Tom Harper is “av” rated by Martindale Hubble and has 30 years of experience as a labor relations and employment law attorney. He has tried employment cases before juries in each of the Federal District Courts of Florida. He has litigation experience in a wide variety and large number of cases, including numerous jury and non-jury trials before Federal and State Courts and Administrative Agencies.

Mr. Harper’s Trial Experience

Mr. Harper has also served as an expert witness on attorney’s fees in federal court in employment cases. He also brings experience as having represented both employees and employers. His background and experience makes Mr. Harper uniquely qualified to serve as  a neutral in workplace disputes.

Mr. Harper is an approved Arbitrator for the Seventh (St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia Counties), Thirteenth (Hillsborough County) and Seventeenth (Broward County) Judicial Circuits of Florida. He has received Arbitrator Training approved by the Florida Supreme Court as well as Advanced Arbitrator Training.

Tom Harper truly understands the laws that affect the workplace. For the past 20 years he has served as Editor of the Florida Employment Law Letter. This monthly newsletter has over 800 subscribers. Mr. Harper has authored numerous articles and publications on labor and employment law topics.

Mr. Harper is an Adjunct Instructor for the University of North Florida, Division of Continuing Education, where he teaches programs to business owners, managers and supervisors on labor and employment law topics. He is the current Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee for the Jacksonville Bar Association.

Mr. Harper is also trained and experienced in other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). He is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator. He is an Approved Mediator for all Florida Circuit Courts and for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Mr. Harper also understands the value of employment-related cases since he has maintained for years a record of jury verdicts in employment cases in Florida.

Mr. Harper’s Practice Areas

Mr. Harper handles cases involving the full range of statutory and contract claims under employment ADR systems, individual employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements. As an employment attorney he has handled claims of discrimination (race, sex, religion, age, disability and national origin), sexual harassment and claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act. He is an experienced wage hour litigator and handles cases on wage payment, breaches of individual employment contracts, drug testing, wrongful termination, retaliation claims, OSHA and non-compete litigation. He handles cases of contract interpretation, collective bargaining, jurisdiction, seniority and “just cause” and “for cause” discipline and terminations.

Mr. Harper has worked with and handled employment matters in a wide variety of industries including: automotive manufacturing, steel fabrication, agriculture, citrus, mining, furniture manufacturing, defense contractors, education, manufacturing, food service, hotels, trucking and logistics, warehousing, retail, insurance, construction, home building, health care, mortgage and financial services, paper and linerboard manufacturing, wood products, cellular communications, non-profits, poultry processing, staffing, employee leasing and Professional Employer Organizations, public sector, stevedoring, long shoring and commercial shipping, marketing, publishing and numerous businesses in the service industry.


Most courts today are enforcing arbitration agreements between companies and their employees. Resolving an employment dispute through arbitration saves time and money. It is less formal and more efficient than court litigation. An employee has the full range of legal remedies and the dispute can often be decided within 3-6 months.

As a trained Arbitrator and a Board Certified Labor and Employment lawyer, Tom Harper and the lawyers of Harper Gerlach are uniquely-suited to assist your company in setting up arbitration and ADR (Alternative Dispute Programs) programs which can help protect your company from being hailed into court in the first place.