Labor & Employment
Practice Leader: Matthew V. DelDuca
ERISA and Employment Litigation Practice
Employee Benefits Practice
Class Action Litigation
Counseling and defending employers in complex employment and labor relations matters requires a combination of substantive expertise, judgment and extensive trial experience. Only lawyers with this unique combination of capabilities can effectively lead our clients through the labyrinth of regulations and litigation risks that employers face in today’s economy. Pepper’s Labor and Employment Group has decades of experience trying complex employment cases, advising clients in transactions, managing employment risks, and representing clients in their dealings with labor unions.
Employment Litigation and Arbitration
We are trial lawyers. The Labor and Employment Group has collectively tried dozens of cases in state and federal courts involving claims of discrimination, retaliation and alleged violations of the Family Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, WARN, OSHA and various whistleblower laws. Pepper lawyers defend employers in complex class and collective actions, such as class actions brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and wage and hour class actions, as well claims brought by individual employees. Only lawyers who try cases can effectively evaluate and manage the risks inherent in employment litigation. Employment litigation is expensive and distracting for employers. Pepper’s extensive trial experience and unparalleled judgment allow us to advise employers on how to avoid litigation, evaluate and manage litigation risks when they arise, and win at trial when necessary.
Employers are increasingly turning to arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods to help manage employment litigation risks. Arbitration is not a panacea for employers; it involves a different set of challenges. Pepper lawyers have been at the forefront of employment arbitration, and we bring a wealth of experience to all aspects of these matters, such as evaluating whether to use arbitration, what type of arbitration best matches the employer’s matters, drafting arbitration clauses that courts will enforce and that clearly guide the arbitrator, preparing for arbitration while minimizing cost, and winning at the arbitration hearing.
Employment Practices Counseling
Nothing we do as lawyers is more valuable to our clients than effective and creative advice. Every day, our clients face countless challenges involving employees and employment practices. Pepper lawyers work hand-in-hand with these clients to navigate the maze of employment laws and regulations and to decide how to apply them to the unique situations that arise daily in the business world. Good judgment is borne from experience. Pepper’s wealth of experience enables us to provide the effective, creative employment advice our clients need. No litigation is less expensive than the litigation avoided. We help our clients to avoid litigation whenever possible.
We counsel clients on effective employee policies and practices that ensure compliance and effective risk management. These policies and practices include drug and alcohol policies, harassment in the workplace, internal complaint procedures, compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, employee privacy issues and policies to protect against violence in the workplace. We advise clients on difficult termination and discipline decisions, conduct investigations of serious allegations by or involving employees, and counsel clients on developing alternative dispute resolution procedures.
Our labor lawyers team with the firm’s corporate and transactional lawyers in major corporate changes such as acquisitions, mergers, consolidations and reductions in force. We identify and evaluate the labor and employment law issues involved in these strategic decisions and advise on ways to structure transactions and operations to comply with employment laws, and to limit exposure to labor unions and for individual and class action litigation.
Traditional Managment/Union Relations
Pepper represents management in all aspects of its relationship with unions. We help develop employment policies and practices that may remove the perceived need for union representation. We help run campaigns for management in union organizing drives and deal with the related representation proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. Our lawyers are skilled in negotiating collective bargaining agreements and protecting clients during strikes and primary and secondary picketing. We are experienced in defending clients in unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and in the filing of charges against unions for illegal conduct on picket lines and in bargaining. Pepper helps clients deal with all aspects of labor relations under existing collective bargaining agreements, including the handling of grievances and arbitration.
We help clients protect corporate assets including trade secrets, key personnel, and valuable customer relationships. Our Non Compete and Trade Secrets team designs and implements comprehensive “corporate protection programs” to audit and enhance existing protections; counsels clients on hiring employees from competitors in a way that is most likely to prevent legal challenges (and prevail in court if litigation ensues); and successfully litigates non-compete and trade secret disputes that cannot be resolved outside of court. Dozens of our lawyers have decades of experience in enforcing non-competition, customer restriction, and confidentiality clauses, as well as defending our corporate clients and their new employees in lawsuits brought by competitors to stifle legitimate and lawful competition.