The relationship between employers and employees is highly regulated and is becoming more so with the enactment of complex laws and the issuance of far-reaching court decisions. Under the Obama administration, additional laws regulating employers have been enacted. Additionally, the activist agencies appointed by the Obama administration have attempted to do through rulemaking and increasingly aggressive enforcement efforts what the administration was not able to achieve through statutory enactments.
Our practical day-to-day advice is geared toward helping clients achieve their operational and human resources goals while reducing the potential for disputes and lawsuits. We also have extensive experience litigating employment-related disputes in federal and state courts, as well as before administrative agencies.
Advice and Counseling. We have a depth of experience in a broad spectrum of issues that affect employers, which enables us to counsel our clients in areas such as hiring, background checks, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) issues, discipline, discharge, and retaliation. We also advise clients on compliance with and changes in statutes affecting employers including:
- federal discrimination laws including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1991 Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), as well as state and local discrimination laws;
- the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), wage/hour laws affecting government contractors, and state and local wage/hour laws;
- leave laws, including the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and USERRA, as well as state and local leave laws;
- the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act (WARN) and state and local plant closing laws;
- benefits issues, including the requirements of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), COBRA, ERISA, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
- business immigration laws, including I-9 obligations and federal and state E-Verify requirements;
- health and safety issues, including the establishment of workable safety programs, compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and compliance with employee "right to know" statutes;
- employment contracts, noncompetition agreements and protection of trade secrets;
- issues arising from the use of technology in the workplace, including employee monitoring and electronic communications as impacted by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), Title III, as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and state privacy laws; and
- federal and state whistleblower laws, including the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act.
With more than 200 attorneys in 28 offices across the country, including five affiliate firms, our firm has a depth of knowledge and experience in these and other areas that our knowledge management technology ensures is available to the benefit of all of our clients.
Policy Design and Evaluation. Our firm is nationally known for assisting clients with their human resources function. We design policies and practices that minimize the risk of successful claims of discrimination, equal pay violations, breaches of employment contracts, and wrongful or retaliatory discharge. Among other things, we assist clients with developing:
- social media and electronic communications policies;
- leave policies;
- anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures;
- workplace violence policies;
- lactation policies; and
- alcohol and drug testing policies.
We also develop and assist in implementing affirmative action plans. Additionally, we evaluate employer vulnerabilities through personnel audits, reviews of personnel policies or handbooks, and management training.
We combine the kind of practical guidance one usually associates with experienced human resources consultants with the legal advice needed to minimize legal risks in today's litigious environment. Our practical day-to-day advice is geared to assisting our clients in achieving their operational and human resources goals while reducing the chance of costly litigation.
Training and Education. Our attorneys can develop training programs designed specifically for your workplace, including training programs for management and supervisory employees in areas such as harassment, discrimination, retaliation, discipline and discharge and diversity awareness. We also have prepared training materials that are available for purchase, including our Fair Credit Reporting Act Toolkit and our Mock Sexual Harassment Trial video. Additionally, we regularly present webinars, breakfast briefings and seminars for in-house counsel, management and human resources personnel. Visit the Events and Seminars section of our Web site for details on upcoming events.
Publications. We annually publish our SourceBook and provide online access. The SourceBook is updated annually and is an arsenal of vital information to reference throughout the year. Additionally, we regularly publish Legal Alerts, providing timely updates on legal developments impacting employers, including important court decisions as well as legislative and regulatory developments. Other publications include our Airline Management Letter, providing current information on legal issues relevant to employers in the airline industry, and our Noncompete Newsletter, discussing developments in the areas of noncompete and trade secrets law.
Litigation Defense. Despite their best efforts, employers often find themselves the target of employment-related lawsuits. We represent employers before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), including conducting investigations and preparing position statements or assisting clients in doing so. Additionally our attorneys have extensive experience defending employers in individual and complex litigation, including class and collective actions and multidistrict litigation.
We also assist employers in the retention, storage and production of electronically stored information, including assisting with the implementation of a litigation-hold on the employer's document retention policy.