Labor & Employment Attorneys
Employment disputes can disrupt productivity, corporate growth, and, in the worst cases, employee morale. That’s why our labor and employment attorneys work closely with management to craft proactive plans that prevent and discourage disruption in the workplace and improve employee relations, allowing you and your company to remain focused on your primary goal: driving the business forward.
We advise businesses in all aspects of labor and employment law, from compliance with federal and state statutes to employee benefits, retirement plans, executive compensation, employee classification, and employment agreements. We represent employers—large and small—to deliver personnel advice, provide counseling, train senior leaders and employees, and implement labor relations strategies that maintain a union-free workplace.
When litigation is the best strategy or you need a strong defense, our labor and employment litigators leverage their courtroom experience, knowledge of the law, and successful track record to design an aggressive courtroom strategy. Our litigators have experience in federal and state courtrooms throughout the country, partnering with business leadership to craft a strategy that is realistic and solution-driven.
Areas of Concentration
We work closely with clients to understand their business goals so that our advice reflects their corporate direction. We understand the regulations affecting employee benefits, including the tax code, employment laws, and prevailing wage laws. This allows us to deliver employee benefits, compensation strategies, and retirement plans to our clients, including:
- Qualified deferred compensation plans, including defined benefit, defined contribution and profit sharing, 401(k) plans, and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
- 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plans
- Phantom stock, stock appreciation rights and stock option plans and agreements
- Section 403(b) and Section 457 Plans for governmental and not-for-profit organizations
- Flexible benefit/cafeteria/wrap plans
We have extensive experience in working through the IRS and U.S. Department of Labor qualified plan correction programs for clients with operational or plan document failures. We also defend 401(k) plans, employers, and plan administrators in suits brought under ERISA and in pension claims before the U.S. Department of Labor.
We regularly draft, review, and litigate disputes involving agreements arising from the employment relationship, including:
- Executive Compensation Agreements
- Employment Agreements
- Non-Compete Agreements
- Restrictive Covenant Agreements
- Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Severance Agreements
We regularly counsel employers and senior executives on handling difficult employment actions and personnel policies at each phase of the employment relationship from recruiting, interviewing and hiring, to reorganizations and termination. By teaming with our clients’ human resources and operations executives, we suggest strategies for risk management and enhanced worker productivity.
Our attorneys routinely advise and train managers and supervisors in the following:
- Recognizing and Preventing Sexual and Other Harassment
- Performance Management and Counseling
- Collective bargaining and grievance adjustment
- Maintaining a union-free workplace
- Addressing substance abuse in the workplace
- Ethical conduct in daily employment actions including procurement practices
- Overtime compensation methods and proper classification of exempt employees
- Documenting employment actions
- Interviews and employment applications
- Managing and counseling employees
- Preventing workplace violence
- Compliant background checks under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Properly classifying independent contractors, employees, and other workers
- Understanding Equal Employment Opportunity laws and avoiding discrimination claims
- Understanding FMLA leave
- Requests for disability accommodations
- Paid leave laws
We advise and defend private and publicly held corporations, benefit plans, and fiduciaries concerning employee benefits, executive compensation, and related labor and employment issues. This assistance includes:
- Defending employers in litigation involving prehire agreements and claims for fringe benefits contributions
- Representing companies in cases involving multiemployer plans and withdrawal liability
- Handling claims for employee benefits, executive compensation, and breaches of fiduciary duty
As state and federal regulation of the workplace proliferates, the number of employment-related disputes and claims also increases, making employment litigation almost inevitable for employers today. Employers in a competitive marketplace may litigate to protect themselves either by asserting or defending claims regarding restrictive covenants, nonsolicitation provisions, or other unfair competition claims. We work closely with our clients to maximize advantages, manage cases efficiently, and implement the most effective method for accomplishing the employer’s goals. Working closely with our clients in litigation enables us to pursue strategies to advance our clients’ interest while also effectively managing the costs of litigation.
We have an exemplary record of accomplishment and successful defense of clients in a wide variety of labor and employment matters. We regularly represent clients in federal and state courts and federal administrative agencies nationwide. While we have a deep experience in the Washington, DC, metro area, we also have fought for our clients in state and federal courts throughout the country. Our experience includes cases brought under the following:
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title VII claims of discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, and national origin, including harassment claims
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and wage and hour laws
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Employee Retirement and Security Act (ERISA)
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Service Contract Labor Standards (Formerly known as Service Contract Act)
We also aggressively advocate for employers in litigation and administrative claims involving:
- Wrongful Termination
- Breach of contract claims
- Enforcement of restrictive covenants including non-competition through injunctive relief and damages
- Business torts, including conspiracy and tortious interference claims
- Confidentiality agreements and trade secret litigation
- Grievance arbitrations under collective bargaining agreements
- Libel, slander and defamation
- Conversion of corporate property
- Defense against claims of intentional infliction of emotion distress and assault and battery
- Unemployment compensation
- Employment law claims against government contractors
- Joint Employment
Our experience in labor and employment mediation, arbitration, and administrative litigation includes matters before the following:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
- S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
- Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
- District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
- District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES)
- Fairfax County Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs
- Arlington County Human Rights Commission
- Alexandria Office of Human Rights
- Virginia Employment Commission
Our clients face the challenges of complying with employment laws in many different jurisdictions. We routinely review and prepare employee handbooks, audit employer workplace policies, and participate in corporate due diligence efforts for companies in merger and acquisition mode or those who want to prepare themselves for the next phase in corporate growth. As requested, we perform workplace audits to assist in risk assessment and recommend strategies for corrective actions.
- Represented a Northern Virginia-based software company in a tortious interference, trade secret, contract, and business conspiracy lawsuit against its former chief technology officer and other former employees in Virginia state court.
- Defended a 65,000-employee, Illinois-based, national insurance and financial services company against a multi-million dollar agency termination lawsuit involving multiple tortious interference, business conspiracy, and contract claims in Virginia state court, and against multiple discrimination and other employment lawsuits in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, and Maryland state court.
- Defended an Oregon-based, NASDAQ-listed, national retail company against multiple discrimination, contract, and other employment lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
- Defended a Northern Virginia-based government contractor, including obtaining a complete defense verdict in a multi-day jury trial, against a former employee's FLSA and False Claims Act lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- Defended an 8,000-employee, global logistics company against an Iraq-based employee defection lawsuit involving multiple non-compete, tortious interference, and other related claims in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- Obtained a defense verdict after jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of a government contractor in a military discrimination case under USERRA.
- Obtained favorable arbitration decision on behalf of government contractor in defense of alleged wrongful discharge and failure to pay severance and bonus compensation claims.
- Won summary judgment in FLSA overtime case, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, based upon automatic break time deductions.
- Won summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of a construction company alleged to be a joint employer in Title VII sexual harassment suit.
- Defended group of restaurants in U.S. Department of Labor audit of alleged wage payment violations.
- Defended government contractors in investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) in matters involving affirmative action compliance, alleged discrimination, and alleged failure to accommodate.
- Obtained dismissal on behalf of government contractor of Service Contract Act complaint alleging failure to provide a right of first refusal to incumbents investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.
- Obtained a summary judgment on behalf of a government contractor in a racial discrimination and hostile work environment lawsuit by its former employee in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- Defended a healthcare company against a shareholder asserting derivative claims and seeking dissolution, and obtained six-figure judgment against the shareholder for bringing a frivolous derivative lawsuit in the Circuit Court for the Fairfax County.
- Defended a restaurant against a Fair Labor Standard Act claim, and obtained voluntary dismissal order with prejudice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- Defended a Northern Virginia-based construction company against a unemployment insurance claim through all levels of appeals before Virginia Employment Commission, obtaining determination that the former employee was ineligible for benefits.