Education

The Ohio State University

B.A.

Capital University Law School

J.D.
  • cum laude
  • Order of the Curia

Bar Admission

Ohio

Sara H. Jodka

Of Counsel

Overview

Sara H. Jodka, Of Counsel at Dickinson Wright, dedicates her practice to working with employers to anticipate, identify, and resolve labor and employment, data privacy, related compliance issues and litigation risks in today’s ever evolving workplace. Sara devotes a significant part of her practice to proactively counseling employers in litigation prevention and overall compliance with state, federal, and administrative laws and regulations, which includes reviewing and revising employee handbooks and policies; counseling management regarding termination decisions (including largescale layoffs/reductions in force) ; performing exempt status classification audits; and training employees on key employment policies and issues, including those related to leave, privacy, discrimination, harassment and retaliation, social media, the digital workplace and others. She routinely defends employers, in both state and federal court, arising under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (i.e., background checks issues) and comparable state laws. Sara also has significant experience defending employers in class and collective action disputes, including wage and hour litigation involving claims of allegedly unpaid meal/rest breaks; unpaid overtime; off-the-clock work; and exempt status misclassification. Sara also regularly handles charges filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and its state equivalents, OSHA, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In addition, Sara is experienced in drafting sophisticated employment agreements and policies, including executive compensation, non-competition, non-solicitation, severance and technology related agreements, such as terms of use, inventor, etc.

As for the ever evolving workplace, that includes data privacy, cybersecurity, social media, bring your own device, and other technology related issues. Sara has been at the forefront of these emerging areas and regularly advises clients on social media, cyber smearing, workplace privacy, and the management extraction, and authentication of electronically stored information, including social media and other digital evidence. Sara’s work in these areas has been so prolific. She has authored numerous blogs and presented numerous seminars on these issues. She has also been featured on NBC 4; LexBlogTV numerous times; in Columbus Business First, including its Book of Law; ColumbusCEO Magazine, and in various other media publications for her work in these areas.

So why focus on employment law and data privacy? Well, most data breaches are attributable to employee error, negligence or maliciousness. Proper training of employees; proper privacy and other policies; and other pre-breach incident, breach, and post breach measures go a significant way in reducing a company’s overall exposure. Sara knows that and she works with her clients to ensure they do to and that they know the right measures to take for their data, their workforce, and their employees.

Sara’s approach to working with employers is working with the employer's business as a whole, not just in working with the employer as an employer. Sara understands that the bottom line is that the employer has a business to run, and while employee issues are something every employer must deal with, the employer’s business decisions are largely focused on what is best for the business and the future of that business…regardless of if that business decision is the best one for litigation. As such, Sara understands that each business and each employer is unique and requires and deserves tailored advice not cookie cutter, boiler plate, one-size-fits-all documents, approach, and advice. Sara subscribes to the thinking that no workforce is identical and neither should workforce advice.

While based in the firm’s Columbus office, Sara routinely provides counsel to multistate Employers and has significant experience counseling clients nationwide. Prior to joining Dickinson Wright, Sara was employed by a nationwide labor and employment law boutique firm where she represented nationwide clients and managed a client’s 1-800 employment law hotline where she worked with employers from all across the country to provide employment counseling.

She provides sophisticated and complicated legal counseling in a down to earth manner that makes it easy to understand and, most important, carry out. Sara's knack for straight talk combined with her intellect and sophistication allow Sara to bring a practical, helpful approach to working with employers to identify and execute innovative, workable, workplace solutions.

Prominent Assignments

Obtained full dismissal in qui tam False Claims Act case (affirmed by the Sixth Circuit).

Obtained summary judgment for public university against race and gender discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims.

Defended company against 1100+person collective/class action for wage and hour violations brought under the FLSA, Ohio Prompt Pay Act, and Ohio common law.

Obtained dismissal of furnisher of information and claims under Kentucky state law and the Fair Credit Report Act.

Successfully litigated to verdict a non-compete case against a former employee, which included an award of attorneys’ fees.

Successfully defended provider of mental/medical care services to incarcerated population against allegations of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, violations of the Ohio Whistleblower Statute, among others.

Successfully defended employer against extraterritorial race discrimination claim brought under Section 1983.

Obtained summary judgment against claims of gender discrimination under Title VII and New York State Law.

Obtained summary judgment for company against claims under the ADA and Ohio state law.

Obtained summary judgment against claims of retaliation and wrongful termination under Title
VII and Ohio state law.

Successfully defended company against ERISA, COBRA, and common law claims.

Member of litigation team for collective action involving misclassification of assistant general managers pursuant to the FSLA for national pizza chain coordinated all electronic discovery and successfully limited damages sufficient to garner a favorable settlement for client.

Obtained summary judgment against claims of retaliation, violations of the ADA and Title VII (national origin discrimination).

Professional Involvement

  • Board of Advisors, MyLawCLE
  • Ohio State Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Section Committee 
    • Media Law Section Committee
    • Marketing Content Management Committee
    • Leadership Academy (Class of 2014)
  • Columbus Bar Association; Member, Labor and Employment Section
  • Human Resources Association of Central Ohio (HRACO)
    • Chair, Employment Relations Special Interest Group
  • Member, Columbus Young Professionals Club
  • Member, International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
  • Member, InfraGard
  • Observer to the Uniform Law Commission Social Media Drafting Committee
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States

Community Involvement

  • Salvation Army Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition
  • Ohio State Bar Association Foundation, Member Class of 2015
  • OhioDance, Board of Trustees (2014-2017)
  • United Way of Central Ohio, Women’s Leadership Council Member (2013-2015) and Social Media Committee Member (2013-2015)
  • United Way of Central Ohio, Women’s Leadership Council E3 Mentor (2014)
  • The Starts Within Organization, Board of Directors and Director of Communications (2012-2013)
  • 3Rs (Rights Responsibilities Realities) Program (Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association) (2007-2010), Team Member

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Publications

  • "Employers Have Something To Be Thankful For As Judge Halts December 1st ad Effective Date of DOL FLSA Final Rule: Here Is What Employers Need to Know And Do Now," Dickinson Wright Labor and Employment Client Alert, November 25, 2016
  • What Happened to the Overtime Rule Now?, The Ohio Restaurant Association, November 23, 2016
  • FCC's Privacy Protections For Telecommunications Carriers, Junto Blo, April, 27, 2016
  • Featured, "What happens to your social media accounts when you die?" Columbus Business First, December 4, 2015
  • CoAuthor, "Threat of identity theft is enough for your consumers to sue," McDonald Hopkins Alert, August 3, 2015
  • CoAuthor, "Communications with your cybersecurity consultant and forensic reports may now be protected," McDonald Hopkins Alert, June 11, 2015
  • Featured, "For Columbus attorney Sara Jodka, time is of the essence," Ohio State Bar Association, April 16, 2015
  • Quoted, "Law in the Digital Age," Columbus CEO, March 2015
  • Author, "Decoding the new payment card security standard," McDonald Hopkins Alert, March 3, 2015
  • Author, "Who will fight against cyber-crime?," McDonald Hopkins Alert, February 27, 2015
  • Author, "Anthem's two small details that led to one big breach," McDonald Hopkins Alert, February 18, 2015
  • Author, "International hacking ring executes $1 billion banking breach," McDonald Hopkins Alert, February 16, 2015
  • Author, "White House announces new cyber threat agency," McDonald Hopkins Alert, February 10, 2015
  • Author, "Cybersecurity breach rocks Anthem," McDonald Hopkins Alert, February 5, 2015
  • Author, "What if the Personal Data Notification & Protection Act Passes?," McDonald Hopkins Alert, January 28, 2015
  • Author, "President Obama’s new data privacy agenda: Focuses on two laws that aim to put the privacy back in 'data privacy'," McDonald Hopkins Alert, January 14, 2015
  • Author, "Twibel: Online Communications Bring New Legal Challenges," Ohio State Bar Association, January 12, 2015
  • Author, “Surviving the holiday party without creating liability for your company,” for Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Ohio Matters, November/December 2014
  • Author, "Not Your Grandfather’s Union," for Paralegal Today Magazine Q3 2014
  • Author, "Twibel: The funny-sounding social media claim that’s not a laughing matter," Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s Ohio Matters, May/June 2014
  • Contributing Author, "The Family Medical Leave Act 2013 Cumulative Supplement," ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, 2013
  • Author, "The Dos and Don'ts of Conducting a Legal, Yet Helpful, Social Media Background Screen" Law Practice Today, September 2013
  • Interviewed and Featured, “2.0: It’s not your grandpa’s courtroom," Columbus Business First's Special Edition Book of Law, May 3, 2013
  • Interviewed and Featured, “#You’re Fired: Social media, employees and the law,” Columbus Business First's Special Edition Book of Law, May 3, 2013
  • Interviewed and Featured, "Protecting Your Privacy on Social Media,” an NBC 4 two-part segment, February 27, 2013
  • Author, eBook, "Top Holiday Headaches Series," Employer Law Report Blog, December, 2012
  • Author, "Absence and Notice Policies Help Mitigate FMLA Fallout," Thompson's HR Compliance Expert Site, September 2012
  • Author, "NLRB Continues Social Media Trend Against Employers," NAE Review, June 2011
  • Contributing Author, "The Family Medical Leave Act 2011 Cumulative Supplement," ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, 2011

Presentations

  • June 13, 2017, Speaker, “Employee Monitoring in the Digital Age,” South Central SHRM,
  • October 21-22, 2016, Speaker, Introduction to Labor and Employment Law, Ohio New Lawyer Training, Getaway CLE, Las Vegas, NV
  • September 20, 2016, Staying on the Legal Side When Dealing with Employee Social Media Issues for South Central Human Resource Council
  • September 15, 2016, Workplace Challenges of Privacy, Social Media, and Technology Issues for Sterling Educational Services, Inc. Employment Law: Rights, Benefits, and Emerging Issues
  • August 28, 2016, Navigating the Final Overtime Rules for the Ohio Restaurant Association Town Hall (Cleveland)
  • August 28, 2016, Humans: The True Cyber Wild Cards for Data Breaches for Dickinson Wright’s The Alphabet Soup of Healthcare: Let’s Dig in!
  • August 27, 2016, Navigating the Final Overtime Rules for the Ohio Restaurant Association Town Hall (Columbus)
  • August 4, 2016, Navigating the Final Overtime Rules for the Ohio Restaurant Association Town Hall (Cincinnati)
  • Presenter, Social Media and Other Technology Issues for the Modern Workplace, OSBA Basics of Employment Law Seminar, April 19, 2016
  • Moderator, Labor Law, a View from Both Sides of the Bargaining Table, OSBA Basics of Employment Law Seminar, April 19, 2016
  • Presenter: Hassle Free Handbooks and Employee Documentation, Builders Exchange, February 2016
  • Speaker, "You can run but you can't hide: Employee technology issues in the workplace," HRACO Legal Update, November 2015
  • Speaker, "Cybersecurity and other technology issues in the workplace," Columbus Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Master Class, November 2015
  • Panelist, "Get your wage/hour house in order for 2016: New FLSA rules and IC guidance require employer action," McDonald Hopkins Business Hour, October 14, 2015
  • Speaker, “2015 Employment Law Update” webcast for Ohio State Bar Association, July 2015
  • Panelist, “Protecting Trade Secrets” Net Diligence Cyber Risk & Privacy Liability Forum, June 2015
  • Speaker, “Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in a Social Media World” webinar for Audiosolutionz, May 2015
  • Panelist, "EEOC activism in 2015: Insights for employer compliance," McDonald Hopkins Business Hour, May 14, 2015
  • Presenter, "Holiday Workplace Law: Workplace Holiday Should Shine, Not Cause Legal Hangovers," and “Social Media Ethics for Lawyers,” my Law CLE seminar, New York City, December 2014
  • Speaker, "Solutions to Pre-Employment Background Screen & Drug Test Challenges," and "Minimizing Data Breaches in the Workplace and HR’s Response to Security Leaks," 19th Annual Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Las Vegas, November 2014
  • Presenter, "Social Media in Employment Law," webinar for the Ohio State Bar Association, November 2014
  • Speaker, "Technology to think about—Social media and data breaches," Association of Corporate Counsel America, Northern Ohio Chapter, Cleveland, Ohio, November 2014
  • Copresenter, "The Voracious Appetite of the New NLRB: Protecting Your Company from the Newest Employer Predator—Unionized or Not," Porter Wright’s Employment Relations Seminar, October 2014
  • Copresenter, OHS/INFRAGARD: Cyber STRATEGIES FOR A SAFER OHIO on "Preventing data leaks through workforce management," October 27, 2014
  • Presenter, HRACO’s 10th Annual Employment Law Conference on "NLRB Update: Not Your Grandfather’s Union," October 14, 2014
  • Presenter, Midwest Labor and Employment Seminar on "Social Media in Employment," October 9, 2014
  • Presenter, Part 2 of 2: "How to Avoid FMLA Hot Spots," to HRACO, September 2014
  • Presenter, "NLRB Update," for the Columbus Bar Association, September 3, 2014
  • Presenter, "Preventing Data Leaks Through Workforce Management," Porter Wright’s 2014
  • Technology Seminar Series, August 13, 2014
  • Presenter, Part 1 of 2: FMLA workshop titled, "How to Reduce FMLA Liability and bogus Claims Through Proper Claims Administration," to HRACO, August, 2014
  • Presenter, "Know Your Legal Rights," seminar sponsored by Columbus Young Professionals Club, July 2014
  • Presenter, "Employment Law Update," for Ohio State Bar Association, July 2, 2014
  • Presenter, "Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law," for Ohio Chamber of Commerce's Marietta Symposium, June 27, 2014
  • Presenter, "Social Media in Litigation: A Shield and a Sword," Porter Wright's 2014 Technology Seminar Series, June 18, 2014
  • Presenter, "Hot Topics in Employment Law," Zane State College's 6th Annual Management and Human Resources Summit, May 2014
  • Presenter, "Voilà! The Skinny on the Expanding ADA...or Rather, the NotSoSkinny,"
  • Porter Wright’s Employment Relations Seminar, May 2014
  • Presenter, "Conducting Legally Sound Background Checks: FCRA Requirements, EEOC Guidance, BantheBox and Other Recent Developments," BLR HR Hero, April 2014
  • Moderator, Lorman Seminar, "Administering the FMLA in Ohio" and Presenter of "Employer’s Bill of FMLA Rights; Tactics Employers Can Use to Reign in FMLA Abuse" and "This is Jeopardy…the FMLA Edition," March 2014
  • Presenter, "Advising Employers and Employees on Off-Duty Conduct," Ohio State Bar Association, January 2014
  • Presenter, "Conducting Legally Sound Background Checks: FCRA Requirements, EEOC Guidance, FACTA and Other Recent Developments” for BLR HR Hero, December 10, 2013
  • Presenter, "Professionalism: Social Media Issues," Association of Corporate Counsel America, Northern Ohio Chapter, Cleveland, Ohio, November 2013
  • Presenter, "Turning Points and Trends," Columbus Bar Association, October 2013
  • CoPresenter, "Taming the Lion: Social Media, Bring Your Own Device Issues and Other Technology Risks in the Workplace," Porter Wright Labor and Employment Seminar, October 2013
  • Presenter, "How Social Media Can Be Evidence in Your Case, and Why You—Yes, You!— Can't Delete Your Way Off Social Media," seminar for Women Lawyers of Franklin County, September 26, 2013
  • Presenter, "Social Media in the Workplace: This One's a Scorcher. Better Find Cover" Columbus Business First's Social Media Summer Camp—Social Media In the Law, August 2013
  • Presenter, "Social Media In the Law: Learn It and Use It, or Get Out of the Way" Porter Wright's Tech Law Series, June 2013
  • Presenter, "Employment Law Update" a Webcast for the Ohio State Bar Association discussing the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions, June 2013
  • Presenter, "Hot topics in Employment Law" at Zane State College’s 5th Annual Management and Human Resources Summit, May 16, 2013
  • Presenter, "Employment Law Legal Update" to the Columbus Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Committee, May 1, 2013
  • Presenter, "Riding the Social Media Tidal Wave: Understanding the Risks and Rewards for Employers" at the Akron Area SHRM Annual Legal and Legislative Conference, May 8, 2013
  • Presenter, "Walking the Tightrope—Conducting a Legally Sound Background Check: New FCRA Requirements and EEOC Guidance Explained for Business and Legal Resources" Webinar, June and April 2013
  • Presenter, "How to Comply with the New FCRA Amendments: A Guide on Applications, the EEOC, the FCRA, Social Media and Beyond” National Webinar, December 19, 2012
  • Speaker, Porter Wright's Employment Relations Seminar What Lurks in the Shadows?, "Who's Really Under that Mask?," Columbus, Ohio, October 30, 2012
  • Speaker, Porter Wright's Employment Relations Seminar Don't Stir Up the Hornet's Nest: Reduce Your Company's Potential Risk, "Take the Right Precautions: Protecting Your Company During An Internal Investigation," Cleveland, Ohio, May 10, 2012
  • Speaker, Porter Wright's Employment Relations Seminar, Stop the Domino Effect: Reduce Your Company's Potential Risk, "Workplace Investigation Practices and Techniques: Making Sure Your Investigation Provides The Support You Need for Your Defense," Columbus, Ohio, May 1, 2012
  • Speaker, Webinar (Indiana Chamber of Commerce), "Retaliation Claims: Don’t Become a Victim," September 8, 2011
  • Speaker, National Federation of Independent Business Webinar, "7 Sins Employers Commit and How to Avoid Them," August 24, 2011
  • Speaker, 2011 FMLA Seminar (Indiana Chamber of Commerce), "Making the Right Call: Disciplining/Terminating the FMLA Abuser"
  • Speaker, National Federation of Independent Business Webinar, "Hot Topics in Employment Law for Small Businesses," June 2010
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Acknowledgements

  • Selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers (2015, 2016 and 2017)
  • Named to the Top 25 Women Business Lawyers in Columbus Super Lawyers (2017)
  • Selected as a Top Lawyer for Columbus CEO Magazine - Labor and Employment (2016)