Labor and Employment
- Employer Internal Investigations
- Employment Litigation
Employment Relations, Policies, and Regulatory Practice
- Covenants Not to Compete and Trade Secrets
- Drug and Alcohol Policies and Testing
- Employee Discipline and Termination
- Employment Counseling
- Employment Policies and Manuals
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Management Training
- Wage and Hour/Fair Labor Standards Act
- Whistleblower Protection
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("WARN")
- Workplace Harassment, Including Sexual Harassment
- Workplace Technology Policies
- Labor/Management Relations
- Washington and Lee University School of Law, J.D., 1994, summa cum laude, Order of the Coif
- Albion College, B.A., 1990, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Bar & Court Admissions
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
- Admitted to practice law only in the states listed above.
- The Honorable Jackson L. Kiser, formerly Chief Judge of the Western District of Virginia, 1994-1995
Nelson is a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group. He represents management in a broad range of labor and employment matters, including counseling employers on compliance with, and defending employers in litigation arising out of, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and similar state laws. He also advises employers on union elections and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB), negotiates union contracts, and defends labor contract arbitration proceedings. Nelson has experience advising clients with government contracts on the Service Contract Act (SCA), Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) and Ohio prevailing wage issues.
Career highlights include:
- Counseling employers of all sizes in the financial services, retail, social services, manufacturing and health care sectors on proactive legal compliance strategies and difficult employee relations issues
- Negotiating union contracts in the manufacturing, retail, health care and social services sectors
- Providing labor contract interpretation advice and arbitration representation for a large acute care hospital
- Leading the HR for Community Bankers Program, which is co-sponsored by the Ohio Bankers’ League
- Successfully obtaining jury verdicts for a security services contractor for the federal government in multi-plaintiff age discrimination lawsuit in federal court
- Assisting employers in many industries in regard to union organizing activity or election campaigns
- Advising developers, expanding businesses and political subdivisions regarding Ohio and federal prevailing wage requirements, including those applicable to public/private partnerships
- Prosecuting and defending lawsuits regarding covenants not to compete and trade secrets and advising employers in connection with the drafting of such agreements
- Defending a Fortune 500 company in a multi-plaintiff race discrimination and racial harassment lawsuit in federal court
- Defending a mid-sized employer in a multi-plaintiff age discrimination claim in federal court arising from a reduction-in-force
- Defending an employer in a lawsuit brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging racial discrimination and racial harassment against multiple individuals
- Defending numerous single plaintiff employment discrimination claims
Nelson is a member of the Ohio Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar, and is an associate member of the Virginia Bar Association. Nelson is also active in the Columbus Bar Association.
Nelson has spoken at numerous seminars on many topics, including updates on wage/hour, disability discrimination and FMLA updates; activity at the NLRB; the employment-at-will doctrine; employment agreements; managing difficult employees; and enforcing disciplinary action. He also has conducted training on union avoidance and positive employee relations, avoiding sexual harassment and other unlawful harassment, and conducting internal investigations.
Nelson is the editor of the blog Vorys on Labor. The blog focuses on traditional labor issues of interest to labor professionals in both the public and private sector.
Nelson received his J.D. summa cum laude from Washington and Lee University School of Law where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Albion College where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Nelson clerked for the Honorable Jackson L. Kiser, formerly Chief Judge of the Western District of Virginia.
Nelson is the immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of The Breathing Association and serves as a member of the Board's Executive Committee. Nelson received the 2012 and 2018 Carrie Nelson Black Awards in recognition of his service to the Association. In the past, Nelson has served as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Columbus Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).
Honors & Awards
- The Best Lawyers in America, Columbus Employment Law Management “Lawyer of the Year,” 2017
- The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law – Management, 2013-2017, 2019-2020
- The Best Lawyers in America, Labor Law – Management, 2013-2020
- The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Labor & Employment, 2013-2020
- Carrie Nelson Black Award, The Breathing Association, 2012, 2018
- 8/15/2019One hundred and thirteen lawyers from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2020.
- 6/5/2019In the gig economy, workers make their living through irregular short-term assignments, typically on an independent contractor basis.
- 3/18/2019Smith, Cary Article Quoted in American Banker Story Titled “Ripple Effect Feared as Fed Mulls Lifetime Bans of Two Bankers”Jeff Smith and Nelson Cary, partners in the Vorys Columbus office, recently co-authored an article that was quoted in an American Banker story titled “Ripple Effect Feared as Fed Mulls Lifetime Bans of Two Bankers.”
- 8/15/2018One hundred and thirteen lawyers from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019.
- 10/23/2017Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, was quoted in two InsideSources stories on the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to hear arguments in Janus v. AFCME.
- 8/17/2017One hundred and eight lawyers from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018.
- 8/15/2016Fifteen Vorys attorneys have been named 2017 Lawyers of the Year by Best Lawyers.
- 8/15/2016One-hundred and eleven lawyers from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017.
- 8/17/2015One-hundred and eighteen lawyers from Vorys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016.
- 8/18/2014One-hundred and ten lawyers from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015.
- 8/14/2013One hundred and eleven lawyers from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2014.
- 8/2/2013Nelson Cary, a partner in the Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, interviewed with Colin O'Keefe of LXBN about the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of five National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members.
- 4/16/2013Vorys partner Nelson Cary interviewed with Colin O'Keefe of LXBN regarding the three new National Labor Relations Board appointees.
- 1/28/2013Nelson D. Cary, a partner in the labor and employment group in the Vorys Columbus office, was quoted in a National Law Journal story about a ruling from a federal appeals court in Washington that declared President Obama’s recesses appointments of National Labor Relations Board members unconstitutional.
- 11/19/2012Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office, was quoted in a National Law Journal story titled “Agencies gear up for Obama's second term.”
- 8/23/2012One hundred and twenty-six lawyers from Vorys were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013.
- 4/6/2012Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office, was quoted in a Columbus Business First story entitled “Labor board has attorneys working overtime to keep up with rulings.”
- 3/2/2012Nelson Cary, a partner in the firm’s Columbus office, was quoted in a Bloomberg BNA Human Resources Report story titled “Attorneys Advise Reconsidering Social Media Policies Based on NLRB Counsel’s Report.”
- 1/17/2012Nelson Cary, a partner in the firm’s Columbus office, was quoted in a Washington Times story titled “Union fight pits rights of free speech, private land.”
- 8/20/2019Vorys Attorneys Nelson Cary and Mike Griffaton spoke at the Ohio Bankers League (OBL) Cannabis Banking Conference on August 20, 2019.
- 5/1/2019Vorys attorneys Robin Amicon, Nelson Cary and Mairi Mull presented at the 2019 Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) Convention and Expo on May 1, 2019.
- 4/18/2019On April 18, 2019, Vorys hosted its annual Cincinnati Labor and Employment Law Update.
- 11/8/2018Vorys hosted the annual Akron Labor and Employment Seminar on November 8, 2018.
- 10/25/2018On October 25-26, 2018, several Vorys attorneys presented at the 2018 Ohio Provider Resource Association Fall Conference.
- 4/26/2018On April 26, 2018, Vorys hosted its annual Cincinnati Labor and Employment Update.
- 4/3/2018Vorys attorneys Nelson Cary and Robin Amicon were speakers at the Opioid Symposium: Education, Strategies and Best Practices for Public Libraries hosted by the Ohio Library Council on April 3, 2018.
- 2/24/2017Vorys hosted the 2017 Ohio Economic Development Incentives Conference on February 24, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.
- 6/23/2016Vorys Partner Nelson Cary was a speaker at an OPRA program on June 23, 2016.
- 6/23/2016Vorys Partner Nelson Cary hosted a webinar on June 23, 2016 titled “New DOL Overtime Threshold Regulation."
- 4/21/2016Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce hosted a half-day program focused on labor and employment updates.
- 3/3/2016Vorys Partner Nelson Cary was a speaker at the 2016 OBL HR for Community Bankers on March 3-4, 2016.
- 12/5/2014Vorys partner Nelson Cary presented a webinar titled Employment Law Update in Ohio, hosted by Lorman on December 5, 2014.
- 9/22/2014Vorys attorneys Nelson Cary and Jen Dunsizer were speakers at the Employment Law Update & OBL HR Program for Community Bankers on September 22, 2014.
- 12/6/2013Vorys partner Nelson Cary spoke at the Employment Law Update on December 6, 2013 and he presented The NLRB and You: An Update on Developments for All Employers.
- 10/30/2013Vorys attorneys Nelson Cary and Robin Canowitz discussed recent key labor and employment law developments.
- 3/18/2013Vorys partner Nelson Cary and senior attorney Robin Canowitz spoke at the Health Care Law Committee Meeting hosted by the Columbus Bar Association on March 18, 2013. Their presentation was titled, Labor Law Issues of Interest to Health Care Employers.
- 10/26/2012Vorys partner Nelson Cary discussed the following in an October 26 webinar, presented by Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP.
- 3/13/2012Vorys partners Al Kinzer, Nelson Cary and Mark Knueve spoke at the Employers Resource Association’s Employment Law Update and Review on March 13.
- 6/10/2019Labor and Employment Alert: Recent Settlement Highlights Importance of Gender-Neutral Application of Parental Leave PoliciesOn May 30, 2019, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $5 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by male employees who requested paternity leave under company policy and were granted less leave than their female counterparts.
- Winter 2019Bankers, and lenders in particular, have enjoyed relatively broad opportunities for mobility between institutions for decades.
- 6/27/2018Labor and Employment Alert: Supreme Court Decision Strikes Down Mandatory Agency Fee Payments to Public Sector UnionsToday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the closely watched case of Janus v. AFSCME. In a landmark ruling, the Court held that public sector employees cannot be forced to pay mandatory fees to a public sector union if they are not a member of the union.
- 6/20/2018Labor and Employment Alert: New NLRB Guidance Gives the Green Light on Common Sense Employee Work RulesIn December, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) established a new standard for determining the lawfulness of facially neutral employee handbook policies that “may” restrict the exercise of an employee’s NLRA rights.
- 12/29/2017Labor and Employment Alert: NLRB’s Creation of New Standard for Employee Handbooks is a Present for EmployersEarlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) articulated a new standard for evaluating when a facially neutral workplace policy or rule would potentially interfere with rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In doing so, the NLRB overruled its 2004 Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia decision, which had held that employers violated the NLRA if their workplace rules could be “reasonably construed” by employees as prohibiting their exercise of protected rights.
- 3/6/2017This year has already witnessed two large-scale political protests – the Women’s March on January 21 and “A Day Without Immigrants” on February 17.
- 2/8/2017With the enactment of Senate Bill 19 on February 6, 2017, Missouri became the latest state to enact a right-to-work law making it illegal to require employees to become or remain union members, pay union dues, or pay fair share fees in lieu of union dues as a condition of employment or continued employment.
- Winter 2017According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation is now the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination.
- 1/11/2017For the first time, Kentucky has both a Republican governor and Republican majorities in its House and Senate. In less than a week, Kentucky enacted three laws – House Bill 1 (the Kentucky Right to Work Act), House Bill 3 (repealing prevailing wage), and Senate Bill 6 (the Paycheck Protection Act) which are intended to – depending on which side you’re on – improve the state’s economic climate or eviscerate union influence.
- 11/23/2016In a surprising decision, a federal judge in Texas blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rule from taking effect on December 1.
- 8/3/2016Nelson Cary and Al Kinzer, partners in the Vorys Columbus office and members of the labor and employment group, co-authored an article for the Ohio State Bar Association’s Fine Print titled “5 Labor Law Developments for Your ‘To Review’ List.”
- 6/27/2016Labor and Employment Alert: Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Department of Labor’s 'Persuader Rule'A federal district judge in Texas today issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) persuader rule, saying it threatens employers’ rights to secure legal advice about union organization.
- 6/16/2016Labor and Employment: Important New Development Regarding DOL Persuader Rule: Agreement Prior to July 1 Could Limit Future Reporting ObligationThe DOL has recently interpreted its new Persuader Rule to exclude an agreement or arrangement signed before July 1, 2016, even if the services and payments occur after July 1.
- 3/24/2016The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its new persuader rule yesterday. The final rule is largely unchanged from the proposed rule that was originally published in 2011. As expected, the DOL’s new interpretation departs from decades of precedent to expand the definition of “persuader” activities while limiting the definition of “advice” activities.
- 3/21/2016Employers in Ohio dodged a bullet last week. In a 5-2 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that a 2006 constitutional amendment increasing the minimum wage did not eliminate previously applicable exclusions and exemptions to the minimum wage requirement.
- 12/28/2015In October 2015, Representative Tom Brinkman introduced House Bill 377 in the Ohio General Assembly to make Ohio the nation’s 26th right-to-work state (along with Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).
- 9/24/2015The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released its most recent in a string of pro-union decisions in the form of a new guidance memorandum from its General Counsel (GC). In the “quickie” or “ambush” election rulemaking, the NLRB had directed the GC to issue guidance on whether electronic signatures should be accepted for the showing of interest required of a union.
- 9/14/2015Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office, and George Stevens, an associate in the Columbus office, co-authored an article for Employment Law360 titled “When Calling The Police Is Permissible Under Labor Law.”
- 8/28/2015The NLRB dealt a blow to employers yesterday, releasing its long-awaited decision in Browning-Ferris Industries. In a 3-2 decision, the NLRB rolled back nearly 30 years of case law to “restate” its joint employer standard. The result: a far more expansive test that is centered firmly on the question of control -- even indirect or potential control -- over a work force.
- 8/20/2015Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office, and George Stevens, an associate in the Vorys Columbus office, co-authored an article for TLNT.com titled “Why the NLRB Ruled That College Football Players Can’t Unionize.”
- 7/30/2015On June 9, 2015, the Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC (as well as the SEC, CFPB and NCUA) issued a final interagency joint policy statement (JPS) establishing standards for assessing the diversity policies and practices of the entities they regulate.
- 5/28/2015Nelson Cary, a partner in the Columbus office, and Ashley Manfull, a senior attorney in the Akron office, co-authored an article for Crain’s Cleveland Business titled “Policies on Employee Appearance and Social Media Use Declared Unlawful.”
- 4/30/2015Nelson Cary, a partner in the Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, and George Stevens, an associate in the Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, co-authored an article for TLNT.com titled “Court Won’t Give Legal Relief From NLRB’s ‘Quickie’ Election Rule.”
- 4/27/2015Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, authored an article for TLNT.com titled “Believe It or Not, NLRB Protects Foul Facebook Attack on Supervisor.”
- 3/25/2015Labor and Employment Alert: The NLRB’s Employee Handbook Policy Guidance — It’s Not Just For Union WorkplacesOn March 18, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) general counsel released a report addressing “problematic” employee handbook provisions that could be “reasonably construed” as having a chilling effect on employees’ Section 7 activity under the National Labor Relations Act (basically, the right to engage in “concerted activities” for collective bargaining or “other mutual aid and protection”).
- 3/13/2015Client Alert: Upholding a DOL Rule that Mortgage Loan Originators do not Qualify for the Administrative Exemption, a Unanimous Supreme Court Defers to Federal Agencies When Amending and Repealing Interpretative RulesIn Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, the Supreme Court unanimously held that federal agencies do not have to engage in formal notice-and-comment rulemaking when changing their interpretative rules (even when, as in the case before the Court, those changes are significant).
- 12/15/2014Last Friday, the NLRB issued its long-anticipated “ambush election” or “quickie election” rules. The rulemaking, which followed a long and tortured procedural path, is a major overhaul of the procedures used to conduct secret ballot, union elections. These elections are an important path to union representation, and they will now occur more quickly after the election petition is filed.
- 12/12/2014Labor and Employment Alert: Employers Must Allow Employees to Use Employer Owned and Operated Email Systems for Union Organizing ActivitySince 2007, as a result of the NLRB’s Register Guard decision, an employer could lawfully limit the use of its email system by employees for certain non-business related activities, assuming that it applied the rule non-discriminatorily. On December 10, 2014, in a 3-2 decision, the NLRB reversed the old rule established in Register Guard and established a new rule. Now, employees must be permitted to use employer email for statutorily protected communications during nonworking time if they have access to employer computer systems for work.
- 11/17/2014The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a decision reaffirming its much-maligned 2012 D.R. Horton opinion. In D.R. Horton, the NLRB held that an employer could not require employees to resolve employment-related claims through individual arbitrations, thereby waiving their right to proceed in a collective or class action.
- 11/12/2014Recent lawsuits, in Ohio and beyond, have accentuated the risks institutions face under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it comes to how Mortgage Loan Officers (MLOs) are paid. U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) activity in the past several years has further increased those risks.
- 11/4/2014Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, authored an article for TLNT.com titled “NLRB Revisits the Definition of an Independent Contractor.”
- 10/17/2014One person with Ebola, technically known as the Ebola hemorrhagic virus, and sometimes called the Ebola Virus Disease, has died in the United States. Two others, health care workers who treated the first patient, have been diagnosed with the illness.
- 8/27/2014Nelson Cary, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, authored an article for Law360 titled “New Limits On Employers During Union Organizing Efforts.”
- July/August 2014Nelson Cary authored an article for Ohio Matters about the ongoing debate regarding “savings clauses,” or a disclaimers, stating that employees should not interpret any of an employer’s rules in a way that would deny rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
- 7/31/2014Labor and Employment Alert: President Obama Adds Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to Protected Categories for Government ContractorsPresident Obama has signed yet another executive order changing the rules of the road for government contractors. Following on the heels of executive orders regarding minimum wage, compensation discrimination, and discussion of wages, the most recent executive action prohibits government contractors from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The president signed this executive order on July 21, 2014. It amends Executive Order 11246, the law setting forth affirmative action requirements for covered federal contractors and subcontractors.
- October 2005
- April 2005