Lewis and Roca’s labor and employment lawyers represent employers in employment litigation, representation proceedings, collective bargaining, administrative proceedings, and counsel across the full range of the human resources spectrum. The group’s strengths for effective client service are the lawyer’s backgrounds, substantive labor and employment knowledge and diligent responsiveness. Several of our senior lawyers have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® and have been AV-rated for over a decade. This experience is one of the reasons we are so successful when serving clients.
We represent employers in state and federal courts against wrongful termination suits and individual or class/collective actions under the civil rights laws, the ADEA, ERISA, FMLA, other employment statutes, and regarding all aspects of restrictive covenants. We routinely represent employers before various regulatory agencies in discrimination, unfair labor practice, wage and hour, job safety and health matters and have provided counsel and training to management concerning problem-solving, legal compliance, union avoidance and, increasingly, alternative dispute resolution. For employers with bargaining units, we also provide advice and representation in collective bargaining, arbitration and other labor-management matters. Whether the case implicates political issues, sensitive psychological issues, or even criminal claims, the employment team is equipped to assist the client with creative strategies to reach the most effective outcome possible.
We have represented numerous large employers in class/collective action and pattern-and-practice cases, including claims of age, gender, disability, and race discrimination. Additionally, the group has significant traditional labor experience. Our labor lawyers have represented management in hundreds of ULP charges and C-Case trials, R-Cases, grievance processing and labor arbitrations. The labor lawyers proactively assist management with union avoidance programs, development and implementation of election and decertification campaigns, labor relations training for managers and supervisors, union negotiations and drafting of collective bargaining agreements, strategic planning for strikes and boycotts and labor litigation, including securing injunctive relief against unlawful union conduct.
Lewis and Roca’s employment law team was selected to join the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) in the fall of 2000 as the exclusive Arizona representative, and as the Southern Nevada representative in the spring of 2007. Our relationships with these groups allow us to tap into the resources of a national brain trust of the finest employment lawyers in the country, without the cumbersome conflicts and administrative hassles most clients experience with national firms. Our labor and employment group communicates regularly with other members of these networks over dedicated websites, as well as face-to-face in seminars and training sessions for members and their clients. Further, the ELA is the exclusive sponsor of “America At Work,” a new series of public opinion surveys to gauge American attitudes toward critical work place and employment issues.
The concept of “preventative education” is of critical importance in the employment law area. Our lawyers regularly speak and write – literally volumes – to assist our clients to stay up to date on the ever changing law in this field. The group also publishes practical, client-oriented handbooks, such as “How To Avoid Legal Pitfalls In Hiring and Firing In Arizona,” which serve as a basic introduction and overview of Arizona employment law; and “How to Avoid and Manage Sexual Harassment Claims,” a comprehensive guide for human resource managers including sample policies and investigatory report forms; and a detailed guide to understanding the new Department of Labor overtime regulations that went into affect in August 2004.
Our labor and employment lawyers present regular seminars at each of our offices on the full range of labor and employment law topics relevant to employers. At all seminars, we provide comprehensive written materials to the participants. In addition, our lawyers regularly conduct on-site seminars for client and industry groups on a variety of employment topics. We welcome the opportunity to work with clients in developing programs that will be useful to their staff.
We start each new matter with a strategy tailored to each case, and with an eye toward balancing the many financial, business and public relations considerations that may be implicated. Another unique approach the firm has found to be cost-effective for our clients is consistent and lean staffing. With rare exception, we staff our employment matters with two lawyers, generally, a partner and an associate.
Some of our representative cases include:
Representation of a publicly traded national corporation in a sexual harassment case, which included extreme allegations of sexual misconduct, with fingers pointing all the way up to the President and Vice Presidents of the company. We conducted a quick and confidential internal investigation, and before plaintiff was able to conduct any major discovery, we persuaded opposing counsel to engage in a mediation session. The case, which could have been explosive from a public relations point of view, and could have resulted in punitive damages, settled for less than six figures, to the client’s extreme satisfaction.
Representation of a national supplier of construction equipment employing nearly 10,000 workers, in a national claim by the Department of Labor that the company had misclassified hundreds of exempt workers. The exposure on the claim was in the millions. We were able to quickly persuade the DOL to allow the company to correct the errors prospectively, and arranged a small settlement for the affected workers.
Representation of a local telecommunications company that lost three key people, who then formed their own competing business and lured away the company’s best workers. We sought and were awarded a TRO against the former workers, and negotiated a going-forward resolution to everyone’s satisfaction.
Representation of a major, national airline in a sexual harassment and retaliation claim. The female pilot claimed that a captain made inappropriate sexual remarks, and that she was terminated for reporting them. However, we convinced the district court that, even if true, the comments were not severe or pervasive as a matter of law. We also convinced the court that no credible evidence existed to support the plaintiff’s claim of pretext. The court granted summary judgment on all claims.
Representation of a municipality in a wrongful termination lawsuit by a former employee. The employee alleged that her termination resulted after she reported alleged illegal activity that her boss, the city judge, did nothing about. It was undisputed that after the report, the judge called the employee a “backstabber,” and eliminated her position shortly thereafter. We convinced the district court that the judge was entitled to legislative immunity in eliminating the position, and motive could not be considered. The court granted summary judgment on that basis.