Adler Pollock & Sheehan

One Citizens Plaza, 8th Floor
Providence, RI 02903-1345
401-274-7200 (firm)
401-751-0604 (firm fax)

Robert P. Brooks is the firm's Managing Partner and Chairman of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Group.  He represents management in all facets of labor relations and employment law in the public and private sectors. 

Mr. Brooks’ experience in the labor and employment law area ranges from counseling employers on day-to-day personnel administration, to major managerial decision making concerning the labor employment law considerations of corporate acquisitions and reductions in force.  He also counsels employers on such complex administrative law issues as OSHA compliance and wage and hour issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Mr. Brooks also regularly and successfully handles collective bargaining negotiations and the defense of union organizing campaigns. He has successfully represented employers in employment discrimination matters, and a wide variety of labor arbitration and administrative proceedings. In addition, he lectures frequently to groups and private companies on many of the issues facing human resource professionals on a daily basis.

Prior to becoming associated with Adler Pollock & Sheehan, Mr. Brooks served as administrative assistant and deputy chief of staff to the Mayor of Providence from 1982 to 1987.

Mr. Brooks is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Club of Providence.   He is the recipient of the RI Bar Association’s 2002 Dorothy Lohmann Community Service Award, given in recognition for his work with the Boys and Girls Clubs.  He serves on the AP&S Executive Committee and is a member of its Diversity Committee. Mr. Brooks recently authored a chapter in the Inside The Minds Series, Complying With Employment Regulations, "Understanding Key New Employment Regulations", Aspatore Books 2012.

Significant Matters

  • Won summary judgment for the Rhode Island Laborers' District Council of the Laborers' International Union of North America, AFL-CIO Employee Benefit Funds. Judge William E. Smith of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island ruled that there was no genuine dispute that the employer was liable for unpaid and delinquent contributions to employee benefit plans where contributions were mandated by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, and where the employer acknowledged owing contractually mandated amounts for each hour worked by its employees, union members covered by the agreement by filing monthly remittance reports.
  • Recently assisted a steel fabricator that had shut down its operations due to its inability to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the union representing its steel fabricators.  The company had been shut down for more than 18 months.  Mr. Brooks was able to negotiate an agreement with the union that all but three bargaining unit members from a bargaining unit of over 20 employees would be terminated, negotiated an entirely new collective bargaining agreement with much more favorable management rights language and negotiated concessions in wages and employee benefits.  After the terms agreed to by the union were presented to the three remaining bargaining unit members, those employees also resigned, resulting in the employer’s ability to hire an entirely new workforce.
  • Represented a textile manufacturer in Massachusetts that was facing the possible shutdown of its operation due to economic circumstances.  Mr. Brooks developed a strategy for collective bargaining negotiations with the union and represented the employer as the chief spokesperson at the bargaining table.  Collective bargaining negotiations were concluded without a work stoppage and the employer achieved its goals, including wage and benefit concessions and strengthening management’s rights as set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Represented a municipality in Rhode Island that had suffered the loss of a significant amount of aid from the State of Rhode Island over successive budget years.  This municipality was in collective bargaining negotiations with all of its unions.  Mr. Brooks negotiated new collective bargaining agreements for this municipality with its police, fire, professional and technical and rank and file units that included multiple years of wage freezes, unpaid days off, and benefit concessions.
  • Successfully represented of numerous employers in collective bargaining negotiations, achieving for management important language concessions regarding management rights and concessions on the scope of what work is performed by the bargaining unit.
  • Negotiated an agreement on behalf of a municipal employer with two labor unions that allowed the municipality to hire a private company to design, build, and operate a new, state of the art facility for the municipality, thereby also achieving millions of dollars in savings.
  • Successful defense of employers in matters involving race discrimination, age discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and disability discrimination before Human Rights agencies in the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Named in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as one of the “Top 20 Most Powerful Labor Attorneys in the Nation” by Lawdragon Magazine and Human Resource Executive.  Bob was the only attorney named in R.I. and one of four in all of New England. 
  •                 Providence Business News, July 30, 2012
  • Best Lawyers’ 2012 and 2014 Lawyer of the Year, Labor Law- Management, Providence.
  • Recognized in the 2006-2014 Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers as one of the "Leaders in Rhode Island" and as one of the state’s best in Labor and Employment Law.
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2007-2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Labor and Employment Law.
  • Selected as a Rhode Island Super Lawyer, 2007-2014, an honor that recognizes him as a leader in the legal community.
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, highest rating given to attorneys.

Professional Affiliations

  • Active, Rhode Island Bar Association’s Labor Law Committee for over twenty years, and served as its Chair for one year.
  • Member, American Bar Association.
  • 2003 Graduate of Leadership Rhode Island.

Community & Civic Activity

  • Immediate Past President, Boys and Girls Club of Providence.
  • Member, East Greenwich Personnel Board.

Practice Areas


  • Suffolk University (J.D., 1987)
  • Rhode Island College (B.A., 1982)

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Rhode Island
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • United States District Court,District of Rhode Island
  • First Circuit Court of Appeals


Publications & Seminars

Presentations & Events

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