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Norton Rose Fulbright
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Employment and labor

For over 80 years, we have advised employers on virtually every imaginable labor and employment issue and defended them in both state and federal courts and arbitral forums and before administrative agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and state human rights agencies.

Known for our strong litigation experience, including class and collective actions, we have defeated class certifications, obtained decertifications of preliminary class certifications, achieved early and effective settlements, obtained summary judgments, successfully tried cases and prevailed on appeals.

Equally formidable in our agency practice, we have tremendous experience helping employers succeed in difficult agency matters. With our robust counseling experience, in true partnership with the employer, we advise on all types of employment and labor-related business situations, including: mergers and acquisitions; purchases; sales; reorganizations; workforce reductions and restructurings; breaches of contract; creation and review of internal policies; executive hiring, compensation, and separation; trade secrets; non-competition and non-solicitation issues; and other aspects of employment of all employees.

We also regularly conduct significant employment-related investigations involving harassment, retaliation, regulatory, and other substantial matters concerning a wide range of employee situations, including C-Suite employment. We help employers stay abreast of legal, regulatory, and compliance trends and legal issues in a variety of ways, including through our regular legal updates, our Global Workplace Insider blog, and our frequent educational web seminars.

With lawyers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia, and Africa, we enjoy a truly worldwide employment and labor practice and routinely handle complex cross-border matters for the world’s largest organizations. Our employment and labor lawyers stand ready to provide employers with exceptional, responsive, and efficient service.

We deliver

  • real employment and labor trial experience including litigating and trying class and collective actions and significant multiple and single plaintiff matters and arbitrations
  • extensive arbitration and mediation experience
  • deep administrative and enforcement claim experience and an understanding of the affiliated agencies
  • long-standing labor law experience, including collective bargaining, complex negotiations, labor claims and grievances
  • tremendous wage and hour knowledge and experience
  • great respect from governmental agencies, union leaders and adversaries
  • strategic and responsive employment law advice providing practical business solutions to our clients
  • highly-recognized health and safety experience including catastrophic disaster advice, stop work orders, violations and workers’ compensation adjudications
  • strong compensation, pension, and benefits experience including ERISA and cobra advice and benefit plan design and compliance  
  • risk management and proactive counseling including risk assessments, compliance audits and training  

Our areas of employment and labor work include

  • class and collective actions and significant multiple and single plaintiff cases
  • wage and hour and other labor standards
  • arbitration and mediation
  • employment-related investigations
  • independent contractors and misclassification
  • affirmative action including discrimination and retaliation
  • civil rights charges and litigation, including OFCCP and EEOC charges and compliance
  • whistleblower and other retaliation claims
  • wrongful discharge, severance and tort litigation
  • employment contracts and agreements
  • unfair labor practice claims
  • labor and union relations, avoidance and elections
  • collective bargaining agreements and negotiations
  • public-sector employment issues including strikes 
  • trade secrets, restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties
  • occupational and safety healthy administration (OSHA)
  • ERISA, compensation, employee benefit disputes and compliance and taxation
  • employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions, purchases, sales, reorganizations, workforce reductions and restructurings and outsourcing
  • preventative counseling and training
  • various employment and labor federal and state regulations 

Our recent employment and labor work

  • obtained a defense jury verdict for a major technology company in a federal trial involving a former employee’s sex and pregnancy discrimination claims relating to promotion and termination
  • obtained summary judgment in favor of a leading manufacturer in a race discrimination lawsuit in federal court and prevailed on appeal before the federal appellate court
  • obtained a defense jury verdict for a significant educational institution after an 8-day trial involving a former employee’s defamation claim relating to race and sexual harassment allegations
  • obtained a “take nothing” jury verdict for a major energy company in a federal fair labor standards act collective action by first successfully reducing the class size and number of claims through motion practice, and then, after a week-long trial, securing a complete defense jury verdict
  • defended a nationwide oilfield services company in a federal fair labor standards act collective action against plaintiffs’ attempt to certify a nationwide class of oilfield workers who brought misclassification and overtime compensation claims, obtaining a dismissal before conditional certification
  • successfully defended a nationwide transportation company against a California state wage and hour class action by first enforcing arbitration of the claims and then prevailing with a total defense award after a lengthy arbitration
  • obtained findings of full compliance from the OFCCP in a number of audits, including but not limited to an OFCCP hiring practices audit involving a large hospital and an OFCCP compensation audit involving a financial services company
  • represented a heavy equipment distributor in a non-compete case and obtained an injunction against the company’s former employees who started a competing firm
  • conducted a lengthy investigation for a leading international company involving internal complaints of alleged systemic discrimination
  • assisted an international consulting company in the termination of a C-Suite executive and in the related drafting and intense negotiation of a complex severance agreement
  • represented a major diversified holdings company with many distribution centers, numerous stores, and thousands of employees in a successful, complex cross-border asset purchase transaction involving significant employment, corporate, real estate, information technology, intellectual property and compliance issues
  • represented a hospital in a rare oral argument before the national labor relations board and prevailed with a finding that the petitioned-for registered nurses unit was not an appropriate bargaining unit
  • counseled a food processing company during a strike by two unions and unlawful sympathy strikes by three other unions, and we secured beneficial strike settlements and a favorable arbitration award upholding a union employee’s good cause termination for tortious conduct during the strike
  • advised a global loyalty management leader in the establishment of a new defined benefit pension plan and the transfer of a large group of unionized employees
  • successfully defended a transportation company in a state OSHA action involving an employee’s fall from equipment resulting in serious injuries by demonstrating the employee had violated the company’s training and safety procedures

Awards and accolades

  • Best Law Firms, Tier 1 national ranking for employment law – management, US News & World Report and Best Lawyers, 2016
  • Best Law Firms, national rankings for employee benefits (ERISA) law and labor & employment litigation, US News & World Report and Best Lawyers, 2017
  • Chambers USA, Texas: Labor & Employment, Chambers & Partners, 2016