Lewis Rice's Labor and Employment Practice Group represents management in employment-related litigation in federal and state courts in a variety of matters involving:
- Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, ERISA, the FMLA, the PDA, state anti-discrimination statutes, and various state law theories such as wrongful discharge claims and non-competition disputes
- Defending against individual and class actions
- Representations of employers before administrative agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state and local civil rights agencies, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
- Union matters including collective bargaining negotiations, union avoidance, unfair labor practice charges, unlawful union activities, and labor arbitrations
- Advising on day-to-day employment issues
- Conducting onsite seminars for clients on relevant employment topics, such as the 2009 amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act Regulations
- Immigration issues
Our varied client base includes:
- Large and small manufacturers
- Insurance companies
- Construction companies
- Service providers
- Television stations
Employment Discrimination/Wrongful Discharge Counseling and Litigation
We defend employers in federal and state courts throughout the country in litigation involving employment discrimination claims under civil rights statutes.
- Litigating discrimination claims based on race, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, and pregnancy, including harassment claims
- Defense of class action discrimination claims
- Actions against employers under the Family Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Representation before administrative agencies on employment-related disputes
- Defense of wrongful discharge allegations involving various theories such as discharges in violation of employment contracts, and/or public policy, retaliatory discharges (based on whistle blowing, safety-related activities, exercising rights under workers' compensation laws, etc.), interference with employment contracts and intentional infliction of emotional distress
A concentration of our practice is to work with employers to take proactive steps to avoid litigation by assisting clients in drafting and modifying employee handbooks and personnel policies.
We work with our clients on evaluating workforce reduction programs for compliance with EEO requirements and other statutory obligations such as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and the Older Worker Benefit Protection Act. We also assist federal contractor clients with drafting and maintaining affirmative action programs as required by Executive Order 11246.
Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Disputes and Protection of Trade Secrets
Our practice includes litigating disputes arising under non-competition and non-solicitation provisions in employment and other contracts. These cases involve specific contractual prohibitions on competition, on solicitation of customers or current employees, and against using trade secrets, as well as cases involving unfair competition principles. Our attorneys routinely seek or defend applications for injunctions and other extraordinary remedies in handling these matters.
Our attorneys are experienced in drafting contractual provisions governing trade secrets, non-solicitation, and non-competition. We provide ongoing consultation to employers and employees concerning their rights and obligations with respect to customers, suppliers, and trade secrets under existing contracts.
Wage and Hour
We advise clients in connection with investigations and audits conducted by the Department of Labor, Wage/Hour Division. We also provide consultation and assistance in formulating payroll policies to conform to wage and hour laws. We have successfully defended clients in wage and hour class action litigation.
We have a wide range of experience in collective bargaining negotiations in multiple industries including healthcare and hospitals, social agency and nonprofit or tax-exempt organizations, broadcast and media, janitorial, maintenance, construction, manufacturing, municipalities and governments, and other service industries.
We regularly counsel employers (private and public sector) regarding union avoidance programs, including assisting management in union organizing campaigns, elections and union decertification proceedings. We counsel employers in connection with:
- Strikes, picketing, hand billing, work stoppages, and other disputes arising during the collective bargaining process
- Union corporate campaigns, helping clients take proactive measures to combat such tactics by coordinating strategies on the part of the employer and, when necessary, utilizing litigation to end a campaign and seek damages from the union
- Unfair labor practice charges and organizing campaigns before the National Labor Relations Board, including appeals to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington and before the U.S. Court of Appeals in enforcement matters
- Defense of employers in arbitration hearings and grievance matters on issues such as discharge, discipline, and contract interpretation—our attorneys have experienced hundreds of such proceedings
Employee Retirement Income Security Act
Our Labor & Employment Practice Group handles a substantial amount of ERISA litigation, in which we defend clients in disputes involving denial of long-term disability claims and alleged failure to make contributions to multi-employer pension and other benefit plans. We also have experience in defending suits brought by the Department of Labor against pension plans and individual trustees for alleged wrongdoing in connection with the administration of multi-employer benefits plans and alleged fiduciary breaches. Additionally, we also handle ERISA claims arising out of employee discharge situations.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
Our labor and employment attorneys represent employers in all areas of safety and health, including advising employers in connection with federal and state agency inspections and investigations including criminal investigations, defending employers at the administrative level, formulating policies and compliance programs under OSHA, and litigation of safety matters.
We offer a full range of services to businesses and individuals with respect to immigration-related matters, including securing temporary and permanent work visas, green cards based on family relationships, J-1 visa waivers, student and visitor visas, and citizenship. We also advise employers with respect to I-9 audits and investigations.