Pete Morse is a partner and the administrator of the Labor & Employment Department in Indianapolis, the firm’s largest office. He also co-chairs the firm’s Global Services Practice Group and serves on the firm's Management Committee.
Dedicating his practice exclusively to management interests, Pete represents employers in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law for a broad client base, including private and public employers ranging in size from 20 to more than 200,000 employees. A “full-service” labor lawyer with a regional and national practice, Pete has assisted clients with labor matters in all 50 states.
On the litigation side, Pete routinely defends allegations of wrongful discharge, discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, ERISA violations, breach of contract, and a variety of other employment claims. He also has experience guiding employers through non-compete cases, wage/hour investigations, class/collective actions, and workforce reorganizations; as well as assisting schools and universities navigate the unique laws that apply to them and defending military/government contractors and various industries in matters involving Qui Tam, the False Claims Act, the FDA, RICO, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and various statutory whistleblower claims. In addition to handling matters in state and federal courts, Pete has represented clients at virtually all levels of administrative proceedings, including matters before the EEOC, OSHA the NLRB, and the DOL (with extensive experience defending wage/hour matters related to exempt status / misclassifications, independent contractors, and donning and doffing claims).
On the traditional labor side, Pete helps clients craft comprehensive labor strategies, conducts positive employee relations training, leads companies through union organizing and decertification campaigns, and supports clients in the full range of matters associated with organized workforces (from multi-state arbitrations and collective bargaining to work stoppages, unfair labor practice (ULP) charges, secondary boycotts, and 10(j) injunctions). Pete takes special pride in charting creative bargaining solutions to achieve labor cost savings and productivity enhancements in even the most mature labor contracts as well as routinely being hired to negotiate “first contracts.” Pete has experience working with a number of unions, including the Teamsters, Steelworkers, UAW, UFCW, Canadian Auto Workers, IBEW, Utility Workers, Service Workers, UNITE, PACE, Sheet Metal Workers, SIEU, the Carpenters, and many others.
In stressing the importance of proactive labor strategies, Pete devotes much of his practice to daily client counseling, employment law audits, developing “best practice” HR policies, and providing management training on a variety of topics (ranging from legal topics such as harassment training, aggressively managing the ADA and FMLA, and risk management, to “soft” topics like diversity and cultural awareness, effective supervision, retention, employee involvement programs, controlling legal spend, and recruitment, orientation, and recognition strategies). Pete also reviews and drafts employment contracts, consulting agreements, employee handbooks, non-compete/trade-secret agreements and severance packages. Most recently, he has spent considerable time working with clients to help craft national master agreements and led Rapid Response Teams to assist in detecting, avoiding, and responding to heightened union organizing efforts.
Apart from representing clients on a regional and national basis, Pete also has an international component to his practice, representing a number of Japanese and other foreign clients in the U.S. and assisting numerous domestic clients in international matters around the world (from ex pat agreements, unfair competition matters, and visa / mobility issues to cross-border disputes, employment matters, and business strategies). As an extension of his international practice and leadership of the firm’s Global Services Practice Group, Pete has had the privilege of accompanying Indiana's two most recent Governors on official Trade Missions overseas and serving as official labor counsel to the government of Mexico, is an Executive Officer for the Japan-America Society of Indiana, serves as a Director for TerraLex (an affiliation of international law firms able to provide legal support to Barnes & Thornburg clients in more than 150 jurisdictions worldwide), and is the co-chairman of the TerraLex International Labour Practice Group. And most recently, Pete was honored to have been confirmed by the Government of Japan and the U.S. State Department to serve as Honorary Consul of Japan, effective March 18, 2016. As part of his international practice, Pete has assisted clients and conducted business in numerous countries, including most frequently Mexico (where he had been designated as official labor counsel to Mexico), Canada, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, Chile, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, and Puerto Rico. Pete also provides legal and cultural awareness training to foreign executives, and assists in helping foreign companies establish relationships with local government leaders within the U.S.
Serving as outside general counsel to a number of clients, Pete has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, named on the Indiana Super Lawyers list by a panel of his peers every year since the award’s inception, identified as a Continental Who’s Who in the fields of labor & international law, recognized as a "Top Attorney" by The Legal News (identifying the nation's top 3 percent of attorneys), further recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, and most recently named “Employment Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America publication (2017) and also "Indiana Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year" by Corporate Intl Magazine.
Pete graduated with honors from DePauw University where he was active in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and rode in the Little 500 Bicycle Race. He graduated from Vanderbilt Law School where he interned for a federal judge and served as an editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. During his spare time, Pete enjoys a variety of activities including fly-fishing, cycling, and coaching his three children in baseball and softball.
Originally hailing from a small town in southern Illinois, Pete has been committed to an array of causes in his adopted Indianapolis community, with recent service supporting the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Eiteljorg Museum, the United States Auto Club, and various other organizations in board or advisory capacities.
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