Overview

As counsel in the firm’s Labor & Employment practice, Heather provides business-balanced legal solutions and advice to human resources managers, in-house counsel and business executives. She returned to Thompson Hine in 2018 after leaving for two years to serve as employment counsel for Western & Southern Financial Group, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and the parent company of a group of diversified financial services businesses. In this role, she further honed her ability to understand complex business issues and provide tailored, solution-oriented legal advice.

Heather excels at simplifying legal concepts and advising on the practical implications of the ever-changing and complex legal issues that employers face. Her unique experience as a manager, in-house counsel and litigator allows her to effectively and efficiently identify, analyze and solve problems. In addition to solving the immediate problem, she partners with clients to implement proactive strategies and process improvements designed to minimize future legal risk and increase operational efficiencies.

Heather advises employers on best practices, develops policies and procedures, and provides training for human resources personnel and managers on a wide variety of employment issues, such as wage and hour compliance, FMLA, state and local leave laws, disability and religious accommodations, harassment, discrimination, background checks, drug testing, internal investigations, reductions-in-force, discipline and documentation, workplace violence, and a variety of other employment issues. She conducts proactive audits for clients to assess FLSA compliance (e.g., exempt/non-exempt status, off-the-clock work and other pay audits) and independent contractor classifications. Heather also drafts and provides advice on commission and bonus plans, offer letters, non-compete agreements, employment agreements, severance agreements, independent contractor and consulting agreements, staffing agreements and other agreements.

In addition, Heather provides guidance to financial services companies navigating both regulatory requirements and employment law considerations, such as conducting internal investigations, reporting employment terminations to regulators, conducting background checks, recordkeeping requirements for electronic communications, and developing compliant social media policies and procedures.

An experienced litigator, Heather has assisted clients in successfully defending and resolving disputes in a variety of employment-related matters across many states, including wage and hour litigation, trade secret and non-compete litigation, employment discrimination claims and other workplace disputes. She has successfully represented clients in audits conducted by the Department of Labor and administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ohio Civil Rights Commission and similar administrative agencies, as well as before state unemployment commissions.

Heather regularly speaks on a variety of employment topics. She was selected as an Ohio Super Lawyers® Rising Star for six straight years.

Experience
Representative Litigation Experience
  • Obtained summary judgment for a manufacturing client against an employee alleging workers’ compensation retaliation, intentional tort and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Secured dismissal of race discrimination claims against a logistics company.
  • Obtained a jury verdict and attorney fee award in excess of $1 million for a national home-building industry client on trade secret and related claims brought against a former employee and a competitor.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a jury trial in the Southern District of Ohio for an automobile retailer sued for religious and national origin discrimination and harassment.
  • Secured dismissal of a former employee’s race discrimination suit against an international manufacturer.
  • Obtained a series of temporary injunctive relief orders for a medical device provider, leading to effective resolution of the matters without additional litigation.
  • Negotiated a settlement with a medical service provider’s former employee to repay a portion of salary due to breach of loyalty.
Publications
Presentations
  • Roundtable Leader, Joint Employment, Women's Franchise Network Cincinnati, May 7, 2019
  • Panelist, "Robots, Gigs and Wigs: The Future of Talent Acquisition and Fostering Amazing Hiring Manager Relationships," HR Collaborative, May 1, 2019
  • Greater Cincinnati Human Resources Association (GCHRA), FMLA and ADA Update, May 2016
  • Greater Wilmington Human Resource Association Meeting, Employment Law Update, March 2016
  • Greater Cincinnati Compensation and Benefits Association (GCCBA) – Compensation and Benefits Regulatory Briefing, March 2016
  • The Ohio Diversity Council’s 2016 Cincinnati Multicultural Roundtable – April 2016
  • Negotiation Skills for HR, Southwest Ohio Human Resource Association, August 2015
  • Navigating the Legal Issues Affecting Corporate Culture and Employee Retention, GCHRA, 2015
  • Employment Litigation: Discovery Tactics and Strategies, Thompson Hine Legal Update for HR Professionals, 2014
  • Panel Moderator, “Finding the Right Mix: Successful Negotiation Strategies for Women,” Spotlight on Women, 2014
  • Evaluation and Hiring Candidates: Essential Legal Considerations, National Business Institute, 2014
  • Preparing for Government Audits/Investigations, GCHRA, 2014
  • FMLA Leave: Minimizing Disruptions and Abuse, National Business Institute, 2014
  • Employee Handbooks, HR Partners, 2014
  • ADA Compliance Update, Cleveland Employment Seminar, 2013
  • Striking a Balance: Criminal Record Policies, GCHRA, 2013
  • Workplace Violence, Legal Update for HR Professionals, 2013
  • EEOC & Criminal Record Policies, Legal Update for HR Professionals, 2013
  • Managing Leave Abuse, Breakfast Briefing, 2013
Distinctions
  • Selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star, 2012–2017
  • YWCA Academy of Career Women of Achievement Rising Star Award, 2009
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Cincinnati Bar Association
  • Greater Cincinnati Human Resources Association

Professional Activities

  • Cincinnati Bar Association, co-chair, Young Lawyers Section Public Relations Committee, 2008–2011
  • Greater Cincinnati Human Resources Association, Member, 2009–present

Community Activities

  • The Children’s Theater, Board Member (2015–present)
  • Chair, Disability Awareness Program, Moyer Elementary (2017–present)
  • The Children’s Theater Gala Committee Member (2013–2014)
  • Grant Park Home Owners Association, Board Member (2012–2013)
  • C-Change Leadership Program, Class 7 participant, Cincinnati USA Regional Chapter (2012)
  • Visions, Human Resources Committee (2010–2012)
  • Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Women’s Fund, Women & Girls Leadership Project, Committee Member (2009)
News
    Events