Employers today are facing an ever-changing legal landscape. Our Labor and Employment attorneys take a proactive approach to assist clients in the development and implementation of effective strategies to meet these specific needs.
With an eye toward avoiding conflicts before they arise, we can guide you through new developments in the law, provide you with options and help you make informed decisions. In those instances where litigation is necessary, our attorneys are prepared to represent you in the state or federal court, before regulatory agencies and other tribunals.
Our advice is based not only on the years of experience we have in representing clients but also on our thorough understanding of the business landscape. We stay abreast of local, state, and national developments in order to advise you on labor and employment issues in a holistic context, rather than a strictly legal one. We are active in community organizations such as chambers of commerce, local, statewide and national human resources associations, and diversity commissions, again, to help us help you. We also have long-standing excellent relationships with the EEOC at all levels, in mediation and investigations. At a recent EEOC conference on all aspects of employment law, we were one of only two speakers from outside the EEOC and were the only non-EEOC speakers from Arkansas. We also have lawyers who are involved in drafting legislation on employment issues at the State Legislature.
Focused on Clients
We have deep experience in multiple industries and have strong capabilities to advise employers in such business sectors as health care, transportation, telecommunications, retailing, hospitality services and manufacturing.
Focused on Services
Covenants Not To Compete - Disputes over covenants not to compete often pit businesses or individuals against each other. We have handled many of these cases in courts, and are skilled at securing and resisting TROs and permanent injunctions to protect employer interests in any type of case. We regularly litigate non-compete claims based on unfair competition and common law misappropriation of trade secrets. In drafting a covenant not to compete for your company, we structure it precisely so that your provision of confidential and proprietary information during an employee’s time with you is balanced by securing the agreement to refrain from working for a competitor for a certain period of time, from soliciting or serving your customers or recruiting your other employees, and from divulging the information you provided during employment.
Employment Litigation - Any protected class of employees – by age, race, gender, disability, or religion – could bring suit under the discrimination statutes, and we have successfully litigated and resolved all types of discrimination matters. We believe our employment litigators have tried more cases than any other firm in the state. Our strong regional practice, class action experience, experience in every federal district court, in most of the state circuit courts, and experience representing clients in several other states, add additional value for our clients.
Education - We counsel school districts regarding compliance with the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, Public School Employee Fair Hearing Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. 1400, et seq., the Voting Rights Act, Title IX, the Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 4071, and other federal and state laws governing school districts, their students, and employees. Our education lawyers also represent school districts in cases involving constitutional issues such as free speech, religion and student searches.
Immigration and employer compliance - We assist companies in establishing I-9 compliance procedures, and our attorneys provide guidance on documentation and employment eligibility issues that arise in the hiring or re-verification process. Our employment law litigators also work collaboratively to defend employers who are subject to I-9 audits, worksite enforcement actions, and immigration-related discrimination claims at both the administrative agency and judicial levels.
Workers' Compensation - Primarily we work to defend employers in workers' compensation cases. Our experience also extends to FELA and Longshoremen Act cases. When it is appropriate to do so, we collaborate with lawyers in the firm’s healthcare and tax practices, to provide the best and most complete guidance and representation from a full-service perspective. In addition to handling investigations and discovery on behalf of clients with regard to specific incidents alleged, building the case in order to successfully defend it, we advise clients on developing, documenting, and implementing effective policies and procedures in compliance with state and federal laws. Besides numerous hearings and appeals, our work has included mediations, negotiations, and all types of structured or lump-sum settlements.
Trade Secrets - Our lawyers have broad experience in all facets of trade secrets law. We handle enforcement of trade secret rights as part of restrictive covenants that bind former employers, and also advise new employers who have hired individuals bound by such covenants. We regularly seek injunctive relief to enforce employers’ rights and frequently litigate contractual disputes relating to alleged breaches of confidentiality and trade secret restrictions.
Wage and Hour - We have broad and effective experience representing employers in both State and Federal Courts in the recent increase in private wage-hour actions. We can help you audit your pay practices to make sure that you have properly classified employees as exempt or non-exempt for minimum wage and overtime issues and help you ensure that employees are not working “off the clock.” We will assist you in an investigation conducted by the Department of Labor and defend FLSA actions brought by the department or individuals.
Proactive Counseling - Our employment lawyers will work closely with your managers and human resources professionals, as well as with senior executives and in-house counsel, to develop a particular understanding of your employment issues and policies. The best approach to employment law problems is to keep them from occurring. Our lawyers will help you develop and implement a sound strategy for administering your personnel relationships in a way that identifies potential problems before they become concerns for your company.
Our advice goes well beyond a review and revision of your existing policies and procedures or the creation of a new employee handbook for your company from scratch. We will help you comply with DOL, EEOC, and NLRB requirements, and we work with you to help you draft and revise policies that not only fit legal requirements but also adhere to sound business principles. And, we make sure that your policies fit your culture and objectives. We do not offer a cookie-cutter approach; we offer collaborative guidance specifically for your company.
Labor Relations and Management Representation - Whether your company currently deals with union representation or seeks to maintain a workplace free of such involvement, our highly effective labor relations counsel can be crucial to helping you maintain a competitive workplace while minimizing conflicts and maximizing your management flexibility. We make sure you comply with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election procedures and counter aggressive unionizing efforts without creating a “union-busting” controversy. If you face a union organizing drive, we’ll help you maintain a positive working environment, communicate fully with all employees, and comply with NLRB requirements while aggressively defending your rights. We have also proactively assisted management through extensive union avoidance training.
Other areas of experience include:
- Labor relations
- EEOC Compliance
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Family Medical Leave Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- State & Federal Court Appeals
- Employee Compensation
- Title VII
Focused on our Team
Recognition in The Best Lawyers in America is extensive and nine attorneys have been named Lawyers of the Year for their work in bet-the-company litigation, employment law (individuals and management), labor law (management) and labor and employment litigation. Additionally, we received the most attorneys ranked in Arkansas in bet-the-company litigation, employment law (management) and labor and employment litigation.
Chambers USA has ranked three of the group’s attorneys for their work in labor and employment. Reviews by Chambers called the attorneys “reliable and responsive,” “very capable,” and “experienced advocate.”
With experience doing everything from working as a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to serving on clients’ labor negotiating teams, we know the practical problems your company faces and work with you to develop the best solutions to them.