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Labor And Employment Law

FMG's Labor and Employment Law Section attorneys are nationally recognized and have defended employment claims in more than 45 states for all types of public and private employers. We provide employers with practical and sound preventative advice. Our attorneys help clients develop policies and practices that reduce the risk of future litigation. FMG lawyers develop cost-effective legal solutions that meet business objectives and protect the rights and best interests of employers.

FMG attorneys represent all types of private and public employers in cases concerning Title VII (race, sex, religion, color and national origin), ADEA, ADA, FMLA, constitutional violations, sexual harassment, wage-hour violations and wrongful discharge. We serve as national and regional panel counsel and coordinating counsel for a number of the nation's largest providers of Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), Directors and Officers (D&O), Miscellaneous Professional Liability (MPL) and Public Officials/Professional Liability (PO/PL) Insurance.

Labor and Employment Law Professionals

Affirmative Action

We represent employers in all phases of affirmative action programs, including development of legally enforceable affirmative action plans. As a part of this representation, we guide our clients through the requirements of applicable federal and state affirmative action mandates, including Executive Order 11246, and the interplay with federal civil rights statutes and the United States Constitution. Our lawyers also work with our clients in preparation for an investigation by compliance officers with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). We also defend our clients against administrative or legal actions brought by the OFCCP for alleged violations of Executive Order 11246. Our group further guides employers through preparation of EEO-1 and VETS-100 Reports.

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California Employer Advice & Consulting Group

As part of our California Employment practice, we provide highly engaging, interactive employment and corporate training, compliance solutions, counseling and policy development over a variety of platforms. We partner with businesses, C-Level Executives and Human Resource professionals in a wide range of industries, as well as in-house counsel, law firms and insurers to create highly effective training programs, policies, compliance communications and best practices. We target areas of vulnerability, from management inconsistencies to practical nonalignment with California and federal laws. We help protect against liability and exposure to costly litigation, while simultaneously building a respectful and productive work environment where employees are valued and profits maximized. We work with clients to simplify and support policies, core values and business vision.

Representative Industries

  • Technology
  • Emerging growth companies
  • Restaurants
  • Hospitality
  • Home health care
  • Medical
  • Retail
  • Education
  • Auto Dealerships
Services:

Compliance with California and Federal Statutes Trainings Policies and Agreements Other Services
  • Guidance on FEHA and Title VII compliance
  • Advice and counsel on interaction of statutory leave laws
  • Exemption classification audits
  • Independent contractor classification audits
  • Sexual harassment investigations
  • Wage and hour boot-camp - California Labor Code compliance
  • AB 1825 sexual harassment training
  • Anti-bullying training
  • Training on compliance with disability accommodation laws
  • Employee handbooks
  • Offer letters
  • Employment agreements
  • Termination letters
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Arbitration agreements
  • Guidance on use of vacation, sick and PTO policies (including compliance with Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014)
  • Resolution of employment disputes
  • Risk management with regard to terminations and other adverse employment actions

Attorney: Dennis Strazulo.

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Customer Discrimination & Disputes

Our lawyers have substantial experience in representing employers in discrimination and related disputes with customers and other third parties, including malicious prosecution and false arrest claims. This area of the law presents unique public relations challenges and legal obstacles that our lawyers are equipped to handle. We work closely with our clients to manage the dispute and develop the evidence necessary to mitigate any alleged liability or claimed damages. In those situations where, due to concern over problematic facts or outside pressure, our client seeks a prompt resolution, we engage in private efforts to reach a prompt and confidential resolution.

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Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation

We represent employers in claims for alleged violations of various federal and state civil rights statutes, including claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (race, gender, religion, national origin, and color), 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (race), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and associated state anti-discrimination statutes.

FMG employment lawyers concentrate heavily on these claims and have been retained across the United States to defend employers and high-level executives against single- and multiple-plaintiff sexual and racial harassment claims, retaliation claims, and wrongful discharge allegations under federal and state laws. Indeed, the geographical breadth of our practice is evidenced by our firm having the first successful defense of a sexual harassment claim in California applying the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense upheld in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The increased likelihood of these claims, however, has compelled employers to give greater scrutiny to the manner in which they run their businesses and the policies and procedures under which they operate. As such, in addition to our litigation experience, our group’s lawyers consistently are retained to review and counsel employers on their employment practices, including hiring, discipline and termination policies, and to assess their effectiveness and compliance with federal and state civil rights laws. We have substantial experience in developing and implementing lawful strategies that increase the productivity of an employer’s workforce and simultaneously reduce the likelihood of an employee dispute.

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Diversity Training & Counseling

Companies that want to attract and keep the best talent recognize that diversity is increasingly important to new employees, some of whom will become tomorrow’s business leaders. However, much of the guidance available to employers about diversity management is of limited utility because it either suggests that a company must fundamentally change the way it conducts operations to manage diversity effectively, or it encourages companies to pursue diversity without connecting that pursuit to concrete business goals. Freeman Mathis & Gary’s diversity counseling is targeted to any company looking for a different approach, one that does more than enable it to “be a good corporate citizen” or “reflect the communities we serve.” FMG’s diversity counseling is geared to any company that wants to develop a diversity management strategy that: (1) addresses compliance-related concerns; (2) requires little “buy-in” from the workforce population; (3) inures to the benefit of all employees; (4) does not require a company to revamp the way it conducts day-to-day operations; and (5) allows the company to attract the most talented members of tomorrow’s workforce.

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EEO Training & Personnel Policies

FMG attorneys have conducted management and employee training on employment laws for clients throughout the country. Our lawyers regularly conduct such seminars not only for human resources officials, but also for management and other employees who need to have a practical understanding of equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. While many organizations conduct such training, our firm’s attorneys have consistently received outstanding reviews in conducting such training in an understandable and entertaining manner that results in effective EEO instruction.

Our group’s lawyers also have extensive experience in preparing comprehensive handbooks and other personnel policies. We frequently review and draft employee handbooks and assess risks associated with the provisions included in these manuals and policies. FMG attorneys prepare or modify existing policies to ensure that the policies are consistent with federal and state law and the actual practices of the employer and provide the best opportunity to successfully defend an employment decision. For instance, we commonly work with clients to develop sensible and legally enforceable sexual harassment, e-mail, and workplace violence policies.

We also work with employers to implement different types of employee testing. Our attorneys help employers develop strategies to battle against employee substance abuse, including through development of pre- and post-hire drug testing programs, supervisor training on drug addiction, and substance abuse policies. We also work with clients to implement policies for pre-hire tests, such as credit checks or honesty or personality tests, and we counsel our clients on the selection and development of those tests.

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Employee Benefits Litigation

Our firm defends lawsuits brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The firm has defended clients in actions concerning modifications to retiree benefits, alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, failure to receive severance benefits, and many other matters. We also counsel our clients on compliance with federal and state laws mandating continuation of health benefits for current or former employees. We also have successfully represented clients in litigation that arises from denial or cancellation of COBRA and other employee benefits.

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Employee Embezzlement & Theft

FMG attorneys have substantial experience in handling employee embezzlement, fraud and theft issues. Our clients have retained us to work with them on a preventative basis to develop and implement appropriate protocols to reduce the risk of employee embezzlement, theft and related violations of an employee’s duties to an employer.

In situations where an employer has discovered evidence of employee embezzlement or theft, we work closely with the client to provide a rapid response that mitigates any damages from the employee’s actions. We assist and counsel our clients in investigating the fraud and developing the evidence necessary to successfully pursue legal action against the individual and recover the stolen property.

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Employment Contracts & Severance Agreements

Our lawyers have substantial experience in drafting employment agreements for key employees, including senior-level managers and high-level executives. These agreements have provisions that specifically deal with, among other issues, compensation, bonuses, benefits, termination, and post-employment restrictive covenants. In doing so, we make sure to understand our client’s interests in entering into the employment relationship and any specific risks we need to protect against in securing contractual obligations from the employee.

FMG attorneys routinely advise employers in negotiating an employee’s separation from employment and, where appropriate, draft severance agreements that include full releases of all claims. For employers who are executing a reduction in force, we guide employers through the pitfalls of that process and prepare severance agreements in compliance with the ADEA and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act.

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FLSA & Government Contracts

Our firm counsels and defends employers on the requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act, and related state wage and hour statutes, including alleged violations of overtime, minimum wage, tip credit, prevailing wage rate, and record-keeping requirements. As plaintiffs’ lawyers discover new hyper-technical violations that result in statutorily imposed penalties and attorney’s fees, wage and hour lawsuits are increasing at a rapid rate.

FMG attorneys have substantial experience in representing employers at all stages of wage and hour disputes, from an investigation by the United States Department of Labor or a state or local agency through federal lawsuits, including collective actions on behalf of a class of individuals. Our lawyers have represented employers in these specialized collective actions, utilizing such skills to seek denial of class certification, reduction in the applicable statute of limitations period, and any entitlement to liquidated damages.

FMG attorneys conduct compliance audits for our clients to assess whether they are properly classifying employees as non-exempt employees and complying with the technical requirements of the FLSA, such as the proper manner to administer a tip pool arrangement. Our attorneys assist employers to develop bonus plans, severance plans, commission plans, and vacation policies to ensure state and federal compliance.

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Immigration Law

Our FMG Immigration Law practice team consists of experienced immigration lawyers who work closely with businesses and individuals in developing appropriate strategies to meet their immigration needs. Our immigration lawyers provide a full range of services to clients, including:
  • E-Verify compliance
  • I-9 training and audits
  • Start-up immigration and employment law advice for new companies;
  • Immigration management
  • Employer-Sponsored Immigration including temporary employment visas and permanent residence
  • Family-Sponsored Immigration including Fiancé visas
  • Investor Visas
  • Permanent Residence ("Green Cards");
  • Consular Processing
  • Waivers of Inadmissibility
  • Citizenship and Naturalization;
  • Reentry Permits and travel documents
  • Administrative appeals and litigation before the Administrative Appeals Office and in the federal court system

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NLRB & Collective Bargaining

Our practice group represents employers in a wide range of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) collective bargaining matters, including arbitrations, union organization, labor contract administration, strikes, injunctions, elections, and unfair labor charges arising from mergers and acquisitions, shutdowns, relocations, and other business reorganizations. Our lawyers handle these matters throughout the United States and have appeared before all regions of the NLRB and have argued before the NLRB. We also regularly counsel clients and train managers on how to maintain a union-free environment.

We also counsel clients and train managers in developing strategies that maintain a union-free workplace. Our firm is known for its aggressive advocacy of employers and creative strategies for preventing successful union organization attempts.

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OSHA

Our firm’s lawyers assist clients in navigating through the maze of regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We also represent clients in preparing for on-site investigations by OSHA and work with OSHA’s investigators to try and minimize the scope and duration of the investigation and any proposed fines assessed by OSHA. In cases of injury or fatality at a work site of our client, we work closely with our clients from the initial occurrence in handling investigations, work site security, and witness interviews.

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Public Employers

Our practice group has what is believed to be the largest public employer defense practice in the State of Georgia. We have represented over 250 public entities throughout the State of Georgia, including cities, counties, sheriff’s offices, school districts, water authorities, housing authorities, economic development and tourism authorities, and other local governmental entities for all types of public sector employment claims and civil service disputes.

As a part of this representation, we have worked closely with and defended hundreds of city council members, county commissioners, mayors, city and county managers, sheriffs, police chiefs, and other members of the public sector in suits by employees. Our representation of public entities includes the typical discrimination claim under the federal civil rights statutes, as well as constitutional claims for deprivation of due process, denial of equal protection and free speech, and other constitutional-based claims.

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Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets

Our employment lawyers are committed to helping employers protect their legitimate business interests by ensuring the protection against unlawful disclosure and use of an employer’s proprietary information and assets, including client lists and relationships, marketing strategies, financial information, computer programs, and research and development. Successfully protecting this information requires aggressive action. FMG attorneys work to implement and apply appropriate policies not only to safeguard employer information, but also to demonstrate its confidential nature.

FMG attorneys have years of experience defending and prosecuting trade secret litigation, as well as other time-sensitive matters involving potential confidential information disclosure, customer and employee raiding, and violations of covenants not to solicit customers or covenants not to compete. We work with clients in preparing effective non-disclosure, non-solicitation, and non-competition agreements. Our attorneys also assist clients in conducting audits of their proprietary information to ascertain the types of information afforded protection under the law and what steps employers need to take to gain that protection. We also work with companies to avoid possible liability that may result when companies hire employees with post-employment restrictions on their activities or employees with knowledge of their competitors’ confidential information and trade secrets.

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