Employer Counseling

Overview

The bread and butter of our practice is providing timely advice to employers to help them achieve their business goals while managing the many risks associated with their workforces. As experienced litigators who live with the kinds of problems that wind up in the courtroom, we are acutely familiar with the decisions that ultimately lead to significant time and expense, and potential exposure down the road. Our job is to listen, apply our judgment and experience, and provide practical and creative ways to minimize the risk associated with those problems. We provide management with real time, practical advice, whether facing a single difficult termination or a complex multi-jurisdictional restructuring; an employee with habitual absences who suddenly has asked to take medical leave or employees threatening a wage and hour class action; or notice of a government investigation or the need for an internal investigation into potential discrimination, harassment and/or ethical concerns. We understand that employers need timely, creative and proactive advice, not memos educating them on the law that do not solve the problem at hand.

In addition to providing prompt advice on daily problems, we help employers protect their most critical assets and intellectual property by drafting and counseling on all forms of employment agreements, including executive compensation and stock option agreements, restrictive covenant (non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disclosure) agreements, company property and trade secret agreements, and severance agreements. Having negotiated and litigated all of these kinds of agreements in many settings and venues, we are ready to help clients protect their assets up front and respond swiftly and appropriately whenever a competitor threatens those assets. We also regularly advise on and draft “best practices” manuals, policies and procedures and all forms of compensation plans that impact the workforce, and provide related management training on those policies and plans to promote consistency and compliance. As part of our compliance services, we offer a wide range of audits, from targeted issue reviews, such as wage and hour audits, to comprehensive reviews of all aspects of a company’s human resources operations. The purpose of any review, whether small or large, is to identify and address issues on the front end so that remedial measures may be taken before these issues develop into lawsuits, agency investigations and fines.

We frequently advise clients on issues that cross state and national borders, called on to assist multi-jurisdictional clients with the restructuring of their workforces, guiding the process from the initial planning phase to implementation and then to post-implementation risk management. We have extensive experience managing restructurings across twenty-plus states and that extend abroad, and restructurings that impact both unionized and non-unionized workforces.

We have assisted hundreds of foreign-based companies manage their employees located in the US, from the initial start-up phase to rapid expansion. Our practice is national, having assisted clients with matters touching on every state and having represented clients in courtrooms in nearly every state.

We benefit significantly from our membership as the exclusive Georgia firm in the Employment Law Alliance, an international network of prominent management-side employment law practitioners, with a presence in every state of the country and in over 100 countries. We welcome you to visit www.employmentlawalliance.com to learn more about how we better support our multi-national clients, including by providing them with regular webinars and free publications accessible through our firm.

Experience

  • Provide employment-based counsel related to temporary visas (i.e., H-1Bs, Ls, TN, Os) and labor certifications (i.e., PERM) for immigrant petitions.
  • Represent U.S.-based employers in government audits and investigations related to Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance and the hiring of a legal workforce.
  • Lead arbitration counsel securing a complete defense verdict in in favor of a leading, international IT solutions provider against the gender discrimination and retaliation claims brought by a former high-ranking female executive after she was terminated following an internal investigation into allegations that she was engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. Through detailed e-discovery efforts, we discovered evidence proving that the executive was using code words for her hiring preferences – evidence that shattered her credibility.
  • Lead arbitration counsel securing a complete defense verdict at trial in favor of a nationwide employee benefits provider, against breach of contract claims brought by a former sales executive who was seeking over $4 million in damages.
  • Lead counsel in a series of internal investigations of retaliation and Code of Conduct claims brought against various executives of a national energy company.
  • Lead counsel for the nation’s leading hospital linen service provider in the multi-phase restructuring of its twenty-plus state workforce, including providing management training, risk analysis, and handling all transactional aspects of the restructuring, including for its union and non-union workforce. No lawsuits were filed by any employees displaced by this restructuring.
  • Lead counsel in conducting a series of comprehensive audits of a national energy company’s human resources, salary and compensation and benefits practices, including developing proactive plans to address issues discovered in the audits and to promote best practices on a going forward basis.
  • Lead counsel for a national supplier of motor fuels in its workforce integration and combination of several businesses, including providing guidance on various changes in control plans, union restructuring and related dispute avoidance.
  • Lead trial counsel securing a jury verdict in favor of a national pipeline company its defense of an age discrimination lawsuit brought by a senior engineer following his termination, with no resulting appeal. The jury needed less than an hour to deliberate and decide in favor of the company despite the sympathetic plaintiff and millions of dollars at stake.
  • Lead counsel defending a national nursing home company in three company-wide putative actions brought in Pennsylvania under the Fair Labor Standards Act focusing on meal break and related timekeeping practices.
  • Conducted audit of real estate developer’s wage and hour classifications and pay practices, identifying potential areas of risk and advising regarding the implementation of best practices going forward.
  • Assisted in representation of Angelica Textile Services Co. in the multi-phase restructuring of its twenty-plus state workforce, including providing management training, risk analysis, and handling all negotiations and transactional aspects of the restructuring, including for its union and non-union workforce. No lawsuits were filed against Angelica by any employees displaced by this restructuring.
  • Represented the Board of Directors of a financial institution in connection with an internal investigation of the client’s Chief Executive Officer regarding complaints of discrimination and harassment, completing the investigation and advising the client regarding appropriate action without claims being asserted by the complainant or the CEO.
  • Assisted in conducting a series of comprehensive audits of a national energy company’s human resources, salary and compensation and benefits practices, including developing proactive plans to address issues discovered in the audits and to promote best practices on a going forward basis.
  • Assisted in conducting a series of internal investigations of retaliation and Code of Conduct claims brought by several human resources employees against the Vice President of Human Resources of our client following a restructuring the department.
  • Successfully defended an IT staffing company against multiple simultaneous charges of race discrimination, resolving the matters with no monies paid and avoiding a potential class action.
  • Represented the largest healthcare practice of its type in Georgia in connection with a potential class action alleging race discrimination threatened by current and former employees. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission indicated that it was going to pursue the case, we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement prior to suit being brought by the plaintiffs or the agency.
  • Advised a multi-state distribution company in connection with a comprehensive analysis and overhaul of its restrictive covenant agreements with its workforce, effectively stemming the migration of key employees to its primary competitor.
  • Advised Buckeye Pipeline Services Co. with the benefits risks and analysis associated with its company-wide multi-jurisdictional workforce reorganization, including the implementation of voluntary and involuntary reduction programs designed to avoid partial plan termination events.

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    Recognition

    Our practice is recognized by Chambers USA and Henry Perlowski and Ashley Kelly have received individual recognition for their work in employment law on an annual basis.

     

    Henry Perlowski, Ashley Kelly and Edward Marshall have been recognized for many years by Super Lawyers.

     

    Henry Perlowski has been recognized annually as “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine.

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