WAYNE J. POSITAN is an experienced and recognized attorney in the areas of labor and employment law (management/defense litigation); commercial litigation, appellate practice and alternative dispute resolution matters; perennially listed in Best Lawyers in America, New Jersey Super Lawyers Top 100 (Top 10 2007-2010, 2017; #2 in 2007, 2009), Chambers USA's "America's Leading Business Lawyers" (Top Tier Employment Defense Attorneys since its inception), New York Magazine Best Lawyers in the Metropolitan New York Area, NJ Monthly Magazine "Top Lawyers", International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers, Who's Who in American Law; Who's Who in America; and Who's Who in Mediation and Arbitration. In 2016, he received the New Jersey State Bar Foundation's Medal of Honor. He is a recipient of the Essex County Bar Association Saiber Professional Achievement Award and its "Stars of Essex" Award. He received Professional Lawyer of the Year Awards from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism, nominated by ECBA in 2002 and the NJSBA in 2009. He is AVVO 10/10 Rated and Martindale-Hubbell AV Pre-Eminent Rated. The firm’s Labor, Employment and Government Group, which he chaired for over thirty-five years, has achieved Metropolitan Tier One Ranking by Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms/US News and World Report (2014-2018) for Labor and Employment Litigation, Labor Law-Management, and Employment Law-Management.
He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Litigation Counsel of America, the New Jersey Academy of Management Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Executive Committee of the NJ Fellows of the American Bar, and a former Co-Chair of Fellows of the ABA Section of Litigation. He is a New Jersey Court Approved Mediator, Federal Court Mediator, and Essex County Chancery Mediator.
He has been involved in a variety of widely reported cases such as Baliko v. Stecker, where he obtained a no-cause of action in a jury trial in a claim brought by female construction workers claiming sexual harassment under the NJ Law Against discrimination against union picketers; represented former Attorney General Peter Verneiro in a suit brought by the former State Police Superintendent Carl Williams regarding his termination; Pepsi Bottling Group in a large wage and hour case in the NJ Department of Labor; a departing vice president in a non-compete action by one Fortune 500 company against another; the Port Authority of NY and NJ in a dispute with insurance carriers over the excess coverage claims involved in the World Trade Center bombing; Passaic County regarding their non-liability as an alleged guarantor of bond obligations under the MUA law; former Mayor Corey Booker in a litigation with the Newark City Council; and US Mineral Products/Isolatek International in Chancery Division proceedings, AAA arbitration and the federal court confirmation of an award of damages and counsel fees amounting to approximately $800,000 on its counterclaim against a former CEO. He also achieved a successful result thru mediation for a CEO client involving agreements and stock options in an American subsidiary of a Chinese company. Over the last several years, he has been involved in a series of non-compete matters in the federal and state courts involving the fields of medical research, medical devices, and vitamin/nutrition distribution.
He has been involved in many appellate decisions which shaped the development of employment law in New Jersey, and has a broad range of experience in collective bargaining/labor arbitration/NLRB practice in the private sector, and collective negotiations/PERC practice in the public sector, along with the federal and state Departments of Labor. He handled a Teamsters negotiations for several gas distributorships in the Northeast, including the successful handling of a one-month strike. He has handled a variety of issues concerning construction contractors such as disputes with unions and union funds over pre-hire agreements and prevailing wage issues. He has represented clients in state court Chancery proceedings and federal court cases involving minority shareholder rights, employment and non-compete matters, and internal disputes among joint venture members, shareholders, partners, officers, and employees in food operations, distributorships, and professional partnerships.
He represented the contract purchaser of a casino in a dispute involving purchase rights, insureds in coverage dispute matters concerning environmental and asbestos policies; and in matters in federal court representing a medical group in a qui tam action under the False Claims Act by former hospital employees involving Medicare claims and payments; a defendant in a dispute over sports memorabilia allegations involving an NFL team; and a professional liability suit against a law firm. He recently successfully represented a national auto parts distributor in several federal court matters alleging discrimination claims, and an engineering company regarding FMLA claims. He served as a court-appointed special master, then mediator, in a dispute among the family shareholders of a restaurant chain. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for Essex County, Hudson County and the City of Elizabeth Police Department. As a mediator, he has mediated over two hundred matters in cases involving labor and employment law, internal entity disputes, business disputes, non-competition and confidentiality issues, and professional liability.
He served as the New Jersey State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates (2011-2020) and on the ABA Nominating Committee. He was a member of the House of Delegates from 2003-2020. He served as Chair of the Coordinating Council of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, as Chair of the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice, and Chair of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility/ABA Section Officers Conference Joint Committee on Ethics and Professionalism. The Report and Recommendations of the ABA Commission on Multijurisdictional Practice concerning RPC 5.5 have now been adopted by forty-six states. He served as the Third Circuit representative on the ABA Board of Governors (2006-2009), including being a member of its Executive Committee, Chair of the ABA Operations and Communications Committee, and Board Liaison to the Conference of Federal Trial Judges; Committee on Disaster Preparedness, and the Law Student Division. He also served as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Strategic Communications. He is a former Managing Director and Council Member of the ABA Section of Litigation, Co-Chair of the Task Force on the Merit Selection of Judges, and Chair of its Committee on Employment and Labor Litigation. He served as a NITA Faculty Member to teach legal services trial skills in Newark. He served as Chair of the successful campaign to elect Paulette Brown the first woman of color to be President of the ABA.
He is former President of the New Jersey State Bar Association, former Chair of its Labor and Employment Section, and a former member of the NJ State Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. He served on the Steering Committee of the Foundation Capital Campaign to make improvements to the New Jersey Bar Center. He has served on the NJSBF Nominating Committee (2018-2021). During his term as President, he initiated the Pipeline Task Force to encourage minority students in grade and high schools to become lawyers and judges; the Task Force on Disaster Planning, to assist lawyers and the legal system to respond to disasters, and involved the NJSBA in the Military Assistance Program to assist returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. While President, he also served with the Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
He has spoken and lectured on over one hundred programs on labor and employment issues, litigation, legal ethics, and the profession ranging from being the organizer/moderator of the NJICLE Annual Labor Law Forum for twenty-five years, to lecturing at the NJ Judicial College and addressing the Conference of Chief Justices on issues concerning multijurisdictional practice.
He is an NJICLE Alfred Clapp Laureate for Excellence in Continuing Legal Education, and a recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. He spoke on the ABA Connection National Teleconferences on "Ethics Issues in Multijurisdictional Practice" and "The Last Word on Ethics 2000." He also served as a Master in the Reitman Labor and Employment American Inn of Court for the first ten years after its inception during his term as Chair of the NJSBA Labor & Employment Section.
He served as Editor-in-Chief of the NJICLE book "New Jersey Labor and Employment Law" since its first edition in 1995 and subsequent updates. He authored Chapter One "The Employment Relationship in New Jersey: An Historical and Futuristic Perspective." He also served on the Board of Editors of "Jury Instructions in Employment Litigation" (ABA), co-authored "Special Evidentiary Concerns" in the Employment Litigation Handbook (ABA), and "Employment Torts" in Business Torts Litigation. He co-authored "The Value of an Effective Anti-Harassment Policy" in the Journal of Community Association Law, and numerous articles in the NJ Labor and Employment Section Quarterly, the New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, The New Jersey Labor Letter and a variety of other publications. He has also participated in ABA Section of Litigation Video/DVD projects such as "73 Ways to Win", "64 Ways to Build a Better Litigation Practice" and "40 Ethical Solutions for Litigators".
He is a graduate of Boston University with a BA in Government, magna cum laude, and obtained his JD from NYU School of Law. He was elected to the Boston University College of Arts & Sciences Collegium of Distinguished Alumni in 2009, and served on the Dean's Selection Committee for the Collegium. He served on the Boston University Alumni Council (2010-2019), a member of its Executive Committee, and as President of the Council and Boston University Alumni Association (2015-2017).
He served on the Board of Trustees of Montclair State University (1999-2006), chairing its Facilities Committee (1999-2002) and Personnel Committee (2002-2006). He served on the "Seton Hall Law School Rising" Capital Campaign. He was the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Leadership Award of The Peter W. Rodino, Jr. Society at Seton Hall School of Law. He has also served on behalf of a variety of charities with regard to fundraising activities/dinner committees including the American Jewish Committee, the American Hungarian Foundation, The Essex Council of Boy Scouts of America, the Newark YMWCA, and the Catholic Education Fund.
He served as President (2013-2015) of the Columbian Foundation, an Italian-American charitable foundation; and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees (2015-2017). He received the Foundation's Humanitarian and Achievement Award in 2002. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Marotta Controls, Inc. He is Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Honoraire of La Chaine des Rotisseurs, La Grande Cave du New Jersey.
He served on the Transition Teams of Governor Christine Todd Whitman, reviewing the NJ Department of Transportation and NJ Transit; and Governor Chris Christie, reviewing the NJ Division of Law, the NJ Division on Civil Rights, and the NJ Athletic Commission.
He is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, the United States District Courts of New Jersey, the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Areas of Practice
- Labor and Employment
- Non-Compete Litigation
- Governmental Law
- Appellate Practice
- Commercial Litigation