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OVERVIEW

Peter A. Morse, Jr.
Partner

Indianapolis, Washington, D.C.

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20006-4623

P 317-231-7794

F 317-231-7433

OVERVIEW

Peter A. Morse, Jr.
Partner

Indianapolis, Washington, D.C.

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20006-4623

P 317-231-7794

F 317-231-7433

Pete Morse is the administrator of the Labor and Employment Department in Indianapolis, the firm’s largest office. He also co-chairs the firm’s Global Services practice group and was appointed to serve as honorary consul to the country of Japan.

OVERVIEW

Peter A. Morse, Jr. Partner

Indianapolis

Washington, D.C.

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20006-4623

P : 317-231-7794

Pete Morse is the administrator of the Labor and Employment Department in Indianapolis, the firm’s largest office. He also co-chairs the firm’s Global Services practice group and was appointed to serve as honorary consul to the country of Japan.

Cited in The Best Lawyers in America as a Lawyer of the Year, 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 has experience guiding employers through non-compete and trade secret cases, wage/hour investigations, class/collective actions and workforce reorganizations. He also assists schools and universities as they navigate the unique laws that apply to them and defends 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 multistate 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 and to support clients in virtually all phases of master agreements. Pete has experience working with a number of unions, including the Teamsters, Steelworkers, UAW, UFCW, Canadian Auto Workers, IBEW, Utility Workers, Operating Engineers, Service Workers, UNITE, PACE, Boilermakers, Sheet Metal Workers, Chemical 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 practices 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 foreign clients operating in the U.S. and assisting numerous domestic clients in international matters around the world, from expat agreements, unfair competition matters and visa/mobility issues to cross-border disputes, employment matters and business strategies. He serves as outside general counsel to a number of U.S.- and foreign-owned clients. As an extension of his international practice and leadership of the firm’s Global Services group, Pete has had the privilege of accompanying Indiana's last three governors on official trade missions overseas and has had the honor to serve as official labor counsel to the government of Mexico, an executive officer for the Japan-America Society of Indiana, and a director emeritus for TerraLex, an affiliation of international law firms able to provide legal support to Barnes & Thornburg clients in more than 150 jurisdictions worldwide.

Pete also is the co-chairman of the TerraLex International Labour practice group and most recently was honored to have been named honorary consul of Japan by appointment through Japan’s Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department. As part of his international practice, Pete has assisted clients and conducted business in numerous countries, including most frequently 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.

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. While in law school, he interned for a federal judge. Originally hailing from a small town in southern Illinois, Pete has channeled his love of community spirit by working with an array of local charitable organizations and serving on advisory boards. During his spare time, Pete enjoys a variety of activities, including fly-fishing, cycling and coaching his three children in baseball and softball.

Pete is not regularly admitted to practice law in the local courts of the District Columbia, and pursuant to Rule 49 limits his practice in the District of Columbia to work involving the United States Congress, various embassies, federal district and appellate courts, and federal agencies (e.g., the EEOC, Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board).

To view this page in Japanese, please click here.


Professional and Community Involvement

Board of trustees member, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Board member, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Board member, United States Auto Club

Former board member, Eiteljorg Museum

Former board member, Skiles Test Baseball & Softball League

Former board member, Beta Theta Pi National Fraternity

Honors

The Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2019; Lawyer of the Year, 2017 and 2018

Indiana Super Lawyers, 2004-2019

Chambers USA

Continental Who’s Who

The Legal News, Top Attorney

Corporate Intl Magazine, Indiana Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year

EXPERIENCE
  • Assisted client with case in which court found no direct evidence of racial discrimination nor evidence of similarly situated non-black employees who were treated better dooms Plaintiff's racial discrimination termination claim.
  • Proactive Guidance Undermines Former Employee’s ADA Case

    Represented client in obtaining the dismissal of a disability claim under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). A long-term employee and union member filed an ADA claim against a tool and stamping operation when he was terminated five days after submitting restrictions to the employer. Pete Morse worked with the client to create a checklist of essential job duties associated with his existing job and the other open jobs in the plant. The employer then presented that checklist to the employee and asked which tasks he could or couldn’t perform, with or without an accommodation. The employee indicated that he could only work about 25 percent of the tasks associated with available jobs and signed his name at the bottom confirming that assessment. In response, the company terminated the employee because he – by his own admission – could not perform the essential function of his job (with or without accommodation) or of any of the open/vacant jobs in the company.

    Collective Wage Actions Averted

    In two separate wage/hour audits with “collective action” potential, Pete worked behind the scenes with the client to allow the putative plaintiffs to “defeat themselves.” In a subtle tactic separated in time and substance from the employees’ wage/hour allegations, Pete helped create forms for the employees to complete that assessed their “promotability” and invited them to highlight their accomplishments with the company and describe their job functions. The appeal to vanity worked, and the employees’ own admissions became central to securing favorable resolutions to the employees’ previous allegations that they were non-exempt, exercised little job discretion, etc.

    Value-Added Training in 2007-2008

    As part of his drive to “partner” with his clients, Pete conducted several sessions with clients in 2007 “off the clock” to discuss various labor and employment issues that had arisen during the past year, identify better practices that might have prevented those issues, and outline strategies on how to reduce legal fees (in one case, by more than $1 million). In 2008, Pete already has conducted several sessions introducing “best practices” and legal strategies for clients as they have added new HR staff.
  • Summary judgment granted to client-employer in a case involving alleged Title VII claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and a pendent state law claim under the Iowa Civil Rights Act for sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

    Peggy Tokheim was employed by Georgia-Pacific. Tokheim argued that she was subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination during her tenure with Georgia-Pacific. Upon termination, she brought an action against the company alleging violations of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Georgia-Pacific moved for summary judgment arguing that Tokheim’s claims were barred under the doctrine of judicial estoppel. Specifically, Tokheim failed to disclose her claims against it during a prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding.In ruling on Georgia-Pacific’s motion for summary judgment, the district court found that Tokheim’s failure to amend her bankruptcy schedules to include her claims was the equivalent of representing to the bankruptcy court that these claims did not exist. Consequently, her subsequent lawsuit against Georgia-Pacific was “clearly inconsistent” with her position taken in the bankruptcy court. Judicial “acceptance” of Tokheim’s position occurred when the bankruptcy court discharged her debts based on the information provided to it. The district court observed that Tokheim’s administrative claims against Georgia-Pacific were filed with the EEOC and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission more than three months before the bankruptcy proceedings were concluded. As a result, if she were to have secured a judgment against Georgia-Pacific without disclosing her claims in the bankruptcy proceeding she would have derived a windfall. The court found that Tokheim was bound by her previous representations to the bankruptcy court and was judicially estopped from pursuing an action against Georgia-Pacific.
  • Nationwide Restaurant Chain

    Represented nationwide restaurant chain and several of its managers in jury trial on claims of retaliation under Missouri Human Rights Act. Obtained defense verdict for company and its managers on all counts.

    Worldwide Retailer

    Represented worldwide retailer in age discrimination, sex discrimination, and disability discrimination case. Client obtained early dismissal with prejudice on all counts based on novel defense of judicial estoppel.

    Nationwide Restaurant Chain

    Represented nationwide restaurant chain in sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation and retaliatory harassment case. Client obtained summary judgment on all counts.

    Nationwide Restaurant Chain

    Represented nationwide restaurant chain in trial of ERISA claims. Client obtained judgment in its favor on all counts.

    Wordwide Telecommunications Company

    Represented worldwide telecommunications company in sex discrimination, national origin discrimination and retaliation case. Client obtained summary judgment on all counts. Following appeal by former employee, summary judgment on all counts affirmed by federal court of appeals.

    Worldwide Defense Contractor

    Represented worldwide defense contractor in sex discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation case. Client obtained summary judgment on all counts. Following appeal by former employee, summary judgment on all counts affirmed by federal court of appeals.

    Midwest Beverage Company

    Represented Midwest beverage company in race discrimination and retaliation case. Client obtained early dismissal of all claims based on aggressive discovery and deposition scheduling.
  • Nationwide Food Service Provider

    Acts as lead negotiator for nationwide food service provider in numerous collective bargaining negotiations across the U.S. Obtained highly favorable economic terms and operational provisions for facilities with incumbent unions and for first contracts.

    Nationwide Beverage Company

    Represented nationwide beverage company against a union organizing campaign coordinated by the union at two of the client’s Midwest facilities. Both organizing campaigns were defeated by the company. No charges were filed with the NLRB.

    Nationwide Agricultural Company

    Represented nationwide agricultural company in successful campaign to decertify an incumbent union. No charges were filed with the NLRB.

    Nationwide Agricultural Company

    Represented nationwide agricultural company in successfully negotiating a shutdown agreement for a plant closure. No charges were filed with the NLRB.

    Midwest Manufacturer

    Represented Midwest manufacturer against a series of grievances taken to arbitration by the union over economic changes to hours and working conditions. All grievances were denied by the arbitrators.
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