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Matthew J. Bakota

Senior Associate

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Matthew Bakota is a member of the Labor and Employment group. He is also certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), and as a “Civil Rights Investigator” through the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA).

Labor & Employment Matters

Matthew counsels employers on day-to-day employment decisions that implicate a variety of state and federal employment laws.  He also works with employers on the drafting, implementation, and application of their workplace policies, including the updating of employee handbooks to meet ever-changing laws and regulations.  When the need arises, Matthew is experienced in aggressively defending employers against discrimination, retaliation, and harassment allegations in matters pending before various state and federal government agencies (EEOC, NLRB, OCRC, etc.), and in litigated claims filed in state and federal courts.

Workplace Investigations

Matthew’s training to become certified as a “Civil Rights Investigator” makes him uniquely qualified to assist employers in the Miami Valley with the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment.  Matthew is able to serve as an independent outside investigator to assist employers in determining whether laws and/or workplace policies may have been violated and, if so, whether employee discipline may be appropriate.  The use of an independent outside investigator can be a very important tool to limit immediate and future risks associated with employers’ handling of workplace misconduct allegations.  Alternatively, Matthew’s training and experience in this regard comes in handy when an employer desires to retain legal counsel to investigate workplace misconduct allegations with an eye toward preparing for litigation that seems likely to come, such as in the case of a difficult termination involving an employee with a past history of employment-related claims or complaints.

Non-Compete Litigation & Protection of Trade Secrets

For employers who use restrictive covenants in their employment agreements, Matthew has successfully represented many employers in disputes with current and former employees suspected of violating non-competition, non-solicitation, confidentiality, and similar restrictive covenants.  Matthew’s quick action, creative solutions, and experience in pursuing temporary and permanent injunctive relief on behalf of aggrieved employers has helped them obtain relief against unfair competition and threatened theft/misuse of their most valuable trade secrets and other proprietary business information.   Matthew also uses this experience to help employers craft effective restrictive covenants, and to offer practical, pre-litigation advice to employers seeking to avoid and/or minimize their risk of potentially costly litigation.  In addition, Matthew has advised business clients on best practices to adopt concerning the protection of their most valuable trade secrets and other information, including information and sensitive data that businesses may store in electronic form.

Business Litigation

In addition to the above, Matthew has significant business litigation experience involving the representation of business clients in contract and related disputes in state and federal courts and before the American Arbitration Association.  Much of Matthew’s early litigation background involved the defense of the insureds of several different large insurance companies; therefore, Matthew is experienced in handling such matters, including when it comes to timely compliance with insurance panel counsel guidelines and requirements.

Additional Information

Since 2014, Matthew has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer.  In addition to practicing in Ohio, Matthew is also licensed to practice in Kentucky, federal courts in Ohio and Kentucky, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Currently Matthew serves on the Executive Board of the Miami Valley Human Resource Association, as its Vice President-Programming. He formerly served as Chair for MVHRA’s Newsletter Committee and was responsible for preparing and publishing the organization’s monthly e-newsletter, and also served as Assistant Chair for MVHRA’s Technology Committee.

Matthew regularly writes articles and presents to various professional and trade associations on labor and employment and HR topics, and on general business law matters.

Matthew graduated magna cum laude from the University of Akron School of Law, where he participated in law review and moot court.  Prior to law school, Matthew graduated cum laude from the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.