Overview

George O'Brien represents and counsels employers on a wide variety of labor matters, including:

  • Collective bargaining
  • Unfair labor practice proceedings
  • Labor representation cases and elections
  • Grievances
  • Injunction proceedings
  • Arbitrations
  • Mediation
  • Union relationships
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Breach of contract
  • Discrimination claims
  • Jury trials

He appears in state and federal courts and represents management before the National Labor Relations Board and other administrative agencies, including the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, and the Connecticut Board of Mediation and Arbitration. He has handled claims arising under:

  • The National Labor Relations Act
  • The Connecticut Municipal Employee Relations Act
  • State and Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws
  • State and Federal Wage & Hour Laws

In 2015, George obtained an important decision from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that strengthened the rights of employers to regulate employee attire and conduct that may be offensive to customers. The decision overturned a controversial ruling of the National Labor Relations Board.

George tried the first federal court case in Connecticut involving a claim of sexual orientation discrimination, obtaining a defense judgment for a major insurance company. He helped a large Connecticut municipality privatize the town golf course, defeating union attempts to enjoin the transaction. He obtained a precedent-setting decision by the National Labor Relations Board defeating a union's successorship claim against a regional transportation company, and on behalf of an acute care hospital in New York he obtained multi-million dollar contract concessions from a registered nurses' union.

He won a defense verdict for a Connecticut acute care hospital in a jury trial involving discrimination and retaliation claims based on race and national origin. He has negotiated severance agreements with departing officers of numerous Connecticut employers, and represented a Massachusetts acute care hospital in an NLRB representation case and election in which the union was soundly defeated.

George's clients include:

  • Hospitals
  • Manufacturers
  • Physician Practices
  • Colleges and Universities

A founding member of Littler's New Haven office, George served for nine years as the office's first managing shareholder and continues as a core team member of the firm's Health Care Industry Practice Group. Prior to working at Littler, he was a partner in a major Connecticut general practice firm, where he chaired its labor and employment practice. He was the editor-in-chief of the Connecticut Law Review while in law school, and afterward served as the law clerk for Chief Judge T. Emmet Clarie of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member, Executive Committee

Labor and Employment Section

Connecticut Bar Association

Member, Executive Committee

Federal Practice Section

Connecticut Bar Association

2005-2011

Former Chair

Annual Meeting Program

Connecticut Bar Association

Former Chair

Human Rights and Opportunities Committee

Connecticut Bar Association

Former Chair

NLRB Liaison Committee

Connecticut Bar Association

Member, Board of Directors

Long Wharf Theatre

2005-2011

Secretary, Board of Trustees

Long Wharf Theatre

2009-2011

Member, Board of Directors

Friends of New Haven Legal Services

2006-present

Member

New Haven Inn of Court

Former Co-Chair

Special Masters Panel

United States District Court, District of Connecticut

Former President

Alumni Association

University of Connecticut School of Law

Former Member, Board of Directors

Whitney Center

Former Member, Board of Directors

Gateway Community College Foundation

Former Chair, Board of Directors

St. Mary's High School

Former Member, Strategic Planning Committee

St. Thomas More Chapel

Recognition

Named, The Best Lawyers in America©*

2001-2017

Named, Lawyer of the Year*

Labor Law - Management, New Haven

The Best Lawyers in America©

2015, 2017

Named, Lawyer of the Year*

Litigation - Labor and Employment, New Haven

The Best Lawyers in America©

2013, 2016

Named, Lawyer of the Year*

Management - Employment Law, New Haven

The Best Lawyers in America©

2014

Named, America's Leading Lawyers for Business

Chambers USA

2003-2016

Named, Super Lawyer**

Connecticut

Super Lawyers

2006-2015

Awarded, AV® Peer Review Rating - Healthcare

Martindale-Hubbell

Named, Recommended Lawyer

Workplace and Employment Counseling

Legal 500 United States

2016

  * For information about the standards for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, please see http://www.bestlawyers.com/about/MethodologyCT.aspx.
** For information about the standards for inclusion in Connecticut Super Lawyers, please see http://www.superlawyers.com/connecticut/selection_details.html.

News, Analysis & Press

Laid-Off Labor Relations Official Considers Legal Action

Connecticut Law Tribune

December 5, 2014

Clerical and Administrative Roles in Firms Are Changing

Connecticut Law Tribune

February 21, 2014

Is Sick Leave Law Having Ill Effect On Businesses?

Connecticut Law Tribune

January 24, 2014

Veto Halts Law Change For Non-Compete Agreements

Connecticut Law Tribune

July 26, 2013

Pharmaceutical Reps Found Exempt From OT Rules

Connecticut Law Tribune

July 18, 2012

Anti-Bias Agency Feels Sting of State Budget Crisis

Connecticut Law Tribune

July 11, 2011

Mayo Clinic Case Difficult to Diagnose

Connecticut Law Tribune

April 26, 2010

Speaking Engagements

NLRB Focus on Non-Union Workplaces

New Haven, CT

June 9, 2016

NLRB Focus on Non-Union Workplaces

New Haven, CT

May 10, 2016

2015 Tri-State Employer Conference

New York, NY

November 5, 2015

Education

  • J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law With Honors
  • B.A., Princeton University cum laude

Bar Admission

Connecticut

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • Connecticut Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut