Employment Litigation and Counseling
Employment litigation contributes the greatest volume of cases filed in the Federal Court System. Conner & Winters attorneys have extensive experience representing management in all aspects of employment litigation and advising management how to best avoid such litigation.
Employment cases often begin as administrative complaints filed with the Department of Labor, EEOC, or comparable state agencies. Our employment lawyers maintain a working knowledge of the regulations and procedure manuals promulgated by the various state and federal agencies charged with investigating and determining alleged violations of various employment laws. By assisting our clients with internal investigations, compilation of relevant documents, and preparation of written responses (normally called “Position Statements”) that present factual arguments backed by legal authority refuting the allegations, many potential cases are favorably resolved without ever reaching the courts.
Because of the breadth of regulations and laws at the local, state and federal level underlying employment litigation, our employment lawyers devote the majority of their practice to assisting employers in this complex area of the law. While most cases contain allegations of violation of statutes such as those dealing with race, religion, gender, age, disability, or other protected status, cases also routinely involve claims alleged under other lesser understood statutes, regulations and common law principles such as those protecting rights of privacy and free association. Our employment lawyers use their in-depth knowledge spanning the entire field of employment law to assist clients in identifying and presenting the full range of defenses available to employers facing these complex cases.
Our employment attorneys also provide day-to-day consultation with clients covering an array of issues such as:
- Disability accommodation
- FMLA leave requests
- Employee discipline
- Termination issues
- Staff reductions, including compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and parallel state laws
Our clients also confidently seek our legal advice on compliance issues unique to their respective industries. The Firm’s transportation clients call upon our knowledge and experience in interpreting DOT Hours of Service Regulations, driver qualification requirements, and laws relating to the use of independent contractors. Our airline clients depend upon our advice related to FAA regulations governing training, record keeping, and drug testing of employees in safety sensitive positions. The Firm’s many clients engaged in the provision of medical services seek our advice with regard to HIPAA compliance and employee licensure. We also counsel clients engaged in government contract work to assure compliance with applicable regulations as well as legislation such as the Service Contract Act and the Davis Bacon Act.
Our attorneys assist clients in the preparation of offer letters, employment agreements, and separation agreements and releases. Rather than utilizing a “cookie cutter” approach to drafting, we work closely with the client to craft a document that is clearly understood and tailored to achieve each client’s goals.
Employers are increasingly desirous of avoiding court litigation through the use of alternative dispute resolution programs. While these programs can be of great benefit to the employer, they must be carefully drafted to comply with the requirements imposed by applicable statutory and common law. These requirements will vary from state to state and in some instances from one federal appeals circuit to another. Consequently, our clients rely upon us to not only draft initial programs but to keep them abreast of changes in the laws that will require amendments to the programs.
While most employers publish employee handbooks to inform employees of applicable policies and procedures, the number of truly good handbooks is very small. Many resort to legal jargon, present inconsistent policies, misinterpret the law, or fail to account for different requirements in various legal jurisdictions where the handbook will be used. In preparing or revising a client’s employee handbook, we first begin by understanding the client’s guiding principles on subjects as diverse as employee discipline, overtime, benefits, leave, wages, job security and advancement. We then assist the client to reduce those principles to policy statements using clear positive language.