WORKPLACE ISSUES – LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Are you an employer?  A small or medium business?  An executive or senior manager?  An independent consultant or manufacturer rep? 

You are who we can help with workplace solutions. 

Law at work is our strength and sweet spot.  When you need help with HR or other workplace problems, you need look no further than here.

Chris previously worked as in-house counsel handling workplace issues for a Fortune 50 company for over 25 years. Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law, Chris has resolved countless issues ranging from hiring to firing and involving nearly every issue in between. 

Here is a sample of his workplace law expertise:

  • Traditional Labor Law – Some lawyers claim to practice “labor & employment” law, when in fact they really only practice “employment” law.  Chris does both.  For decades he has handled matters with unions, such as collective bargaining, grievance resolution, and labor disputes.  Labor law  – especially issues under the National Labor Relations Act  – can be extremely nuanced and is not an area for novices.  And you don’t need to be involved with a union to have an issue with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

We know how to deal with unions and have handled numerous unfair labor practices and representational petitions before the NLRB.  If you find yourself on the receiving end of a charge or petition from the NLRB, your time to respond is critical.  How you respond is equally critical.  We can help.

  • Discrimination & Retaliation Complaints – Employees file discrimination and retaliation complaints every day.  Few employers are immune from them.  Chris has handled these complaints from start to finish, from responding to the EEOC complaint and handling on-site inspections, representing parties in litigation, to arguing appeals in support of favorable judgments. 

Our experience in this area cuts across every protected class and involves practically every typical theory of employment discrimination.  If you have received a complaint from the EEOC, the Texas Workforce Commission, or from any other EEO agency, call us to help you.  Need to conduct an internal investigation or self audit, with some practical recommendations afterward?  We can do that.  Or if you’ve been served with a discrimination lawsuit, Chris has been lead attorney in cases in state and federal courts involving single plaintiffs, as well as class actions.  His experience can get you out of court quickly and inexpensively as possible.  We know EEO. 

  • Training & Compliance – How do you avoid unhappy employees who file disruptive, expensive lawsuits?  A key solution is having good HR policies and applying them fairly.  In addition, complying with the maze of workplace regulations is not an option.  It is self-preservation.  If you need to discuss existing policies or create new ones for your employees, we can help. 

But having policies is not enough.  That's a good first step.  Your leaders, managers, and all employees need to be aware of your policies, understand them, and follow them.  We can design and deliver cutting-edge training, customized to your workplace on the topics you need to know.  And we’ll make it interesting too!

  • Employment and Severance Agreements – Whether you’re a start-up company or a decades-old business, it is critical to have clear, comprehensive employment agreements with your key managers.  Similarly, when it’s time to part ways with your people, a carefully-drafted severance agreement can help ensure the separation is smooth and reduces exposure to expensive legal proceedings later.  We can help you with either types of these agreements.

  • ERISA Claims – Most disputes over claims to employee benefit plans are governed by ERISA, a complex federal law covering design, administration, and resolution of benefit plan claims.  Chris has handled ERISA cases involving a single employee seeking benefits from a medical or disability plan to several hundred former employees seeking millions of dollars in an early retirement offer.  If you have questions about benefit plan claims, contact us. 

  • OSHA Investigations, Citations, and Complaints – Facing an OSHA inspection,   an OSHA safety citation, or a whistleblower complaint?  We know what to do. Inspections need to be handled very carefully. Citations can be negotiated or, when necessary, challenged.  OSHA complaints can be dismissed if you respond to them properly. And they can be settled in creative ways, too. We can help when OSHA comes knocking on your door. 

  • Noncompete Agreements – Employers are clearly justified, and smart, in protecting confidential information they give employees.  Noncompete agreements are the typical tool for doing so.  But creating an enforceable noncompete requires care and knowledge.  Don’t risk your valuable trade secrets, or potential revenue, to poorly-worded or unenforceable agreements.  Chris will help you with drafting, reviewing, defending or enforcing your noncompete.

  • Independent Contractor/Consultant issues – Employers, you need to be sure that you’ve correctly classified and treated your independent contractors as such.  Failure to do so exposes yourself to scrutiny and penalties from several agencies, as well as wage and hour litigation.  This is an extremely hot-button area with the government today.  Chris has dealt with these issues in several contexts, including ERISA, the NLRA, Title VII, and unemployment compensation claims.

Independent contractors/consultants, you too need to understand the pros and cons of being properly treated as an independent, nonemployee or, if need be, an employee.  Chris can help you navigate this often confusing area of the law.

  • Manufacturer Reps – Enjoy the freedom and independence of being a manufacturer rep?  Sure.  And when you’re very good at your job, ironically that is often when problems.  There are special rules for handling these types of issues, and Chris has advised and represented manufacturer reps in contract and commission disputes. 

  • ADR Programs – Recent surveys show that employers may greatly benefit from having alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs available to resolve workplace disputes instead of suffering through long, costly lawsuits.  Think of mediation or arbitration as the typical examples of ADR programs. 

Do you have an ADR program in place at work?  If not, you probably should.  And we can help design one for you.  If you already have an ADR program and need representation on a case, Chris has handled hundreds of arbitrations and mediations, as well as motions to compel arbitration and post-arbitration litigation.