Yelena works with employers on a variety of federal and state labor and employment matters, including issues arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as other federal and state employment-related laws.
She has experience representing clients in collective and class action wage and hour cases as well as in noncompetition and trade secret rights enforcement litigation in state and federal courts. In addition, Yelena’s experience extends to National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) litigation and counseling, including union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining matters, and contract arbitrations. Yelena has represented employers before administrative agencies.
Yelena also counsels businesses on best practices for employment-related matters, including advising regarding hiring and compensation practices, employee handbooks, employee discipline, severance and terminations, worker and contractor classification, leave laws, noncompetition agreements, and state law compliance. Yelena honed her counseling skills in a recent secondment to the legal department of a Fortune 50 subsidiary company. In addition, she counsels clients in connection with labor and employment issues that arise in mergers and acquisitions and other business transactions.
Yelena is also passionate about diversity and inclusion. She serves on the steering committee of the firm’s Women’s Initiative and is involved as an alum in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), after completing the LCLD yearlong Pathfinder program in 2021.
Yelena is also a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section), and is a Barrister in the Cleveland Employment American Inn of Court. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
- Represented vascular surgeon and his physician practice in sale to national private equity backed platform of vein clinics.
- Represented Shearer’s Foods, LLC in matters including conducting #metoo Sexual Harassment and union avoidance trainings at five facilities, OSHA investigations in Ohio and Iowa, a discrimination lawsuit in Oregon, a business defamation claim in Nevada, a class action in Ohio and a wrongful death claim against four supervisors in Iowa state court arising out of the same incident.
- Represented Shearer’s Foods, LLC in putative nationwide collection action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Rule 23 class action pursuant to the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act. Plaintiffs alleged that they were not paid for pre-shift off-the-clock and rest breaks. Benesch prevailed on a motion and was able to avoid precertification of the class which resulted in negotiating a nuisance value settlement as to the individual plaintiffs, and the entire case was voluntarily dismissed.
Counseled multiple national clients on the creation and implementation of comprehensive employment policies, including revising and/or drafting employee handbooks.
- First-chaired a hearing for a civil protection order on behalf of a company client against a former employee.
Represented employers in mediations with the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission and similar state agencies.
- Obtained favorable resolutions for employers in numerous single-plaintiff cases involving former employees.
- Represented the buyer in its acquisition of a provider of patient access solutions services for healthcare provider organizations.