Pepper has a long history of providing labor and employment law services to acute-care hospitals, medical groups, health systems and national providers of behavioral health care, acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing, home care, hospice care, ambulatory surgery, and fitness and wellness services. Our work for these entities encompasses the special employment, compensation, and benefits needs of nonprofits, and the gamut of labor and employment issues that all health care entities face in their day-to-day operations.
Employment Counseling and Litigation
We help clients solve all types of employment-based issues, including worker misclassification, employee discipline and separations, managing employee leaves and absences, reasonable accommodation of disabilities and religious beliefs, and complex employment issues rising from transactions and corporate reorganizations. We routinely counsel regarding non-compete and patient confidentiality issues in the context of hiring and firing of professional personnel.
Pepper also has significant experience assisting health care clients with wage and hour matters, from a prevention, investigation and litigation viewpoint, and in defending and defeating claims under wage and hour laws.
We understand the issues health care providers face, including the types of occupations and services provided, and the unique challenges facing providers with multiple facilities in multiple jurisdictions. Our work includes advising and representing large, multiple-facility, multi-jurisdiction health care entities on employment strategies; human-resources best practices, including physician-hospital relations and staff-hospital relations; and other aspects of employment counseling, including teaming with the client’s other outside consultants to ensure seamless coverage of the company’s labor and employment matters.
We also are familiar with the labor and employment issues that come with union attempts to penetrate employers, collective bargaining disputes, corporate campaigns, unfair labor practice charges, union certification efforts and issues related to unionized facilities. We have decades of experience in defeating union organizing drives, training (including union avoidance training), handling grievances, arbitrations and other labor-related disputes.
While we aim to help clients minimize risk of liability and to avoid litigation, our lawyers are experienced in handling all aspects of employment litigation. Pepper lawyers have litigated some of the most complex employment litigation matters facing health care clients, such as defending class actions brought against hospitals by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and wage and hour class actions. We also defend against discrimination and retaliation lawsuits brought by individual employees and former employees; charges by state anti-discrimination agencies and the EEOC; and wrongful termination litigation, defamation claims, breach of contract claims, whistleblower claims and claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other statutes.
Pepper also assists employers with all types of benefits and compensation programs. In the area of executive compensation, we counsel businesses regarding executive employment and severance agreements, equity-based compensation programs, and supplemental executive retirement and deferred compensation programs. Our firm also is nationally recognized in the design and administration of qualified retirement plans and employee welfare benefit plans. We represent plan sponsors and fiduciaries in investigations and audits by government regulatory agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and state agencies.