John C. Artz

Shareholder || Pittsburgh

For almost 42 years, John Artz has been helping employers with personnel and policy issues and government regulation.  He concentrates his practice in employment and labor law, with a special emphasis on workplace safety and health (OSHA, safety, workplace violence), along with both counseling and litigation regarding gender, disability and racial discrimination (and workplace harassment), terminations, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, and workers’ and unemployment compensation.  He regularly advises employers with respect to applications and hiring, human relations policies, employee handbooks, disciplinary investigations, settlement agreements and releases, and leads training programs on a wide variety of employment-related matters.

He often draws on his background as a military pilot from 1968 to 1973, when he served on active duty as an Air Force officer, primarily as an aircraft commander, instructor and flight examiner in the Military Airlift Command, flying C-141 heavy jets. The experience of commanding a multimillion dollar aircraft and a crew of nine in missions all over the world (including combat zones) is useful even today in developing an organized approach to and resolving unexpected problems and dealing with people from all walks of life under stressful conditions.

John lives in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh, with his wife Nancy.  They have three adult children and six grandchildren.  When time permits, John enjoys flying a 1941 Piper Cub, sometimes even upside down.

Learn more about John C. Artz

Workplace safety and health: representation and counseling of employers including:

  • Compliance with General Duty Clause and specific OSHA standards, including preparation and review of employer’s hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, lockout/tagout, PPE and confined space standard compliance plans
  • Representation in search warrant cases, including refusal to honor search warrants believed to be improper or illegal, and litigation ensuing there from
  • Representation in anticipated or ongoing inspections, including fatality investigations (more than 35)
  • Representation in Informal Settlement Conferences with Area Director, after issuance of citations
  • Negotiation of Stipulated Settlements (with non-admission clauses) with Regional Administrators, Area Directors and with trial counsel for the Secretary of Labor
  • Negotiation of pre-citation settlement agreements (with unclassified citations and non-admission clauses) with regional staff and with counsel for the Secretary of Labor in fatality cases
  • Litigation arising over contested citations before administrative law judges (both OSHA and MSHA), Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission, and circuit court of appeals, including alleged willful and repeat violations, and citations involving employee deaths in the workplace
  • Representation of clients in matters in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia

General employment law matters, representing and counseling employers, including:

  • Interviewing, Applications and Hiring
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Employment Contracts, including Restrictive Covenants
  • Personnel Files Issues
  • Employee Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
  • Family and Medical Leave Act Issues
  • Posting and Recordkeeping Requirements
  • Drug and Alcohol Policies and Testing
  • Workplace Violence
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Compensation, Overtime and Wage & Hour Issues
  • Employee Investigations
  • Disciplinary Actions
  • Reductions in Force
  • Employment Torts, including Defamation
  • Severance Policies and Procedures
  • Settlement Agreements and Releases

Representation of employers in employment discrimination matters before administrative agencies and courts, including:

  • Litigation in federal district and appellate courts
  • Practice before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission
  • Experienced in all types of discrimination issues, including race, sex, religious, handicap/disability, national origin and sexual orientation discrimination, as well as sexual and racial harassment issues
  • Investigation of workplace harassment matters and development of company policies and procedures on harassment

Representation of employers before federal and state courts, and/or administrative agencies in litigation involving:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Fair Labor Standards Act and Wage and Hour Claims
  • Wage Payment and Collection Law
  • Wrongful Discharge / Employment-at-Will
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
  • Black Lung Claims (state and federal)

Some representative matters:

  • Defended a metals company in a discrimination claim by a former employee who had resigned
  • Assisted a steel company in the defense of a state-plan OSHA citation regarding operation of a furnace
  • Represented a family-owned manufacturing business with respect to an unemployment compensation claim filed by a former employee
  • Represented a company providing contract facility services to property owners and managers in a number of states in the defense of discrimination claims
  • Defended a large heavy metals company in an OSHA investigation involving an employee fatality for failing to follow safety procedures
  • Represented a private sector provider of detention and corrections services to federal, state and local governments in an investigation under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act the outcome of which was that the complaint was dismissed
  • Represented a producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods in an OSHA investigation involving an employee fatality in the workplace
  • Represented a corporation which supplies and overhauls aerospace systems and components in an investigation of a serious employee injury resulting from a workplace accident
  • Represented a comprehensive home healthcare provider in several claims of discrimination by former employees
  • Assisted a large telecommunications company, a manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, and an independent foundry company in reviews of the exempt/nonexempt classification status of their salaried workforce
  • Represented a construction company in the defense of a citation issued to it under OSHA’s logging standard
  • Represented a well-respected small liberal arts college in the application of OSHA’s asbestos standard to its operations and facilities.
  • Defended a family-owned tire and auto service business with retail, wholesale and commercial locations in two states against a charge of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Represented a manufacturing company that provides maintenance, steel fabrication and repair solutions to the metals and other heavy industries in the defense of OSHA citations following an employee death
  • Represented a national engineering company in the defense OSHA citations proposing penalties in excess of $1.3 million for alleged violations of the asbestos and lead standards
  • Helped a nonprofit agency with the separation of its former director, and with its personnel policies
  • Defended an engineering company in an age discrimination and breach of contract suit in federal court from a former financial manager who was let go when he declined to continue to work under the existing terms of employment
  • Defended a suit in federal court brought against a tax-exempt organization by a former employee. The agency employs primarily disabled individuals, and the employee in question is asserting disability, age and sex discrimination in hiring for a new position
  • Defended a utility services company in a state court suit by a former employee who was discharged for refusing to take a drug test, but attempted to recharacterize the discharge as retaliation for his having exercised his workers’ compensation rights
  • Represented a major manufacturing corporation in the aluminum industry in the defense of unemployment compensation claims in three states following a strike by union employees
  • Represented a major manufacturing corporation in an OSHA complaint investigation following a workplace accident resulting in employee injury
  • Represented a major manufacturing company in an OSHA investigation based on an employee complaint of unsafe working conditions
  • Represented a services contractor in two Pennsylvania Human Relations Act claims before the state agency (PHRC), for refusal to hire, and for discharge
  • Assisted a small employer with a separation agreement and general release for an employee whose job was eliminated when a line of business was transferred to another company
  • Ongoing advice to a financial services agency regarding general employer issues, e.g., hiring, policies
  • Worked with a wholesaler with interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and regulations governing computer personnel
  • Represented a services company in the defense of a claim of sexual discrimination before the EEOC
  • Assisted an employer with claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Represented a home healthcare employer in a federal suit claiming age discrimination and retaliation, by an employee who lost a job in a reduction in force due to economic circumstances, and was not rehired for open positions for which the employer believed she was less qualified than other applicants
  • Represented another business in the defense of two claims of race discrimination by separated employees, one before the EEOC and one before the PHRC
  • Helped a community financial institution respond to a customer inquiry regarding the small number of female officers, defend a charge of age discrimination in hiring, discharge a managerial employee with performance problems, define the terms of employment for the manager of a new business area; and defend a claim for unpaid commissions from former commissioned salesperson
  • Helped a tax-exempt organization which terminated the employment of a high-level manager who was undercutting the organization’s president
  • Assisted a business in dealing with an employee who had suffered a work injury but whose poor work performance was unrelated to the injury
  • Advised an employer with respect to an employee who refused the light duty work made available to him, and the resulting loss of health insurance benefits
  • Represented a manufacturer in a state court suit in Ohio filed by a former employee claiming an employer intentional tort
  • Represented a major manufacturing corporation in the defense of an OSHA citation arising out of an investigation following a workplace accident resulting in an employee death
  • Represented a major manufacturing corporation in the defense of a claim of retaliation under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act (employee disciplined for safety violation, but claimed it was because he had made safety-related complaints)
  • Represented a small environmental services company in the defense of an OSHA citation arising out of a workplace accident resulting in an employee death
  • Represented a contractor in the defense of an OSHA citation rising out of an investigation following a workplace accident resulting in employee injuries

Education

  • J.D., magna cum laude, University of South Carolina School of Law, 1976
  • B.A., Allegheny College (Distinguished Military Graduate of Air Force ROTC), 1968
  • United States Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laredo AFB, Texas, 1969

Admittance to Practice

  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Middle and Western Districts of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third, Fourth and Sixth Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association Labor and Employment Relations Section; appointed management member of Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Law since 1980)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association (Labor and Employment and Workers’ Compensation Sections)
  • Allegheny County Bar Association (Labor and Employment and Workers’ Compensation Sections)
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Pittsburgh Human Resources Association (former Treasurer, member of Board of Directors and Chair of Program Committee)

Speeches

  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Unemployment Compensation – Separation Issues 402(e); Relief from Charges; Collateral Estoppel and Strategic Errors at Hearing" - Philadelphia, Mechanicsburg and Pittsburgh - April 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Reporting and Recording OSHA and Work Injuries” and “Workplace Violence" - Pittsburgh - March 29, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "OSHA Does Apply to You. Yes, We’re Talking to YOU!" - Cranberry - November 22, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "OSHA Legal Developments in the Recordkeeping Arena” and “Joint Employers" - New Orleans - October 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "Recordkeeping and Reporting: So Many Changes, but What Do They All Mean?" - Chicago - September 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplkace Strategies Seminar - "Workplace Safety Crisis Central – Live From the Control Room" - Chicago - May 4, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "OSHA Does Apply to You. Yes, We’re Talking to YOU!" - Pittsburgh - April 5, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Evading Adverse Effects of Actions on Employment Compensation Claims" - Hershey - October 27, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "What Safety Professionals Want You to Know About Workplace Safety" - San Antonio - May 16, 2015
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Employment Law Institute - "Taking the Appeal to the Employment Compensation Board of Review" - Philadelphia - April 29, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Common Missteps Made by Employers Addressing Unemployment Compensation Claims – and How to Avoid Them" - Pittsburgh - April 14, 2015
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Unemployment Compensation – Separation Issues 402(b) and Section 3; Relief from Charges; Collateral Estoppel and Strategic Errors at Hearing" - Philadelphia, Mechanicsburg and Pittsburgh - April 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Seminar - "Anatomy of a Mediation" - Pittsburgh - November 18, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Seminar - "What to do When OSHA's at Your Door" - Pittsburgh - November 18, 2014
  • Employment Law West, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Taking the Appeal to Unemployment Compensation Board of Review" - Pittsburgh - November 12, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Law Seminar - "Employee Handbooks: Easy as Pie, or a Recipe for Disaster" - Pittsburgh - November 4, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Keeping Your Workforce Calm and Safe: Addressing Employee Questions and Concerns About Ebola" - Pittsburgh - November 3, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Website Accessibility Under the ADA: Emerging Trends and Risks" - Las Vegas - May 9, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "Negotiating Settlement Agreements: What to Consider and How to Strike the Best Deal for your Company" - Las Vegas - May 7, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "OSHA's Cutting-Edge Enforcement Agenda: How Far Can OSHA Push the Envelope, and What Does It Mean for Your Company?" - Las Vegas - May 7, 2014
  • Employment Law West, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "PA UC Law and Cases Relating to Self-Employment/Independent Contractors" - Pittsburgh - November 13, 2013
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "PA UC Law and Cases Relating to Self-Employment/Independent Contractors" - Philadelphia - April 18, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Law Briefing - "Why Me? OSHA's 2013 Priorities" - Pittsburgh - April 11, 2013
  • Employment Law West, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "UC Statutory and Case Law Update" - Pittsburgh - November 8, 2012
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "What You Need to Know About Unemployment Compensation Hearings" - Pittsburgh - April 20, 2012
  • Employment Law West, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "What You Need to Know About Unemployment Compensation Hearings" - Pittsburgh - November 17, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Law Briefing - "Alphabet Soup: News from the Beltway" - Pittsburgh - October 18, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "The New OSHA in 2011 – What You Need to Know (and Do) Before, During and After an OSHA Visit" - Pittsburgh - February 10, 2011
  • Unemployment Compensation Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Law - "The Employer’s Counsel at the Hearing" - Pittsburgh - September 28, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins webinar - "The New OSHA: Focus on Enforcement, Legislative, and Rulemaking Initiatives" - April 29, 2010
  • Ninth Grade Civics Class, Peabody High School - "Role of Law in American Society: Technology Laws or Laws from Misuse of Technology" - Pittsburgh - April 9, 2010
  • Midwinter Meeting, American Bar Association Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee - "Comments from the Commissions" - Coronado - March 11, 2010
  • Employment Law West, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Navigating the Unemployment Compensation Terrain" - Pittsburgh - November 18, 2009
  • Chief Human Resource Officers Organization - "Pandemic Preparation and OSHA Update" - Phoenix - October 15, 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Pandemic Preparation and OSHA Update" - Phoenix - October 15, 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Transgender Employees" - Pittsburgh - October 6, 2009
  • Unemployment Compensation Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Law - "The View from the Employer’s Counsel’s Seat" - Pittsburgh - September 10, 2009
  • Lawrence County Employers Advisory Council - "HR Legal Update" - New Castle - June 6, 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Unemployment Compensation Hearings – How to Win" - Miami - May 8, 2009
  • 15th Annual Employment Law Institute, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Separation Issues 402(e) and Section Three; Relief from Charges" - Philadelphia - April 16, 2009
  • Unemployment Compensation, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Separation Issues 402(e) and Section Three; Relief from Charges" - Philadelphia, Mechanicsburg and Pittsburgh - April 6, 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "The Ten Things You Absolutely Must Have in Your Handbook" - Pittsburgh - April 1, 2009
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute Employment Law West - "Advanced FMLA: New Regulations and More" - Pittsburgh - November 19, 2008
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Tabletop Law - How to Discharge an Employee" - Pittsburgh - October 29, 2008
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Why Employers Lose Unemployment Claims at the Referee Hearing" - Pittsburgh - October 29, 2008
  • Judicial Conference, Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission - "Use of Experts in OSHRC Hearings" - San Francisco - September 11, 2008
  • 10th Annual Conference, Westmoreland Human Resources Association - "Legal Review - Staying Out of Court" - Greensburg - May 18, 2008
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "What to Do When the OSHA Investigator Knocks At Your Door" - New Orleans - May 8, 2008
  • 14th Annual Employment Law Institute, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "A Practical Guide to Unemployment Compensation for Every Employment Lawyer" - Philadelphia - April 18, 2008
  • Institute for Applied Management and Law - "Certificate in Environmental, Health and Safety Law Program" - Orlando - March 17 - 18, 2008
  • Midwinter Meeting, American Bar Association Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee - "Legal Privileges and Ethics in OSHRC Discovery" - Tucson - March 6, 2008
  • 2014 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - PA Employment Law Deskbook, 2nd Edition - "Unemployment Compensation"
  • 2012 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - PA Employment Law Deskbook, 1st Edition - "Unemployment Compensation"
  • 2009 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Unemployment Compensation: Separation Issues 402(e) and Section Three; Relief from Charges"
  • 2009 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "When Times Are Tough: Navigating the Unemployment Compensation Terrain"
  • 2008 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "A Practical Guide to Unemployment Compensation for Every Employment Lawyer"
  • 2007 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Unemployment Compensation: Separation Issues 402(e) and Section Three; Relief from Charges"
  • 2006 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Handling the Unemployment Compensation Hearing: Why Parties Lose"
  • 2002 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Unemployment Compensation: Separation Issues"
  • 1999 - Continuing Legal Education, Pennsylvania Bar Institute - "Unemployment Compensation: Separation Issues: Voluntary Quit and Willful Misconduct"
  • 1989 - 2008 - BNA Books - "Occupational Safety and Health Law, First and Second Editions, Chapter Author for 1989 supplement, Associate Editor for 1995 and 1998 supplements, Management Co-Editor-in-Chief for 1997 supplement, Chapter Author for 2008 supplement"
        Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association James S. Bowman Award, for making a significant impact on the practice of administrative law and demonstrating leadership in mentoring administrative law practitioners (2013)
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Notes Editor, South Carolina Law Review
  • Order of the Wig and Robe
  • American Jurisprudence Awards in Labor Law and in Legal Accounting
  • Cy Young Award (outstanding senior by faculty vote)
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008)
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Who’s Who in the World
  • Junior Achievement of Southwest Pennsylvania (Member, Board of Directors, 1994-2005; Vice Chair of Administration; head of Personnel Task Force; Recipient – Silver Leadership Award – 2005; Bronze Leadership Award – 1993)
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Insights by John C. Artz