Joel S. Barras

Joel S. Barras



  • Boston University School of Law, 2003, J.D., cum laude
  • Boston University, 2003, M.S., Mass Communication, College of Communication
  • Vassar College, 2000, B.A., Political Science

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court - District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Joel represents a variety of regional and national employers in union avoidance, collective bargaining, labor arbitration, and employment-related litigation. He is also labor counsel for a number of municipalities, representing them in their dealings with both union and non-union employees. He represents employers in the financial, construction, health care, food and other services, waste management and public utility industries and routinely provides legal guidance and counseling to employers with both union and non-union employees.

Joel frequently represents employers in grievance and interest arbitrations, unfair labor practice proceedings, administrative claims before the EEOC and state and local agencies, and in state and federal courts. He also regularly advises clients regarding all aspects of labor and employment law. Joel has handled matters with a diverse list of major and independent unions over the course of his career, including the IBEW, UFCW, UNITE HERE, CWA, SEIU, CNA, GMP, IEOU, Steelworkers, Teamsters, Laborers, Carpenters, Pipe-Fitters, Plumbers, AFSCME, IAFF and FOP.

Joel is often quoted in the media and has published on labor and employment issues and has authored numerous publications and lectured extensively on all facets of private and public sector labor and employment law on behalf of numerous organizations.

Employment History

  • 2005 - Reed Smith
  • 2003 - Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, Assistant Counsel

Honors & Awards

  • The Legal Intelligencer - Joel was named a "Lawyer on the Fast Track" (2016)
  • The Legal 500 - Joel was described as a “rising star” in the area of Labor-Management Relations (2014)

Professional Affiliations

  • Contributing Editor for The Developing Labor Law: The Board, the Courts, and the National Labor Relations Act, Sixth Edition, with 2013 Supplement

Notable Quotes

  • 24 January 2017 "3 Employment Law Cases That Could See High Court Action Soon" Law360
  • 23 November 2016 "Blocked Overtime Rule Leaves Employers With Pay Dilemma" Law360
  • 6 November 2016 "SEPTA strike negotiations stall as management, union await Monday court hearing" PlanPhilly
  • 1 November 2016 "Can't we all just get along? Lawyers, history explain the logic behind SEPTA strike" PlanPhilly
  • 1 March 2016 "After Scalia death, outlook unclear for some employment cases" Westlaw Journal
  • 16 February 2016 "Scalia's Death Keeps Public Union Fees Alive for Now" Law360
  • 7 October 2015 "5 Supreme Court Employment Cases to Watch" Law360
  • 5 October 2015 "The Supreme Court's Labor and Employment Agenda" Corporate Counsel
  • 7  January 2015 "A GOP Effect on the NLRB?" Human Resource Executive Online
  • 12 December 2014 "NLRB Finalizes Rule to Streamline Union Election Process" Law360
  • 12 December 2014 "Unions Win Again at NLRB with Ambush Elections Rule" Triangle Business Journal
  • 12 December 2014 "NLRB rules that employees can use work email for labor organizations" Inside Counsel
  • 12 December 2014 "Quickie Union Election Rule Shrinks Campaign Period" SHRM
  • 11 December 2014 "Labor Board OKs Personal Use of Company Email" Associated Press
  • 11 December 2014 "Lawyers Weigh In On NLRB Employer Email Ruling" Law360
  • 2 December 2014 "Holiday Reminder: Employees abuse office computer privileges by shopping online during work hours" Inside Counsel
  • 1 December 2014 "On Cyber Monday, Don't Discount Company Policies" Corporate Counsel
  • 25 November 2014 "Pa. Bar's Facebook Advice May Spur Obstruction Claims" Law360
  • 10 November 2014 "Should unions be allowed to use work email for organizing? Key NLRB ruling will decide" 89.3 KPCC
  • 30 October 2014 "A SEPTA Strike? What You Need to Know" NBC Philadelphia
  • 5 August 2014 "NLRB Ratifies Actions Affected By Noel Canning Ruling" National Law Journal
  • 30 June 2014 "Update 3 - U.S. Top Court Lets Some Public Employees Avoid Union Dues" Reuters
  • 30 June 2014 "Lawyers Weigh In On High Court's Union Fees Ruling" Law360
  • 30 June 2014 "Justices' Union Fee Ruling Sets Stage For Further Challenges" Law360
  • 26 June 2014 "What Does the Supreme Court’s NLRB Ruling Mean for Hundreds of Labor Cases?" The Washington Post
  • 26 June 2014 "In Limiting Obama's Appointment Power, Supreme Court Voids Worker Rights" Fortune
  • 26 June 2014 "Obama Loses on NLRB Recess Appointments, But Employers Unlikely to Win" Forbes
  • 26 June 2014 "High Court Limits Presidential Power, Triggers Turmoil at NLRB" National Law Journal
  • 26 June 2014 "Lawyers Weigh in on High Court's Recess Appointment Ruling" Law360
  • 3 June 2014 "4 Things to Know When Hiring Teens for Summer Jobs" Corporate Counsel
  • 12 May 2014 "NLRB Considers Forcing Employers to Allow Union E-Mail Organizing" National Legal and Policy Center
  • 5 February 2014 "A Valuable Legal Lesson" Human Resources Executive Online
  • 4 November 2013 "Taking It Straight to the SEC" Human Resources Executive Online
  • 31 July 2013 "American Psychiatric Association Expands List of Mental Disorders" Business Insurance
  • 29 July 2013 "NLRB Warns Employers on Social Media Overstepping" Fox Business
  • 24 July 2013 "NLRB Memo 'Unlikes' Social Media Policies" Corporate Counsel
  • 24 March 2013 "Supreme Court takes on NLRB case involving Obama board appointments" Business Insurance
  • 4 February 2013 "After the Canning v. NLRB Decision" Human Resources Executive Online
  • 18 September 2012 "NLRB Publishes First Social Media Decision" InsideCounsel