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Employment Litigation

Employment litigation is an unfortunate yet unavoidable part of doing business today. Our Firm is experienced and well-equipped to help your company through the challenges and complexities of these cases. We are effective problem solvers and adept at risk management through early case assessment and use of alternative dispute resolution. At the same time, we are aggressive advocates who regularly defend our clients in matters litigated in state and federal courts across the country.

Whether in individual, class or collective actions, we offer our clients experience, value, efficiency and knowledge of their business and its objectives. We provide a high level of skill, responsiveness and partner involvement, all focused on efficiently achieving defined business and litigation objectives. We offer well-informed legal answers and practical solutions.

Our Firm represents companies doing business in North Carolina, as well as North Carolina-based companies doing business in other states; our work stretches coast-to-coast, from New York to California and from Florida to Minnesota. We also partner as local counsel with national law firms who need North Carolina lawyers with in-state connections and experience. 

  • Wage and hour actions – individual, class and collective – under the FLSA and state law
  • Individual discrimination claims under Title VII, the ADEA, the ADA, the FMLA and related state law wrongful discharge claims
  • Retaliation claims under state and federal employment laws, as well as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Harassment claims and claims involving workplace violence
  • Breach of employment contract claims
  • ERISA claims
  • Claims involving breach of non-competition and non-solicitation restrictions, confidentiality agreements and trade secret misappropriation

We represent companies doing business in North Carolina, as well as North Carolina-based companies doing business anywhere. We have represented clients in courts across the country, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.  In addition, we have managed litigation with the assistance of local counsel in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Texas.

Fair Labor Standards Act/North Carolina Wage & Hour Act

  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in series of class and collective actions filed in Arizona, California, Florida and New York alleging that the company’s failure to pay its pharmaceutical sales representatives overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week violated the FLSA and state law. The Supreme Court of the United States ultimately affirmed the entry of summary judgment for the company in one of the actions, effectively ended the barrage of similar litigation which had been brought against virtually all pharmaceutical companies in the country since 2007
  • Represented global airline carrier in collective/class action filed by skycaps alleging violation of FLSA and state law
  • Represented convenience store chain in class/collective action filed by Assistant Store Managers alleging that they had been misclassified as exempt under the FLSA
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in individual action filed in federal court in Minnesota alleging violation of the FLSA
  • Represented bank in action filed by former executives seeking severance and alleging violation of the North Carolina Wage & Hour Act
  • Represented medical group in action filed by former physician-employee alleging that miscalculations of compensation due under an employment contract violated the NCWHA

Whistleblower/Retaliation

  • Represented publicly-traded company in action brought under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) by former Internal Auditor who asserted his termination was in retaliation for having reported accounting and reporting irregularities to the company
  • Represented numerous companies in the public utility, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, health care (hospitals and physician practices), technology, hospitality, beverage bottling, manufacturing, automotive, insurance, convenience store, construction, and banking/financial industries against retaliation claims brought under federal (Title VII, FMLA, ADA, ADEA, SOX) and state (North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act) law

Title VII (Gender, Race, Religion, National Origin, Harassment)

  • Represented global contract research organization in three separately filed but related actions in federal and state court in Florida arising out of the company’s provision of a contract sales force to a pharmaceutical company to sell its prescription drug products. Plaintiffs asserted claims for gender, national origin and disability discrimination under federal and state law
  •  Represented convenience store chain in action filed in federal court in North Carolina by a member of the Sikh religion alleging religious and national origin discrimination in application of dress and grooming standards to screen out applicants
  • Represented public utility company in actions filed in federal court in North Carolina alleging gender discrimination and harassment, race discrimination, and sex harassment and retaliation
  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in action filed in federal court in Tennessee and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by former manufacturing plant employee alleging race and gender discrimination and harassment and retaliation
  • Represented hospital in Western North Carolina in actions filed in federal court alleging gender discrimination and race discrimination
  • Represented technology company in federal court action alleging race discrimination and retaliation 
  • Represented bottling company in federal court actions alleging race discrimination and violation of the Equal Pay Act
  • Represented global pharmaceutical company in federal court action alleging race discrimination by employee in research and development 

Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)/Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)

  • Defended numerous single plaintiff cases brought under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, state and local fair employment practices statutes, including HIV/AIDS and psychiatric disabilities termination cases and cases involving direct threat and failure to provide reasonable accommodation issues
  • Represented global contract research organization in parallel actions filed in federal court (disability discrimination and failure to reasonably accommodate) and state court (retaliation) by former employee
  • Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer in federal court action alleging failure to reasonably accommodate plaintiff’s alleged disability
  • Represented public utility company in federal court actions in North Carolina and South Carolina alleging a failure to reasonably accommodate (and race discrimination) 
  • Represented contract research organization, global pharmaceutical company and public utility company in actions filed in federal courts in Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina, respectively, alleging termination in violation of  FMLA

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”)

  • Represented public company in single and multiple plaintiff actions by older workers alleging pattern and practice age discrimination arising out of a series of corporate restructurings and downsizings spanning more than a decade
  • Represented national chemical company in federal court actions alleging pattern and practice of age discrimination arising out of restructurings and downsizings
  • Represented manufacturing company in action in federal court in Indiana alleging age discrimination
  • Represented public utility company in federal court actions filed in South Carolina and North Carolina alleging age discrimination
  • Represented technology company in several actions filed in federal court alleging age discrimination
  • Represented contract research organization in action filed in federal court alleging age discrimination

Wrongful Discharge/Breach of Employment Contract

  • Represented employers across North Carolina in state court actions involving alleged wrongful discharge and/or breach of contract.  Industries represented include public utility, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, health care (hospitals and physician practices), technology, hospitality, beverage bottling, manufacturing, automotive, insurance, convenience store, construction and banking/financial
  • Represented bank in federal court action filed by former executives seeking payment of severance following acquisition of bank
  • Represented medical group in action filed by former physician-employee alleging breach of contract based on alleged miscalculations of compensation due under an employment contract
  • Represented public utility in wrongful discharge action alleging termination resulted from negligent and flawed drug test

Non-Competition/Trade Secret Litigation

  • Represented employers to secure TROs and preliminary/permanent injunctions to enforce confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements against former employees and to protect employers’ trade secrets
  • Represented employers and individuals who have been sued for alleged violation of confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Handled non-compete and trade secret cases in many industries, including technology, defense contractors, telecommunications, logistics/transportation, health care (physicians/physical therapists), insurance (agents/brokers), construction and contract research organizations

ERISA and Employee Benefits

  • Represented employer plans in breach of fiduciary duty and denial of benefits claims asserted with regard to group health, long-term disability, deferred compensation, severance and employee stock ownership plans
  • Represented employer plans in several ERISA cases involving matters of first impression such as scope of ERISA preemption with regard to vicarious liability for actions of plan physicians, effect of Social Security Administration total disability rating and the interpretation of undefined benefits exclusions
  • Represented employers in Section 510 cases alleging pattern and practice of targeting workers for outplacement in restructurings to reduce welfare and pension plan costs

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