The firm's lawyers regularly assist our clients in navigating the complex array of federal, state, and local restrictions and guidelines governing today's workplace. We help our clients confront this challenging environment in three primary ways.
First, we take the time – our time, not yours – to get to know a client’s business or industry. We need to know the work our clients are doing to be able to provide the best possible legal advice concerning the workplace.
Second, we strive to provide guidance, advice, and counsel before issues become lawsuits. A significant part of our practice involves counseling employers, executives and other professionals about how best to handle legal issues and avoid litigation. This work involves developing policies, providing training, circulating legal advisories, and advising clients on a daily basis how to best respond to employment and labor issues. Because we recognize that employment decisions and policies often involve a wide range of legal disciplines, our lawyers are able to access other firm resources to complement our knowledge of employment and labor issues to provide comprehensive solutions to our clients' legal needs.
Last, when needed, our employment and labor attorneys have a strong record in litigating a wide range of employer/employee issues at every level of the federal and state courts, as well as before administrative bodies and arbitration panels. Our experience encompasses all types of matters and tribunals: we have litigated noncompetition covenants in state court; we have defended harassment and ERISA claims in federal court; we have handled unemployment benefit hearings before the Employment Security Commissions; and we have argued discrimination and damages issues before the United States Supreme Court.
Some of our primary areas of emphasis in the employment and labor practice area include:
- Employment/management defense litigation - We regularly defend employers in courts, before regulatory bodies, and in arbitrations against claims made by employees under a host of legal theories. We defend against claims brought under Title VII, the ADEA, the ADA, the FMLA, the FLSA, the OSHA, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as against state law claims for wrongful discharge, constructive discharge, wage and hour violations, retaliation, harassment, and breach of contract.
- Human resources counseling - Our firm routinely advises employers – both larger employers with their own HR departments and smaller employers who depend on us for guidance – on all aspects of the employment relationship. This work ranges from advice on specific personnel actions (hiring, firing, promotions, performance evaluations, discipline, etc.) to guidance on broader personnel policies, practices, and procedures.
- Wage and hour - We advise clients on a host of wage and hour issues, including guidance about the use and designation of independent contractors, the determination of exempt employee status, and other overtime pay issues. We also provide counsel – and representation in litigation – about the various legal requirements of federal and state wage acts and regulations.
- Workplace Investigations of discrimination and harassment - Our firm frequently either conducts investigations, or provides guidance and advice about how to conduct such investigations, concerning a variety of discrimination and harassment claims. Often these investigations occur after a complaint is filed with the EEOC or other regulatory body, but this work also can take place – and enable an employer to deal effectively with a situation – before an employee files a formal government charge.
- In-house training - We provide training on a host of topics – from anti-harassment to workplace violence to social media usage to wage and hour issues. We also provide advice about what training to undertake and how best to obtain it. Sometimes this training occurs in seminars we offer at our offices. Other times, we conduct training in the client’s workplace.
- Employment competition issues - Our firm routinely provides guidance – and representation in court – to both employers and employees about the drafting, implementation, and enforcement of noncompetition covenants, non-solicitation covenants, and other contractual provisions designed to protect trade secrets, confidential information, and customer relationships. This advice can involve both protecting an employer’s business interests through precise drafting and a correct analysis of an employer’s legitimate business as well as potentially enabling an employer to hire personnel whose covenants may be unenforceable.
- ADA, FMLA and other leave issues - We regularly work with employers to understand and implement the intricate requirements that apply to providing leave to sick or injured employees. Our attorneys assist clients in interpreting correctly and complying with the complex regulatory requirements of the ADA and the FMLA as well as other statutes, regulations and benefit schemes.
- Personnel policies and handbooks - Our firm is experienced both in drafting personnel policies and in evaluating policies that clients already may have in place. We regularly work to keep existing policies current – such as in the areas of sexual and other types of harassment – as well as to develop new policies to address emerging needs – such as in the area of social media in the workplace.
- National Labor Relations Act issues - We have considerable experience in advising employers of various sizes about activities governed by the NLRA. This experience ranges from advising employers about permitted activities under the Act, counseling about union campaigns and elections in the workplace, and representation before the National Labor Relations Board.
- Business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions - Virtually every business acquisition involves or affects the individuals who work for a company being acquired. Our labor and employment attorneys routinely work with our corporate colleagues on the employment aspects of transactions including combining work forces, eliminating positions, reviewing and negotiating employment contracts, and severance issues.
- ERISA counseling and litigation - We have extensive experience in advising employers about all aspects of benefit plans. We also litigate a variety of ERISA issues, including preemption, the denial of benefits (medical, disability, life, pension, severance, etc.), and claims for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Administrative/regulatory compliance and investigation - Our firm regularly represents employers who are the subject of investigations by a variety of federal, state, or local agencies enforcing employment laws or regulations. When agencies like the EEOC, OFCCP, or state Department of Labor target specific employers, our lawyers seek to guide clients through the process with the goal of full legal compliance – and exoneration when appropriate – while minimizing workplace disruptions and costs.
- Carolinas Healthcare System
- Wells Fargo & Co.
- Osmotica Pharmaceutical Corporation
- Richard Petty Motorsports, LLC
- American Red Cross
- Crescent Resources, LLC
- Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors, LLC
- Crockett Capital Corporation
- EyeMed Vision Care, LLC
- CCX, Inc.
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc.
- Bojangles Restaurants, Inc.