There are some situations, such as major class actions or crippling strikes, where employment lawsuits are "bet the company" cases. But we understand that some employment cases are more important than others—because of the people involved (such as when senior executives make the decisions), the potential ripple effects on future litigation, they involve compensation or management practices (FLSA challenges) or the client's desire to defend a decision against a frivolous challenge. What might be a routine EEO case to one client, where an early settlement is the goal, could be a critical battle to another client. Accordingly, we tailor our litigation approach to the specific needs and expectations of our clients on a case-by-case basis. We work closely with our in-house contacts to formulate a litigation plan that will achieve our clients’ specific goals. We assess cases early, and attempt to secure the most advantageous results possible through negotiation and settlement.
Our goal is always to avoid litigation – if possible and appropriate under the circumstances. Nevertheless, despite proactive efforts, employees frequently file administrative charges or sue their current or former employers. We represent clients through all phases of the litigation process, from the filing of individual charges through the final appeals. Our attorneys defend claims of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, wage and hour violations, harassment, retaliation, whistle-blowing, entitlement to employee benefits, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision and other employment related torts. We prosecute claims relating to non-compete agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, non-solicitation agreements, unfair competition and employee raiding. We regularly litigate complex labor-management matters, such as breach of no-strike clauses, suits to compel arbitration, and unfair labor charges. Our Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits attorneys regularly handle jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and appeals nationwide, at the federal, state and local level, both in court and before administrative agencies. When the client's best strategy calls for vigorous litigation, our experience and depth provide a significant edge.
FLSA Collective Actions and Other Class Actions
The hottest and still growing area of employment litigation is wage and hour FLSA claims, usually filed as putative "collective actions." This is followed closely by discrimination class actions by employees (and customers) involving hiring, compensation, promotion and other practices. Saul Ewing has the resources, experience and ability to handle these complex matters in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Saul Ewing has defended class action, EEOC pattern and practice cases, and FLSA collective actions in several states. Examples of ongoing or recent representations in FLSA Collective Actions include:
- A global asset management firm sued in the Middle District of Pennsylvania;
- A large home electronics retailer sued in the Southern District of Florida;
- A large home health aide company sued in Pennsylvania State Court with a class of 1,000 members;
- A diversified financial holding company where the class included 30,000 members.
Our Approach to Litigation Management
We don’t confuse the importance of the case with budgets. In every case, management and in-house counsel want to know the risks and the potential costs up front, in order to make informed decisions as to whether or for how long to fight a particular case. We routinely provide early case assessment and budget estimates.
In many cases, the most cost-effective strategy is to use dispositive motions, sometimes early in the case, to decrease long–term discovery costs and either get rid of the case or reduce it to manageable size.
We routinely advise employers on ADR options before and during litigation, looking for when and how mediation or other ADR may lead to a satisfactory result.
Administrative Law and Legislative/Regulatory Affairs
Enforcement of many federal and state employment laws starts (and often ends) at the administrative level. Saul Ewing attorneys have extensive administrative law experience in dealing with investigations by the DOJ, EEOC, DOL, OFCCP and other federal and state agencies, from nationwide claims to Sarbanes-Oxley matters. We assist individual employers and industry associations in rulemaking proceedings before these and other agencies. Our knowledge and involvement before the regulations are final provides our clients a great advantage when those same rules arise in later litigation.
Regional Footprint, National Experience, International Perspective
Saul Ewing's offices are from New York to D.C., but our employment lawyers have been in courts from Massachusetts to Florida to California, and most states in-between. Ours is a multi-jurisdictional, nationwide practice.
We also assist U.S. employers and government contractors with their operations outside the U.S., including the extra-territorial application of various laws to employee’s recruited in the U.S. or to off-shore activities. Saul Ewing is a member of two law firm referral networks (The Interlex Group and International Law Firms) through which the Firm is linked to mid-size firms throughout the world.