Human Resources and Employment Law and Litigation
The familiar term “Human Resource” is a recognition that the most valuable assets of every organization are its employees. Thus, the ultimate goal of every employment relationship should be to have a safe and mutually beneficial workplace. However, the challenge of fulfilling business goals, meeting employee needs and complying with an ever growing body of employment laws and policies generated by state and federal authorities requires constant attention by employers to avoid costly missteps. The same attention is required by individual employees and their labor representatives, where applicable, to keep abreast of their own rights and obligations. The need to keep abreast of the changes in human resource regulation and policy extends also to those in civil government service. Both employees and management must follow many of the requirements imposed on private employers, but also must comply with strict state and federal constitutional restrictions regarding civil service issues, “name clearing” hearings, restrictions on random drug testing in the workplace and open government laws which may impact the privacy of individual employees and the ability of governmental employers to effectively manage their workforce. And of course, there are specialized rules and provisions regarding government sponsored employee benefit and retirement plans which both management and employees may require assistance in interpreting. The Firm strongly believes that much litigation can be eliminated through the use of properly formulated policies and procedures, proper education of supervisors and implementation of litigation prevention strategies. Our attorneys provide counsel to employers and employees on issues related to preparation and implementation of employee policy manuals, employment contracts, development of and compliance with anti-discrimination policies, drafting and application of drug testing policies and employee assistance programs, issues related to workplace privacy, implementing employee benefit plans and ERISA interpretation, negotiation and preparation of work separation agreements and severance plans, compliance with federal and state wage laws, and internal investigation of employee complaints or of employees suspected of theft or violating company sexual harassment and substance abuse policies. Our attorneys also have extensive experience in the development of governmental employee benefit plans, including insurance risk pools and self-funded insurance trusts, and in the development and implementation of governmental pension plans and savings plans. When litigation cannot be avoided, our attorneys rely on years of experience in the litigation of issues related to private and governmental employers and employees. Such suits have involved both the prosecution and defense of Age Discrimination Claims, Pregnancy Discrimination Claims, quid pro quo and “hostile environment” gender discrimination claims, wage, overtime and Pay Day Act claims, whistleblower claims, “name clearing” hearings involving governmental employees, libel and slander claims relating to the workplace, as well as suits involving breaches of employment contracts and breaches of restrictive employment covenants. The Firm has also handled suits between employer and employee based on conversion of corporate opportunity, enforcement of non-competition agreements between employers, theft of trade secrets, managerial misconduct and claims relating to employee benefits.