Dretler, Jeffrey Headshot

Jeffrey A. Dretler

Partner and Co-chair, Labor and Employment


Jeffrey Dretler, a seasoned litigator and trusted counselor, is Co-chair of Rubin and Rudman’s Labor and Employment Department. He has more than twenty-five years of experience representing employers in state and federal courts and administrative agencies in cases involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour issues and the enforcement of non-competition agreements and protection of trade secrets. He also advises employers on day-to-day human resources matters involving leaves of absence, reasonable accommodation, independent contractor law and conducts workplace investigations and training. Jeff prides himself on guiding employers to develop practices that will avoid costly litigation and has the skills and resolve to litigate matters when the situation calls for the employer to take a strong stand.

Jeff’s clients span a range of industries, including healthcare, education, financial services, technology, assisted living, transportation, manufacturing, retail, human services, and professional services.

Representative Experience

  • Defeated motion for preliminary injunction brought by commercial electrical contractor against its former employee and new employer based on theory of alleged trade secret theft;
  • Obtained judicial approval of class action wage and hour settlement on behalf of health care provider operating infirmary inside a county jail;
  • Conducted independent investigations into allegations of bullying and retaliation in municipal fire department and allegations of unfair promotional practices within financial institution; and
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of hospital defeating claims of disability discrimination and retaliatory termination brought by certified nursing assistant.

Reported Cases

  • Blanchard v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., 477 Mass. 141 (2017)
  • Blanchard v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc., 89 Mass. App. Ct. 97 (2016)
  • Chacon v. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 99 F. Supp. 3d 207 (D. Mass. 2015)
  • Craig v. Merrimack Valley Hospital, 45 F. Supp. 3d 137 (D. Mass. 2014)
  • Pearson v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, 723 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2013)
  • Delva v. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Inc., 72 Mass. App. Ct. 766 (2008)

Recognition and Awards

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law – Management, 2018–2024
  • Selected, Massachusetts Super Lawyers List, 2013-2023
  • Selected, Top 100: 2022 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list
  • Named, Boston magazine, Top Lawyers, Labor and Employment Law, 2021-2023
  • Recognized, Massachusetts Go To Lawyers, Employment, 2021
  • Selected, Top 100: 2015 Massachusetts Super Lawyers List
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Inducted 2014

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Member, American Employment Law Council (inducted in 2023)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law
    • Annual Conference Committee: Co-Chair Emeritus (2023), Co-Chair (2022), Vice-Chair (2021)
    • Newsletter Committee: Vice-Chair (2022-2023)
  • Northeastern University School of Law Alumni/ae Board: President (2020-21); Member (2015-Present)
  • Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) Advisory Board: Member (2016-Present)

Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Event Organizer, “Annual Labor and Employment Program,” Northeastern University School of Law (February 24, 2022)
  • Speaker, “Practical Advice for Virtual Proceedings,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) 25th Annual Employment Law Conference 2022 Boston (December 2, 2022)
  • Moderator, “Damages in Noncompete Cases,” ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Midwinter Meeting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (March 17, 2022)
  • Speaker, “Negotiating Physician Employment Contracts,” Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners HealthCare System) Annual Clinical Fellows Retreat , October, 2014-2022
  • Quoted, “Vaccination cards, incentives and separate spaces,” - Ask the Job Doc. (May 17, 2021)
  • Moderator, “Employee Privacy Issues in the Use of COVID-19 Safety Technology at Work,” Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee Midwinter Meeting, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, Virtual (March 17-19, 2021)
  • Moderator, “The Application of Anti-SLAPP Statutes in Employment Litigation,” 14th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference Virtual (November 11, 2020)
  • Speaker, “Drafting and Negotiating Employment and Severance Agreements,” New York County Bar Association Virtual (October 29, 2020)
  • Speaker, “Workplace Violence Prevention – Best Practices,” Massachusetts Assisted Living Association (Mass-ALA), Annual Conference and Trade Show Worcester, MA (October 25, 2018)
  • Quoted, “How to respond to COVID-19 or flu in the workplace?,” - Ask the Job Doc. (October 12, 2020)
  • Speaker, “Counterclaims and the Anti-SLAPP Statute,” Boston Bar Association Labor and Employment Section Webinar (October 1, 2020)
  • Speaker, “When It Rains It Pours: What To Do When Sexual Harassment and Other Allegations are Made Against the Founder/CEO,” Stybel Peabody/Board Options, Inc. - Seat at the Table Virtual (August 27, 2020)
  • Co-Author, “Documenting the Hiring Process (Chapter 1),” Drafting Employment Documents in Massachusetts, MCLE (3d ed. 2015, Supp. 2017 and 2018)
  • Speaker, “Eliminating Bullying from the Healthcare Industry,” American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE) 2018 Congress on Healthcare Leadership Chicago, IL (March 26 & 27, 2018)
  • Author, “Collection of Biometric Data Raises Privacy Issues for Employees and Compliance Issues for Employers,” Fisher Phillips Employment Privacy Blog (March 2018)
  • Regional Editor, Employment At Will: A State-by-State Survey, ABA/Bloomberg BNA (2d ed. 2017 and Suppl. 2018)
  • Speaker, “The Brave New World of Trade Secrets and Non-Competes: Drafting and Negotiating Non-Compete and Trade Secret Protections,” Webinar for ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law (February 6, 2018)
  • Frequent contributor, “‘Job Doc’ Column – providing legal commentary on a variety of employment law issues,” Boston Globe (2008–Present)
  • Speaker, “Witness Examination Skills at Depositions and Trials,” 11th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference Washington, D.C. (November 2017)
  • Speaker, “Employment Law Compliance for Small Business,” Total HR Solutions Lunch ‘N Learn Waltham, MA (June 22, 2017)
  • Moderator, “The Status of Employment At-Will: So Many Exceptions, So Little Time (analyzing wrongful termination in violation of public policy claims),” ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Midwinter Meeting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (March 22, 2017)
  • Speaker, “Off-duty Conduct As Grounds for Employee Discipline or Termination,” Fall Conference and Trade Show, Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association (Mass-ALFA), Worcester, MA (October 29, 2015)
  • Moderator, “Adverse Employment Actions & Off-duty Conduct,” Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting Boston, MA (October 20, 2015)
  • Author, “Shift Workers In The Long Term Care Industry Present Tricky Issues For Employers,” Provider, National Association of Health Care Providers (Spring 2014)
  • Author, “You Can’t Fire Me For That – I Was Off-Duty!,” Employers and The Law: 2013-14 Anthology of Best Articles, G. Siedel and J. Siedel, eds., Van Rye Publishing, LLC (2014)
  • Speaker, “Negotiating Physician Employment Contracts,” Partners HealthCare System, Inc. Housestaff Clinical Fellows Retreat, Sponsored by the Office of Graduate Medical Education Boston, MA (Annually in October 2012–2014 and 2016–2017)