Patrick T. Collins, a Member of Bridgewater-based law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A. was honored by Safe+Sound Somerset at their annual Soaring to New Heights awards dinner on November 2 at the Stone House in Warren. Collins received the Jackie Wiegand Founder Award as recognition for the continuous pro-bono work he has done for the organization.
Safe+Sound Somerset is a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to serving victims of domestic abuse in Somerset County. Its mission is to end domestic abuse and empower victims by providing protection, education, and resources to victims and their families. It has advocated and provided services for the community for over 35 years, growing and adapting those services to meet the changing needs of their clients.
A resident of Branchburg, Collins is Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Group. He practices labor, employment and personnel law on behalf of employers and management. He has a wide range of experience in all areas of litigation in both federal and state courts, defending discrimination and sexual harassment claims, wrongful discharge and whistleblower suits, and claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the multitude of other civil rights and anti-discrimination laws. In addition, Collins represents parties in breach of contract claims, and in actions involving unfair competition, restrictive covenants, and confidentiality agreements.
Collins has appeared before state human rights agencies throughout the country, as well as the EEOC, the National Labor Relations Board and various wage and hour agencies. He has represented employers in numerous labor grievance/arbitration proceedings, and in a variety of other matters relating to the unionization of employees and collective bargaining. He has also worked extensively with employers on public works contracts to ensure compliance with prevailing wage laws.
A great deal of Collins’ practice concentrates on counseling employers in making workplace decisions that will reduce or avoid entirely the risk of litigation. Collins regularly counsels his clients on matters concerning independent contractors and contingent workers, employment policies, employee discipline and terminations, reductions in workforce, and plant closings. He has conducted sexual harassment investigations and employment law audits, and has drafted numerous employee handbooks and substance abuse and workplace privacy policies. Collins has also conducted management and employee training and legal compliance sessions in a variety of areas, including the performance appraisal process and anti-harassment.
Collins is a member of the American Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and their Labor & Employment Sections, as well as the Somerset County Bar Association. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Legal Services of Northwest New Jersey and is a former member of the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s District XIII Ethics Committee and the Sidney Reitman Employment Law Inn of Court. Collins also serves on the Somerset Valley YMCA Advisory Board.