Employment Law Practice
Our employment practice encompasses all facets of employment law, primarily on behalf of management. Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. We represent foreign-owned enterprises, health care institutions, financial institutions, brokerage firms, software and high tech businesses and industrial and manufacturing companies. The services we provide are as diverse as serving as general employment counsel for clients, employment practice agencies, and advising clients as to executive compensation and employee benefit plans. We give practical advice, focusing on how our clients can accomplish their business objectives while keeping in compliance with the labor and employment laws.
Examples of the areas in which the Employment Law Practice Group provides services are as follows:
We have been involved in the continuously expanding areas of age, disability, race, religious and sex discrimination and in defending our clients in administrative proceedings and court litigation generated by the federal and state discrimination laws. We also have particular expertise in the enforcement of employment contracts, particularly those containing restrictive covenants which preclude competition and misuse of confidential information and trade secrets. The firm has significantly contributed to the experience with all types of emergency relief actions, including temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. Emergency relief actions are often crucial to an employer seeking to preclude the improper dissemination of confidential information and other forms of injurious competition.
Because of the firm's close work with many financial institutions and brokerage firms, we often represent our clients in arbitrations and other alternative dispute proceedings to resolve employment disputes.
We frequently prepare and negotiate executive employment contracts as a service to the firm's general corporate clients which include large banks and financial institutions, brokers of financial and securities products, industrial and manufacturing concerns, software and high tech companies and health care institutions. Particularly as an adjunct to our representation of software and high tech companies we have experience in preparing confidentiality and invention agreements. For many of these companies, protection of key employees through employment agreements is critical to protecting the companies' business and goodwill. The firm possesses unique knowledge to craft agreements best capable of withstanding legal challenges to enforcement posed by likely competitors and disloyal employees. The corollary to this service is the negotiation of executive severance agreements, ordinarily of considerable complexity, addressing post-termination compensation and benefits, as well as restriction concerning competition and use of proprietary information and trade secrets. In addition to representing corporate clients in these areas, the firm frequently represents individual corporate executives in the negotiation of agreements or severance packages and also represents groups in the negotiation of employment and equity arrangements in corporate buy-out transactions.
We constantly advise clients on personnel matters. For example, we counsel employers with respect to the drafting of employee manuals, personnel policies and employment contracts. We advise with respect to employee terminations and how best to avoid liability. We consult with respect to wage/hour matters, smoking regulations, disability issues, drug testing, unemployment insurance claims, performance evaluation issues, disciplinary issues and severance problems.
We advise clients with respect to reorganizations, relocations, reductions-in-force, plant closing and mergers and acquisitions. Our legal services in this area may include employee benefit cost analyses, employee communications and notices, WARN notices, COBRA issues and notification, pension matters under ERISA, severance pay, bonuses, vacation pay, preventative measures against discriminations charges and lawsuits, termination agreements, releases, employee assistance and /or out-placement and security.
Pension and Profit Sharing
For many years we have advised management on the requirements of ERISA, including the design and drafting of pension and retirement plans, incentive early retirement plans, profit sharing and stock-bonus plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and employee welfare plans. We also have extensive experience with respect to the qualification of plans under the Internal Revenue Code. We provide advice on employee benefits arising in transactional matters such as mergers and acquisitions.
- G. Michael Bellinger - Partner
- Jeffrey S. Boxer - Partner
- Matthew D. Dunn - Partner
- Melissa J. Erwin - Counsel
- Gerald W. Griffin - Partner
- Judith A. Lockhart - Partner
- Richard G. Pierson - Partner
- William F. Sondericker - Partner
- Leonardo Trivigno - Counsel
- Madelyn K. White - Associate
- Mark R. Zancolli - Partner