Meet Joe Austin
William Joseph Austin, Jr. (Joe) has over 40 years of experience helping people with complicated labor and employment cases. Joe’s clients appreciate his sympathetic support and analytic counsel in the full array of employment law issues, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. He has served as Of Counsel to the law firm of Narron Wenzel, PA in Raleigh since April of 2017.
Joe specializes in Labor and Employment Law, Workers’ Compensation, and Education Law. Joe has advocated for individuals, public institutions, and businesses in state and federal courts and before all major administrative agencies that regulate labor and employment. He has mediated and arbitrated cases as well.
Joe gained exceptional knowledge in the field of disability law over the course of more than four decades experience in workers’ compensation, enhanced by conscientious attention to developments in the ADA, FMLA, and REDA. In 2017 he was recognized as Best Lawyers’ Lawyer of the Year for Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers – in Raleigh.
Joe’s practice has also included frontline involvement in the evolution of the law of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. He was a panelist at the Duke Triangle Women’s Forum program on “#MeToo: One Year Later,” at Duke University on February 13, 2019.
Joe has been a frequent speaker and planner of seminars, workshops, and in-service training. He was a co-planner for the NC Bar Association 2017 Education Law Section Annual Meeting on April 21, 2017. On May 3, 2017, he gave the keynote address, “Academic Freedom: Past and Prologue,” for the UNC Charlotte College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Team Retreat. Joe’s article, “Academic Freedom in Interesting Times,” a synopsis of the address at UNC-Charlotte, was published in the May 2017 issue of North Carolina Lawyer. Joe was co-planner for the NC Bar Association Education Law Section Meeting on April 13, 2018, where he presented a paper, “Perilous Intersection: FMLA, ADA, and REDA.”
Joe also conducted a workshop on employment law for the NC Association of Fire Chiefs’ 2020 Mid-Winter Conference in Concord on January 30, 2020.
Joe is delighted to host a public service radio program called “Legal Matters,” which is broadcast by North Carolina Reading Service. This program addresses legal issues which confront disabled individuals in the workplace, schools, and public accommodations.
An enthusiastic student of legal and other Latin maxims, Joe reminds his colleagues, “Hoc opus, hic labor est,” a caveat he has come to know from over 44 years of hard labor at the bar.
Joe and his wife Gail reside in Raleigh. They have two grown daughters and are doting grandparents to Abby, Jay, Austin and Autumn Slusher.
University of North Carolina School of Law (J.D., 1978)
Duke University (M.A. in Public Policy, 1978)