Nicole A. Bernabo


  • Overview


    Nicole Bernabo focuses her practice on public and private sector labor relations, labor and employment law, and related litigation.

    Ms. Bernabo advises employers on a wide variety of workplace issues, including all aspects of collective bargaining, defense of unfair labor practice charges, harassment, retaliation, discrimination, hours of work and wages, wrongful discharge, plant closings, employee discipline, discharge and management, disability and reasonable accommodation, family and medical leave, unemployment and safety issues. She represents and defends employers in state and federal courts, as well as before various state and federal agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and the Occupational Health & Safety Administration.

    Ms. Bernabo also counsels companies and human resource professionals on contract administration, grievance disputes, collective bargaining investigations, reorganization, discipline and performance management, personnel and safety policies, employment contracts, severance and separation agreements, individual terminations, union avoidance, double-breasting, concerted job actions, reductions-in-force, and mergers and acquisitions.

    Ms. Bernabo has successfully litigated many cases at the administrative level and in federal court, including the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Ms. Bernabo has been included on the New England Super Lawyers® list in the area of Employment and Labor Law since 2011 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.).

  • Experience
    • Experience


        Transactional and Development

      • Representation of a construction materials company concerning the sale of its asphalt paving and construction contracting business in Michigan and Indiana; representation of aggregate company in addressing environmental conditions and transactions in New York and Louisiana.
      • Other Experiences

      • Served as lead negotiator for a Connecticut municipality in negotiations for successor agreements with six bargaining units. Successfully achieved bargaining goals of keeping labor cost increases within reasonable levels, including a reduction of costs for retiree benefits and sick days, and an increase in health insurance premium cost-sharing.
      • Succcessfully arbitrated numerous cases against multiple unions involving employee discipline and terminations, company reorganizations, layoffs, promotional testing, and benefits issues, including call-in pay, sick leave, and vacation pay.
      • Served as cocounsel in a trial before the National Labor Relations Board involving the discipline of a union steward.
      • Representation of a quasi-governmental public health entity before the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations involving the appropriateness of a bargaining unit in a representation election. Negotiated the initial collective bargaining agreement covering all nonsupervisory personnel. Continued representation regarding contract administration and grievance issues.
      • Represented a major airline in a reduction in force involving nationwide layoffs.
      • Assisted Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority in developing policies and procedures, counseling on hiring issues, advising on labor and employment issues, and negotiating an initial collective bargaining agreement covering operational and clerical personnel and in proceedings before Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations.
      • Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

      • Provide labor relations counsel to the District, having overseen the unionization of its workforce. This transition included negotiations between the District and the local AFSCME chapter with contract and collective bargaining matters, in addition to the drafting, approval, and finalization of all such contracts. We continue to serve as labor counsel to the District for all relevant matters in connection with its workforce’s AFSCME affiliation.
    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association
      Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, Co-chair of Labor and Employment Committee (2008 - present)

      American Bar Foundation

      Connecticut Bar Journal
      Board of Editors

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Vice Chair of Labor and Employment Section

      American Bar Association
      Section of Labor and Employment Law, Committee on Practice and Procedure Under the National Labor Relations Act

      Connecticut Bar Association
      House of Delegates (2008 - 2011)
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Employment and Labor Law since 2011 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      BV Distinguished® Peer Review Rated in Martindale-Hubbell™ (Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings is a trademark. BV Distinguished is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc.)

      Recognized by Connecticut Law Tribune, 2008, in Women in the Law: High Achievers yearbook

      Named in Connecticut Law Tribune, 2004, as one of the Top Leaders of the Law in the area of Development of the Law

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc.
      Board of Directors
    • Publications


      "OSHA Takes Aim at Safety Incentive Programs," published in Scrap, co-authored with Richard M. Fil (May/June 2012)

      "Court Decisions Postpone NLRA Notice Posting Rule," published in Connecticut Law Tribune (4/23/2012)

      "New Rules Would Affect Consultants to Employers: Law Firms, Others Would Have To Report Activities Involving Union Issues," published in Connecticut Law Tribune (10/31/2011)

      "The U.S. Department of Labor Proposes New FMLA Regulations," published in Robinson & Cole Legal Update, co-authored with Catherine E. Reuben (3/2008)

      "Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice 2006-2007,," coauthored "Education" chapter with American Bar Association committee cochairs

    • Presentations


      "Practical Implications of the Revamped Connecticut Personnel Files Act," co-presented with Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, webinar (10/29/2013)

      "Employees’ NLRA Section 7 Rights in a Nonunionized Environment," co-presented with Peter A. Dagostine, Robinson & Cole webinar (1/10/2013)

      "2012 Employment Law Roundup," co-presented with Jean E. Tomasco and Andrea Donovan Napp, webinar (11/15/2012)

      "Arbitration in Employment Disputes," moderated panel at Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting (6/23/2011)

      "Social Media in the Workplace - What to Consider to Protect Your Company," co-presented with Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson and Alice E. DeTora, webinar (3/30/2011)

      "Human Resources Update," at Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., of Connecticut (4/30/2008)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • January 21, 2014

        Nicole Bernabo Organizes First CBA Labor and Employment Conference

        • » more info
      • September 13, 2013

        Nicole Bernabo Appointed to Lead CBA's Labor and Employment Law Section

        • » more info
      • January 23, 2013

        Employment & Labor Lawyers Host Webinar on Employees' NLRA Section 7 Rights in a Nonunionized Environment

        • » more info
      • December 28, 2012

        Attorneys Present Webinar About Data Security and Privacy from Employer's Perspective

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      • November 8, 2012

        Nicole Bernabo Appointed to Board of Directors for Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut

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      • July 27, 2012

        Nicole Bernabo Elected to Leadership Role of Connecticut Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section

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      • July 11, 2012

        Labor & Employment Attorneys Discuss How to Navigate the Hiring Process

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      • June 26, 2012

        Attorneys Write About OSHA’s New Guidance for Safety Incentive Programs

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      • May 17, 2012

        Labor and Employment Attorney’s Article Discusses Court Decisions Impacting the National Labor Relations Act Employer Posting Rule

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      • November 21, 2011

        Attorneys Write Articles Published in Connecticut Law Tribune Special Section on Employment and Immigration Law

      • November 2, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Participating in Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity Mentoring Program

      • July 25, 2011

        Nicole Bernabo Moderates Panel on Arbitration in Employment Disputes

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      • July 18, 2011

        Nicole Bernabo Elected to Officer Position of Labor and Employment Law Section

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      • April 11, 2011

        Labor and Employment Attorneys Address Social Media in the Workplace

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      • April 21, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Volunteer through Junior Achievement at Parkville Community School

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      • April 14, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Appointed as Contributing Editor for American Bar Association's Developing Labor Law Publication

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      • July 16, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Labor & Employment Attorney Co-Authors Chapter in ABA Book

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      • July 8, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Labor & Employment Associate Elected to CBA House of Delegates

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      • June 26, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Labor & Employment Associate Elected to CBA House of Delegates

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      • January 28, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Labor & Employment Attorney to Speak at CT Bar Association Seminar

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      R+C News Releases

      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

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      • December 21, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Appointed to Board of Directors of Nonprofits

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      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • May 22, 2012

        Labor and Employment Attorney Coaches Fifth Graders in Mock Trial

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      • April 26, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Appointed as Contributing Editor for American Bar Association's Developing Labor Law Publication

        • » more info
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