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

  • Defeated certification of a class of over 4,500 employees of a video rental chain in which plaintiffs alleged that they were required to perform tasks after clocking out. A federal judge in Illinois ruled that the plaintiffs "failed to show that common issues predominate[d] the individualized inquiries that would be necessary." Our attorneys successfully demonstrated that plaintiffs' claims "were inconsistent and varied by store and by supervisor."
  • Won decertification of a class of over 600 IT employees in a claim alleging unpaid overtime in a case involving the complex question of whether the duties and responsibilities of the IT employees involved sufficient discretion to meet the administrative exemption under California wage and hour law. On remand, a federal judge found that question would yield individualized answers based on which tasks an employee was assigned and how time was apportioned between those tasks.
  • 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 New York
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Columbus
Counsel Atlanta
Partner Atlanta
Partner Cleveland
Partner New York
Associate Houston
Associate Columbus
Partner Costa Mesa
Of Counsel Washington, D.C.
Of Counsel Houston
Associate Columbus
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Counsel Columbus
Partner Houston
Associate Columbus
Counsel Los Angeles
Associate New York
Staff Attorney Cincinnati
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Cleveland
Partner Houston
Associate New York
Associate Columbus
Associate Houston
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner Chicago
Partner Columbus
Counsel Cincinnati
Associate Los Angeles
Counsel Chicago
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Columbus
Partner Los Angeles
Counsel Los Angeles
Counsel Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Associate Houston
Associate Houston
Partner Columbus
Associate Los Angeles
Partner Denver
Associate Orlando
Associate New York
Associate Chicago
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Cleveland
Associate Orlando
Partner Orlando
Partner Chicago
Partner Orlando
Staff Attorney Columbus
Associate Columbus
Partner Houston
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Associate Columbus
Partner New York
Partner Los Angeles
Associate New York
Counsel Denver
Associate Orlando
Partner Washington, D.C.
Counsel Orlando
Partner Cleveland
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Orlando
Associate New York
Partner Chicago
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Partner New York
Associate Houston
Partner Cleveland
Partner Columbus
Counsel Philadelphia
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland

Experience

  • Defeated certification of a class of over 4,500 employees of a video rental chain in which plaintiffs alleged that they were required to perform tasks after clocking out. A federal judge in Illinois ruled that the plaintiffs "failed to show that common issues predominate[d] the individualized inquiries that would be necessary." Our attorneys successfully demonstrated that plaintiffs' claims "were inconsistent and varied by store and by supervisor."
  • Won decertification of a class of over 600 IT employees in a claim alleging unpaid overtime in a case involving the complex question of whether the duties and responsibilities of the IT employees involved sufficient discretion to meet the administrative exemption under California wage and hour law. On remand, a federal judge found that question would yield individualized answers based on which tasks an employee was assigned and how time was apportioned between those tasks.
  • 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 2017)
    • Ohio: Band 1 (2007 to 2017)
    • Texas (2014 to 2017)
  • The Legal 500 United States: Labor and employment: Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense (2015, 2016)
  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Litigation - Labor & Employment (2017)
    • National Tier 1
    • Cleveland, Tier 1
    • Denver, Tier 2
    • Columbus, Tier 1
    • Houston, Tier 1
    • Orlando, Tier 1
    • Washington, D.C., Tier 2
  • Corporate Counsel® and The American Lawyer magazines "Go-to Law Firm” for Labor & Employment by general counsel (2013)
  • Workforce Management Magazine: Top Employment Law Firms
  • The Lawdragon/Human Resource Executive list of the Nation's Top Employment Attorneys includes three members of the team in their Top 100 list, with one additional attorney named among the nation's top 20 labor lawyers.
  • Florida Trend's “Legal Elite"
  • Numerous partners have been certified as employment law specialists by their respective state bar associations.

News

News

Press Releases

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Law Spotlight
New NYC Law Requires Written Agreements for Solo Contractors, Even Nannies and Babysitters!
May 19, 2017
Do you have a nanny or a housekeeper? A regular babysitter? If so, pay attention. Anyone hiring a solo independent contractor in New York City will need to comply with the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which takes effect May 15, 2017. Anyone...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Independent Contractor Trucker Dodges FAA Arbitration and Keeps His Class Action Alive
May 19, 2017
In Oliveira v. New Prime, Inc., No. 15-2364 (May 12, 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit confronted two arbitration-related questions of first impression in that Circuit. In the case, Dominic Oliveira had signed an...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New York District Court Holds That Title VII Protects Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
May 16, 2017
Following the Supreme Court decision that same sex marriages are legal, there has been a movement to further expand rights and protections against sexual orientation bias. That trend is appearing in federal courts, where plaintiffs are...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Supreme Court Rejects State Rule That Subjects Arbitration Agreements to Higher Standards
May 16, 2017
Some wondered why the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kindred Nursing Centers L.P. v. Clark, No. 16-32, and after oral argument on February 22, 2017, many felt they knew the outcome. Indeed, Justice Stephen Breyer commented during...
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Employment Class Action Blog
California Supreme Court Clarifies “Day of Rest” Requirements
By Lucas Paule
May 10, 2017
California’s employment laws have consistently caused headaches for employers because even minor technical violations of these laws can fuel class action litigation and prove costly. However, a recent decision by the California Supreme...
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