Taft’s Labor and Employment Law group has received national recognition for the services it provides across the country for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to mid-sized and small employers in the private and public sectors. Taft’s attorneys are recognized in publications such as Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, and Indiana, Illinois and Ohio Super Lawyers. These accolades follow upon the legacy that began with the Labor and Employment Department’s founder, J. Mack Swigert, who worked with the late Senator Robert A. Taft to level the playing field for employers with the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act.
Our attorneys offer clients extensive experience and innovation in the wide range of legal services needed to manage the complex relationship between employers and employees, including labor management relations, employment litigation, day-to-day counseling, benefit plans, ERISA compliance and litigation, workplace safety and health issues, and immigration and citizenship. We envision and implement strategies that reflect our deep understanding of the business implications of our counsel and keep a clear focus on the client’s objectives, while providing creative and cost-effective representation and advice.READ MORE
Labor-Management Relations: Taft’s Labor and Employment group has decades of experience representing public and private employers, both large and small, in the important relationship between management and unions. Whether facing a union organizing campaign, bargaining for a new labor agreement, or trying to remain competitive under the terms of an existing contract, management’s approach must be well-considered at every step. And because all employers are increasingly expected to accomplish more with less, innovative solutions are often necessary. We provide thoughtful, creative advice in collective bargaining, union avoidance, NLRB cases, strike and lockout activities, grievance arbitration, labor litigation, and all other aspects of traditional labor law.
Taft’s labor attorneys have also kept pace with the evolving tactics that unions have come to favor in seeking new members. Corporate campaigns and top down unionization initiatives have become common. These tactics require carefully tailored responses, and our attorneys have helped develop comprehensive programs to address the aggressive, nontraditional approaches that some unions now take.
Labor relations in the public sector can pose other difficulties for employers. The focus on serving the general public, as opposed to the private sector’s profit-driven management style, can significantly alter an employer’s priorities when faced with a union organization campaign or with collective bargaining. Further, the long-term budget forecasting models often used in the private sector may be incompatible with a budgeting system controlled by a legislature or other third party, creating unique challenges when trying to forecast future revenues in connection with bargaining decisions. Taft’s labor and employment attorneys have a long history of representing cities, counties, villages, school boards, universities, and other public institutions in successfully managing the unique challenges and dynamics of a public sector bargaining relationship.
Employment Litigation: Even the most careful employer may face discrimination charges or employment litigation at some point. Unfortunately, an employer’s best intentions and the absence of a discriminatory motive do not guarantee that employment decisions are immune from challenge. We strive to advise our clients to act in ways that avoid discrimination charges and lawsuits and minimize exposure. But when claims are filed, our labor and employment attorneys have the necessary experience to provide a zealous defense, as they have handled thousands of matters before judges, juries, arbitrators, and government agencies, including numerous cases that have expanded the scope of employer rights. Taft attorneys have also represented clients in appeals relating to employment litigation handled by other law firms in the lower courts.
Using a cost-effective approach to employment litigation, we have defended individual and class action lawsuits involving claims alleging race, gender, age, disability, and religious discrimination and harassment, retaliation, Family and Medical Leave Act violations, wage/hour claims, ERISA violations, breach of contract, torts and various other employment-related causes of action. We have also successfully prosecuted and defended claims involving the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and enforcement of non-solicitation, non-compete and confidentiality provisions against current and former employers and employees. Our primary goal is obtaining pretrial judgment for clients, thereby avoiding drawn out and expensive litigation, but our attorneys stand ready for trial when necessary. Our group has had numerous successes in preliminary injunction hearings, jury trials and bench trials in both federal and state courts.
Day-to-Day Counseling: Employers are faced with difficult decisions every day. Taft’s labor and employment attorneys can help navigate around the many pitfalls that accompany those decisions. Likewise, our lawyers help employers comply with the constantly changing laws, regulations, and court decisions that apply to the employment relationship.
Our attorneys provide guidance to employers on a strategic basis in all labor and employment areas, including hiring, firing, layoffs, discipline, leaves of absence, promotions, pay practices, investigating employee complaints, harassment and diversity training, affirmative action plans, and review and drafting of employer policies. We help employers comply with the panoply of employment laws, some of which include:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Drug Free Workplace Act
- Equal Pay Act
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- National Labor Relations Act
- Non-Competes and Intellectual Property
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Prevailing Wage
- State and Federal WARN Laws
- Title VII and State and Local Human Rights Laws
- Trade Secrets Act
- Whistleblower Protections
Benefit Plans, ERISA Compliance and Litigation: Compliance with ERISA and the other associated employee benefit laws has never been more difficult. The laws change in material respects almost every year. Just the past few years have seen the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Part D, and significant changes to the pension laws that affect the construction and administration of both traditional defined benefit pension plans and 401(k) plans. The changes in the way claims for both pension and welfare benefits must be administered are sometimes confusing, but Taft has substantial experience in claims compliance.
Our attorneys have represented benefit plans, employers, and fiduciaries in some of the largest ERISA cases across the country, in matters involving more than $1 billion in exposure in both pension and retiree insurance types of cases. We have substantial experience in cases asserting pension plan design allegations, cash balance pension plan design claims, including claims of whipsaw, wearaway, and anti-cutback, retiree insurance claims, fiduciary duty claims, issues peculiar to pension plan mergers, other claims relating to employee welfare benefit plans, issues concerning summary plan descriptions, and claims concerning the efficacy of ERISA 204(h) notices. This experience includes both major class action cases as well as defense of lawsuits brought by individuals, including claims of wrongfully denied insurance and disability benefits. ESOPs and public pension funds can present their own peculiar issues, and Taft attorneys have substantial experience with these as well.
Taft's long history representing employers with unionized work forces includes substantial representation with benefits issues unique to an employer's union relationship, including potential withdrawal liability, MEPPA liability issues, and other matters relating to rules required of Taft-Hartley plans. Our attorneys have experience both in lawsuits and in arbitration where these issues are litigated.
Taft’s labor and employment attorneys also do substantial work in the fields of Workplace Safety and Health and Immigration and Citizenship.
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