The attorneys in Lerch, Early & Brewer’s Employment & Labor group represent management in all matters that concern the employment relationship and the workplace. Our goal is to empower employers to effectively and properly hire, direct, compensate, discipline, and if necessary, terminate employees to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Extending the Breadth and Depth of the HR Department
Working with our attorneys is like extending an HR department without hiring additional people. We assist employers in establishing sound practices that minimize the risk of employment claims. Business owners and human resources representatives get sound counsel by picking up the phone and taking advantage of our significant breadth and depth of experience. We provide guidance about the implications of different workplace decisions, and because we are aware of the legal, business, and practical impact of federal, state and local regulations, we help employers avoid employment pitfalls that distract management from running their business, and which create legal exposure and financial risk.
The attorneys in our group work extremely hard to place clients ahead of the curve through training; regular suggestions on best employment practices; updates on local and national employment law developments; and a commitment to understanding their business needs as well as to their success and well-being. One of our strongest attributes is our ability to utilize the experience and talents of our colleagues and to devise tailored solutions that work for our clients. Our success stems in large part from our ability to listen carefully to our clients’ needs and goals and to develop appropriate strategies to effectuate them.
Reducing the Likelihood of Employment Claims
In an effort to reduce the risk of litigation, our attorneys provide counseling and advice relating to compliance with all applicable employment statutes and regulations, and with judicial and administrative rulings. In this regard, among other things, we regularly advise employers with respect to day-to-day employment matters (such as counseling and discharges), significant developing areas in the law and long-term policy issues.
Our employment and labor professionals regularly advise their clients with respect to:
- Developing personnel policies and procedures, including creation of employee handbooks and application forms,
- Preparing and negotiating employment, independent contractor, and severance agreements,
- Preparing, enforcing, and in some cases, opposing restrictive covenant agreements (non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements), and
- Implementing internal compliance audits.
Defending Employers Against Workplace Claims
When a claim cannot be avoided, our professionals represent private, corporate and public sector employers before all relevant federal, state and local administrative agencies. We also represent employers in federal and state court proceedings if disputes proceed to litigation. Specifically, we represent our clients in defending against claims that allege employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), national origin, age, and in particular, disability, as well as other bases protected under state and local laws (including sexual orientation and marital status).
Attorneys in the group also represent employers in defending against claims that arise under the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage-hour claims (generally, overtime issues) that develop under the Fair Labor Standards Act, wage payment claims that arise under state law, wrongful discharge, breach of implied employment contract and other common law claims.
The firm also has significant experience with respect to matters that involve compliance with the National Labor Relations Act, the Uniformed Servicer Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA), Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act Of 1974 (VEVRAA) and the Occupational Safety And Health Act (OSHA).
Training Management and Supervisors
We frequently make presentations to clients to train their management and supervisors regarding employment law issues and employer obligations. In particular, we address significant developing areas of employment law such as sexual harassment, wage-hour issues (particularly overtime and other compensation issues), and hiring and firing employees, specifically those who have health-related conditions.
Representing Senior Executives
The firm also represents senior executives in connection with employment contract issues and disputes.
- Defended against a wide variety of discrimination claims, including race, sex, age and disability claims
- Conducted complex sexual harassment investigations for clients that resulted in the resolution of potential claims and the identification of other workplace issues that were also resolved through the imposition of appropriate discipline
- Defended a company against claims made by a terminated employee, including charges of alleged racial discrimination and a charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board that she had been fired due to her participation in "protected and concerted activities"
- Negotiated a settlement with the State of Maryland on behalf of a construction subcontractor that had been accused of violating the state's prevailing wage law; defended the same company against claims made by a labor union on behalf of employees for unpaid overtime and wage payment violations
- Settled a multi-party class action wage-hour lawsuit via mediation in a short period of time that resulted in settlement terms very favorable to the client after it was successfully removed from the litigation track and mediated through the assistance of a federal magistrate judge
- Resolved misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty claims shortly after a federal lawsuit was filed by a former employee who raised insurance issues
- Mediated a complex employment dispute, as well as a contentious business dispute among the sibling owners of a family business
- Conducted comprehensive training on a variety of employment issues, including preventing harassment claims and improving performance management, for numerous companies in a variety of industries
- Helped clients diffuse actual and potential workplace violence issues with the assistance of security experts and law enforcement agencies