Peter O. Hughes

Office Managing Shareholder || Morristown

A class action and trial attorney, Peter Hughes has represented companies in virtually every kind of lawsuit and administrative proceeding an employer might face, and has done so throughout the United States. He has particularly strong experience in whistleblower and retaliation litigation, including successful results and jury verdicts under Sarbanes-Oxley and the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”). Peter also has extensive class and collective action experience, including FLSA, Equal Pay Act, Title VII, and state-law discrimination and wage & hour litigation. He has extensive appellate experience as well, including arguments before the New Jersey Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court), the New Jersey Appellate Division, the New York Appellate Division, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Third, Fourth, and District of Columbia circuits.

More importantly, Mr. Hughes helps employers avoid trouble in the first place and minimize the threat of litigation. This involves not only addressing issues as they arise, but also taking a proactive approach to help management develop policies and procedures that allow the company both to comply with the law and to perform effectively. Combining his extensive litigation experience with a business perspective, he brings a “real world” approach to resolving complex issues that arise under laws like the Americans With Disabilities Act, ERISA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. When the issues are not clear, when there is no “right” answer, he works with management to provide nuanced solutions that minimize risk and allow the company to get on with business.

Peter has extensive and longstanding experience managing client relationships under alternative fee and “portfolio” arrangements. He partners with clients to ensure they receive high-quality and efficient legal services while keeping costs down under arrangements that span the entire country and cover the full spectrum of labor and employment services.

In 1995, he co-founded the firm of Stanton Hughes, which quickly became the top-ranked labor and employment firm in New Jersey. Stanton Hughes merged into Ogletree Deakins in January 2004, and Peter became a shareholder of the firm.

Peter is listed in Best Lawyers in America in the categories Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management, and Litigation-Labor and Employment, and was named as Lawyer of the Year in Newark, New Jersey for Labor Law-Management in 2017. (No aspect of this communication has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. For methodology for selection of the honor above, please click on the link.) He has a Yellow Belt certification from Legal Lean Sigma.

Learn more about Peter O. Hughes
  • Complete defense verdict following a 4-week jury trial in New Jersey Superior Court on whistleblower claim under CEPA, which was based on the plaintiff’s assertion that the company had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Complete defense verdict following week-long jury trial in federal district court in Pennsylvania on national origin and gender discrimination claim.
  • Complete defense verdict following 3-day trial in Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on disability discrimination and failure-to-accommodate claim.
  • Complete defense verdict following 6-day trial in New Jersey Superior Court on gender and age discrimination claim against a large regional bank.
  • Complete defense verdict following week-long trial on sexual harassment and retaliation claim against hospitality-industry defendant.
  • 19 other successful trials for defendants.
  • Summary judgment for large electronics manufacturer on Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower claim in federal court in Pennsylvania, affirmed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Successfully argued for significant change in law before New Jersey Supreme Court.
  • Successful prosecution of non-compete case that resulted in client receiving seven-figure settlement, and forced resignation of former employee from his new company.
  • Multiple summary judgment decisions for defendants in cases in New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, and others.


  • J.D., Seton Hall University School of Law, 1987
  • B.A., Franklin & Marshall College, 1984

Admittance to Practice

  • New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second, Third, Fourth and District of Columbia Circuits


  • Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Harassment on High: When the Perpetrator Holds the Power in the Workplace" - Boca Raton - November 9, 2017
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Ranked in Chambers USA
  • Lawyer of the Year Peter Hughes 2017
  • Selected to the Best Lawyers list, issued by Best Lawyers, LLC* (2013 – present); Newark Labor Law – Management Lawyer of the Year (2017)
  • Selected to the Chambers USA list, issued by Chambers & Partners* (2009 – present)
  • Selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers list, issued by Thomson Reuters* (2010 – present)
  • Member, Seton Hall Legislative Journal


*No aspect of this communication has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. For methodology for selection for one of the honors above, please click on the link.

Insights by Peter O. Hughes