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Charlene A. Barker Gedeus

Charlene A. Barker Gedeus


Higher Education Practice Group Co-Leader

Philadelphia, PA

How Charlene Helps Clients

Charlene Gedeus represents private and public employers in employment-related disputes in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, as well as in the arbitral forum. Experienced in both single-plaintiff matters and class actions, her practice includes defending claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, unlawful harassment and hostile work environment claims. While Charlene defends employers from industries as diverse as retail, food service and manufacturing, she principally represents clients in the higher education space. Charlene advises colleges and universities on critical compliance and policy issues. In connection with her higher education practice, Charlene also conducts Title IX investigations. Select representative matters include:

  • Counsel to a university in defense of a lawsuit brought by a male professor alleging violations of Title IX for the university's alleged failure to provide due process and follow its policies and procedures in handling a disciplinary matter.
  • Led an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination and hostile work environment raised by faculty members against a college’s dean. 
  • Led a Title IX investigation into a student’s allegations of racial discrimination and violations of Title IX for the university's alleged failure to provide due process and follow its policies and procedures in handling an internal Title IX investigation

As a complement to her litigation practice, Charlene also provides extensive pre-litigation day-to-day advice and tailored counseling to employers with the objective of preventing and managing litigation risks. She counsels management and Human Resources personnel on a myriad of employment-related issues, including performance management/discipline, workplace accommodations, FMLA compliance, terminations and employment best practices. Charlene also assists employers in developing and implementing employment policies and programs in accordance with state and federal employment laws.

In 2017, Charlene was named one of Philly Biz’s Women to Watch. Additionally, Charlene has been selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Rising Stars® list each year since 2019. Charlene was named a 2022 Rising Star by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). Most recently, she was named a 2023 Philadelphia Business Journal Women of Influence. 

What Clients Can Expect

Charlene prides herself on being responsive and providing candid counseling with plain English advice that clients are able to put into practice with ease. Understanding that litigation is inherently tense, she takes great care to keep her clients well-informed to limit surprises. Her main goal is to collaborate with clients to learn their business, understand their goals and craft practical solutions.

Outside the Office

A native New Yorker of Haitian descent, Charlene enjoys cooking and entertaining, and considers herself a Caribbean Martha Stewart. Charlene is a mother of two boys.

Previously, Charlene served as a law clerk to the Honorable Petrese B. Tucker in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Proof Points

  • Secured a full defense verdict in favor of an educational institution and former president after a two-week trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in a trial involving claims of breach of contract and tortious interference with contractual relations.
  • Argued an appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a case of first impression.
  • Secured a decision affirming the grant of summary judgment in an employment matter following oral argument before an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
  • Secured motion to dismiss in a breach of contract action on behalf of a global luxury fashion and lifestyle brand.
  • Won motion to compel arbitration for a global luxury fashion and lifestyle brand in a suit alleging racial discrimination and retaliation claims.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of Drexel University on claims asserted under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Drexel University in contract matter.
  • Successfully defended a national telecommunications company in an arbitration matter involving claims of gender and race discrimination.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of Drexel University on claims asserted under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a large healthcare system in an ADA and FMLA case.
  • Represented a national telecommunications company in several arbitrations.  
  • Successfully defended shareholders and a law firm in a complex FLSA matter.
  • Represented a major university in handling federal employment discrimination litigation.
  • Successfully defended a national retail company in a ADEA case.
  • Represented a national oil company in an FLSA class action for “misclassification” and “off the clock” claims.