Most employees today do not have a collective bargaining agreement or other written employment contract. This generally benefits employers because they retain maximum discretion over all HR decisions, including termination of employment. In some situations, however, employers may benefit from written agreements with certain employees. Employment agreements should be custom-tailored for each particular situation. We have extensive experience preparing employment agreements, with ready access to an assortment of previous agreements, so we do not have to start from scratch each time.
Assisting clients in preventing and defending employment discrimination claims has become one of the predominant activities of most labor and employment attorneys. The attorneys of Harris Dowell Fisher & Harris, L.C. are no exception. We follow a pragmatic and flexible approach that recognizes the uniqueness of each situation that gives rise to an actual or potential employment discrimination claim.
Generally, employment termination is the day-to-day HR decision with the highest litigation risk. Reductions in Force (RIF) present some unique challenges. Selection of employees for layoff is frequently challenged as discriminatory, and sometimes advance notice must be provided. We have extensive experience representing employers in wrongful discharge and discriminatory discharge litigation. We also routinely advise employers on termination of employees and RIF situations, assisting our clients in carrying out these actions in a manner designed to minimize legal exposure.
The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave for specified family and medical purposes. We assist clients with a full range of FMLA matters, including preparation of written FMLA and attendance policies, advice on dealing with employees who may qualify for FMLA leave, and defense of FMLA litigation.
Employers that contract with federal or state governments must comply with a number of special employment laws. We have experience assisting government contractors in complying with such special requirements and dealing with the agencies that enforce them. We can help contractors ensure that if audited they will be in compliance, as well as help contractors respond to compliance audits and investigations.
We have many years of experience in all aspects of labor relations law. We frequently assist clients with labor relations and labor law matters such as collective bargaining negotiations, grievance arbitration hearings, labor contract administration, and National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) proceedings.
All employers should consider protecting their businesses by requiring key employees to sign non-compete, confidentiality, and/or non-solicitation agreements. It is essential to draft such agreements carefully, with knowledge of applicable state law and the particular employer’s circumstances. We are experienced in all aspects of the law of non-compete agreements, including drafting such agreements, obtaining temporary restraining orders and injunctions to enforce them, and evaluating the enforceability of agreements to which applicants for employment are signatory.
Failure to comply with OSHA standards can result in penalties, and can also be used as evidence of negligence should an injury result. We assist employers in conducting internal reviews of OSHA compliance and preparing appropriate safety plans and policies, as well as in responding to OSHA investigations.
Public sector employers, including municipalities, police and fire departments, and school districts, face a variety of additional employment issues not applicable to the private sector. We represent a number of public sector employers, and are experienced in various aspects of such representation, including union matters, personnel code development and implementation, personnel and disciplinary matters, immunity issues, and constitutional employment rights issues.
We assist clients in complying with wage and hour laws, including those concerning overtime compensation, minimum wage, and child labor; and we represent employers in connection with agency investigations and litigation concerning these laws.