Labor Relations and Employment Law Print This Page
Establishing and maintaining an engaged, harmonious and productive workforce is a critical leadership challenge for any organization. Helping clients meet that challenge is the central focus of the attorneys in Obermayer’s Labor Relations & Employment Law Department.
The relationship between a client and its labor and employment counsel is unique—we are sometimes counselor, sometimes teacher and sometimes advocate. Accordingly, we serve our clients in the manner that best meets their needs, whether as general corporate labor and employment counsel or as an adjunct to existing in-house counsel. In addition to employment litigation and traditional labor services, we provide counseling and training services to ensure compliance with state and federal employment laws; assist with strategic planning and the development of policies and procedures; and represent clients before federal administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor. Some of the services we offer include:
- Drafting and reviewing employee handbooks and management policy and procedure manuals;
- On-site training for all organization levels on topics such as sexual harassment prevention, workplace violence and hiring and firing without discrimination;
- Assistance with organizational development and structure, workforce demographics and diversity endeavors, as well as development of affirmative action programs and representation in OFCCP compliance audits;
- Wage and hour compliance (e.g., overtime and minimum wage issues), including internal self-audits and representing employers in federal and state wage and hour audits, I-9 audits and related matters;
- Strategic planning for mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and bankruptcies, reductions-in-force, plant closing and relocations, including compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and successor obligations and liability;
- Preparation of executive employment agreements and negotiation of severance arrangements and release agreements;
- Development of workplace safety and health standards (including drug and alcohol testing) and representation in OSHA inspections and proceedings; and
- Protection of trade secrets and confidential information through the enforcement of restrictive covenants and non-compete agreements and related injunction proceedings.
Employment-related lawsuits are the fastest-growing area of civil litigation. Employers are constantly faced with threatened or actual claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, including violations of Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and similar state statutes, as well as violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, ERISA violations and claims for wrongful discharge, defamation, breach of contract and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, among others.
Our attorneys have defended hundreds of employment-based lawsuits, including class and collective actions, in both state and federal jurisdictions throughout the country. We handle litigation in an effective, efficient and economical manner. Our philosophy is based upon taking a practical view of each situation, working cooperatively and strategically with our clients to develop litigation goals that take into account not only hard costs such as fees and expenses, but also soft costs such as risks to our client’s credibility or reputation in the marketplace and workplace.
Our philosophy uniquely prepares our team to counsel and assist our clients when it is time to make the strategic decisions as to how a case will be handled. Understanding and avoiding the costs of court involvements, as well as the risks associated with a jury trial, can make settling a case attractive. On the other hand, there are times when the issues strike at the heart of a company’s character or mission — and settling becomes the last choice.
Central to our commitment to efficiently defend employment litigation is early case assessment. This strategy reduces costs by changing the focus from processing a lawsuit to addressing and resolving the underlying business problem. Partnering with clients, we redefine what constitutes a favorable case resolution, and chart a strategy that meets both business and litigation objectives.
We are dedicated to protecting and preserving the prerogatives of management within the context of a positive, inclusive work environment, whether union or non-union. Our attorneys have earned national renown both for defeating sustained organizing efforts and for working constructively with unions already in place.
We are adept at collective bargaining and labor contract administration, grievance handling and labor arbitrations. We have extensive experience handling representation cases and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. We have developed effective policies and procedures for preparations for picketing, work stoppages and disruptions, strikes, lockouts and labor injunctions, as well as for maintaining security and productivity during union workplace disruption.
We offer an extensive array of services and programs, including:
- Affirmative action plan preparation & audits
- Collective bargaining
- Employee compensation & benefits
- Employment contracts and restrictive covenants
- Employment counseling, training and audits
- Employment discrimination litigation before state & local agencies, the EEOC and courts
- ERISA litigation
- FMLA litigation
- Handbook and policy preparation
- Higher education law
- Labor and employment arbitration and mediation
- Labor law (NLRB representation cases and unfair labor practice charges)
- Non-competition and trade secret enforcement
- Occupational safety and health
- Reductions-in-force, shut-downs counseling
- Supervisory training
- Unemployment compensation appeals
- Union avoidance programs and campaigns
- Wage and hour audits, counseling & litigation
- WARN act litigation
- Whistleblower litigation
- Wrongful discharge