Employer Services Litigation
Managing a workforce amid a tangle of federal and state laws and regulations can be a challenge. The McKenna Long & Aldridge (MLA) Employer Services Group offers experienced and informed counsel in all aspects of the labor and employment relationship. When disputes do arise, we provide skilled and zealous representation.
Labor Relations Today
MLA attorneys also provide up-to-date analysis, resources and commentary on developments in traditional labor law at their blog, Labor Relations Today (http://www.laborrelationstoday.com/).
On November 2, 2010, Georgia voters approved a sweeping revision to the legal framework for the enforcement of noncompetition agreements and other restrictive covenants. MLA Employer Services Group attorneys are closely following developments in this area, and have assembled a resource page on this topic, including a white paper explaining key aspects of the new law.
Counseling and Compliance
Employers deserve legal advice and guidance they can trust, from attorneys who understand their business and industry. Your managers cannot wait while outside counsel gets up to speed. We strive to understand the risks and opportunities your company faces every day. When a question arises or a crisis erupts, our attorneys are prepared to act.
While we stand ready to help respond to a crisis, our goal is to help you establish a foundation that will deter disruption. Our attorneys provide our clients advice, counseling and training on all aspects of labor and employment law.
- Federal and state procurement regulations that affect the workplace
- Compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws
- Compliance with workplace safety laws and regulations
- Employee handbooks and personnel policies
- Non-competition, non-solicitation agreements, confidentiality, and invention agreements
- National Labor Relations Board and other administrative proceedings
- Management training on preventing harassment, avoiding hostile workplaces, handling EEO cases, dealing with problem employees and conducting performance reviews
- Employment agreements, executive compensation, and stock options
- Employee discipline, terminations, severance agreements, and reductions in force
- Establishment and maintenance of internal dispute resolution mechanisms
We also help our clients develop methods to protect trade secrets and data from computer theft and other forms of misappropriation. We work with clients to audit their confidential, proprietary assets that are stored electronically and to identify where those assets are located in their systems, who has access to those assets, how those assets are accessed (remotely, internally or otherwise) and what methods should be used to track movement of those assets. We conduct internal audits and forensic investigations for our clients to determine the security of their current technology systems and to help our clients detect a breach in those systems.
We assist clients to develop confidentiality agreements with employees, suppliers and customers, and to develop internal procedures, security measures and other methodologies necessary to keep proprietary information "secret." Once policies and procedures are created, we help our clients institute and enforce these policies and procedures with their employees. We also help our clients revise their exit interviews to make sure that assets and data are collected from employees during their departure and that our clients are asking the right questions to prevent theft and the damage to the corporation that results from such theft.
Employment Litigation and Advocacy
Our employment litigation takes many forms — from routine discharge and discipline disputes, to complex state and federal wage-and-hour claims, to protection of crucial competitive data, and handling employees who “switch sides” to a competitor. Frequent employment-based claims that MLA attorneys are experienced in, include:
- Wrongful termination
- Sexual harassment
- Misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential employer information
- Unfair Competition
- Defamation and other employment-related torts
We also have particular knowledge in employment litigation involving alleged violations of federal and state wage and hour regulations. We’ve achieved remarkable results for clients in lawsuits alleging the following claims:
- Misclassification of employees as exempt from overtime or as independent contractors
- Meal and rest period violations
- “Off-the-clock” work
- Miscalculation and/or non-payment of overtime
- Vacation forfeitures
- Improper wage deductions
- Recordkeeping and pay-stub violations
- Late payment of wages following termination
- Unlawful bonus programs
- Improper tip pooling or sharing
- Failure to reimburse business expenses
- Commission miscalculations and improper charge-backs
MLA Employer Services Group attorneys practice in federal and state courts, federal and state administrative agencies, arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution settings.
Our approach to labor relations is to put the emphasis on "relations." We build close working relationships with our clients in order to help them develop strategies for dealing with both union and non-union environments. Stable labor-management relations require trust, so we strive to uphold our clients' credibility in the workplace as well as our own. Employers and labor respect our firm for the integrity we bring to the process and the results we achieve.
In addition to advising employers on labor matters and contract negotiations, we regularly handle a full range of labor relations matters, including:
- Union organizing drives — campaigns and elections
- Unfair labor practice charges
- Collective bargaining and contract administration
- Union issues arising out of mergers and acquisitions, successorship and business or plant shutdowns
By working closely with our clients and learning about their businesses in-depth, we are better able to anticipate and prevent labor and employment disputes. By offering seminars and training on an array of workplace legal issues, we help our clients learn to better protect themselves against disputes.
Employee benefits and executive compensation are critical to the successful retention of a company's talent. The group handles all types of benefit disputes with its extensive experience litigating ERISA and other executive compensation matters on a national basis. The group is prepared to assist clients in ERISA administrative procedures, litigation, mediation and/or arbitration of employee benefits matters. The employee benefits experience of the group, in conjunction with the litigation bench strength, offers our clients a well-positioned representation on all types of employee benefits or executive compensation matters that may arise between employers and employees or between employers and vendors.
Planning for temporary and long-term employment of foreign nationals in the U.S. can be a complex matter. MLA’s Immigration Law practice works in tandem with the Employer Services Group, representing both domestic and multinational corporations, and regularly working with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC and the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Obtained $5,000,000 for a major technology company in a case arising out of the movement of a group of employees to a competitor.
- Represented an officer of a gaming industry client in a wrongful termination case in which the plaintiff claimed he was denied promotion and terminated on the basis of his race. Successful motion in limine drastically limited the scope of plaintiff’s case and resulted in a defense verdict at trial.
- Prevailed on summary judgment in a claim of age and disability discrimination brought by a former executive of a major office products manufacturing company. Established cooperative working relationship with the company’s employment practices liability (EPL) insurance carrier.
- Won a defense verdict following a three-week jury trial on behalf of a telecommunications company on claims of wrongful termination and violations of the state family/medical leave act.
- Trial co-counsel for employer accused of violating federal regulations governing hiring practices. We obtained a complete defense verdict for our client.
- Trial counsel for employer engaged in Internet business in suit against former employees for misappropriating trade secrets. We obtained preliminary injunction stopping competing business.
- Through the use of mediation, negotiated an early settlement of a potentially explosive sexual harassment claim against a multibillion dollar telecommunications client. The early settlement avoided both litigation expenses and negative publicity for the client.
- Successfully defended a lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act by a medical student alleging that his learning disability was not properly accommodated by the medical school. The court granted our motion for summary judgment, concluding that there was no basis for liability against the medical school.
- Defended a client in state court litigation alleging breach of implied employment contract. After we filed a motion to dismiss the case, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed.
- Represented numerous clients in initiating and defending injunctive actions to enforce noncompetition agreements and other restrictive covenants.
- Defended a consulting firm and its employees sued by a competitor (the former employer of the individual of the individual defendants) for claims arising out of noncompetition and disclosure agreements. We persuaded the trial court to grant summary judgment in our clients’ favor on all of the claims arising out of the noncompetition covenants. After further litigation, the plaintiffs agreed to drop their remaining claims with no payment by our clients.
- Successfully defended a malicious prosecution action by a former employee of our client. Following a jury trial and an appeal, the State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of our client on the former employee’s entire claim.
- Defended a national travel agency in federal court litigation in Kansas involving an agreement not to solicit employees. The matter settled for approximately five percent of the plaintiff’s initial claim.
- Represented the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in two class actions filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act for overtime pay. The court granted our motions to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds.
- Represented a Fortune 500 company in age discrimination collective action involving $20 million in claimed damages.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement for client sued in case arising from client’s simultaneous termination of all its African national origin employees in one state.
- Provided sexual harassment counseling to retailing client following female employee’s accusations against former supervisor.
- Successfully resolved discrimination and sexual harassment case asserted against company based on supervisor’s alleged conduct toward female plaintiff while on business trip.
- On behalf of a distribution company client, we successfully obtained a temporary restraining order and then a preliminary injunction against the client’s former employee and his new employer based on violations of his restrictive covenants agreement. The settlement of the matter involved entry of a permanent injunction and payment of our client’s attorney’s fees.
- Represented a national bank in a race discrimination lawsuit filed by a current employee. Following full discovery, the court granted our motion for summary judgment on all claims.
- Represented an aerospace technology company in a claim for race and disability discrimination by a former executive. Prevailed on motion for summary judgment.
- Obtained preliminary injunction against former employees of construction industry client in suit involving theft of trade secrets and unfair competition.
- Represented a major petrochemical company in an ERISA lawsuit filed by a former employee claiming entitlement to benefits under a severance plan. Following full discovery, the court granted our motion for summary judgment on all claims.
- Successfully defeated race discrimination claims by a former employee in a federal court trial in Kansas City.
- Represented government service contractor in defense of claims of discrimination and improper drug testing. Case settled favorably for our client.
- Obtained defense verdict on behalf of technology company client in state court jury trial in Georgia based on dispute over a severance agreement. In addition to rejecting plaintiff’s claims, the jury awarded $10,000 to our client on its counterclaim against the former employee.
- Currently defending several clients in significant FLSA collective actions seeking overtime pay on behalf of large groups of employees.