Practice/Industry Group Overview
Making the most of your greatest asset
If people are truly every business’ greatest asset, then people issues are critical to every business’ success or failure. Legal surprises can affect morale, productivity and, eventually, the bottom line. We work with our clients to prevent or reduce liability, to avoid the morale-sapping conflicts that too often come with labor and employment legal issues.
With one of the most experienced labor practices in the Southeast, Burr & Forman has been at the forefront of developments in labor and employment law for more than half a century; our practice extends nationwide. The Burr Labor and Employment Practice Team is a top tier practice ranked by Chambers USA and includes three fellows in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers: Fred Ingram, Frank McRight and John Coleman. Burr attorneys have represented employers before almost every government agency, as well as in dozens of state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
We advise clients in such areas as:
Qualified Retirement Plans - Designing, drafting, and maintaining retirement plans qualified under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. Also assist clients with operational issues.
Health Care Reform - Assist clients with planning and keeping up-to-date on the ongoing changes associated with Health Care Reform.
Welfare Plans - Design, draft, and assist with operational issues associated with all forms of ERISA welfare plans (such as health plans and cafeteria plans).
COBRA - Assist clients with COBRA compliance.
HIPAA - Assist clients with HIPAA compliance.
Executive Compensation - Designing, drafting, and maintaining all forms of non-qualified executive and/or incentive compensation packages.
409A Compliance - Advising clients with respect to 409A compliance and its effect on deferred compensation.
Severance Compensation - Advising clients with designing and drafting severance compensation packages.
Employment Litigation - Provide employers with compliance advice regarding the myriad of federal and state employment laws and regulations and defends employers from a variety of industries in matters ranging from individual claims to the most complex class and collective actions involving dozens to thousands of employees.
Areas of Emphasis Include:
Employment class actions and collective actions
Hostile Work Environment/Harassment
OSHA citation and warrant-based litigation
Age discrimination under federal and state law
Unfair labor practice and representation litigation
Wage and Hour
Non-competition agreements and trade secrets
Collective Bargaining Agreement Sec. 301 and Hybrid Claims
LMRA Sec. 303 Claims
Wildcat Strike Damage Claims
Wage and Hour - Advise and defend employers from numerous industries in litigation brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Defend employers against claims of unpaid overtime pay and employee misclassifications, including decertification of a FLSA collective action alleging unpaid overtime pay on behalf of a major automaker. Provide preventative counseling concerning wage and hour matters, including advising employers on job descriptions and employee FLSA exemption classification.
Employment Policies and Procedures - Assist employers with the development of policies and procedures, including employee handbooks and manuals that comply with state and federal law.
Occupational Safety and Health - Advise and assist employers with OSHA investigations and access disputes as well as litigating challenged citations. Litigate on behalf of employers in major OSHA litigation ranging from the successful defense of a Florida paper mill to the Milwaukee Brewers's domed stadium.
Preventative Counseling - Help employers take the necessary steps to prevent potential liability by providing guidance to employers on day-to-day issues, including employee discipline and termination, leave management, regulatory compliance, and wage and hour matters.
Class, Collective, and Multi-Party Actions - Defend and resolve class, collective, and multi-party claims on behalf of employers.
Workers Compensation - Advise and defend employers in workers compensation disputes, including state law retaliatory discharge actions.
EEOC Proceedings - Assist employers with the development of position statements in response to charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and defend employers in litigation brought by the Commission alleging discrimination and retaliation.
Disability Management - Assist employers in developing disability management programs addressing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) compliance measures, medical inquiry issues, and workers compensation concerns.
Employment Contracts - Advise, negotiate, and prepare employment contracts on behalf of employers, including initial contracts of employment for executives and top management, as well as separation and severance agreements.
Management Training - Conduct training programs and presentations for management level employees regarding traditional labor matters, employment discrimination and harassment, disability management, occupational safety and health, and workplace diversity.
Immigration - Assist employers with obtaining necessary visas, green cards, and other employment documentation for their employees. Advise regarding I-9 compliance. Counsel during immigration audits.
Affirmative Action Programs and OFCCP Compliance - Assist federal contractors and subcontractors in preparing annual affirmative action plans (AAP's) utilizing statistical analyses and data assessments. Counsel federal contractor clients during OFCCP compliance activity, including, but not limited to, desk audits and onsite visits.
Non-Competition Agreements - Prepare and counsel employers regarding non-competition agreements, including providing guidance on issues associated with the hiring and firing of employees who have executed non-compete agreements or other restrictive covenants. Represent employers in seeking or defending against injunctive relief under such agreements.
Selection and Hiring of Employees - Advise employers regarding the sometimes complex process and issues involved with selection, hiring and retention of employees.
Managing Workforce Diversity - Advise managing workplace diversity issues. Conduct training sessions on workplace diversity, leadership, and equal treatment.
Mergers and Acquisitions - Advise on all labor and employment-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions, including the negotiation of employment agreements, changes in policies and procedures, potential successorship liability, and related labor issues.
Site Selection and New Facility Start-up Planning and Execution - Guide companies through every step of the site selection and start-up process. Answer start-up questions ranging from advice on the available labor market to hiring procedures to available state resources.
Reductions in Force and Restructuring - Counsel and advise employers on planning and executing compliant reductions in force, job restructuring and other workforce changes, while ensuring compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and other laws and regulations. Defend employers in employee downsizing litigation from Arizona to Florida.
Unemployment Compensation - Counsel employers on employee unemployment compensation matters, including representation at unemployment compensation hearings and appeals. Assist employers in navigating state unemployment compensation laws and potential pitfalls that can arise when challenging unemployment compensation agency decisions.
TRADITIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
Union Campaigns - Represent management in union representation campaigns, and those clients confronted with all types of union organizing activity. Assist employers in organizing successful union campaigns ranging from such distinct locations as Conway, Arkansas and North Chicago, Illinois.
Unfair Labor Practice Proceedings - Handle unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of employers in a wide variety of industries.
Site Selection and New Facility Start-up Planning - Counsel to new companies on the available labor market and labor relations, as well as devise lawful strategies regarding handling third party activity.
Grievance Arbitrations - Handle arbitration of employee grievances at each stage, provide counsel, conduct the arbitration, and submit post-hearing briefs and materials.
Strikes, Picketing and Boycotts - Assist employers in preparing for a strike or other work stoppage by working with management to make advance preparations and then assisting with the execution of the strategy as required.
Management Training - Provide programs, presentations and training to management strategically designed to create positive employee relations between management and employees to minimize unionization risk.
Collective Bargaining and Contract Negotiations - Assist employers in every aspect of the collective bargaining process, from negotiation of specific terms to interpretation and application of contract provisions.
Workforce Assessment and Analysis - Conduct workplace assessments to determine workforce issues that may lead to third party activity while providing advice and training regarding lawful union avoidance strategies.
Temporary and Permanent Visas - Assist clients in the preparation of business, professional and immigrant visas including, but not limited to, H-1B, TN, L, E, O, P and R visa applications and I-140 immigrant petitions, I-485 applications, DS-156, DS-230 and DS-260 applications and pre-entry B-1 applications.
Labor Certifications - Assist clients in the preparation of PERM ETA-9080 labor certification applications.
Citizenship Matters - Assist clients in gaining U.S. citizenship.
Consular Representation - Represent clients in matters dealing with U.S. consulates abroad.
Family-based Immigration - Assist clients with I-130 immigrant petitions for family members.
I-9 Workplace Compliance - Advise employers on compliance procedures and work eligibility as it relates to the requirements under federal law provisions, including advising on state and federal E-Verify requirements.
Retained to defend medical provider in claim of discrimination from Muslim employee regarding necessity of removal of veil during medical procedures.
Represented employer in various matters against defecting employees, including the enforcement of restrictive covenants, protection of trade secrets and proprietary information, and defense of claims for unpaid commissions.
Represented and handled employee matters for the company including; employee cases, drug testing cases; malpractice cases including wrongful death, wrongful life and birth, genetic testing, pathology, hematology.
Represented trucking company in action brought by truck driver against former employer alleging wrongful termination where driver was laid off in a reduction of force but maintained the employer had ulterior, unlawful motives for the decision. Summary judgment affirmed on appeal.
Local counsel for national tool and equipment supplier in business dispute with area sales representatives who were terminated and/or assigned smaller territories. Favorable arbitration ruling.