Labor and Employment

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Labor and Employment

Labor and Employment Practice at Andrews Kurth

Adopting our clients’ perspective to help them achieve their business goals

Andrews Kurth has a nationwide labor and employment practice, which focuses on developing strategies and practices to minimize employee disputes and maximize legal options and successful results in the disputes that cannot be avoided. Our capabilities include:

Our approach is to identify, educate clients about, and address legal issues on the front end with a view toward helping clients limit expensive and protracted litigation on the back end.

We work with our clients to help them develop and utilize the best human resource-related policies and practices to enable them to successfully operate their businesses. We strive to learn and understand our clients’ business operations and requirements so that we can help them navigate the complex set of labor and employment obligations and regulations applicable to their businesses. Our collective experience tells us that when we help our clients utilize best practices, they are able to minimize the occurrences of disputes and are in a better position to resolve disputes efficiently and inexpensively. Our goal is to work with our clients to develop long-term relationships.

We understand that most labor and employment issues cannot be solved in a vacuum, and our labor and employment attorneys work with the other practice disciplines at Andrews Kurth to make sure that we are offering the most effective and comprehensive service possible.

We also recognize that the cost of legal services can play a significant role in clients’ decisions on selecting outside legal counsel and in evaluating legal strategy and options. Therefore, with a specific eye towards maximizing incentives to achieve successful results, we offer a broad range of billing options, including alternative fee arrangements and fixed budgets, all of which are designed to keep our interests aligned with those of our clients and to provide a high degree of cost certainty and predictability for our clients. In addition, we offer capped monthly fees for general human resources and employment law counseling services. 

Client Service

We have found that our approach as outlined above has resulted in long-term, productive relationships with our clients. We are willing to offer new clients the opportunity to obtain feedback on our performance from our existing clients.

Talent

In order for us to most effectively serve our clients, we recruit and train our lawyers in the most vital areas of labor and employment law. Accordingly, our team of attorneys and other professionals has developed a broad range of expertise.

Affirmative Action and Government Contractor Matters

Government contractors face a complex framework of unique and potentially costly employment-related compliance regulations. Andrews Kurth attorneys are particularly experienced in guiding employers through these minefields, including counseling on Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) obligations, developing affirmative action plans (AAPs), and handling Department of Labor and related audits and proceedings. 

Collective and Class Action Litigation

Our experienced trial team routinely handles collective and class action litigation throughout the country involving a variety of employment-related issues. We have significant experience with collective actions brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and we frequently handle Rule 23 class actions. Our team’s recent successes include obtaining orders granting motions to dismiss and motions to decertify classes and involve a variety of matters including, misclassification cases, failure to properly calculate regular rates, and failure to provide overtime. The entire Labor and Employment Section is well versed in the “white collar” exemptions, the Motor Carrier exemption, and state specific statutes to aggressively defend these types of matters.

Confidential Information, Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition

We counsel clients and manage litigation regarding trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary information, fiduciary duty, and other duty of loyalty issues. Additionally, we routinely draft confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-compete agreements pursuant to applicable state laws, and we have extensive experience litigating these issues. Our litigation experience in this area has allowed us to anticipate and address the litigation issues in the drafting process and create contractual provisions that increase the ability of our clients to protect their business interests. Our depth of experience in the courtroom with respect to these matters allows us to effectively analyze situations, evaluate potential results and guide clients to the outcomes that they seek on a cost-effective basis.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Firm’s Partner and Chief Diversity Officer is a labor and employment attorney and HR professional by background. She works with our labor and employment group and has used her practice background and her current focus on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategic work with our clients to develop D&I strategies, provide D&I training, identify D&I opportunities in HR assessments, and to incorporate D&I concepts into employment law compliance training. We are also able to counsel clients on the proactive use of customized D&I strategies in the preparation of affirmative action plans and in the defense of affirmative action plan audits and equal employment opportunity complaints.

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

Our attorneys have extensive experience counseling clients on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other employee benefit matters, including 409A and other tax related issues. Additionally, we frequently handle Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) matters, represent numerous multi-employer benefit funds on related matters, and assist with U.S. Department of Labor audits and investigations involving issues related to prohibited transactions, breaches of fiduciary duties, and compliance with the ACA, HIPAA, and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

Human Resource Counseling and Training

Our lawyers are extremely accomplished in all aspects of human resources and employment law, from counseling on daily human resources matters to handling sophisticated employment-related litigation. This includes matters such as employee complaint investigations, human resources training, assessment and development of best policies and practices, merger and acquisition due diligence, background checks, employee privacy and data security, whistleblower issues, social media and technological developments impacting the workforce and all issues arising under the current federal, state and local statutory and regulatory guidelines, including under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); equal employment/non-discrimination laws such as Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

Litigation

We are experienced and accomplished trial lawyers, and our approach to litigation enables us to effectively counsel clients and develop policies and practices to avoid litigation and increase the likelihood that any litigation will be handled quickly, effectively, and reasonably. We have experience trying cases nationwide and in a variety of forums and handling cases that range from complex, sophisticated cases involving claims for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, to class and collective actions, and single plaintiff disputes.

Management-Side Labor Relations

We represent management in their labor relations disputes, including union recognition campaigns, collective bargaining, employees’ exercise of Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and other National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings. We train clients on strike preparedness and other labor issues, and we handle labor arbitrations for our unionized clients. Additionally, we analyze the labor and employment implications of stock purchase, asset acquisition, and other business transactions during the due diligence process.

Public Accommodations

We have significant experience handling public accommodations and accessibility issues under Title III of the ADA and related issues, including those of fair housing under federal, state, and local statutes and regulations.

Public Sector Employers

As a firm, we represent a number of Public Sector entities, including educational institutions and local and municipal governmental entities. From a labor and employment perspective, our attorneys provide these employers with a variety of employment-related services, including counseling, internal investigations, and employment litigation. Specifically, we have experience handling teacher termination hearings before the Texas Education Agency (TEA), internal grievances, and representing school districts before public school boards.

Reductions-In-Force

We conduct and advise clients on adverse impact analyses, as well as with regard to the potential pitfalls that can arise in reductions-in-force, including the establishment of decision-making matrices and best practices for implementing reductions-in-force and addressing local, state and federal WARN Act issues.

Worker Classification and Other Wage and Hour Matters

We are experienced in counseling clients and handling litigation regarding issues involving independent contractor status, employee exemption status, minimum wage, and overtime matters. We regularly handle class and collective actions throughout the country under state wage statutes and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Our Commitment to Our Clients

With a strong commitment to client service, and a deep understanding of the industries we serve, Andrews Kurth will continue to offer sophisticated legal solutions to the broad range of labor and employment law issues facing our clients. 

We provide regular client alerts, briefings and training on the cutting edge of labor and employment matters, all of which are focused on allowing clients to stay ahead of the curve on developing issues.

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