J. Ian Downes
Partner | Philadelphia
J. Ian Downes

J. Ian Downes practices in the area of labor and employment law, with a focus on wage-and-hour matters, restrictive covenant litigation, and labor-management relations. He has significant experience with wage-and-hour and ERISA class actions, as well as in representing clients in labor and employment litigation in courts, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings throughout the country.

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 & Securities and Finance & Real Estate teams frequently call upon Mr. Downes to assist with labor issues arising in connection with mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions, including cross-border transactions and matters involving unionized workforces.

  • Represented a leading private equity firm in litigation through trial in Delaware Chancery Court involving allegations of breaches of restrictive covenants by three former investment professionals.
  • An international asset manager in litigation throughout the Pennsylvania court system, including successful opposition of a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, challenging the validity of the client’s employee alternative dispute resolution program.
  • A major freeze-dried food processor in a putative class action under the California Labor Code and representative action under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), alleging failure to provide meal and rest breaks and other violations of the California Labor Code.
  • 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 national frozen foods processor in an action under PAGA alleging the failure to comply with the requirements of California law concerning the provision of meal and rest breaks.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • "Legal and Practical Impact on Fund Managers of New Federal Law Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims," Private Equity Law Report (May 2022)
  • National Labor Relations Board Continues Employer-Friendly Reshaping of Labor Law,” Employee Relation Law Journal, Vol. 46, No.1 (Summer 2020)
  • "How Independent Contractor Classification Changed Last Year," Law360 (January 1, 2020)
  • 5 Points Of Clarity On Evolving NLRB Doctrines - Law360 (April 05, 2019)
  • INSIGHT: Off to the Races? After a Tumultuous Start to the Trump Era, the NLRB Looks to Make Major Changes - Bloomberg (December 12, 2018)
  • Guns in the Workplace: New Challenges Presented by Increasing State Regulation - Corporate Counsel (January 12, 2017)
  • What Employers Should Know about Federal and State Pay Transparency Laws - Bloomberg BNA (December 09, 2016)
  • Recent Developments in Dodd-Frank Reporting - Law360 (April 19, 2016)
  • Misclassification of Independent Contractors Still a Target for Agencies, Lawyers - Bloomberg (December 07, 2015)
  • Hold On To Your Employer Handbooks - Law360 (November 06, 2015)
  • Is There Liability For Retaliation When You Don't Hire That Whistleblower? - Corporate Counsel (October 06, 2015)
  • Flex Frac Decision Highlights Need for Employers to Reexamine Confidentiality Policies - Dechert OnPoint | reprinted by Employee Relations Law Journal (April 29, 2014)
  • Developments Under the National Labor Relations Act - Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report (April 15, 2013)
  • Recent Notable Employment Law Developments - Employment Law Strategist (April 01, 2013)
  • Even Nonunion Employees Should Know Their Rights - Law360 (March 12, 2012)
  • National Labor Relations Act Update - Employee Relations Law Journal (March 09, 2012)
  • Whistleblowing - Employee Relations Law Journal (March 01, 2011)
  • Special Issues in the Reduction in Force - Bloomberg Law Reports (November 24, 2008)
  • After High Court Benefits Rulings, Confusion Remains - Employment Law360 (July 22, 2008)
  • Wave Of ERISA Revenue-Sharing Cases Continues - Employment Law360 (July 10, 2008)
    • 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
    • American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law
    • Philadelphia Bar Association
    • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Honorable Joseph E. Irenas