J. Ian Downes


J. Ian Downes


Philadelphia | Cira Centre, 2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America 19104-2808
+1 215 994 2346 | +1 215 994 2222


J. Ian Downes practices in the area of labor and employment law, with a focus on ERISA litigation and labor-management relations. He has significant experience with ERISA and wage-and-hour class actions, as well as in representing clients in all types of labor and employment litigation.

Mr. Downes devotes a significant portion of his practice to providing clients with day-to-day assistance and counseling concerning all varieties of labor and employment issues, including negotiation and drafting of employment agreements and restrictive covenants, planning and implementing reductions in force and complying with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and state and local plant closing laws, and handling of employee complaints and discipline issues. Dechert's Corporate and Securities teams frequently call upon Mr. Downes to assist with labor issues arising in connection with corporate transactions, particularly those involving unionized workforces.

  • The independent directors of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. in an ERISA class action alleging breaches of fiduciary duties arising from investment of plan assets in Lehman Brothers' stock.
  •  Directors and officers of Advanta Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corporation in ERISA stock drop class actions.
  • A leading publicly traded food manufacturer in a collective and class action alleging unlawful “off the clock” work under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law.
  • A national frozen foods processor in an action under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) alleging the failure to comply with the requirements of California law concerning the provision of meal and rest breaks.
  • A leading container manufacturer in a class action under the California Labor Code and PAGA asserting claims based on alleged “time shaving” and failure to provide meal and rest breaks under California law.
  • A worldwide pharmaceutical company in an action brought by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) alleging systemic sex discrimination in the compensation of sales representatives.
  • A leading biosolids processing company in a multi-million dollar breach of contract action by a former consultant relating to efforts to obtain a contract with the City of Philadelphia.
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation, its employee benefit plans, and the members of its plan administration committees in an ERISA class action alleging improper denials of benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty on behalf of former “leased employees” of Lockheed Martin and its predecessor.
  •  An international medical device and software manufacturer in a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act alleging misclassification of employees performing accounting functions for the company.
  • Bombardier Mass Transit Corporation in a class action under the WARN Act arising out of the closure of a manufacturing facility.
  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 2001
  • Amherst College, B.A., 1997
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
External Articles
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Honorable Joseph E. Irenas
  • American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
Speaking Engagements
  • 2018 Philadelphia Fall Labor and Employment Seminar — Philadelphia, PA (October 24, 2018)