Joseph M. Price

Printer-friendly version
Senior Labor & Employment Counsel
Charleston, WV
  • Senior Labor & Employment Counsel, 2021
  • Chair, Robinson & McElwee Labor & Employment Department, 2012-present
  • Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group, Robinson & McElwee, 2011-present
  • Board of Directors Member, 2014-2015
  • Managing Partner, Robinson & McElwee, 1988, 1996-1998
  • Managing Partner for Personnel, Robinson & McElwee, 1987
  • Member, Robinson & McElwee, 1984-2020
  • Associate, Robinson & McElwee, 1983

During his 40 years of practice Mr. Price has served as lead counsel in numerous complex cases.  He regularly represents clients in sex, race, disability, religious, age and other employment discrimination cases before both the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and has defended discrimination cases before the OFCCP. He also represents clients in cases before the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and the West Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals, United States Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and other administrative agencies. Mr. Price regularly represents clients in the chemical, manufacturing, oil and natural gas, coal, timber, service and other industries. His practice includes representation of national clients as well as small and medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses.

Mr. Price has presented more than 100 arbitrations, defended employers in Fair Labor Standards Act class actions, state wage payment class actions, a significant ERISA class action, employee benefits cases, wage and hour claims, harassment litigation, “wrongful discharge” cases in both state and federal courts, and has acted as lead appellate counsel in matters before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  While his practice encompasses all aspects of labor and employment law with a focus on administrative and trial court litigation he has also represented firm clients in complex personal injury, wrongful death, class actions and other “high risk” litigation.

Mr. Price also devotes a significant portion of his time to the negotiation of union labor agreements and related contracts, defense of Unfair Labor Practice charges, advising clients wishing to remain “union free,” conducting labor law compliance training for firm clients, and for 13 years taught federal labor law in the Masters of Industrial Relations degree program at Marshall University.  In the union free setting, he has negotiated numerous executive employment and departure agreements, severance agreements, compensation agreements and other employment related contracts. 

Mr. Price is a mediator, fully trained by the West Virginia State Bar.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for the WV Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Human Resources Committee of HospiceCare, Inc., a nonprofit entity.

  • Practices a broad spectrum of matters including Equal Employment Opportunity cases, discrimination cases of all types, arbitrations, employee benefits litigation and wage and hour matters, including significant class actions, on both federal and state levels and litigation of employment cases in trial and appellate courts.
  • Lead counsel in numerous complex cases including discrimination cases, complex class actions, wrongful death cases including complex liability and insurance issues among multiple defendants, "deliberate intent" suits arising in industrial settings and significant wrongful termination cases.
  • Conducts labor agreement negotiations and assists clients in strike planning, supervisory training, compliance training and represents unionized clients in labor arbitrations.
  • Practices before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and litigation of cases before the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), West Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals and other administrative tribunals. 
  • Provides client training in the areas of risk reduction, affirmative action, compliance, and maintenance of employment files and records.
  • Assists clients with strategic planning related to staffing, reductions in force, labor relations and productivity issues.
  • Counsels and represents independent recording artists and composers in areas of recording contracts, performance contracts, copyrights and related matters.
  • AV 5/5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, rated as “preeminent” in employment law by Chambers, USA, listed among “Best Lawyers in America,” “Top Virginia and West Virginia Lawyers” .
  • Adjunct Professor, Labor Law, Marshall University Graduate College.
  • Chair, Robinson & McElwee Labor & Employment Law Department.
  • Chair, Robinson & McElwee Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group.
  • Former Managing Partner of Robinson & McElwee.
  • Robinson & McElwee Board of Directors Member, 2014
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" for Litigation - Labor & Employment in Charleston, W.V. by Best Lawyers, 2017
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" for Labor Law - Management in Charleston, W.V. by Best Lawyers, 2014
  • Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor & Employment, 2006 - Present
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers, West Virginia, Labor & Employment, 2011 - Present
  • Legislative Liaison, Charleston, WV Chapter, Society for Human Resource Management


  • Abels et al. v. Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Co.; United States District Court for the Southern District of W.Va., Civil Action No. 2:90-0331. Lead counsel representing Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Co. in a class action brought by approximately 700 former hourly employees of the company's Ravenswood, W.Va. facility, in which the plaintiffs claimed the company had violated Sec. 510 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to provide contractually required pension benefits to employees on recall status.  Favorable settlement reached.
  • Cameron Bell v. Ashland Oil Co.; United States District Court for the Southern District of W.Va., Civil Action No. 3:92-0311. Lead counsel representing Ashland Oil Co. in case brought by employee who claimed his discharge was undertaken in retaliation for his reporting environmental violations to regulatory authorities and assisting such authorities with their inspections and investigations. Case was settled favorably after cross-examination of Plaintiff at trial.
  • Natalie Haynes v. Rhone-Poulenc Ag. Co.; 206 W.Va. 18, 521 S.E.2d 331 (1999). Lead counsel representing Rhone-Poulenc Ag. Co. in case in which female lab worker claimed the termination of her employment was due to her disability and sex. Jury returned verdict of less than half of final settlement demand. Appealed to Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in order to clearly establish the law related to punitive damages under the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
  • Mark Lynch v. Appalachian Power Company; Circuit Court of Mingo County, W.Va., Civil Action No. 96-C-81. Lead Counsel representing Appalachian Power Company in case brought by discharged management employee who contended the termination of his employment was due to his disability - alcoholism.  Jury returned verdict of less than half of final settlement demand. Appealed on behalf of employer and settled favorably on appeal.
  • Watson v. Mountaineer Gas Company; 76 F.3d 606 (1996). Lead counsel representing Mountaineer Gas Company in case brought to collaterally attack an arbitrator's award that had reinstated an employee discharged for a positive drug test. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia that had set aside the arbitrator's award.
  • PodcastHow The Boss Can Avoid Time in Court - Interview with Joe Price, The Boss Builder, 2018
  • Presenter, various labor and employment topics and custom workshops for clients, SHRM Chapter meetings and associations covering a range of topics, including modern employee performance management, union free workplaces, employee social media use and employment law updates, among others 
  • Presenter, Current Issues in Labor and Employment, Geiger Teeple Robinson & McElwee, Canton, O.H., 2014
  • Presenter, FLSA/Wage and Hour Crical Issues, 5th Annual Fundamentals of Employment Law by Sterling Education Services, Huntington, W.Va, 2014
  • Presenter, The NLRB’s Expanding Agenda, 11th Annual Labor & Employment Law seminar presented by Sterling Education Services, Charleston, W.Va., 2012
  • Author, presenter, Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act, Sterling Education Services, Inc. 2011, Huntington, W. Va., 2011
  • Author, presenter, Fair Labor Standards Act/Wage and Hour Critical Issues, Sterling Education Services, Inc. 2011, Charleston W. Va., 2011
  • Author, presenter, Hiring and Terminating Employees in the Current Economy, Sterling Education Services, Charleston W. Va., 2011
  • Author, presenter, Management of Employment Risks, Prepared for Marquee Cinemas National Management Training Seminar, 2009-2010
  • Compiled, Compendium of State Employment Laws, (West Virginia segment) Prepared for ALFA International Labor & Employment Practice Group, 2001-2008
  • Author, presenter, Whistleblower Cases in West Virginia, presented at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Human Resource and Governor’s Safety Conference, 2008
  • Author, presenter, Affirmative Action, Client Training Seminar Materials, Copyright, Robinson & McElwee PLLC - 2008
  • Author, presenter, Employment Issues for Union Free Supervisors, Client Training Seminar Materials, Copyright, Robinson & McElwee PLLC - 2008
  • Author, presenter, Risk Reduction in Hiring and Discharge Cases, Client Training Seminar Materials, Copyright, Robinson & McElwee PLLC - 2007
  • Author, presenter, Employment Issues for Supervisors of Bargaining Unit Employees, Client Training Seminar Materials; Copyright Robinson & McElwee PLLC - 2007
  • Author, presenter, Litigating Human Rights Cases in West Virginia, Presented at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Human Resource and Governor’s Safety Conference, 2007
  • Adjunct Professor of Labor Law, History of Labor Relations and Labor Arbitration, Marshall University Graduate College.
  • Regular presenter on Labor and Employment Law Topics including : OSHA compliance, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) procedures and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • Co-editor, West Virginia Practice Handbook, Employment Law Section
  • Contributor, Benchbook for Hearing Examiners, West Virginia Human Rights Commission
  • Contributor, Handbook for Employers, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Managing editor, West Virginia Law Review, 1977-78
  • Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America, 1994-1998
  • Board of Trustees Member, Christ Church United Methodist Church, 1990-1992
  • MUGC Course Documents (login required)