Employers today face expanding and complex employment legislation as well as a growing body of regulatory requirements that govern the employment relationship. Lawsuits brought by employees also are steadily rising, as are enforcement actions and audits by government agencies responsible for enforcing employment laws, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
In this environment, employers need experienced legal counsel capable of providing sound advice and strategies for avoiding liability. The attorneys in our Employment Law Practice Group have experience across the range of employment laws and routinely advise a diverse group of employers ranging from sole proprietors to multistate corporations across a wide range of industries. These industries include financial services, construction, mining, food service, hospitality, transportation, software, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and many others. Our attorneys believe that it is important to gain a thorough understanding of the client’s industry and individual business operations so they can provide advice that is not only legally sound, but also operationally and practically sound. We value close relationships with our clients and foster regular meaningful communication on employment law matters, because the best defense to a legal claim and its related costs is to avoid the claim in the first place.
To that end, our attorneys work closely with our clients to establish practical and useful employment policies, advise clients on the day to day implementation of policy and employment laws, and regularly assist clients through difficult situations involving disciplinary action, termination, employee counseling, employee violence, privacy, disability and religious accommodation, internal complaints of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and other complex issues. If a claim cannot be avoided through careful planning, our attorneys help position employers in a strong defensible position in preparation for litigation. We have considerable experience litigating employment claims before government agencies and in state and federal courts and are therefore able to work with and defend our clients beginning with initial advice and counsel about an employment issue, through trial and, if necessary, appeal.
Because Poyner Spruill LLP is a full service law firm, our employment law attorneys have immediate access to attorneys in many other practice areas in which our clients may have needs, including employee benefits, financial services, taxation, environment and land use, government relations, healthcare, corporate, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, and privacy.
The representative experience of our employment law attorneys includes the following:
Our attorneys provide training to supervisors on employment law topics such as workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, accommodating disabilities, procedures for ensuring compliance with the FMLA , discipline, termination, and investigation of employee complaints and misconduct.
This includes non-competition and other restrictive covenants designed to protect an employer’s trade and competitive interests. We work closely with our employee benefits attorneys in designing executive compensation packages that comply with increasingly complex tax laws.
In today’s economy, many employers are finding it necessary to reduce employee numbers in order to survive. Our attorneys are experienced in designing selection criteria and procedures for reductions in force that are sound and defensible in the event claims arise out of terminations. They also provide assistance with severance and other exit incentive programs that decrease exposure to liability following a reduction in force.
Government agencies are increasing their scrutiny of employer classifications of independent contractors as well as classifications of employees who are exempt from overtime laws. Our attorneys routinely advise and assist employers in making these classification decisions and analyzing the risks involved. Wage and hour lawsuits by employees who have been classified as exempt from overtime requirements are on the rise and could expose an employer to substantial financial loss. Our attorneys help our clients properly classify their employees to avoid this risk.
Our attorneys assist government contractors in developing affirmative action plans. Like other federal agencies, the OFCCP is increasing its enforcement activity, including the number of its audits and onsite investigations of government contractors. Our attorneys guide clients through this process and work directly with OFCCP’s investigators to minimize disruption of our clients’ business and exposure to financial risk.
Our attorneys have defended individual and class action litigation involving benefit claims, breaches of fiduciary duty, and claims of interference with benefit rights.
Our attorneys routinely represent clients before state and federal investigative and law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state level counterparts and state and federal departments of labor.
Our attorneys are experienced litigators. They frequently appear and defend our clients in state and federal courts in claims alleging age, race, sex, and religious discrimination, disability discrimination, workers’ compensation retaliation, FMLA violations, wage and hour violations, wrongful termination, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and other employment law claims.
Class action litigation against employers is on the rise across the country. Our attorneys have the skill, experience and resources to defend against employee class action lawsuits, which are far more complex and demanding than single plaintiff cases.
In light of aggressive Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity, our attorneys help to ensure that clients employ a legal workforce, by assisting clients in complying with employment authorization verifications through proper I-9 practices. Our attorneys also help clients sponsor prospective employees for both nonimmigrant visas and green cards, also assisting with more temporary workforce requirements under the H-2 programs.
The global workforce is increasingly using mobile devices for business purposes (including personal devices that mix personal and business use), location tracking-enabled portable electronics, and social media, all with significant privacy and security repercussions for employers. Employers also tend to collect and store a greater volume of information about employees, some of which will be subject to privacy and security requirements. As a result, employers increasingly face enhanced risks and greater compliance obligations with respect to privacy and security. Our attorneys handle employment-related privacy matters ranging from international data transfers to HIPAA compliance to data breach readiness and response. As both public and private enforcement activity increases, our attorneys can advise you on your organization’s risks and obligations with regard to its workforce and workplace. You can read more about our firm’s privacy and information security work here.
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