Practice/Industry Group Overview
Our labor and employment practice encompasses all aspects of the employment relationship in both union and non-union settings. We provide advice, counsel and litigation experience to businesses of all sizes — from large Fortune 500 companies to small and medium size businesses.
We assist employers to improve employee communication, increase efficiency and decrease the risk of litigation through a proactive approach, including the development of personnel policies and employee handbooks. Our innovative employment audit and policy review programs help our clients avoid employment-related issues before they turn into lawsuits.
We counsel our clients on the most difficult employment and human resources decisions, including the structuring of necessary workforce reductions, in order to both maximize financial objectives and minimize exposure to litigation. This includes layoff strategies, plant shutdowns and issues surrounding the enforceability and advisability of severance agreements with individual employees. We provide advice to our clients with respect to employment, executive compensation, non-competition, confidentiality and similar agreements, and we guide our clients through the maze of state and federal laws affecting the workplace.
We represent employers in federal and state court, in defense of discrimination lawsuits, wrongful discharge claims and related employment actions. We have extensive experience representing employers in disputes involving non-competition agreements, the misappropriation of trade secrets and efforts by competitors to solicit and hire their employees. We also defend employers and plan sponsors from employee benefit claims under ERISA.
On the administrative side, our attorneys regularly appear before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and similar state agencies to defend our clients against discrimination charges based upon race, sex, age, handicap and religion, as well as wage and hour and unemployment charges.
We have considerable expertise in traditional labor matters as well, including union avoidance, collective bargaining, contract administration, labor arbitrations, strike maintenance and all manners of related issues before the National Labor Relations Board and federal courts.
Recent examples of our work include:
- Successfully defending our client sued for age discrimination by a terminated employee
- Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a company charged with sexual harassment and wrongful discharge
- Obtaining an injunction to stop a former employee, in violation of a covenant not to compete, from continuing to work for a competitor
- Obtaining a favorable determination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in response to a charge of race discrimination filed against our client by one of its employees
- Successfully defending our client and one of its top executives against claims alleging sexual harassment for which the executive faced personal liability
- Assisting our client in structuring a workforce reduction and negotiating severance arrangements with its employees
- Negotiating cost effective collective bargaining agreements on behalf of employers
- Assisted employer with strategies to avoid union organization
- Advised buyer of a company whose employees were unionized as to relevant acquisition strategies
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:
Do Not Force Employees to Work during FMLA Leave
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 15, 2014
With technology making work-from-home more and more feasible, it is easier and easier for employees to work while "out" on an FMLA or other leave. If an employee seeks FMLA leave, however, can an employer force an employee to work, even if the work is paid? According to Evans v...
When Retaliation Stands the Test of Time
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 15, 2014
Often when we consider the issue of temporal proximity in a retaliation case, we examine it from the standpoint of whether temporal proximity is sufficient to infer retaliatory intent when the adverse action happens right on the heels of the protected activity. What happens, however, if the...
Apparently, “Information Security” is Now an Unfair Labor Practice
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 14, 2014
We have an important duty to our customers and our employees to respect the information we hold about them and ensure it is protected and handled responsibly. The trust of our staff and customers is very important, so we take our obligations under relevant data protection and privacy laws very...
You Might Want To Reconsider If You Send Your FMLA Forms via Regular Mail
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 12, 2014
One of the very first things a lawyer learns in law school is the “mailbox rule.” This rule simply states that if a letter “properly directed is proved to have been either put into the post-office or delivered to the postman, it is presumed ... that it reached its destination at...
Beware The “Anticipatory Pregnancy” Claim
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 11, 2014
In Cadenas v. Butterfield Health Care II, Inc. (N.D. Ill. 7/15/14), a federal court asked the question of whether an employer could terminate a pregnant employee on the basis of its inability to accommodate her future pregnancy-related job restrictions. Even though the employee won this battle, the...
More on Anticipatory Pregnancy Discrimination
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 11, 2014
Every so often, I write a post that rankles some feathers. Yesterday’s was one such post. Recall that yesterday I discussed a case in which a court concluded that an employer was justified in firing an employee whose pregnancy restrictions rendered her unfit to perform the duties of her job,...
6th Cir. Invalidates Individual Waivers of FLSA Collective Action Participation
Jonathan T. Hyman, August 02, 2014
The wage-and-hour class or collective action lawsuit is one of, if not the, greatest risk facing employers. Many of these lawsuits are filed by disgruntled ex-employees. And, many employers seek to limit their risk by securing waivers from employees, in which employees covenant not to participate...
NLRB Seeks to Supersize Its Joint-Employer Standard
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 30, 2014
The NLRB is waging war on employers, and it’s drawing its latest battle line at the McDonald’s drive-in. Yesterday, the NLRB Office of General Counsel announced that it has authorized complaints against 43 different McDonald’s franchises; it also announced that in each case it...
“Unionism” as a protected class?
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 29, 2014
Way back in 2012, the New York Times published an op-ed titled, A Civil Right to Unionize, which argued that Title VII needs to be amended to include “the right to unionize” as a protected civil right. At the time, I argued that including “unionism” as a protected class was...
Orange Is the New Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 25, 2014
Orton-Bell v. State of Ind. (7th Cir. 7/21/14) [pdf] concerns allegations of sexual harassment levied by a substance-abuse counsel at an Indiana maximum security prison against her co-workers and superiors. The allegations break down into two categories:
When Your Plaintiff Is a Prostitute
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 22, 2014
Let’s say an employee sues your company for sexual harassment. And let’s say the allegations are bad-that the supervisor told the plaintiff he could save her job if she “f***ed” him, after which the supervisor raped her. Like I said, BAD. As an employer, you don’t have...
Should You Limit Bathroom Breaks For Employees?
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 21, 2014
Teamsters local 743 has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that an Illinois faucet manufacture unfairly disciplined 19 workers for “excessive use” of washrooms. What’s excessive, according to the company? Sixty minutes over the last 10 days, or a...
TOP TIP: FMLA, ADA and Fitness for Duty Examinations
, July 21, 2014
When an employee comes back from Family and Medical Leave Act leave with a fitness-for-duty (FFD) certification from his health care provider, some employers still require the employee to undergo a separate FFD examination by the employer's own health care provider or employee health office before...
Should You Block Social Media at Work?
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 19, 2014
One of my summer television addictions is NY Med, which follows surgeons around some of the New York metro area’s busiest hospitals. One this summer’s episodes focused on a man who had been hit by a subway train. An ER nurse Instagrammed a photo of the empty trauma room, along with the...
Time After Time: Temporal Proximity and Retaliation
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 15, 2014
Marla Montell reported an allegation of sexual harassment against her supervisor, Austin Day, to human resources at Diversified Clinical Services. The HR rep contacted Day almost immediately. The next day, Day called Montell and told her that she should resign or would be fired. Chose the former,...
Will Hobby Lobby Give Title VII Fits?
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 15, 2014
Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, holding that a closely held corporation is a “person” that can hold a religious “belief” for purposes of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which prohibits the federal government from taking any action...
EEOC Transforms a $1.39 Bag of Chips into a $180,000 Settlement
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 10, 2014
Nearly three years ago, I reported on a disability-discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Walgreens. The agency had filed suit of behalf of a diabetic employee who, without permission, took a bag of chips off the shelf to stabilize her blood sugar level during a hypoglycemic attack....
How Many Pre-Employment Medical Exams Does The ADA Permit?
Jonathan T. Hyman, July 07, 2014
McDonald v. Webasto Roof Systems (6th Cir. 6/25/14) concerns the interpretation of the green-light, post-offer conditional medical examination. The question the case asks is how many post-offer, pre-employment medical examinations may an employer require of an individual? The answer is as many as...