Ann-Marie Ahern has devoted her entire career to representing people in employment disputes. Ann-Marie, who heads the firm’s Employment Practice, is a dedicated, tireless advocate and trusted advisor. Over the past twenty years, she has successfully litigated hundreds of employment disputes on behalf of her clients. As a Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law, Ann-Marie is knowledgeable of all facets of employment law and represents employees at each stage of the employment relationship. She approaches her practice with the understanding that a career is more than a paycheck, and that the loss of a job can be devastating.

Unfortunately, wrongful terminations of employment relationships are still very common. Ann-Marie has tried cases to juries involving issues of age discrimination, sex discrimination and sexual harassment, race discrimination, disability discrimination/ failure to accommodate, wrongful discharge, and illegal retaliation. She has been at the forefront of the #Metoo and sexual harassment awareness movement and has been a steadfast supporter of victims of all forms of illegal discrimination. During the course of her career, she has obtained verdicts and settlements on behalf of her clients well in excess of $50 million.

Ann-Marie also advocates on behalf of federal and state whistleblowers. She is committed to preventing and correcting fraud against the government. She represents relators in False Claims Act matters and helped her client secure an $11 million reward for his role as a whistleblower in one of the largest False Claims Act recoveries in US History.

Ann-Marie also regularly represents executives and other managers in negotiating employment agreements, severance agreements, and separation packages. She understands the complexities and sensitivities involved when high-level employees transition from one company to another. Ann-Marie is experienced in the change in control agreements, as well as non-compete agreements.

Ann-Marie advises corporate clients as to employment law compliance and human resources practices. When companies receive complaints regarding sexual harassment, they often turn to Ann-Marie to serve as an impartial investigator of those claims.

Ann-Marie is an award-winning advocate and has been named to The Best Lawyers in America by US News and World Report, and an Ohio Super Lawyer. She has also been recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the Top 25 female lawyers in Cleveland and one of the Top 50 female lawyers in Ohio. She has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by The National Trial Lawyers. Ann-Marie is most proud, however, of the testimonials that she has received from the clients that she has helped through their employment crises. To review these comments, visit her Avvo profile.

Recent media appearances:

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Ann-Marie Ahern

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  • University of Dayton
    • Bachelor of Arts
  • Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
    • Juris Doctor, cum laude


  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2020 "Lawyer of the Year"
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2017-2021
  • Super Lawyers 2016-2021
  • Super Lawyers Top 25 Women in Cleveland 2017, 2019-2021
  • Super Lawyers Top 50 Women in Ohio 2017, 2019-2021
  • Super Lawyers Top 100 in Ohio, 2020-2021
  • Super Lawyers Top 50 in Cleveland, 2020-2021
  • Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Star 2005-2012
  • Notable Women in Law, Crain's Cleveland Business 2018
  • Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law by the Ohio State Bar Association
  • Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2012 and 2015
  • Avvo Rating of 10.0 Superb
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ of AV® Preeminent™
  • Smart Business' Smart Women Awards: Progressive Woman Honoree 2017
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Women in Law Making a Difference Recipient 2014
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • "Advocate" Certification from the National College of Advocacy


  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
  • The National Trial Lawyers, Member
  • Ohio Employment Lawyers Association, Member
  • Cleveland Employment Lawyers Association, Member
  • Ohio State Bar Association, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Employment Rights Section, Past Chair
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Trustee (2013-2016)
  • Cleveland Employment Lawyers Inn of Court, Barrister, Master of the Bench, Membership Chair (2013-2015)
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation, Trustee, Past Co-Chair of the Communications & PR Committee (2007-2013)
  • Eighth District Judicial Conference, Life Member


  • "'It's too early to go back': Workers fear for their health and finances as states rush to reopen," Washington Post, May 2020
  • "Scared to Return to Work Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic? These Federal Laws Could Grant You Some Protections," Time Magazine, May 2020
  • "Just Fired: Is It Wrongful Termination?" In Her Sight, May 2020
  • "Adviser: COVID-19 and employment law," Crain's Cleveland Business, April 2020
  • "Taming March Madness in the Workplace," Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), March 2020
  • "Proving Quid Pro Quo-Does sexual harassment law follow the "Hannibal Lecter" rule?", McCarthy Lebit Employment Blog, October 2019
  • "Protecting Employees Amid M&A Uncertainty," Crain's Cleveland HR Guide Book, August 2019
  • "New “Guidance” on the Deducting Attorney Fees for Sexual Harassment Cases," McCarthy Lebit Blog, March 2019
  • "Tax Reform May Make Paid Leave Doable for Smaller Employers," Ohio State Bar Association, January 2019
  • "Tax Reform May Make Paid Parental Leave Doable for Smaller Employers," McCarthy Lebit Employment & Tax Blogs, July 2018
  • "Shifting Presumptions of Credibility in Sexual Harassment Cases in the #MeToo Era," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal, May 2018
  • "Get outside help to investigate workplace sexual harassment," Smart Business Magazine, February 2018
  • "When interviewing, focus on salary expectations, not salary history," McCarthy Lebit Employment Blog, October 2017
  • "Women are empowered to speak about sex-based pay gap," Smart Business Magazine, April 2017
  • "Five Common Misperceptions About Overtime Laws," Properties Magazine, February 2017
  • "New Wage and Hour Regulations may be the Opportunity to Enact Compliance Changes that Have Been Previously Put Off," McCarthy Lebit Employment Blog, June 2016
  • "Employers should be on the lookout for phishing scams this tax season," McCarthy Lebit Employment Blog, March 2016
  • "Gender-based pay gap even wider for female executives: Actively addressing wage disparity cuts liability, proves commitment," Crain's Cleveland Business, November 2015


  • Challenges and Solutions to Employment Case Processing & Docket Management, 56th Annual Midwest Labor & Employment Law Seminar, Cleveland, Ohio, October 2019
  • Diversity Challenges in Non-union Employment Arbitration, LERA Annual Meeting, Cleveland, Ohio, June 2019
  • The Response to #MeToo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association for International Women's Day, Cleveland, Ohio, March 2019
  • Medical Marijuana and the Workplace, Sounds of Ideas on NPR, Cleveland, Ohio, January 2019
  • Issues of Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Domestic Violence Against Women in Their Homes, Workplace and in the Community, 13th Annual Leadership Development & Training Institute, Cleveland, Ohio, November 2018
  • Age Discrimination, The Sound of Ideas on NPR, Cleveland, Ohio, November 2018
  • #MeToo and #TimesUp: Changing the Handling and Prevention of Sexual Harassment, OSBA Midwest Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Columbus, Ohio, October 2018
  • Cleveland Orchestra Violinist Assault Allegations And The #MeToo Movement & The Pain Scale, The Sound of Ideas on NPR, Cleveland, Ohio, August 2018
  • State of Vacation 2018; Lawmakers Plan Vote To End Ohio House Leadership Impasse, The Sound of Ideas on NPR, Cleveland, Ohio, June 2018
  • Corporate Leadership in the #TimesUp Era, Women's Leadership Symposium, Cleveland, Ohio, April 2018
  • How To Spot and Stop Sexual Harassment, Women’s Networking Group - Cleveland, February 2018
  • The Law of Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environments-Protecting Individual Rights and Minimizing Employer Liability, Ohio State Bar Association, January 2018
  • Sexual Harassment Law, The Sound of Ideas on NPR, Cleveland, Ohio, December 2017
  • Lean In on Executive Compensation, Solutions for Women, Union Club, Luma, Cleveland, Ohio, September 2017
  • Motions in Limine: Practice and Viability, Ohio State Bar Association Advanced Employment Law Seminar, May 2017
  • Workplace Challenges of Privacy, Social Media, and Technology Issues, 14th Annual Employment Law: Rights, Benefits, and Emerging Issues, November 2016
  • The Changing Dynamics of Workplace Harassment: Social Media, Mobile Devices and Investigations, HR Star Conference, July 2016
  • Harassment: A Renewed EEOC Focus, Ohio State Bar Association's Labor Employment Law Section Advanced Employment Law Update and EEOC Initiatives, May 2016
  • Gender-Based Pay Disparity, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section Lunch and Learn, January 2016
  • Lean In on Executive Compensation & Benefits, The Union Club, April 2015
  • Mediation Practice Pointers, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's 15th Annual Northern Ohio Labor & Employment Law Conference, April 2015
  • The False Claims Act Explained, Recognizing Risk to Companies and Recognizing Claims for Plaintiffs, Cleveland Employment Lawyers Inn of Court, March 2015
  • Lean In on Executive Compensation, Solutions for Women, Union Club, Fairport Asset Management, Cleveland, Ohio, January 2015
  • Demystifying the False Claims Act, Midwest Labor Conference 2014
  • Recovering from Damaging Deposition Testimony in Employment Cases, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Fourteenth Annual Northern Ohio Labor and Employment Law Conference, 2014
  • Plaintiff's Employment Practice - Where Are We Headed?, Ohio Employment Lawyers Association Annual Employment Law Seminar and Meeting, 2014
  • Advice from the Top - Secrets to Success, New Lawyer Bootcamp, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2013
  • Valuing an Employment Case for Settlement and Trial, Cleveland Employment Association Annual Seminar, 2012
  • Potential Employment Claims Arising from Workers' Compensation Claims, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2012
  • Hiring and Firing in the Current Economy, Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar, 2011
  • Using Evidence and Demonstrative Exhibits in an Age Discrimination Case, Columbus Employment Lawyers Association Meeting, 2011
  • Winning Trial Techniques in an Age Discrimination Case, Cleveland Employment Lawyers Association Meeting, 2011
  • ADA and FMLA Update, Fundamentals of Employment Law Seminar, 2010
  • Punitive Damages Under Ohio Revised Code 4112, Ohio Employment Lawyers Association Annual Seminar, 2010
  • All Things You Need to Know About Being an Employer, 2009
  • Ohio Business Women's Conference and Expo, 2009
  • ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), Cleveland Employment Lawyers Inn of Court, 2008
  • Jury Dynamics of an EEO Case, Ohio State Bar Association, 2006 Employment Discrimination Law Update, 2006
  • What Every Lawyer Needs to Know Before Expanding into Employment Law, Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers Convention, 2006
  • Workplace Privacy Issues Created by Employee Blogs; The Intersection of the Work Zone and the Private Zone, Cleveland Employment Lawyers Inn of Court, 2006


Avvo Client Testimonials

“We we’re very fortunate to be referred to Ann-Marie by another atty for a wrongful discharge from employment. We were very impressed not only with her professionalism and integrity but also with her empathy and compassionate caring of our circumstance. She resolved our settlement quickly and to our extreme satisfaction…”

“The legal process can be very intimidating, especially, if you are a novice to the whole affair. Ann-Marie Ahern and her colleagues at MLCL were outstanding. I never felt left in the dark. They explained everything to me in a professional manner, advised me and consulted with me when necessary. I was the most impressed with my case results…”

“Ms. Ahern did a superb job of helping me navigate a difficult employment situation involving ADA concerns… With her advice, I was able to negotiate an extended period of time in which to find another position within the company, and the end result was a new position that best met the accommodations I need.”

“I engaged Ms. Ahern to represent me in a complex, sensitive and somewhat unusual separation from a well-known and much loved institution. She was clear and candid in her counsel… had the respect of my employer, and ensured that I was treated with the respect my position and service had earned. She was highly responsive to calls and emails, and encouraged my input throughout the negotiation process.”

“This is the first time I have engaged legal representation and Ann-Marie was wonderful. She… explained the nature of my claim and likelihood of success as well as being upfront about fee structure… She and her team were accessible to answer any questions I had throughout the process. She obtained a good result which was in line with her initial predictions of the case.”

“Ann-Marie demonstrated great depth of knowledge about employment law, and the criteria indicating gender and age discrimination. She has a passion for this area of the law, and it showed in the way she worked with me and the strength at which she advocated my position. Ann-Marie was always professional, responsive, and exhibited an empathy towards my predicament… I am absolutely thrilled with Ann Marie’s services, as well as the settlement amount she negotiated for me….”

*Courtesy of Avvo. Please visit Ann-Marie’s Avvo page to read all of her client reviews in full.

$1.6 million for Sex Discrimination

Employee was a long term, highly achieving female executive who was paid less than male counterparts and then terminated to make room for younger men.

$6.5 million Wrongful Termination

Plaintiff was CEO of closely held company who was wrongfully terminated. Issues: Breach of contract and fiduciary duty, in addition to the value of her minority ownership interest.

$61 million settlement with federal government; $11 million recovery to client

In 2013, Ms. Ahern represented a federal whistleblower in a qui tam claim that resulted in a $61-million recovery by the government and her client. This settlement, according to Taxpayers Against Fraud, is one of the Top 100 False Claims Act settlements in history.

Age discrimination verdict of $900,000

Plaintiff was a 32 year employee who was treated less favorably and was disciplined more harshly than her younger counterparts, resulting in her termination from employment.

$475,000 disability settlement

Client was discriminated against due to disability and childcare obligations.

$550,000 gender discrimination settlement

$550,000 gender discrimination settlement achieved in advance of litigation.

$30 million age discrimination verdict in favor of Plaintiff

Plaintiff, age 67, was let go during a reduction in force. She was not considered for other positions for which she was greatly qualified. Instead, younger people were hired to fill open positions.

$450,000 settlement in favor of Plaintiff

Plaintiff was a long time employee of a large company. He was terminated because of his age and treated less favorably than younger people.

$650,000 settlement in favor of Plaintiff

Client was a lawyer for a public agency. When she opposed discriminatory practices in the selection of contracts, she was retaliated against and fired.

$400,000 settlement of claims against college

Plaintiff was a long term, highly effective employee who was the victim of discrimination in pay; when she complained, she was retaliated against and fired.