Employment

The HBS Employment Practices Group helps clients avoid, resolve and prevail in employee disputes involving the full range of employment and labor issues.

AVOIDING employee disputes is the most cost effective use of an employer’s money and time. A comprehensive plan emphasizes: (1) updating and refining company policies and practices regarding every aspect of the employment relationship from hiring, development, discipline and termination to reflect changing business needs, an increasingly younger and more diverse workforce, the increased use of technology, and changes in legal standards and demands. HBS offers review and compliance updates along with  (2)  innovative self-audit and investigation support for the full range of employer obligations including wage and hour compliance, safety, harassment and retaliation investigations, sensitivity training, and diversity initiatives.  Finally, avoiding disputes increasingly involves (3) the development and implementation of employment compliance processes, reporting procedures and responses that fit your organizational needs and capabilities.

RESOLVING employee disputes depends on early identification of facts and witnesses, understanding contributing factors, and the development of workable solutions that help an employer manage its way toward a resolution of the dispute. HBS helps an employer navigate his way through the minefield of increasingly burdensome governmental regulations and new laws including disability, age, religion, national origin, leave, equal pay, union avoidance, confidentiality and privacy, state torts, safety, and communicable disease and pandemic regulations. Resolving disputes early generates direct savings before expensive litigation, class actions and governmental investigations can advance. HBS represents employers with state and federal OSHA agencies, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, along with the EEOC and state and local deferral agencies. We emphasize cooperation balanced by strong advocacy to show the Company’s commitment to both its employees and full compliance with its obligations. Internal complaint and informal grievance procedures, aggressive use of non-binding mediation, and a willingness to explore all available options can be highly effective tools to maintaining employee morale, limit costs, and to develop workable solutions that resolve employee disputes.

PREVAILING in employee disputes requires taking the extraordinary prior efforts to avoid and resolve disputes and using those good faith efforts to the Company’s fullest advantage: whether the forum is mediation, arbitration, negotiations, or adversarial litigation. The employer who works to avoid and resolve employee disputes wears the white hat and comes to the table fully informed and prepared to explain the bases for its decisions. HBS attorneys have extensive trial experience and an understanding of many industries through our allied practice areas in health care, medical malpractice, worker’s compensation, governmental, and compliance.  We are cost-effective advocates, able to staff the defense with the proper number of attorneys at the appropriate experience levels, whether confronted with a single plaintiff or a large class action.

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
  • USERRA
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Equal Pay
  • WARN
  • HIPAA
  • 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
Related Industries

Construction

HBS assists the construction industry in a wide variety of private and public construction projects, including commercial, residential, industrial, and mixed-use properties. In addition to managing risk and defending and asserting liability claims on behalf of clients, we regularly advise on the myriad of issues that arise in the course of planning, managing and completing construction projects. As a full-service law firm, we offer services in construction related fields, such as real estate, litigation, ADR/arbitration, finance, environmental, land use, energy, regulatory, and utilities.

HBS construction attorneys have handled the entire gamut of claims that can be brought in the construction industry, including successfully representing property owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, architects and engineers, construction managers, suppliers, transportation providers and haulers, individuals, corporations, electric companies, engineering companies, government entities, insurance carriers and sureties regarding construction industry issues.


Entertainment

Representing creative minds and creative businesses,  Hall Booth Smith provides clients with the business advice and legal guidance needed to succeed in the ever-evolving multimedia entertainment marketplace.

From day-to-day business operations and management advice to transactional guidance and dispute resolution, our attorneys help those in the entertainment industry manage talent and preserve, protect and actualize their entertainment property and services. We have critical access to key players in the entertainment industry and provide clients with the business-oriented and dedicated legal advice needed to thrive.

Transactional and litigation attorneys work together seamlessly, handling all of our clients’ legal needs and helping them achieve their goals. Our experience is diverse and includes advising clients regarding music, film, television, software, books and other print media, advertising, and graphic, visual and performing arts, social media and gaming, negotiating the full range of transaction documents and industry agreements, and litigating disputes. We assure that our clients’ creativity and their rights in creative works are fully protected.

As active members of various respected industry-leading societies, including NARAS, CMA,  we remain at the forefront of industry trends and legal developments. Our attorneys speak regularly on industry panels, contribute as writers to respected industry publications and serve on boards of several industry non-profit organizations.


Health Care

Already among the most regulated industries, and now grappling with the uncertainty regarding the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other reforms, the health care industry and those doing business with the sector rely on HBS to advise on and effectively resolve their business, legal, and regulatory challenges. We advise on all aspects of our clients’ healthcare related businesses from structuring, employment issues, office management, corporate governance and transactional matters to malpractice issues, patient privacy, records retention and data protection.


Food & Agriculture

Scientific developments, technological efficiencies, global trade, and government support and regulation have changed food and fiber production in the United States into a sophisticated and complex business. From a farmer’s field to a consumer’s kitchen table, complicated legal issues now arise for growers, agribusinesses, distributors, brokers, and food retailers. Hall Booth Smith (HBS) specializes in providing legal counsel to and litigation and regulatory advocacy for farmers and agribusinesses.

Because most of our Agriculture Law Practice Group attorneys either grew up on a farm, earned degrees in agriculture, or have spent their careers counseling farmers and agribusinesses, our specific and keen understanding of the business practices and needs of farmers and agribusinesses superiorly position us to handle any agricultural matter. With six offices located throughout Georgia and offices in South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida, we couple the expertise and reputation of a large firm with the accessibility of a local firm.

The legal issues farmers and agribusinesses face are often unique to the agriculture sector. For example, HBS handles issues for buyers and sellers under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), a complex federal statute which establishes a code of fair business practices that protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. In many cases, the laws relevant to the issues facing agriculturists arise out of the laws and regulations that are applicable to any contract, insurance policy, property right, business organization, or succession plan.


Real Estate

Hall Booth Smith guides real estate industry clients through the complexities of real property purchases, assessments, sales and leases, land use, zoning, financing and environmental issues,  and a host of other concerns.  HBS team represents virtually all players in the industry, including owners and occupiers, developers, real estate advisers, lenders, pension funds, insurance companies, governments, and hotel owners and operators. HBS , negotiates commercial and residential transactions of all types and sizes. Our real estate attorneys have advised clients throughout the life cycle of their property ownership from acquisition through development.


Education

Hall Booth Smith provides transactional and operational counsel as well as investigative and litigation services to a wide variety of public and private school entities, their administrators and boards, and others involved with the education sector. We have represented K-12 educational institutions, colleges and universities, school district board members, administrators and staff, handling the full range of school-related issues they encounter, including civil rights, First Amendment rights, student discipline, school violence, special education, testing/promotion, access to student records, and fraternity and sorority matters. Our Education lawyers also advise on and resolve employment and labor issues including teacher evaluations, remediation and discipline, teacher dismissals, at-will employment, sexual harassment, and Title VII, as well as represent professional educators in internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings and other matters related to their employment.

Recognizing that the most effective solution is prevention, we review our clients’ existing policies and help them devise risk avoidance strategies and comprehensive rules, policies, and procedures to minimize their exposure. As an added value, HBS lawyers offer training programs to assure that our clients’ administrators, school board members, school system officials, educators, and staff fully understand the rules and the importance of compliance. Through these workshops, attendees learn to readily identify and address issues and concerns before they become problems.


Government & Municipalities

With a team of former and current government leaders , and those actively involved in various areas of government, HBS offers comprehensive representation and advice to those in government, including states, counties, cities, non-profits and other related industries.

Our team members are regarded as among the most influential leaders in the state of Georgia and are repeatedly recognized for their work on behalf of clients in the government arena. Regularly interacting with legislative leaders concerning client needs, we maintain close working relationships with elected officials, appointed officials, and agency staff, enhancing our ability to provide expertise and counsel. Leveraging our connections, regulatory know-how and legal experience, we work with local, county and state government officials to craft good policy and address our clients’ legislative, regulatory and legal concerns.

HBS attorneys assist clients with the full range of local, county and state government affairs, regulatory matters, lobbying efforts, and political and campaign finance issues. Understanding the regulatory framework which affects our clients’ business operations, we are particularly adept at helping related regulated industries such as utilities, energy and trade associations, telecommunication companies, health care, insurance, local governments, and nonprofit organizations with compliance matters.


Insurance

From appraisals, coverage, claims and adjusting issues to drafting and review of insurance policy, regulatory compliance advice and dispute resolution, HBS assists insurance industry clients with resolving the many challenges they face.

In addition to managing risk and defending liability claims, we regularly advise clients on the full range of insurance products, services, and coverages, including general liability, automotive, life, property and casualty, director and officers’ liability, professional malpractice, errors & omissions coverage, business interruption and environmental, cyber-risk and other specialty coverages and exclusions.

Our lawyers represent clients in courts of all levels throughout the United States, litigating class actions, multiparty and multi-district cases as well as individual lawsuits involving virtually every type of claim, coverage, fraud and bad faith action. We handle regulatory investigations and enforcement actions and are experienced with all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Active insurance coverage attorneys in the international insurance markets, we also help domestic clients gain access to the overseas market and assist foreign insurers in managing their domestic litigation.

As industry leaders, HBS Insurance Coverage lawyers have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in the field of insurance. Team members regularly write and lecture on insurance and property ISU issues, and are active members in insurance industry groups. As a value-added, we offer clients employee training to help their staff understand the laws and regulatory requirements impacting their industry and strategies to minimize risk exposure.


Retail and Hospitality

HBS helps hospitality industry clients both maximize their financial return and meet consumer service expectations.

Subject to a host of federal, state, county and municipal laws, regulations and code requirements and facing economic, real estate, employment and customer challenges, restaurants, hotels, leisure resorts, recreational facilities and other hospitality businesses turn to HBS for guidance. Our Hospitality lawyers are experienced advising on all aspects of hospitality businesses, from project conception and regulatory guidance through financing, development, operations and dispute resolution.

Whether addressing a labor and employment, transactional, privacy law, food and beverage, real estate or construction matter or attempting to resolve an issue involving employee benefits and compensation, intellectual property, data protection or potential liability, we advise our clients each step of the way, helping them leverage opportunities and avoid attendant risks. We vigilantly monitor the evolving regulatory and legal framework impacting our clients, to make sure that they are prepared for the future.

Our team of experienced litigators regularly handle claims for our hospitality industry clients in courts of all levels and has successfully defended class actions, multi-district litigation, personal injury claims, construction disputes and a wide variety of other matters. With a former State Senator and active government affairs attorneys, we are also adept at representing hospitality industry clients regarding their legal, regulatory and government affair challenges.


Transportation

Hall Booth Smith has decades of experience providing transportation industry clients with comprehensive, strategic business and regulatory advice and effective legal representation.

Our firm represents a wide array of entities in transportation-related litigation, including owner-operators, insurers, insureds and various self-insurance funds, as well as aviation companies, oil and gas companies and railroads.

HBS attorneys have counseled transportation industry clients regarding virtually every issue affecting the industry and have litigated disputes throughout the country on nearly every facet of transportation law.

We also regularly work with clients to devise, implement and enforce risk avoidance strategies. Applying the experience gained from decades litigating industry-related disputes, we offer clients effective and cost-efficient representation in courts as well as before government agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, state Departments of Transportation, and other regulatory bodies.