Thomas J. Barton is an experienced business lawyer who, for the last 29 years, has helped his clients successfully solve their workplace legal and business issues. Tom’s practice is focused on class action and individual employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, wage and hour and non-competition/trade secret litigation. Tom also has years of experience providing practical advice and counseling to businesses and organizations in the retail, non-profit, educational, healthcare and other industries.
Tom has been lead trial counsel on numerous wrongful termination cases in the state and federal courts throughout the country. These cases involved claims based on race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, family leave, age, national origin, religion and reverse discrimination as well as employee whistleblower, wage and hour, non-competition, trade secret, defamation, privacy and public accommodation claims. Tom also litigates complex employment and business lawsuits, class actions, collective actions and other multiparty litigation. The defense of employment lawsuits requires true courtroom experience and excellent advocacy skills; a deep understanding of the particular employment laws, the courts, judges, juries and adversaries; an early, thorough and aggressive case assessment; timely communication of an effective strategy to the client that includes a realistic evaluation of the litigation, defense costs and likely outcomes; and an efficient and creative litigation plan formulated in partnership with the client.
Tom takes a business-oriented approach to the unique legal issues that arise in the workplace to achieve solutions that avoid liability and minimize the ever-increasing costs of litigation. Tom advises clients with respect to employment hiring, compensation and termination practices, proposed employee discipline and dismissal, internal employee complaints and investigations, executive employment, non-competition and severance agreements, mergers and acquisitions, reductions in force, union collective bargaining, affirmative action, drug testing, workplace violence, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and many other issues.
Tom represents a broad range of clients including Fortune 500 employers in the retail, non-profit, educational, and health care industries as well as in the insurance, pharmaceutical, health care, and manufacturing institutions.
Among the hundreds of matters Tom has handled, the following is a brief sample:
- Among the many wage and hour class action's Tom has litigated, he recently defeated class certification in an Illinois wage and hour lawsuit brought by marketing and sales employees against a national retailer who challenged their exempt administrative status.
- Advised a large nonprofit in a major reorganization that included drafting new by-laws, grant proposals, and employment policies.
- On behalf of a large staffing company, he brought non-competition and trade secret claims in New Jersey state court against fourteen former employees and their new employer and secured full relief for his client.
- Obtained a jury defense verdict for a Fortune 50 company in a hotly contested pregnancy discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment case.
- Tried one of the first Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower cases before the Office of Administrative Law Judges in D.C., involving a former general counsel who claimed she complained about financial improprieties.
- Obtained over 25 summary judgment verdicts in the last five years in a variety of employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases.
- Represented a hospital system in a high profile religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by three medical professionals.
- Represented a major university in claims of sexual harassment and discrimination by a female public safety officer.
- Tried the first applicant drug testing unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board.
- On behalf of a major insurance company, he convinced the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to apply a limited definition of similarly situated comparator employees in an age discrimination reduction-in-force case.
- Brought novel Lanham Act and RICO claims in the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against two former employees who engaged in unfair competition and other anti-competitive behavior.
Chambers USA, Band 3 – Pennsylvania, Labor & Employment (2009, 2012-2019)
Best Lawyers®, Employment Law - Management, Litigation - Labor and Employment (2020)
Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)
Thomas Barton is highly experienced in a wide range of employment matters, including discrimination, wrongful discharge and noncompetition litigation. ‘He understands our business and our culture, which is a big strength,’ observes a client.Chambers USA (2019)
Clients offer praise for his ability to ‘get great results,’ with one source adding: ‘He understands our values and our approach to employee relations.’
– CHAMBERS USA (2018)
Thomas Barton comes recommended as a ‘very, very talented litigator’...Clients describe him as ‘very responsive and knowledgeable, and able to get to the heart of the issue without a lot of wasted time.’
– CHAMBERS USA (2017)
Tom is balanced in his approach, good at getting to the heart of the issue and aggressive in defending his client.
– CHAMBERS USA (2014)
- New Jersey
- Boston College Law School, J.D., 1987, magna cum laude, Boston College Law Review
- College of William & Mary, B.A., 1984
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- American Bar Association, Labor Section, Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee