Shannon Farmer
Shannon Farmer

Shannon D. Farmer

Partner

farmers@ballardspahr.com
Tel 215.864.8221
Fax 215.864.8999
Philadelphia

Shannon D. Farmer represents public and private employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters. She conducts collective bargaining negotiations and interest arbitrations, defends employers in all types of civil rights claims, and provides advice and training related to employment policies and other HR needs.

Representative Matters

Labor/Union Matters

  • Handles collective bargaining negotiations and interest arbitrations for a unit of health care professionals and drivers for a large nationwide nonprofit, a unit of drivers for that same nonprofit, and six contracts covering nearly 25,000 employees of a large municipality

  • Defends companies before state and federal labor boards against unfair labor practice charges in a wide variety of contexts; cases include allegations that a major telecommunications company fired employees in retaliation for union organizing activities, allegations that work was unilaterally moved out of a bargaining unit, and allegations of failure to implement an arbitration award

  • Represents companies in an array of grievance arbitrations involving discipline and contract interpretation matters

  • Appeals awards of labor arbitrators who have exceeded their authority or imposed awards in violation of public policy

Wage and Hour Matters

  • Defends employers against a wide variety of wage and hour claims, including claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, state minimum wage laws and state wage payment and collection laws, before the Department of Labor, state administrative agencies and federal courts; recent cases include a federal collective action for a large entertainment company alleging minimum wage and overtime violations brought by employees of its now-defunct janitorial contractor

  • Assists companies in conducting their own compliance audits and taking proactive steps to avoid litigation and limit liability

Employment Discrimination and Civil Rights Matters

  • Defends companies and their employees against all forms of civil rights claims, including all forms of employment discrimination, civil rights violations, and defamation claims in state and federal courts; recent cases include a suit by more than 20 police officers alleging that their civil rights were violated through state-required certification examinations, a reverse discrimination suit by five white public safety officials claiming race discrimination in a promotional examination, a defamation suit by a police officer based on a news report after he was caught on cell phone video beating a suspect, a disability and race discrimination suit by a fired maintenance supervisor, and a disability discrimination suit alleging the improper failure to give an athletic scholarship

Advice, Agreements, Policies, and Training

  • Assists employers with all of their human resources, advice ,and training needs, including FMLA policies, electronic use policies, drug and alcohol use and testing and other needs

  • Advises on questions about the FMLA, wage and hour, employee terminations, harassment investigations, and the Americans with Disabilities Act

  • Drafts agreements, including employment agreements, separation agreements, and confidentiality and/or noncompete agreements

  • Trains human resources staff, supervisors and employees on the FMLA, employment discrimination and harassment, good employment practices, and wage and hour compliance

Pro Bono Experience

Since 2004, Ms. Farmer has served as a child advocate for children who have been or have been adjudicated dependent through the Philadelphia Family Court. In addition, she has represented parents and other caregivers in child custody matters.

Ms. Farmer served on the team representing Daniel Dougherty, a former death-row inmate, since 2004. The team obtained a new trial in 2013 and is pursuing his release based on advances in scientific evidence.

Ms. Farmer assists several nonprofit organizations with their employment needs on a pro bono basis, including drafting employment policies, drafting agreements, and providing advice and support.

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Raymond J. Broderick, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1998-2000


Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, labor and employment law, 2009-2017

Distinguished Advocate, Support Center for Child Advocates, 2017

The Best Lawyers in America, employment law, 2012-2017

Winner, 2013 International Law Office/Lexology Client Choice Award, for labor and employment in Pennsylvania, in recognition of law firm partners worldwide who provide excellent client care and quality of service

Recipient, Ballard Spahr's 2012 Alan J. Davis Award, for her pro bono work as leader of the Daniel Dougherty Capital Defense team

Publications

Co-author, "Title VII Protects Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, 7th Circuit Holds," Ballard Spahr alert, April 6, 2017 

Co-author, "New Legal Challenges to Public Union Agency Fees," Ballard Spahr alert, January 19, 2017

Co-author, "Student Athletes Are Not Employees Under FLSA, Circuit Court Affirms," Ballard Spahr alert, December 7, 2016

Co-author, "U.S. District Court Enters Injunction Preventing Enforcement of New FLSA Rules," Ballards Spahr alert, November 23, 2016

Co-author, "DOL Issues Final Rule on Federal Contractors Requiring Paid Sick Leave," Ballard Spahr alert, September 30, 2016

Co-author, "Top 5 Provisions for Your Staffing Contracts," Ballard Spahr alert, April 6, 2016

Q&A: Don’t Quarantine Yourself From Employment Law During an Ebola Outbreak," Bloomberg BNA, December 2014

Co-author, "Employee Benefits and the Unionized Workforce," chapter in ERISA: A Comprehensive Guide, 2011-2017 editions

Co-author, "The ADA Amendments Act: A Real Older Workers Protection Act?" The Legal Intelligencer, February 22, 2010

"Top 5 Wage and Hour Pitfalls," The Legal Intelligencer, December 2007

Speaking Engagements

Labor Law Symposium 2016: Ethics, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, November 30, 2016  

"Law School for the CFO - Labor Law Implementation and Strategy," CFO Leadership Council, November 17, 2016

"New Overtime Rules a Reality: What All Employers Must Do to Prepare," Ballard Spahr webinar, October 24, 2016

"Legislative and Regulatory Update," HR Executive Alliance, October 19, 2016

"Pension Reform Lessons from Around the Country," Smith's High Yield Municipal Bond Conference, September 29, 2016

"Pension Reform Lessons From Around the Country," PhAMAS Public Pension seminar, July 13, 2016 

"New Overtime Rules a Reality: What Title and Escrow Companies Must Do to Prepare," American Land Title Association webinar, July 13, 2016 

Panelist, "Ethical Issues in Wage and Hour Litigation and Compliance," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 28, 2016 

Panelist, "Wage Compliance for Non-Exempt Employees," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 28, 2016 

Panelist, "Classifying Employees and Independent Contractors under Federal and State Law," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 28, 2016 

"HR and Operations’ Role in Managing Information Security Risks," American Financial Services Association Independents Conference, May 20, 2016 

"Independent Contractor Misclassification," National Employment Law Institute: 21st Annual Mid-Year Employment Law Conference, Washington, D.C., May 5, 2016

"Back to Basics: Managing Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health in the Workplace," Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, PELRAS Annual Training Conference, March 17, 2016 

"Information Security and Human Resources," Ballard Spahr webinar, March 16, 2016

"Joint Employment: What it Means and How to Ensure Compliance," Ballard Spahr webinar, March 9, 2016

"Labor Laws in Hospitals and Health Systems: Taking Your Legal Temperature," Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute, February 8, 2015 

"Labor and Employment Year in Review," Ballard Spahr seminar, January 20, 2016

"Six Months into the Ambush Election Rules: What Do we Know? " Ballard Spahr webinar, October 21, 2015

"Unfair Labor Practices for the Non-Union Workplace," PBI Seminar, October 7, 2015

"How to Correctly Classify Employees and Independent Contractors," Ballard Spahr webinar, September 17, 2015

"Legal and Regulatory Issues in Managing Behavioral Health," Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health, September 17, 2015 

"Accommodation and Attendance - Top ADA & FMLA Developments," 2015 HR Legal Summit: Labor and Employment Law Compliance for Today's HR Professional, Ballard Spahr and SEPA SHRM conference, Langhorne, Pa., September 11, 2015

"Employment Separation Agreements and EPLI Coverage," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, April 29, 2015 

Speaker, "Labor and Employment Law Year in Review," Ballard Spahr webinar, February 11, 2015

"2014 Changes from the NLRB: What Every Employer Needs To Know," Ballard Spahr webinar, January 30, 2015

"Are You Prepared for Ebola? A Guide for Employers," Ballard Spahr webinar, November 4, 2014

"Wage and Hour Self-Audits: Proactive Steps To Avoid Wage and Hour Traps," 2014 HR Legal Summit, Ballard Spahr and SEPA SHRM conference, Langhorne, Pa., September 12, 2014

"What Constitutes Working Time?" Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 22, 2014

“Calculating Overtime for Non-Exempt Employees," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 22, 2014

Panelist, "Drawing the Line – Classifying Employees Under the FLSA and Pennsylvania Wage Payment & Collection Act," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 22, 2014

Panelist, "Litigating Wage and Hour Cases – Tips from the Front Lines," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 22, 2014

"What Constitutes Working Time?" Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 16, 2014

“Calculating Overtime for Non-Exempt Employees," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 16, 2014

Panelist, "Drawing the Line – Classifying Employees Under the FLSA and Pennsylvania Wage Payment & Collection Act," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 16, 2014

Panelist, "Litigating Wage and Hour Cases – Tips from the Front Lines," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 16, 2014

Panelist, "Work and Worship: Religion in the Workplace," Ballard Spahr webinar, December 17, 2013

"2013 HR Legal Summit: Labor and Employment Law Compliance for Today's HR Professional," Ballard Spahr and SEPA SHRM conference, September 20, 2013

Panelist, "Confidentiality in Labor and Employment Arbitration," American Arbitration Association University (AAAU) webinar, February 26, 2013

"Drawing the Line – Classifying Employees Under the FLSA and Pennsylvania Wage & Collection Act," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 24, 2012

"Calculating Overtime for Non-Exempt Employees," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, July 24, 2012

"FLSA Risks: Audits and Fixes," Workplace Law Today, Ballard Spahr seminar, May 9, 2012

"Who's the Boss? Joint Employment, Independent Contractors and the Changing Face of the Employment Relationship," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 18th Annual Employment Law Institute, Philadelphia, April 20, 2012

"Wage and Hour Payouts," Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, PELRAS Annual Training Conference, March 22, 2012

"Wage and Hour Payouts: Learn from Others' Mistakes," Ballard Spahr briefing, September 21, 2011

"Employment Law for Everyone," Ballard Spahr CLE for Free, March 22, 2011, and June 28, 2011

"An Ounce of Prevention: Steps To Avoid Becoming the Next Wage and Hour Headline," Southeastern Pennsylvania Society for Human Resource Management, May 17, 2011

"Hot Issues in Public Sector Law," Pennsylvania Bar Institute Labor Law Symposium, December 7, 2010

"Public Sector EEO and Employment Law Conference, Comprehensive Analyses of Major Developments and Their Impact on Public Sector Employment Practices," National Employment Law Institute, August 20-21, 2009

"An Overview of the Final FMLA Regulations, the New ADA, and Philadelphia's Domestic Violence Leave Ordinance," City of Philadelphia CLE, July 15, 2009

"State and Federal Law Developments: What Will Legislators Think of Next?" Ballard Spahr webinar, May 6, 2009

"Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, April 16, 2009

"Charting a Change of Course: Labor, Employment and Benefits Law in the New Administration," Public Employer Labor Relations Advisory Service Annual Conference, March 26, 2009

"Watch Your Step: Auditing Your Way Through Wage and Hour Mine Fields," Public Employer Labor Relations Advisory Service Annual Conference, March 25, 2009

"Planning for a Change of Course: Labor and Employment Law in the New Administration," Ballard briefing and webinar, January 14, 2009

"Facing the Economic Downturn," Ballard Spahr teleconference, November 19, 2008

"Labor Law Issues in Shopping Centers & New Construction," ICSC 2008 U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference, October 2008

"Watch Your Step: Auditing Your Way Through the Wage and Hour Minefield,"  Ballard Spahr briefing, October 2008

"Working 9 to 5? Deciding What's Working Time in a 24/7 World," Pennsylvania Bar Institute Employment Law Institute, April 2008

"Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation Issues: Exploring the ADA Through the Mock Deposition of an HR Manager," PELRAS Conference, April 2008

"Pregnancy, Motherhood and Family Care Issues,"  PELRAS Conference, April 2008

Community Activities

ACHIEVEability, Board Member

Member-at-large, Executive Committee, Temple Sholom




University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D. 1998, cum laude)

Stanford University (B.A. 1993)

Pennsylvania