Employment & Employee Benefits
The complexity of state and federal laws and regulations governing employment increases the possibility that even well-intentioned employers will run afoul of applicable rules, or stand accused of doing so. Salaries, benefits, and other employment-related costs are among an employer's largest expenses, and an error in administration can greatly increase that cost. It is critical, therefore, that organizations receive competent legal advice at every stage of the employment relationship.
Our Employment & Employee Benefits Practice Group takes an interdisciplinary approach to this fast-growing area of the law, teaming corporate, tax, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), fiduciary, regulatory, and litigation attorneys in a best-practices approach to meeting our clients' needs. We provide technically sophisticated, solution-oriented services to employers, fiduciaries, financial institutions, and senior executives, ranging from counseling and compliance planning to internal investigations and litigation before federal and state courts and regulatory agencies. Our attorneys lecture to industry trade associations and at leading business schools concerning employment law and we also provide our clients with timely in-house training programs and seminars for management, human resources, and legal professionals.
We are regularly retained for employment matters by a wide range of publicly traded and privately held clients, including national and international financial institutions and franchisors, national retail and insurance companies, regional manufacturers, service providers, and a variety of not-for-profit institutions. Senior executives often seek our advice concerning major career developments, including the negotiation of employment and severance agreements.
Our services include:
- advising employers on personnel matters concerning the hiring, management, and discharge of employees, addressing compliance with federal, state, and local discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- representing clients in federal and state courts and before arbitration panels and government agencies concerning claims alleging wrongful discharge on the basis of race, gender, age, and disability as well as harassment, including hostile work environment and retaliation;
- counseling clients regarding federal and state wage and hour laws and representing them in federal and state Department of Labor investigations regarding the alleged violation of these laws;
- guiding employers through plant closings, mass layoffs, and related Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act compliance issues;
- collaborating with clients to prepare up-to-date personnel manuals;
- helping clients design, implement, and defend policies concerning mandatory arbitration of employment claims, document retention and confidentiality, e-mail and internet use, and protection of proprietary information and company work product;
- conducting internal investigations, including investigations of leaks of confidential information;
- representing employers and senior executives in the negotiation of employment contracts, noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, and severance arrangements;
- advising corporate clients on the intricacies of the law governing nonqualified deferred compensation;
- designing, drafting, and implementing qualified retirement plans and nonqualified deferred compensation plans, including prototype plans for institutional sponsors;
- assisting clients in obtaining favorable private letter rulings and exemption letters from the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor;
- counseling clients regarding employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) finance and transactions; and
- advising corporate fiduciaries on a broad range of compliance issues and representing them in contested benefits claims.
Attorneys in the Employment & Employee Benefits Practice Group work closely with colleagues in the Firm's other Practice Groups, including Corporate & Securities, Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Tax, providing clients with comprehensive representation.