Well-versed in a variety of employment issues for clients across diverse industries, Johnny’s experience as a litigator gives him perspective on the real risks and potential issues employers face.

Overview

As a domestic and international labor and employment attorney, Johnny helps his clients develop and retain their most valuable asset – their employees – worldwide. When it comes to assets that are underperforming and creating headaches, Johnny helps transition those employees to other new and exciting opportunities. His counsel is driven by understanding his clients' businesses and appreciating that sometimes, the right legal choice is not the same as the right business choice.

Johnny works with clients of all sizes, from start-ups to multinational corporations and is well-versed in a variety of employment issues for clients across diverse industries. He frequently provides general business counsel because of the interrelated nature of HR and business decisions. His focus on promoting positive employee relationships naturally involves traditional labor work and working on union issues and HR training seminars for clients. His business-focused approach combined with his personable nature help clients quickly determine the relevant factors for decision making and execute the best strategy for the given situation.

Experience

Johnny started his career as a litigator, regularly handling 60-80 litigation files from the charge phase through appeals. Eventually, his clients began seeking his advice on domestic and international labor and employment issues:

  • Working with both union and non-union clients, Johnny's experience includes counseling clients through union campaigns, CBA negotiations, unfair labor practice charges and discipline issues within the context of a CBA.
  • His international labor and employment work encompasses counseling work in over 15 countries, including the BRIC nations, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Argentina and many others throughout the globe.
  • Johnny’s international work has evolved into anti-corruption compliance counseling and training on FCPA/UK Anti-Bribery Act and AML issues.

Specific experience includes:

  • Represented a full-service nationwide provider of distribution center, warehouse and logistic needs in the defense of multiple actions challenging its independent contractor business model including the simultaneous defense of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions, state court class actions, and state administrative claims.
  • Defended clients in wage and hour collective action/class action cases.
  • Conducted training on a variety of subjects including anti-corruption and bribery compliance, harassment, ADA/FMLA and diversity issues.
  • Counseled large food manufacturing client during a union campaign and union avoidance issues.
  • Lead negotiator for a garment manufacturing business in CBA contract negotiations.
  • Counseled multinational corporations through termination and repatriation issues of employees in a variety of foreign countries.
  • Analyzed labor and employment liabilities associated with multiple mergers and acquisitions on behalf of banks, technology companies and manufacturing companies.
  • Served as outside general counsel for a multinational manufacturing company.
  • Worked with a number of technology start-up companies on HR compliance issues and formation of human resources departments.
  • Defended a series of discrimination claims brought by multiple employees in the same workplace who were testifying on behalf of each other.

Diversity & Inclusion

Johnny is actively involved in diversity and inclusion programs locally and nationally, and helps employers develop diversity and inclusion initiatives to create a more conscientious and supportive environment for their diverse employees.

  • He regularly speaks on diversity and inclusion issues in St. Louis and for his clients, and in 2013 he founded St. Louis' first Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Today, the AACC has over 150 members and continues to grow each year.
  • He was appointed by the Mayor of St. Louis to serve on the City's Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Advisory Committee in 2013.

Johnny was Stinson's Fellow for 2016-2017 in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity fellowship program and continues to look for opportunities to be an agent of change.

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Co-presenter at 2016 Arizona SHRM Conference, September 2016

"Annual Labor and Employment Update Seminar," Featured Speaker, January 2015 

"Moving Forward with Legal Diversity," Quest Panelist, June, 2014 

Featured speaker at Boeing's Asian American ERG day, May 2014 

"The Impact of the Asian Community in St. Louis," radio interview on St. Louis on the Air on Public Radio, October 2013

"Doing Business in China," Panel Moderator, Center for Emerging Technologies, October 2013

"Diversity in the Business of Law," Guest Speaker, Washington University School of Law, October 2013

"Moving Forward with Legal Diversity," Panel Moderator, Wells Fargo at Monsanto Plant Science Center, June 2013

"Asian Diversity Issues in St. Louis," Guest Panelist, AB Inbev's Employee Resources Group, May 2013

"Asian and Native Hawaiian Experiences of Americanization," Guest Speaker, Washington University, May 2013

"Appearance Discrimination in the Workplace," St. Louis HRMA Chapter's Annual Legal Update, March 2013

Recognitions

Recognitions

Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Up and Coming Lawyers, 2013

Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® "Rising Star," Labor & Employment Litigation, 2012-2013

2012 Diverse Business Leader Award, The St. Louis Business Journal

Inaugural class member of the "Leadership 100" program of the Young Professionals Network of the Regional Business Council 

Lawyers of Color LLC, Hot List for Central Region, 2013

2014 Spirit of Diversity Award Recipient, St. Louis Diversity Job Fair 

Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Labor & Employment, 2016-17

Professional & Civic Activities

Professional & Civic Activities

FOCUS St. Louis Leadership, St. Louis Class, 2016-2017 

Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Fellow, 2016 

The Missouri Minority Counsel Program 2012-2016, Founder and Chair 

Moving Forward with Legal Diversity Seminar Series, Planning Committee 

American Bar Association 

Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis 

City of St. Louis Minority and Women's Business Enterprise Advisory Committee, 2013-2015 

Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, Immediate Past President Board Member, 2016; President, 2014-2015; Vice-Chairman, 2013; Founder, 2012 

Missouri Asian-American Bar Association, President, 2013-2015; Board Member, 2011-2013 

St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation, Board Member 

Regional Business Council's Young Professionals Network, Steering Committee; Leadership 100 Class Member

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Education

Washington University School of Law, J.D., 2005

University of Missouri-Columbia, Political Science and Philosophy, B.A., 2002

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