Ardra M. O’Neal, Esq.
The Business Owner’s Labor Lawyer
Ardra M. O’Neal, Esq. is the principal in The O’Neal Firm. Specializing in labor and employment law, Ms. O’Neal defends state and federal court lawsuits, arbitrations, administrative charges, and other legal claims on behalf of employers primarily. Ms. O’Neal also provides counsel to executives, managers and human resource professionals throughout the country on the full range of issues concerning employer-employee relations, including anti-discrimination and anti-harassment issues, wage and hour matters, employee leave matters, independent contractor classifications and union-related grievances and charges.
Prior to launching The O’Neal Firm, LLP, Ms. O’Neal served as Senior Labor and Employment Attorney for Sodexho USA, a multi-national food service corporation employing nearly 150,000 individuals in the United States and over 360,000 globally. One of only four Sodexho labor and employment attorneys, Ms. O’Neal defended state and federal court lawsuits, arbitrations, administrative charges, and other legal claims on behalf of the company. Ms. O’Neal also provided labor and employment counsel to Sodexho executives, managers and human resource professionals nation-wide.
Prior to joining Sodexho, Ms. O’Neal practiced law with one of the nation’s largest law firms. She served as lead defense counsel in all areas of labor and employment litigation. Ms. O’Neal has appeared before state and federal courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. Some of her representative cases include:
- Defended various corporations, school systems and agencies in employment discrimination cases asserting race, gender, sexual harassment, national origin, religion, age and retaliation claims;
- Obtained dismissal of race discrimination suit filed against nation’s largest trucking company;
- Obtained dismissal of race and gender discrimination suit filed against leading commercial real estate company;
- Defended FLSA class action suit filed by more than 1800 plaintiffs against one of the nation’s largest poultry processing companies;
- Defended sexual harassment claims against a leading telecommunications corporation;
- Defended race discrimination class action suit filed against one of the nation’s largest mining companies.
Throughout her decade-long career as a labor lawyer, Ms. O’Neal frequently has been called upon to lecture on labor and employment issues. Some of these engagements include the following: 2002 Loriman Education Services Virginia Personnel Law Seminar, 2002 Alexandria, VA Chamber of Commerce Employment Law Seminar, 2003 Georgia Avenue Business Development Classification of Independent Contractors Seminar, 2003 DC Chamber of Commerce Documentation and Employee Handbook Seminar, 2003 DC Chamber of Commerce Termination and Severance Agreements Seminar, 2004 Virginia Employment Law CLE Seminar, 2006 National Employment Law Council Conference and 2006 DC Chamber of Commerce Employer Advocacy Program. Ms. O’Neal is also a co-author of Employment Law In Virginia, a comprehensive treatise analyzing the complexities of Virginia employment laws.
Ms. O’Neal obtained her law degree in 1996 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she won several moot court competition awards including, Dean Dunmore Moot Court Competition Best Overall Performance Award, Dean Dunmore Moot Court Competition Distinguished Advocate Award, A. E. Bernstein Best Oral Advocate Award, Paul J. Hergenroeder Trial Tactics Award and National Moot Court Team, First Place.
Ms. O’Neal completed her undergraduate studies at Johnson C. Smith University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was the Valedictorian of the Class of 1992.