalf of a sales representative whose customers were given to newly hired younger sales force by new management.
  • $300,000 recovery for Executive replaced by less qualified decades younger manager even though client had arguably fully mitigated his damages.
  • $495,000 recovery under the ADEA for three mechanics laid-off by Elevator Company.
  • $240,000 recovery under ADEA for University executive laid off in RIF.
  • $225,000 recovery for mid-level executive in automobile industry terminated by supervisor 20 years her junior and replaced by male 30 years younger

Breach of Contract

  • $5 Million Recovery Jury Verdict for Pediatric Dentist Constructively Discharged. GPFF partners Pat Pierce and Jamie Funt represented the former Chair of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania on a claim for breach of contract and constructive discharge when, after 13 years on the faculty, a new Dean ousted him from the clinic he had founded and reneged on the compensation terms of his contract of employment with the University. The jury returned a verdict of $4,040,000 in damages. Another $1 Million dollars was added to the award in post-judgment interest. (2011)

Gender Discrimination

  • $3 million dollar recovery for media executive discharged in retaliation and failure to promote matter.
  • $425,000 recovery for physician against hospital in age and gender discrimination matter.
  • $440,000 recovery in age and gender discrimination case brought on behalf of two female electricians who were laid off during a company downsizing.
  • $250,000 settlement for state worker sexually harassed by supervisor.

Racial Discrimination

  • $500,000 dollar recovery for mid-level manager in reduction-in-force race discrimination case against Fortune 500 Company.
  • GPFF partner Pat Pierce successfully defended against class-wide allegations of racial discrimination and two individual discrimination cases, based on race, brought by two managers against the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
  • $350,000 recovery for race and ethnic harassment of truck driver.

Civil Rights

  • $1.5 million dollar recovery for young man shot in the leg by rogue police officer.
  • $1 million dollar verdict for individual wrongfully arrested and charged with murder of off-duty police officer.
  • $450,000 recovery for Taser victim falsely charged and prosecuted for assaulting police officer.
  • $100,000 recovery for victim of wrongful police home invasion, search & seizure and wrongful arrest and prosecution.

Class and Collective Actions

  • $9 million dollar jury verdict for class of surgical technology students defrauded by proprietary school
  • $325,000 settlement for Jet’s Cheerleaders denied out-of- pocket expenses and deprived of wages for at-home rehearsals
  • $1 Million Recovery for Aramark workers forced to work through breaks and wait on line to punch in to work. While still at the Willig, Williams & Davidson Law firm, GPFF partner Pat Pierce, together with co-counsel, Michael Josephson of Fibich, Hampton & Leebron, represented a class of stadium workers who were denied straight time and overtime for rest periods and wait to work time.
  • $30+ Million Recovery for 100 workers against Fortune 500 Company for discriminatory lay-offs in nation-wide reduction-in-force.

Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

  • $250,000 recovery for public sector employee harassed by public official.
  • $320,000 recovery for production line worker harassed and constructively discharged.
  • $2.1 Million verdict for female sales manager sexually harassed by President of 7-Up Bottling Company of Philadelphia. GPFF partner Pat Pierce represented a female sales manager who was repeatedly subjected to requests for sexual favors, sexual jokes and banter and sexual touching by the President of a local soda bottling company. The jury awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages and $2.1 Million in punitive damages.
  • $900,000 recovery for school district counselor sexually harassed by principal and retaliated against by superintendent following complaint.
  • $490,000 recovery for factory worker sexually harassed by supervisor. After employee reported the abuse, co-workers and HR Director subjected her to continued harassment at work causing her constructive discharge.
  • $420,000 recovery for sales representative sexually molested by supervisor, then terminated while on FMLA leave taken to recover from effects of abuse.

Ethnic Discrimination and Constructive Discharge

  • $300,000 Jury Verdict for Italian-American male discriminated against and harassed by owners of Arc Water Treatment Company. GPFF partner Pat Pierce brought suit against the company after for constructive discharge and hostile work environment. The Vice-President and owner of the company defended the case claiming that the offensive terms used on a daily basis were mere jokes. The jury determined that the harassment had been severe warranting substantial damages.
  • $1.6 million dollar recovery for school official wrongfully terminated.

Whistleblower

  • $750,000 settlement for terminated Executive who refused to compromise fiduciary duties.
  • $1.6 million dollar settlement for University employees who blew the whistle on Title IX violations.
  • $200,000 recovery for healthcare worker claiming wrongful termination for blowing whistle physician malpractice.
  • $1.5 Million Recovery against a telecommunications company on behalf of two whistleblowers who protested off-shore company practices that violated the law of the foreign country in which they resided and worked. The employer was a New Jersey based firm. One of the first extra-territorial cases to be brought under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
  • $2.6 Million Recovery against pharmaceutical company for two scientists who were terminated after reporting violations of federal regulations.
  • $700,000 recovery on behalf of a school administrator who reported fiscal and ethical improprieties.
  • $575,000 Recovery against pharmaceutical company for physician-scientist under New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
  • $1.5 Million Recovery for manager against University who was terminated for reporting violations of good manufacturing practices by University scientist in clinical trials of investigatory drug.
  • $375,000 Recovery for office manager who refused to provide false information to U.S. Attorneys investigating criminal activity by employers.
  • $500,000 recovery for school administrator who blew whistle on health and safety issues.

Sexual Molestation

  • $3.9 Million Recovery for 4 girls molested by counselor at summer camp.
  • $650,000 recovery for mentally impaired woman sexually molested by staff person at residential facility.