Labor & Employment
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As labor and employment laws become more nuanced and complex, the HBS Labor & Employment Practice Area proactively assists both private and public sector clients in navigating the ever changing legal landscape.  When challenging employment law and workplace issues arise, employers, companies, educational institutions, and municipalities across the United States turn to our labor and employment attorneys to provide the strategic guidance necessary to safeguard against potential claims and to resolve conflicts in the most favorable and cost-effective manner possible.

Efficient and innovative solutions are the hallmarks of our practice. Recognized for our zealous advocacy, HBS attorneys deliver comprehensive advice and counsel in all types of employment-related matters, including:

Employment Litigation

A significant portion of our employment practice is devoted to defending claims alleging sexual harassment, discrimination (including but not limited to age, race, disability, national origin, religion, and gender), whistleblower, hostile work environment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. We also defend employers in wage and hour/FLSA claims, contract disputes, as well as trade secrets and unfair competition claims. We provide strategic counsel and representation in matters before state and federal courts as well as the United States Department of Labor, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Justice, Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as state and local agencies and authorities.

Management Liability and Insurance Defense

Hall Booth Smith serves as panel counsel for many of the leading insurance carriers, both domestic and abroad. We work closely with underwriters, adjusters, carrier representatives, risk managers, consultants, brokers and insureds to deliver effective claims management and risk control services to address claims quickly and cost effectively.  Insurance carriers also call upon the skill of our seasoned attorneys for mediation, arbitration and litigation, as well as monitoring outside counsel on a national level. We focus on the early evaluation of claims, and aggressively obtain mitigation information in order to swiftly and effectively assess liability. This allows us to develop strategies that make Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures more effective and drive down the cost of traditional litigation.

Employment Practice, Legal Compliance Audits, & Training

We offer comprehensive employment practice and legal compliance counseling that help clients develop practical strategies designed to reduce overall employment-related costs, minimize the risk of lawsuits, improve productivity, and enhance employee morale and retention. This includes educational training for in-house counsel, human resources professionals, senior management, and mid-level leadership with respect to compliance with labor and employment laws at the federal, state, and local levels.  Our attorneys have developed an extensive library of presentations covering virtually all workplace issues that can be uniquely tailored to any employer’s specific business operations.

We also train companies on payroll practices and procedures, drafting and implementing personnel manuals/handbooks, hiring practices, separation agreements, medical leave compliance, workplace investigations, proper classification of workers, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), employee drug testing and pre- and post-employment screening, immigration, and compliance audits including employment verification compliance and investigations.

Restrictive Covenants/Unfair Competition/Trade Secrets

Our Labor & Employment group understands the value of protecting proprietary interests and what is at risk for an organization should its confidential information be misappropriated. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in drafting enforceable employment contracts and restrictive covenants that ensure that the company’s confidential information is protected when an employee is terminated or leaves the organization. Our attorneys also draft and negotiate severance agreements, non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-disclosure agreements for companies of all sizes operating across all industries.  Similarly, our lawyers are highly experienced in aggressively defending and/or enforcing the terms of these agreements, particularly within the context of post-employment restrictive covenants. In situations where an employee breaches a restrictive covenant or other type of employment agreement, we take immediate action, typically seeking emergency injunctive relief to protect the employer from irreparable harm.

Class Action and Multi-Employer Litigation

We have successfully defended class action and other multi-plaintiff suits alleging breach of contract, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, whistleblowing, tortuous interference, age, and other protected classifications. Our national wage and hour defense practice defends class action lawsuits and investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and other government agencies.

Labor Management Relations

Our Labor & Employment group also handles virtually all aspects of traditional labor relations on behalf of management, including collective bargaining, grievances, and arbitration.  Our team provides labor counseling to employers and advises management on effective and strategic response efforts to avoid unfair labor practice disputes to promote mutually satisfactory employee-employer relations. We also represent clients in actions before the National Labor Relations Board and other government agencies.

Education Employment Law

Hall Booth Smith offers investigative and litigation services to public and private school entities, administrators, boards, and others across the education sector. Our team has extensive experience in education employment legal matters, including teacher dismissals and evaluations, disciplinary matters, sexual harassment, Title VII, speech and First Amendment issues, civil rights, student discipline, school violence, special education, testing/promotion, access to student records, fraternity and sorority matters, and other emerging issues. We also represent educators in internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings, and other matters related to their employment.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

With labor and employment disputes on the rise, companies, insurers, government agencies and courts are increasingly turning to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to avoid the costs and complexities of adversarial litigation.  Arbitration, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution platforms are effective and efficient ways for management and employees to collaboratively find workable solutions that are acceptable to all parties.

Our attorneys are recognized nationally for their ability to evaluate all legal issues, develop targeted strategies and reaching an amicable resolution that protects the needs and business objectives of the organization. Whether mediation, arbitration, or a hybrid of the two, ADR requires experienced legal counsel who can thoroughly evaluate a case and develop a comprehensive strategy before litigation costs take over and diminish the chances of early resolution.

Representative Industries:

We represent clients of all sizes, including public and private companies, partnerships, joint ventures, nonprofit organizations, franchisees, educational institutions, and other employers across a diverse range of industries including:

  • Health Care
  • Construction
  • Financial Services
  • Education
  • Public Sector (city, country)
  • Restaurant
  • Property Management
  • Insurance
  • Technology
  • Transportation
  • Building Services
  • Hotel and Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Power and energy

The Employment Practice Group has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts  nation wide litigating individual and large class actions involving the full range of employment claims including:

  • Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation – based on race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, age, sexual orientation, transgender, and national origin
  • Accommodation – based on disability, religion, caregiver, or cultural status
  • Wage and Hour
  • FMLA
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Equal Pay
  • WARN
  • Data and Confidential Information Protection
  • ERISA Benefits
  • Restrictive Covenants – including: non-competes, non-solicitation of customers, confidential information protection, non-recruitment of employees, intentional interference with contract
  • Trade Secrets
  • Employee Handbook and Company Policy
  • Breach of Contract
  • State Torts – including: negligent supervision and hiring, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, stalking, false imprisonment, defamation, invasion of privacy, fraud, theft, embezzlement, conversion, wrongful discharge
  • Unemployment