People: Bryan M. O'Keefe, Partner

Bryan M. O'Keefe

Partner

Washington, D.C.
Direct: (202) 828-3543
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Bryan O’Keefe is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Mr. O’Keefe frequently represents companies in transactional due diligence, including providing advice and counsel on matters such as employee transfers, transnational jurisdictional considerations, the evolving legal landscape on joint employer relationships between private equity firms and portfolio companies, the enforceability of restrictive covenants, wage and hour liability, the use of contingent workers including temporary employees and independent contractors, high-risk employment litigation and related government audits and investigations, affirmative action obligations and the OFCCP regulatory regime, the implications of the WARN Act and other plant closing laws, and visas and immigration compliance. Mr. O’Keefe also drafts and edits purchase agreements, restrictive covenants, severance agreements, employee leasing arrangements, and independent contractor agreements. To note, prior to Seyfarth, Mr. O’Keefe was responsible for due diligence on more than 1,500 deals, with a particular emphasis on private equity transactions. Mr. O’Keefe is the labor and employment faculty member for the Practising Law Institute’s annual “Acquiring or Selling the Privately Held Company” conference.

Given his strong transactional background and familiarity with transactional risk insurance, Mr. O’Keefe can also advise insurers on R/W matters, including assisting with insurer due diligence, identifying key risks with the transaction, and working with buyers’ counsel to negotiate a transactional risk product that serves the needs of all parties.

In addition to his transactional practice, Mr. O’Keefe frequently represents employers in traditional labor law matters, including NLRB unfair labor practice charges and administrative law judge trials, NLRB appellate matters, union organizing and representational elections, collective bargaining, strikes, pickets, corporate campaigns, and union-related bankruptcy implications. Mr. O’Keefe is the Management Co-Chair for Region V of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Practice and Procedure under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and an active member of the ABA’s Committee on the Development of the Law under the NLRA. In addition, Mr. O’Keefe is a contributing editor to Developing Labor Law.

In addition to his traditional labor and transactional practices, Mr. O’Keefe has also represented employers in employment litigation matters, in particular non-compete cases, wage and hour litigation, and high stakes government investigations before the U.S. Department of Labor and state agencies. Mr. O’Keefe is a prolific author on labor and employment matters and has been a contributing editor to the Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise and Employment Law Deskbook and frequently appears in the media commenting on labor and employment matters.

Mr. O’Keefe graduated summa cum laude from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law and graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University, with a B.A. in Political Communications. While in law school, Mr. O’Keefe was the Editor-in-Chief of the Penn State Law Review. Prior to receiving his law degree, Mr. O’Keefe was a public policy consultant on labor, employment, and higher education in Washington, D.C. for several think tanks and trade associations, working with organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and H.R. Policy Association.

Bryan O’Keefe is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Mr. O’Keefe frequently represents companies in transactional due diligence, including providing advice and counsel on matters such as employee transfers, transnational jurisdictional considerations, the evolving legal landscape on joint employer relationships between private equity firms and portfolio companies, the enforceability of restrictive covenants, wage and hour liability, the use of contingent workers including temporary employees and independent contractors, high-risk employment litigation and related government audits and investigations, affirmative action obligations and the OFCCP regulatory regime, the implications of the WARN Act and other plant closing laws, and visas and immigration compliance. Mr. O’Keefe also drafts and edits purchase agreements, restrictive covenants, severance agreements, employee leasing arrangements, and independent contractor agreements. To note, prior to Seyfarth, Mr. O’Keefe was responsible for due diligence on more than 1,500 deals, with a particular emphasis on private equity transactions. Mr. O’Keefe is the labor and employment faculty member for the Practising Law Institute’s annual “Acquiring or Selling the Privately Held Company” conference.

Given his strong transactional background and familiarity with transactional risk insurance, Mr. O’Keefe can also advise insurers on R/W matters, including assisting with insurer due diligence, identifying key risks with the transaction, and working with buyers’ counsel to negotiate a transactional risk product that serves the needs of all parties.

In addition to his transactional practice, Mr. O’Keefe frequently represents employers in traditional labor law matters, including NLRB unfair labor practice charges and administrative law judge trials, NLRB appellate matters, union organizing and representational elections, collective bargaining, strikes, pickets, corporate campaigns, and union-related bankruptcy implications. Mr. O’Keefe is the Management Co-Chair for Region V of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Practice and Procedure under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and an active member of the ABA’s Committee on the Development of the Law under the NLRA. In addition, Mr. O’Keefe is a contributing editor to Developing Labor Law.

In addition to his traditional labor and transactional practices, Mr. O’Keefe has also represented employers in employment litigation matters, in particular non-compete cases, wage and hour litigation, and high stakes government investigations before the U.S. Department of Labor and state agencies. Mr. O’Keefe is a prolific author on labor and employment matters and has been a contributing editor to the Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise and Employment Law Deskbook and frequently appears in the media commenting on labor and employment matters.

Mr. O’Keefe graduated summa cum laude from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law and graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University, with a B.A. in Political Communications. While in law school, Mr. O’Keefe was the Editor-in-Chief of the Penn State Law Review. Prior to receiving his law degree, Mr. O’Keefe was a public policy consultant on labor, employment, and higher education in Washington, D.C. for several think tanks and trade associations, working with organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and H.R. Policy Association.

Education

  • J.D., Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, summa cum laude
    Editor-in-Chief, Penn State Law Review Woolsack Honor Society

  • B.A., The George Washington University, Political Communications, summa cum laude
    Departmental Honors

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Affiliations

  • American Bar Association Committee on Practice and Procedure under the National Labor Relations Act, Management Co-Chair Region V
  • American Bar Association Committee on the Development of the Law under the National Labor Relations Act
  • Labor and Employment Faculty Member, Practising Law Institute, Acquiring or Selling the Privately Held Company
  • American Bar Association Labor and Employment Section
  • American Bar Association Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (2010-2011)

Representative Engagements

  • Represented global private equity firm in significant arbitration proceeding concerning impact of corporate transaction on union collective bargaining agreement.
  • Advised a prominent regional transportation company in its sale to a global private equity firm with respect to numerous union-related matters that occurred during the sale process.
  • Advised a New York City-based unionized health care nonprofit organization on its spin-off from a large for-profit unionized New York hospital chain.
  • In an NLRB matter, represented a nursing home accused of giving unlawful pay raises to employees to prevent union organizing. No administrative complaint was issued. All charges were dismissed when it was proven that the raises were lawful.
  • Represented a bankrupt company and its owner, faced with investigations from both the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor concerning its closure and the administration of a self-funded healthcare plan. The NLRB charges were settled on favorable terms to the company and the Department of Labor did not pursue charges against the company or the owner. Represented prominent nursing home chain in NLRB and appellate proceedings challenging the authority of Regional Directors to conduct representation elections without a full board quorum.
  • Represented a casino that was subject to rival organizing campaigns from labor unions, and an allegation that it illegally favored one union over the other in violation of Section 8(a) (2) of the NLRA. Following a lengthy investigation, the NLRB dismissed all unfair labor practice charges and the Division of Advice issued several formal memoranda explaining how similar cases should be handled in the future.
  • Represented a major multinational confectionery company in a series of grievance and arbitration cases.
  • Assisted in defeating IAM union organizing drive for non-union Pennsylvania based manufacturing company. Managed all aspects of the NLRB election including negotiations over the appropriate voting unit, the development of campaign messages and themes, and labor law advice and counsel throughout the election. The workers overwhelmingly rejected unionization and the union never filed unfair labor practice charges or objections challenging the result.
  • Represented an energy company faced with a wrongful discharge claim pertaining to an obscure portion of Maryland law regarding licensing requirements of stationary engineers. An employee who complained about such requirements was fired and filed a whistleblower claim. Using technical areas of the law to demonstrate that the employee was not correct in his complaint regarding the licensing requirements, the case was resolved in favor of the client on summary judgment. Represented casino in noncompete matter after an employee left to work at a competing casino, bringing with her a list of confidential information from her previous employer. Obtained a temporary restraining order in federal court, followed by a preliminary injunction to prevent the employee from hurting her previous employer by using the list of confidential trade secrets.

Prior to Seyfarth, Mr. O’Keefe advised on all labor and employment related matters in the following corporate transactions:

  • Wyndham Worldwide Corporation in the spin-off of its hotel business, Wyndham Hotel & Resorts, Inc. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation for its $1.95 billion dollar purchase of La Quinta.
  • Wyndham Hotel Group for its $170 million dollar purchase of AmericInn.
  • Tribune Publishing Company (formerly Tronc, Inc.) in its $500 million divestiture of the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other California publications.
  • Vista Equity Partners on the labor and employment aspects of more than 30 private equity closed transactions, including Vista’s $1.55 billion dollar purchase of the Advisory Board Company’s education business, its $2.02 billion dollar purchase of DH Corp., and its $1.2 billion dollar sale of Active Network.
  • Tenneco on all labor and employment matters in its $5.4 billion dollar purchase of Federal Mogul, Inc. Boardriders, Inc. in its $155 million dollar purchase of rival Billabong. 

Presentations

  • “Rulemaking vs. Adjudication,” American Bar Association Committee on Practice and Procedure under the National Labor Relations Act, 2019 Midwinter Meeting (March 1, 2019)
  • “Buying and Selling the Privately Held Company, Specialty Area: Labor and Employment,” Practising Law Institute (June 6, 2018)
  • “Happily Ever After Following a Merger? Not Always,” American Bar Association Committee on Practice and Procedure under the National Labor Relations Act, 2017 Midwinter Meeting (March 2, 2017)
  • “Employee Handbooks in Maryland: Keeping Your Policies Up-to-Date,” Lorman Educational Services (March 19, 2014)
  • “The NLRB’s Latest Restrictions on Your Social Media and Handbook Policies,” Human Resources Association of Southern Maryland (Feb. 20, 2013)

Publications

  • Contributing Editor, “The Developing Labor Law,” Bloomberg BNA (2015–Present) Contributing Author, “Fair Labor Standards Act,” Bloomberg BNA (2012–2014) Contributing Editor, “The Employment Law Deskbook,” Matthew Bender (2010–2014) “NLRB Franchise Scrutiny Comes To Staffing Agencies,” Law360 (June 4, 2015)
  • “Knowing of Protected Activity Essential in the Fourth Circuit,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (January 2015)
  • “No Basis for Overturning Arbitration Award Reinstating Discharged Employee,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (September 2014)
  • “Wisconsin's Law Limiting Public Sector Bargaining Withstands Second Challenge,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (June 2014)
  • “Third Circuit Validates Preeminence of Board's Section 10(k) Rulings,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (February 2014)
  • Co-Author, “Supreme Court Decision in Mulhall Could Have Broad Implications for Labor Organizing,” CCH Employment Law Daily (November 11, 2013)
  • “Ninth Circuit Upholds Hefty Damage Award Against ILWU,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (September 2013)
  • “D.C. Circuit Strikes Down NLRB Posting Requirement,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (July 2013)
  • Board Acts to Protect Employee Rights to Access Social Media,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (February 2013)
  • Co-Author, “Implementing an Effective Workforce Reduction,” American Bar Association Employment and Labor Relations Law E-Newsletter (January 2013)
  • “Litigation Attaching Job Targeting Program Violates NLRB,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (December 2012)
  • "Intent Is Key in Determination of 'Primary/Secondary' Issues,” Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (October 2012)
  • “NLRB Notice to Employees Suffers Setback in Early Court Tests,” Bender’s Labor and Employment Bulletin (June 2012)
  • Co-Author, “New Labor Law Changes Impact the Casino Bottom Line,” Casino Enterprise Management (February 2012)
  • Co-Author, “New NLRB Position on Location of Striking Workers,” Lexis-Nexis Emerging Issues Analysis (November 2011)
  • “Different Circuit, Same Result: FMCSA Regulations Lose Again in Federal Court,” Bender’s Labor and Employment Bulletin (October 2011)
  • “The Employee Free Choice Act’s Interest Arbitration Provision: In Whose Best Interest?” Penn State Law Review (2010)