Christopher J. Kelly

Of Counsel
Tel 856.761.3446
Fax 856.761.1020
New Jersey

Christopher J. Kelly is Of Counsel in Ballard Spahr's Labor and Employment group. Chris has represented both public and private employers in a broad range of litigated matters, including wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower, breach of contract, unfair competition, and wrongful termination, and employment- and business-related tort claims in both state and federal courts across the country. Chris has handled labor arbitrations of disciplinary matters, assisted clients with state and federal wage and hour audits, and appeared before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on numerous matters.

Chris has served as lead counsel in a variety of matters and conducted trials to verdict and judgment. He has handled appeals before the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Chris currently serves on both the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction and the New Jersey State Bar Association's Appellate Practice Committee.

Chris has expertise in navigating the complicated wage and hour issues arising under the California Labor Code and has successfully defended California Private Attorneys General Act suits. He has practiced extensively in California and New York and works closely with clients to ensure compliance with the unique training requirements and treatment of discrimination claims under New York and California law.

Chris has significant experience serving the legal needs of the public sector, higher education, and health care industries. He also has experience providing day-to-day employment counseling, as well as in drafting and reviewing policies and handbooks. Chris regularly advises clients on reductions in force and severance packages. 

Prior to joining the firm, Chris served as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, defending New Jersey public employers against employment-related statutory, constitutional, and tort claims. In addition, he practiced in Los Angeles for six years, initially as a sole practitioner and then as managing partner of a five-attorney firm where he handled California state and federal discrimination and wage and hour matters as well as commercial litigation.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully argued before the Third Circuit to uphold summary judgment in case alleging wrongful termination of public employee
  • Obtained a directed verdict following a two-week jury trial vindicating a public university that terminated a university police officer found to be unfit to carry a gun
  • Obtained two victories before the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division limiting discovery of confidential internal files
  • Conducted internal investigations into employee misconduct
  • Negotiated and drafted numerous employment agreements
  • Obtained a published decision in the civil rights case of Doe v. Beard, 63 F. Supp. 3d 1159 (C.D. Cal., 2014), establishing that prisoners maintain a right to privacy in their medical records when that right does not interfere with the legitimate penological objectives of the correctional system
  • Obtained summary judgment in numerous discrimination cases in federal and state courts

Pro Bono Experience

While in law school, Chris assisted in obtaining the release of Fernando Bermudez, who was incarcerated for 18 years in New York for a murder he did not commit.

Judicial Clerkship

Hon. Serena Perretti & Hon. Philip M. Freedman, Superior Court of New Jersey, 2008-2009

Professional Activities

New York State Bar Association, 2009-present

New York State Bar Association, Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction, 2019-present

New Jersey State Bar Association, 2017-present

New Jersey State Bar Association, Appellate Practice Committee, 2018-present

Recent Publications

Co-author, "New Jersey’s Legalization of Marijuana: Employment Implications for NJ and NY," Ballard Spahr alert, November 9, 2020

Co-author, "EEOC Opinion Letter Limits Agency’s ‘Pattern or Practice’ Litigation," Ballard Spahr alert, September 11, 2020

Co-author, "USDOL Reminds Employers to Track and Pay for Remote Work Hours Accurately," Ballard Spahr alert, August 26, 2020

Co-author, "NY Court of Appeals Grapples With Classifying Gig Workers and the Modern Economy," Ballard Spahr alert, May 18, 2020

Co-author, "EEOC Delays 2019 EEO-1 Data Collection Due to COVID-19," Ballard Spahr alert, May 11, 2020

Co-author, "UPDATED: The 1-2-3s of Counting Employees in Private Equity Firms Under Federal COVID-19 Legislation," Ballard Spahr alert, April 30, 2020

Co-author, "Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Expanded to Cover Absences Related to COVID-19," Ballard Spahr alert, April 14, 2020

Co-author, "CARES Act Loans Come with Labor and Employment Strings Attached," Ballard Spahr alert, March 27, 2020

Co-author, "NY Legislation Will Require Many Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave Due to COVID-19 Quarantine," Ballard Spahr alert, March 20, 2020

Co-author, "Changes for CA Gig Economy: Learn Your ABCs," Ballard Spahr alert, September 23, 2019

Co-author, "Marijuana in the Workplace," Colorado Bar Association, Business Law Section Newsletter, August 30, 2019

Co-author, "DOL Seeks to Improve Employers’ FMLA Forms" Ballard Spahr alert, August 28, 2019

Co-author, "New York Dramatically Changes Harassment/Discrimination Landscape for Employers," Ballard Spahr alert, August 12, 2019

Co-author, "New York Expands Salary Protections for Employees," Ballard Spahr alert, July 11, 2019

Co-author, "Supreme Court Rules that Employers Must Timely Raise Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies in Title VII Cases or Risk Forfeiting Right to Challenge," Ballard Spahr alert, June 4, 2019

Co-author, "Significant Changes in Store for New York Employers When It Comes to Sexual Harassment," Ballard Spahr alert, May 17, 2018

Co-author, "CA Supreme Court Decision Calls for Reevaluation of Worker Classifications," Ballard Spahr alert, May 15, 2018

Co-author, "New Jersey Passes New Law on Pay Equity — and Much More," Ballard Spahr alert, April 24, 2018

Recent Speaking Engagements

"The New Jersey Wage Theft Law & Transgender and Diversity Issues in the Workplace," Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, HR Council, November 6, 2019

"The New Employment Frontier, Navigating State and Local Laws," 2019 Ballard Spahr SEPA SHRM HR Legal Summit, September 27, 2019

Seton Hall Law School (J.D. 2008)

Pomona College (B.A. 2001)


New Jersey

New York


U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit