Employment Litigation

Overview

"Very client-oriented, and a strong talent in the labor and employment arena. They keep us abreast of current issues affecting the business."

– Chambers USA 2012

These days, almost any workplace policy or interaction can be a potential hair trigger for costly, high-risk litigation. When the EEOC or aggressive plaintiffs’ lawyers come calling, retaining BakerHostetler signals that you mean business. The other side knows that we will not hesitate to use our litigation experience to convey the strength of your case or to defeat them in court.

Our employment litigators have a proven track record, with more than a dozen successful cases tried to verdict during the past year alone. We are veterans in defending complex multiparty employment disputes, class actions, government suits and the full scope of individual private-plaintiff actions in state and federal courts and agencies nationwide.

This year's litigation successes come from the front lines of employment and labor conflict. We have crossed swords with the EEOC, defeated class certifications in wage and hour disputes and beaten retaliation claims and whistleblower suits.

We help keep employers out of court, yet fight vigorously on their behalf if litigation is necessary.

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Although we try a large number of cases every year, the majority of our cases are won at the summary judgment stage, settled early in our client's best interest, or solved cost-effectively in alternative dispute resolution procedures (several of our lawyers serve as mediators and arbitrators and are familiar with both sides of the table). Our close consultative approach enables clients to weigh whether the costs and risks of litigation—including reputational risk—are worth bearing and when they are not, even if the case is winnable.

We also help our clients avoid employment litigation by implementing up-to-date workplace policies and practices and training management to ensure these policies are communicated effectively and applied fairly. We counsel clients on daily workplace issues to help avoid potential liability, including ensuring compliance with wage and hour laws, managing downsizings, plant closings, employee restructurings and handling incentive and buyout programs. We also provide regular updates to clients on changing workplace laws that affect their business. In addition, we are frequently asked to direct internal corporate investigations regarding serious employee misconduct.

Select Experience

  • Defended a national manufacturing company against litigation alleging, among other claims, age discrimination, breach of contract, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing. After removing the case from state court to federal court, we obtained a full defense verdict after a five-day trial in which the jury deliberated for less than two hours.
  • Defended a health plan company in connection with a high‐profile enforcement action filed by the EEOC on behalf of a class of former employees accusing the company of religious discrimination and harassment. After more than a three-week trial, our team successfully obtained favorable verdicts on many of the claims.
  • Represented a large national media company in a matter with alleged claims that ran the gamut from a hostile work environment continuing violation, age discrimination, sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination, to failure to promote claims and retaliation. The case was tried over two weeks in federal court. After deliberating more than eight hours, the jury ruled in favor of our client on all of the claims of race discrimination - the most significant claims in the lawsuit.
  • Successfully defended a transportation company in an EEOC suit alleging racial discrimination against certain terminated union employees who were seeking reinstatement. The case involved the complex intersection of federal civil rights laws and the Railway Labor Act and hinged on the EEOC’s attempt—rejected by the court—to change the law by removing subjective criteria from the employer’s decision-making process. Because a key defense witness was deceased, the suit presented difficult issues of proof.
  • Won a federal appeals court reversal of more than $600,000 in damages and attorneys' fees in a Title VII retaliation case. A terminated employee who started a consulting business alleged retaliation on grounds that an executive at her former employer told her that the company could not do business with her due to her pending wrongful termination suit (other counts of which were dismissed). The court accepted our argument that a reasonable employee would not be dissuaded from filing an EEOC charge because of the possibility that her former employer might refuse to do business with her separate company more than a year after her EEOC filing.
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Orlando
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Columbus
Partner Atlanta
Associate Chicago
Partner Cleveland
Associate Denver
Associate Houston
Associate Columbus
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Associate Atlanta
Partner Cleveland
Partner Atlanta
Partner Columbus
Associate Chicago
Associate Cleveland
Partner Houston
Partner Columbus
Partner Los Angeles
Counsel New York
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Cleveland
Associate New York
Associate New York
Associate Columbus
Associate Denver
Associate Houston
Partner Washington, D.C.
Staff Attorney Columbus
Associate Atlanta
Partner Columbus
Associate Atlanta
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Partner Atlanta
Associate Columbus
Counsel Cincinnati
Partner Cincinnati
Staff Attorney Houston
Partner Columbus
Partner Los Angeles
Staff Attorney Cincinnati
Associate Atlanta
Counsel Orlando
Staff Attorney Columbus
Partner Cleveland
Partner Chicago
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Partner Costa Mesa
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Orlando
Associate Atlanta
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Cleveland
Associate Seattle
Partner Orlando
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Chicago
Associate Washington, D.C.
Associate Columbus
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Columbus
Associate Atlanta
Partner New York
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Cincinnati
Associate Orlando
Counsel Denver
Associate Orlando
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Orlando
Associate New York
Staff Attorney Columbus
Partner Houston
Partner New York
Associate Cleveland
Associate Houston
Partner Cleveland
Associate Houston
Counsel Philadelphia
Associate Atlanta
Partner Cleveland
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Cleveland

Experience

  • Defended a national manufacturing company against litigation alleging, among other claims, age discrimination, breach of contract, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing. After removing the case from state court to federal court, we obtained a full defense verdict after a five-day trial in which the jury deliberated for less than two hours.
  • Defended a health plan company in connection with a high‐profile enforcement action filed by the EEOC on behalf of a class of former employees accusing the company of religious discrimination and harassment. After more than a three-week trial, our team successfully obtained favorable verdicts on many of the claims.
  • Represented a large national media company in a matter with alleged claims that ran the gamut from a hostile work environment continuing violation, age discrimination, sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination, to failure to promote claims and retaliation. The case was tried over two weeks in federal court. After deliberating more than eight hours, the jury ruled in favor of our client on all of the claims of race discrimination - the most significant claims in the lawsuit.
  • Successfully defended a transportation company in an EEOC suit alleging racial discrimination against certain terminated union employees who were seeking reinstatement. The case involved the complex intersection of federal civil rights laws and the Railway Labor Act and hinged on the EEOC’s attempt—rejected by the court—to change the law by removing subjective criteria from the employer’s decision-making process. Because a key defense witness was deceased, the suit presented difficult issues of proof.
  • Won a federal appeals court reversal of more than $600,000 in damages and attorneys' fees in a Title VII retaliation case. A terminated employee who started a consulting business alleged retaliation on grounds that an executive at her former employer told her that the company could not do business with her due to her pending wrongful termination suit (other counts of which were dismissed). The court accepted our argument that a reasonable employee would not be dissuaded from filing an EEOC charge because of the possibility that her former employer might refuse to do business with her separate company more than a year after her EEOC filing.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for an energy client after a two-week trial in the case of two original putative class representatives.
  • Successfully defended a manufacturing client during eight-day trial on gender discrimination claim when a defense verdict was reached in just 20 minutes.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a national insurer in a wage-and-hour case that is frequently cited by the U.S. Department of Labor and other courts and that was worth hundreds of millions of dollars to our client.
  • Successfully defended the largest hospital in Jacksonville, Florida in a complex case in which the plaintiff, a former department director, made a whistleblower claim under Florida law. After a lengthy trial, the jury rejected all of the plaintiff's claims and returned a verdict for our client.
  • Won a jury verdict in retaliatory discharge case in Southern Texas court in which the plaintiff was terminated 10 days after filing a workers' compensation claim.
  • Successfully defended a banking client against a former executive's $5 million lawsuit over the outsourcing of her responsibilities. We showed that the company's action was based on sound industry practice and prevailed after a 17-day jury trial in a court where the plaintiff's husband was a judge.
  • Successfully defended a Fortune 500 client in a week-long bench trial in a case alleging tortious interference with a consulting agreement, in which the plaintiff alleged $35 million in damages.
  • Helped our client receive an unprecedented favorable settlement with the EEOC because not enough claimants had qualified to be paid out of the settlement fund.
  • Won a unanimous jury verdict after a week-long trial for our client, a national newspaper publisher. The case involved allegations of ADA violations, the Tennessee Human Rights Act, the Tennessee Handicap Act and the Tennessee Whistleblower statute.
  • Won a unanimous jury verdict in favor of our client, a national insurer, in a wrongful discharge case brought under Ohio law. The jury deliberated for less than one hour.
  • After an eight-day trial in federal court in Buffalo, New York, we won a jury verdict for our client, a global leader in the information services industry, in a case that was initiated over 10 years ago as a sex discrimination class action seeking a class of several hundred current and former female employees.
  • Won a unanimous jury verdict for a Fortune 100 client after a week-long race discrimination trial in federal court in Ohio.
  • In a six-plaintiff race discrimination lawsuit, we achieved a significant sanctions award for our client after convincing the court that the plaintiffs' action was so meritless that sanctions were warranted.
  • Convinced federal court that there is no right to jury trial in whistleblower cases brought under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
  • Won summary judgment for a major airline in a frequently cited Sixth Circuit decision that is a leading case defining constructive discharge.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA
    • Labor & Employment: Florida (2007 to 2019)
    • Labor & Employment: Ohio (2007 to 2019)
    • Labor & Employment: Texas (2014 to 2019)
    • Recognized Practitioner: Labor & Employment in California (2017 to 2019)
    • Recognized Practitioner: Labor & Employment in Washington, D.C. (2017 to 2019)
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and employment – Labor-management relations (2015 to 2019)
    • Labor and employment – Immigration (2017 to 2019)
    • Labor and employment – Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense (2015 to 2019)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"
    • Employment Law – Management: National (2011 to 2020); Cincinnati (2016 to 2020); Cleveland (2011 to 2020); Columbus (2011 to 2020); Denver (2012 to 2020); Houston (2011 to 2020); Los Angeles (2013 to 2020); Orlando (2011 to 2020); Washington, D.C. (2014 to 2020)
    • Labor Law – Management: National (2012 to 2020); Cincinnati (2020); Cleveland (2011 to 2020); Columbus (2011 to 2020); Denver (2012 to 2018); Houston (2011 to 2020); Los Angeles (2017 to 2020); Orlando (2011 to 2020); Washington, D.C. (2017 to 2020)
    • Litigation – Labor & Employment: National (2012 to 2020); Atlanta (2019 and 2020); Cincinnati (2020); Cleveland (2012 to 2020); Columbus (2015 to 2020); Denver (2012 to 2018); Houston (2014 to 2020); New York (2019 and 2020); Orlando (2012 to 2020); Washington, D.C. (2015 to 2020)

News

News

Press Releases

Publications

Alerts

Articles

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Law Spotlight
UPDATE 2: Texas Legislature and Courts Clash With Cities Over Mandatory Sick Leave: What Employers Need to Know
By Courtney B. Warren
November 26, 2019
This is an update to previous posts from June 24, 2019 and July 31, 2019. On Friday, November 22, Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai ordered that San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance, which was scheduled to take effect December 1, be...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Ahead of 2020 Election, New York City Issues Enforcement Guidance on National Origin and Immigration Status Discrimination
By Marc-Joseph Gansah, Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
October 21, 2019
Immigration has been at the forefront of news reports and court cases recently, and has already proven to be a hot button issue for the 2020 election candidates to debate. As we move closer to the election, such political conversation may...
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Employment Law Spotlight
UPDATE: New York State Expected to Vastly Overhaul Harassment/Discrimination Laws Again
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
August 14, 2019
As we reported in our blog post, and our summer newsletter, in late June, the New York Legislature passed a bill that vastly changed the discrimination and harassment landscape for employers. Today, Gov. Cuomo signed that bill into law. As...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Supreme Court reopens the door for SLAPPing retaliation and discrimination claims
By Joseph S. Persoff
August 5, 2019
The California Supreme Court has ruled that a former employee’s retaliation or discrimination claim can be dismissed at the initial stages of litigation via California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In Wilson v. CNN, decided July 22, 2019, the...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New York State Bans Race Discrimination Based on Hair Texture and Hairstyles
By Saima Z. Sheikh
August 1, 2019
We previously reported that the NYC Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidance for employers regarding racial discrimination on the basis of hair under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Although that guidance...
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