Mr. Darden serves as the firm’s managing partner and as chair of the Labor and Employment practice group. He defends employers and their Employment Practices Liability Insurance carriers (if applicable) in lawsuits and before administrative agencies in disputes involving employment practices liability. Such cases involve claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour entitlement, and workplace safety.
Mr. Darden also maintains a traditional labor relations practice. He acts as a client spokesperson in collective bargaining negotiations, handles unfair labor practice charge proceedings, and advises clients regarding election petitions before the National Labor Relations Board in matters involving the development of campaign strategy and educational campaigns, consultation regarding employee relations, and maintaining a union-free environment.
Clients are aggressively defended in state, federal, and appellate courts on a range of employment disputes. Mr. Darden represents clients in labor and employment administrative matters before state and federal agencies, including:
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- National Labor Relations Board
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
- Tennessee Human Rights Commission
- Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
With his strong advocacy, analytical, and communication skills combined with his labor relations experience, Mr. Darden is available to serve as an effective neutral mediator in the employment arena, in business-related matters, and in disputes that could lead to lawsuits or that are already pending in court. He also employs effective mediation advocacy on behalf of clients.
AWARDS, RECOGNITION, ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Selected to Tennessee Super Lawyers, 2012-2015, 2017-2019
Washington County Economic Development Council, founding member
Board of Commissioners for Johnson City, Tennessee, for three terms including mayor (2005-2007)
PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC INVOLVEMENT
Tennessee Bar Association, member
Washington County Bar Association, former president
Sullivan County Bar Association, member
Defense Research Institute (DRI), member
PRESENTATIONS & PUBLICATIONS
- “Unequal and Equal Pay – Past and Present,” The Business Journal of Tri-Cities, February 2019
- “2019 Labor & Employment Legal Update,” by Steve Darden, Mike Lattier and Mike Eastridge, Presentation to the Northeast Tennessee Chapter of SHRM, January 24, 2019.
- “Employers Are Still Unsure About the Trump Administration,” The Business Journal of Tri-Cities, March 2017
- “Dress Codes and Appearance Policies: Challenges Under Federal Legislation,” The Health Care Manager, 2014
- “NLRB Holds Election for Northwestern Football Players,” Tennessee Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, July 2014
- “Federal Contractors Must Now Post Notice of Employee’s Rights to Unionize,” by Stephen M. Darden and Joseph B. Harvey, The Johnson City Business Journal, August 2010.
- “Employer Monitoring of Employees’ Social Networking Activities,” by Stephen M. Darden and Joseph B. Harvey, The Johnson City Business Journal, March 2010.
J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law, 1985
– Law Review member, 1983-1985
B.S., Accounting, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1982
Tennessee Bar, 1985
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, 1986
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2011
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 1987
Supreme Court of the United States, 1988