Jonathan O. Harris

Office Managing Shareholder || Nashville

Mr. Harris represents management in a wide variety of employment-related matters. In addition to defending single-plaintiff lawsuits, Mr. Harris also represents employers in class and collective actions. He has handled countless EEOC charges and defended employers in lawsuits brought by the EEOC, including matters where the agency has asserted systemic claims on behalf of multiple claimants.

In his decade-plus at Ogletree Deakins, Mr. Harris has obtained numerous successes, both in federal and state court. Over 70 cases can be found on Westlaw, where Mr. Harris was counsel for the defense; many of those decisions report dismissal on behalf of his clients. Mr. Harris is not afraid to represent employers in cases involving challenging facts, and he enjoys the opportunity to take a case to trial.

Mr. Harris is a frequent speaker on topics relating to all types of employment issues, and he works with clients on preventive strategies to avoid discrimination, retaliation and other employment claims. After graduating from the Washington University School of Law, from 2000 to 2001 Mr. Harris served as a law clerk for the Honorable E. Richard Weber, a United States District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Missouri.

Mr. Harris is a Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. Mr. Harris has been recognized by the publications The Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers, and his peers have rated him as “AV Preeminent” in Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Harris is the co-chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the Nashville Bar Association, a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section Executive Council, and a board member of Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resources Managers.

Learn more about Jonathan O. Harris

Litigation Against the EEOC

  • Litigated to successful verdict systemic claims of sexual harassment brought by the Commission against a nation-wide retailer.
  • Defended systemic ADEA claims brought by the Commission against a nation-wide automotive supplier.
  • Defended ADEA claim brought by the Commission against a Fortune 100 company.

Class and Collective Experience

  • Obtained the complete dismissal of meal break claims brought on a class basis against a nationwide automotive supplier.
  • Obtained the complete dismissal of misclassification claims brought on a collective basis against a pharmaceutical company.
  • Defended off the clock claims brought on a collective basis against a labor staffing company.
  • Defended piece-rate claims brought on a collective basis against a construction company.
  • Defended equal pay claims brought on a class and collective basis against a nationwide retailer.

Experience Defending Single Plaintiff Employment Cases

  • Obtained summary judgment of claims under the Motor Carrier Act, creating new law in Tennessee holding that the Act’s exemption applies even when only a de minimis amount of goods have traveled through interstate commerce.
  • Successfully defended claims under the Tennessee Disability Act, creating new law in Tennessee holding that supervisors cannot be sued individually under the Act, and thus holding that plaintiff had fraudulently joined the supervisor to try to defeat diversity.
  • Obtained defense verdict in jury trial where plaintiff asserted claims of sexual harassment and retaliation against Fortune 100 company.
  • Obtained summary judgment in ADA lawsuit against global provider of education technology.
  • Obtained summary judgment in ADEA lawsuit against maker of greeting cards.
  • Obtained dismissal on Twombly grounds against a seller of auto parts.

Appellate Experience

  • Presented oral argument and created law in the Sixth Circuit holding that employment plaintiffs who have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy lose standing to sue their former employer.
  • Presented oral argument and obtained affirmation by the Sixth Circuit of summary judgment in FMLA case against an automotive supplier.
  • Obtained Sixth Circuit reversal of district court’s class certification decision.
  • Presented oral argument and obtained affirmation by the Eighth Circuit of summary judgment in an ADA case against a nationwide retailer.


  • J.D., Washington University School of Law, 2000
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University, 1997

Admittance to Practice

  • Tennessee
  • Missouri
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth and Eighth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Professional Activities

  • Nashville Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section Co-Chair)
  • Tennessee Bar Association (Member, Labor and Employment Law Executive Council)
  • Middle Tennessee SHRM (Legislative Chair)
  • American Bar Association


  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Employment Trials in a "Post-Truth" Age: What's Changed?" - La Quinta - November 9, 2018
  • May 16, 2018 - SHRM Online - "Avoid Costly Benefits Mistakes During Leave"
  • April 16, 2015 - Ogletree Deakins Blog - "Employers Can Decide That Physical Presence at the Workplace is an Essential Function"

Best Lawyers Award Badge

  • Best Lawyers in America (2015 – present)
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers (2013 – present)
  • AV Preeminent – Martindale-Hubbell