In This Section


Susan Deniker focuses her practice in the areas of labor and employment law, higher education law and litigation.  Susan counsels clients on a wide variety of employment issues, including in the areas of wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, FMLA, discipline and discharge.  She also conducts investigations, drafts policies and procedures, and prepares employment contracts and severance agreements.   

Susan’s higher education practice includes not only counseling on employment issues, but also encompasses representation on Title IX, student conduct, and compliance with federal and state legal requirements.  She also assists clients with crisis management, including coordination of internal, legal, and public relations matters. 

Susan also litigates employment, education, civil rights and other matters in state and federal court cases.  Further, she handles administrative matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state human rights commissions, and the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education.     

Susan is one of the firm's representatives to the Employment Law Alliance which is a global network of highly skilled and accomplished labor and employment attorneys and law firms throughout the world.        

Susan is a member and former chair of the firm's Labor and Employment Department, is a member of the firm’s Higher Education Team, and a member of the Environment, Social, Governance ("ESG") group, a group of attorneys with experience and knowledge about how ESG impacts all aspects of business. 

Memberships & Awards

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Labor & Employment (2021 – Present)
The Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law - Management (2016-Present), Litigation - Labor and Employment (2016-Present)
Best Lawyers® 2019 Morgantown, WV, Employment Law, Lawyer of the Year
Employment Law Committee, West Virginia State Bar Association
Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia
National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
Super Lawyers® Rising Star
Harrison County Bar Association
William & Mary Law Review
Graduated summa cum laude, with department and general honors, Frostburg State University

Key Experience

Won jury verdict on behalf of chemical manufacturer against corporate executive in breach of confidentiality/duty of loyalty and misappropriation of trade secrets case
Defended a university through trial in a negligence case where a former employee was accused of taking photographs of students without their knowledge
Represented many higher education and local school system clients against complaints pending before the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education

Work Experience

1999 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Speaking Engagements


"Legal Issues That Keep Presidents Up at Night," CIC Presidents' Institute, 2022

“Higher Education Legal Issues Round Up,” Council of Independent Colleges Chief Academic Officers Conference, 2019

“Litigation and Risk Management Update in Higher Education,” National Conference on Law and Higher Education, 2019

"Employee Leave Issues," Human Resources Professionals Day Conference, 2019

"Human Resources Legal Update," WV College and Universities Professional Association for Human Resources Annual Conference, 2019

"Hiring and Performance Evaluations in Higher Education," Council of Independent Colleges Division Heads Conference, 2019

"Title IX Training," West Virginia Association of School Administrators Conference, 2019

Annual Presenter, West Virginia Credit Union League Human Resources Conference on Legal Issues in Labor and Employment Law

Higher Education Legal Update, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO), 2019

“Lessons from the Oberlin College Verdict,” Council of Independent Colleges Webcast, 2019

“Sexual Harassment: What Employers Should be Doing in the Midst of the #MeToo Movement,” WV SHRM Conference, 2018

“Misclassification of Independent Contractors,” IEL Oil & Gas Law Conference, 2018

“Legal Issues That Keep Presidents Up at Night,” Council of Independent Colleges Presidents Institute, 2017, 2018

"Social Media Issues in Employment," WV SHRM Annual Conference, 2017

"Overtime Issues for College and Universities," WV College and University Professional Association for Human Resources Conference, 2016


“Keeping the Whistle from Being Blown on You: Protecting Against Employee Whistleblower Claims,” West Virginia Employment Law Newsletter, 2019

“Finding the Reasonable in Reasonable Accommodation,” West Virginia Employment Law Newsletter, 2019

“Utilizing an Under-Appreciated Resource to Your Advantage: Drafting Effective and Relevant Job Descriptions,” West Virginia Employment Law Newsletter, 2018

“Getting Information Before the Door Hits Them on the Way Out: Using Exit Interviews to Improve Your Business,” West Virginia Law Newsletter, 2018

"The Online World at Risk of ADA Lawsuits," May 2018

"Other Common Claims Against Employers," West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Employment Law Handbook

“Biometrics in the Workplace (Yes, Even in West Virginia),” West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

"Crisis Management: Lessons from a Tragedy," two-part series published in The State Journal

Numerous presentations for clients and industry groups on various employment law topics


EEO-1 Filers Required to Submit 2017 and 2018 Pay Data by September 30 - May 2019

Title XI: Now What? - September 2017


Higher Education Webcast: The New Title IX Guidance: Now What? - November 2017

Energy Webcast: Misclassification of Independent Contractors - September 2017


Employment Law Alliance Episode 213: Impact of the Biden Administration and Democratic Congress on Higher Education

Employment Law Alliance Episode 231: NLRB Developments Impacting Higher Education

Employment Law Alliance Episode 247: Foreign Travel and the Issuance of Visas to Foreign Nationals Amidst COVID-19

Employment Law Alliance Episode 257: Return to Work and Mandatory Vaccination Policies in the U.S.

Employment Law Alliance Episode 261: OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard Has Finally Been Released: What Does It Mean for the US Employees?

Employment Law Alliance Episode 291: Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) Regarding College Athletes