Patricia Wise

Patricia A. Wise

About Patricia

Patty is a nationally known practitioner in the area of labor and employment law. She has been interviewed by NPR, quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the Economist magazine, and has contributed to publications from San Francisco to Atlanta. She has testified before a Congressional subcommittee, before the EEOC, and for the California State Legislature. Patty was appointed by former EEOC Chair Jenny Yang to the EEOC Select Task Force on Workplace Harassment, and she is a past member of the SHRM Labor Relations Special Expertise Panel, which she co-chaired in 2014-2015.

She has trained thousands in this area of law, including state banking associations throughout the country; and has been a part-time professor for the University of Toledo College of Law for 20 years. Patty is a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She has published books on harassment and retaliation, most recently the 3rd edition of her book, Understanding and Preventing Workplace Retaliation, published by the Thompson Publishing Group, Inc.

Patty is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in the area of labor and employment law. She represents diverse clients of all sizes and from all industries. In 2014, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed her to serve as a member of the Board of Professional Conduct where she is currently the Chair of the Board. For more than ten years, Patty has held Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. She is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and is a certified Title IX investigator.

Professional Memberships

  • Ohio State Bar Association

  • Toledo Bar Association

  • Ohio Management Lawyers Association


  • Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

  • Legal Aid of Western Ohio

  • Northwest Ohio Development Agency

  • Toledo Fair Housing Center

  • Owens Community College, YMCA of Greater Toledo, Toledo Community Foundation, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Maumee Valley Country Day School


  • 2007 Public Service Commitment Award, University of Toledo College of Law Alumni (Inaugural Award)

  • Women of Toledo (2004), St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center Auxiliary

  • Outstanding Achievement in Trusteeship (2003), Ohio Association of Community Colleges Excellence Awards

  • Milestones: A Tribute to Women (2000) Award for Achievements in Business

  • Outstanding Community Service Award (1999) Ohio State Bar Association, District 4

  • Alumni Community Service Award (1996) BGSU Alumni Association

  • “Twenty Under 40” Community Leadership Award (1996) Toledo Jaycees (Inaugural Award)

  • Ohio State Bar Association, Fellow (Class of 1999)


  • Harassment in the Workplace: Sexual, Racial and Religious Complaints, Thompson Publishing Group, 2012.

  • “Viewpoint: The ABCs of the NLRA for Nonunion Employers,” at (co-authored with Christine V. Walters), 2016.

  • Understanding and Preventing Workplace Retaliation, Thompson Publishing Group, 2000, 2007 (2nd Edition)

  • Coming Soon to a Court Near You: Changes in Employment Law, Ohio Record, Spring 2008

  • “Uneven Odds for Employers Attempting to Get Even – The Status of Retaliation Claims After Burlington Northern,” Inter Alia, Federal Bar Association, N.D.O.C., Fall 2007

  • “Employers Pay for Retaliation,” Ohio Record, Summer 2004

  • “Fair Labor Standards Act Revisions,” Ohio Record, Summer 2004

  • “Disabilities Act Compliance Needn’t Disable Your Bank,” ABA Banking Journal, July 1997

  • “Guidelines on How to Discipline and Discharge Employees Safely and Effectively,” Ohio Banking News, August 1997

  • “Bridging the Gap from Affirmative Action to Cultural Diversity: The Legal Societal, and Cultural Issues,” 1993

Practice Areas

Employee Discipline

Our experienced employment attorneys often counsel employers on whether proposed employee discipline or discharge is likely to withstand challenge in any number of forums available to employees. We have secured for employers the dismissals of hundreds of claims regarding employee discipline, in court, in grievance arbitrations, and before agencies such as the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio State Employment Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Board.

Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks are excellent tools for outlining consistent employer practices, and for preserving employer flexibility and management rights such as employment at will. Our attorneys frequently review employee handbooks for compliance with federal and state employment laws, and recommend language and policies to protect employers and their businesses.

Employment Claims

In addition to representing employers in unemployment and workers’ compensation claims, our attorneys advise employers on compliance with local, state, and federal laws affecting employment, including the American with Disabilities Act, Title VII, Ohio’s civil rights law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and applicable wage and hour laws. We also advise employers on terminations and represent employers against claims brought by terminated employees.

Employment Discrimination Defense

Our attorneys frequently defend employers facing charges or lawsuits alleging employment discrimination. Although the law is well-intended to protect employees from workplace discrimination, it is unfortunately common for employers to have to defend against unfounded claims of employment discrimination. Our lawyers have secured the dismissals of hundreds of employment discrimination claims before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in state and federal courts.


Our attorneys have counseled both public and private employers on compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act since it became effective in 1994. Our experience with the FMLA includes such matters as eligibility and coverage issues, employee notices, medical certifications, insurance continuation, intermittent leave, concurrent leave, and FMLA abuses.

Grievance Arbitration

Our attorneys have handled hundreds of grievance arbitrations involving employee discharges, employee discipline, and labor contract interpretation disputes. We can assist a client from the preparation of management witnesses through the drafting of post-hearing briefs. We also recognize the occasional appropriateness of resolving disputes before arbitration and through mediation.

Title IX Compliance (No Gender-Based Discrimination)

Our attorneys regularly assist clients with questions about Title IX and preparation of and updates to Title IX and related policies. We also serve as counsel for boards of education, colleges, and universities in litigation arising under Title IX and related statutes.

Wage-Hour Law

Spengler Nathanson’s labor attorneys regularly advise both public and private sector clients regarding compliance with federal minimum wage and overtime laws, and the Ohio minimum wage law. We have dealt extensively with such matters as the classification of exempt and non-exempt employees, calculation of regular rate for overtime purposes, pay for training and travel time, and exempt employees salary basis of pay.