Jeffrey P. Vardaro has been with the Gittes Law Group since 2007. During his time with the firm, Jeff has represented employees in state and federal discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and employment contract cases, as well as plaintiffs in police misconduct, public records, and federal business discrimination cases. He has argued in appeals before the Ohio Supreme Court and the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he has represented and served as co-counsel with organizations ranging from the NAACP, AARP Foundation Litigation, and Public Citizen to the Ohio Innocence Project and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.
Jeff’s work includes major federal litigation, such as Taaffe v. Drake, in which he helped restore two employees to their positions after they were forced to retire from their jobs in the Ohio State University English as a Second Language department by a pattern of age discrimination and harassment. The two plaintiffs not only regained their jobs; they obtained a substantial financial settlement and forced Ohio State to undergo substantial training and a university-wide review of its non-discrimination policies. Jeff also recently served as sole counsel at trial and on appeal for an Ohio State cancer researcher, helping her secure a new, court-ordered tenure review after the university wrongly denied her a fair review.
One of Jeff’s first cases was Abdi v. Karnes, where he helped achieve a court decision in favor of the mother of a mentally ill teenager who was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies. The Abdi decision created new precedent enhancing the civil rights of the mentally ill, and it quickly resulted in a settlement guaranteeing that deputies in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office would receive proper training in dealing with mentally ill individuals in crisis situations. Jeff also successfully argued before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio that county agencies can be held liable for damages when they fail to meet their obligations under federal law to process applications for Medicaid in a timely manner.
Jeff has also played a critical role in non-litigation situations, such as advocating on behalf of a medical student with disabilities so that he could continue on the path to becoming a doctor, helping two local student-athletes to continue striving for a chance at college after fleeing gang violence in their former high school, and successfully representing the president of a statewide union in arbitration when the union refused to pay his contractually required severance. Jeff regularly advises and represents employees dealing with employment, severance, and non-competition agreements, both in and out of court.
Jeff came to the Gittes Law Group following a clerkship with Justice Denise Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court. He received his law degree in 2005 from the Harvard Law School (magna cum laude), where he was Submissions Editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and completed internships with the non-profit Education Law Center in Philadelphia and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Boston. Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 2002 from Dartmouth College (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). Jeff is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and serves on the Amicus Committee of the Ohio Employment Lawyers Association. He is admitted to practice in Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts.