Employment Advice, Counseling and Training

Achieving your business objectives with vanguard perspectives on employment law

Capabilities at a glance

  • Skilled attorneys who understand the evolving regulatory landscape and can position your business to achieve its goals at an acceptable level of risk.
  • Employment advice and counseling focused on your unique business objectives, built around practical solutions and best practices learned over our team’s many years of experience.
  • Customized training programs for your human resources and management teams in the areas of highest risk, such as workplace harassment, wage and hour compliance, corporate compliance, internal investigations and union organizing.

Enabling business value through proactive employment counseling and advice

Our experience advising global organizations from multiple industries on daily employment issues enables us to empower our clients with knowledge on best practices, trends, forecasts and lessons learned. Our clients leverage this knowledge to gain a competitive advantage and achieve strategic goals. We go beyond merely opining on whether a proposed course of action presents legal or compliance risks. As your trusted business advisor, we have the shared purpose of maximizing your human capital outcomes and talent management goals.

We also recognize that unresolved issues or areas of unmitigated exposure can develop into litigation events and government regulatory actions that can disrupt your business, escalate in costs and have lasting effects. Our counseling and advice therefore focuses on proactive maneuvers and tactical solutions to avoid needless employment disputes. We present our clients with alternative pathways for achieving their unique business objectives, at their specific levels of risk tolerance, and partner with them in making critical decisions. Our team is well-positioned to advise on the full spectrum of employment issues, including:

Equal Employment Opportunity and DEI

Claims of workplace misconduct and unfair treatment—particularly harassment, discrimination and retaliation—continue to create a sense of urgency among clients. Because of the enterprise risks, financial impact, operational disruption, reputational harm and even investor confidence issues that these claims bring, clients seek our advice on how to prevent incidents and enhance workplace culture.

The initiatives we develop for clients take many forms and can encompass policies, procedures, comprehensive training, broader compliance programs, internal investigations and organizational norms aimed at promoting shared values around EEO and DEI. We help clients develop their processes for reporting misconduct to executive leadership and devise prompt remedial interventions. We also educate clients on trends in the law related to EEO and DEI.


Corporate Compliance and Internal Investigations

We advise at all stages of development for corporate compliance programs. For example, we counsel executive leadership on overseeing, implementing and monitoring compliance initiatives. We partner with stakeholders to prepare messaging about the program, as well as the training and evaluation of whether the program has sufficient staffing and controls. When the need arises for periodic audits, we serve as a resource for assessing risks, lessons learned and effectiveness.

When alleged violations of misconduct or violations surface, clients engage us to join their tactical response team. We have decades of experience directly investigating and reporting on high profile incidents. If the client decides to investigate the matter internally, we advise compliance personnel (including HR) on scheming and strategy in dozens of investigations each year, including conducting the root-cause analyses and formulating preventative remedial measures.


Corporate Transactions

We resolve the complex labor and employment issues that can arise in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and other transactions. We direct our clients' attention to areas of material risk, cost allocation and HR integration with withdrawal liability, WARN Act, COBRA compliance (and applicable state and local laws), collective bargaining implications, wage structures HR policies, benefit plans, executive compensation, non-compete agreements, headcount and related employee relations and communications issues.


Labor and Union Relations

Our attorneys frequently advise union and non-union clients on a broad array of labor relations issues, including NLRA compliance, union avoidance, union organizing campaigns and elections, and bargaining and interpretation of collective bargaining agreements.


Wage and Hour Compliance

We help clients maintain equitable and competitive compensation structures. By leveraging our auditing and early detection capabilities, clients have avoided compliance violations and lawsuits on issues with equal pay, independent contractors, minimum wage and overtime, classification and exemption status, wage deductions, reimbursements, record keeping requirements and a host of other wage payment subjects. Clients consult with us for wage and hour solutions because of our innovative approaches and our perspectives informed by years of litigating complex wage and hour cases.


Business and Trade Secret Protection

Both in the context of corporate transactions and in the usual course of business, we assist companies in drafting, implementing and enforcing employment agreements, long term incentive plans, retirement programs and severance agreements. Correspondingly, we enable clients to protect their intellectual property by drafting restrictive covenants that address confidentiality, competition, solicitation, poaching, raiding and other types of business protection agreements.


Workplace Privacy, Biometric Information and Data Security

We are national thought leaders on issues of biometric privacy, informed by our deep experience litigating single-plaintiff and class action suits brought under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA). We also have attorneys who analyze the evolving legal issues in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. We monitor and guide clients on the developing state and federal privacy regimes that impact employee data, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act.

These areas of focus position us to advise clients on a wide spectrum of workplace privacy issues, from the traditional issues of locker searches and access to employee medical records, to whether and when it is appropriate to review private parts of an employee’s social media accounts that were accessed from work. Correspondingly, we counsel clients on their practices of data storage, maintenance and regular storage.


OSHA Compliance and Workplace Safety

The Covid-19 pandemic placed a renewed focus on workplace health and safety, OSHA and the state-operated OSHA plans. We locked arms with our clients to help them with infection control, hazard prevention and incident responses. We were prepared for this because we regularly advise clients on OSHA compliance and related workplace safety matters. We offer prevention-focused workplace safety strategies and counseling on navigating OSHA inspections, investigations, enforcement actions and litigation, responding to catastrophic workplace incidents and handling threats of violence at work.


Business Restructuring and WARN Act Compliance

Although it is never comfortable to consider layoffs or reductions in force, sometimes financial realities or economic downturns require deft and sensitive recommendations on workforce restructuring. We advise companies on planning, documenting, avoiding disparate impact and executing reductions in force and reorganizations—from start to finish—in a compliant manner that emphasizes how the different parts of the process fit together, and how decisions made early on can affect the ability to successfully defend the process from challenges.


Leave Management and Reasonable Accommodations

We advise on hundreds of disability accommodation, pregnancy accommodation and leave requests every year. We also have counseled clients on satisfying their obligations under federal consent decrees with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

The volume of leave and accommodation requests that we evaluate on a regular basis makes us a national leader in this area of the law and uniquely positions us to design protocols, systems and policy initiatives for our clients. Correspondingly, we also advise our clients regarding their obligations to make their services, property, buildings, websites and other digital media accessible to individuals with disabilities, and how to do so in a practical and risk-tolerant manner.


Performance Management and HR Systems

Clients consult with us on their practices for all stages of employment, including applicant flow, hiring, onboarding and employee exiting, with the aim of eliminating compliance oversights and minimizing protracted disputes. We also counsel clients on the daily aspects of performance management, such as incentive structures, total rewards, performance improvement plans, disciplinary actions, termination procedures and all forms of policy and handbook design. In connection with this, we likewise advise on the compliance areas that are adjacent to the employment cycle, such as background checks and drug testing.


A broad choice of employment training programs customized for your needs

We understand how critical and challenging it is to remain up-to-date and compliant with the rapid developments in employment law. To keep our clients informed, we leverage our institutional and industry knowledge, lessons and best practices to offer guidance and perspective on the most pressing and salient employment issues your organization faces via tailored training programs.

Working with your team, our attorneys design an appropriate training curriculum—one that is practical and suits your organization’s needs—and then deliver the training at the location and via the medium of your choosing. Example training program topics frequently requested by our clients include:

  • Recognizing and Preventing Workplace Discrimination, Harassment and Disrespectful Behavior
  • Leave Law Management: The FMLA, the ADA and Workers’ Compensation
  • FLSA Wage and Hour Update and Trending Compliance Issues
  • Restrictive Covenants: Practice Considerations and Modern Trends
  • Dos and Don’ts of Recruiting and Documentation
  • Pay Equity Compliance Strategies
  • HIPAA Training
  • Immigration for Employers
  • Employee Benefits Fiduciary Training
  • Internal Investigations Methodology and Practicum Training

In addition to our customized training programs, we keep our clients informed of legal developments through a catalogue of articles, webinars and roundtable sessions.

Successes

  • We served as regional employment counsel for a large international shipping and logistics companies, with a responsibility for all daily counseling and advice needs for the western half of the United States, including terminations, discipline, leave management, disability and pregnancy accommodations, wage and compensation compliance, background checks, drug testing, workplace policies, severance arrangements and high-priority HR internal investigations.
  • Our training programs provide practical advice, tools and best practices on workplace issues and recent developments in laws affecting employees. Our forums are unique in that we work with each client to set their own agenda and will often come on site for a full day of training at the client’s preferred location. Over the years, our seminars have helped clients understand trending employment issues and identify potential areas of litigation. We have been successful at helping avoid or limit risk in many circumstances. We have also provided regular advice on FMLA, workers compensation and reasonable accommodation laws, ensuring our clients were legally compliant in all areas. We have worked with clients to create best practices to complete internal investigations and implemented required remedial measures.
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