Labor & Employment
Employers face mounting legal challenges today as government continues to impose new workplace regulations and employees become more litigious. Hiscock & Barclay attorneys provide comprehensive, practical and effective advice to public and private sector clients on the full spectrum of labor and employment matters. Our attorneys have extensive experience in all areas of labor and employment law and represent employers throughout the United States on such matters as employment discrimination, sexual harassment, organizational restructuring and reductions in force, employee discipline and discharge, workplace safety, personnel policies, employment agreements, employee benefit plans and ERISA, equal pay and overtime pay, executive contracts, whistle-blowing, retaliation, internal investigations, training, unionization, labor-management relations and negotiations. While we strive to protect our clients from being sued, we are fully prepared and experienced to represent them before all administrative agencies, in arbitrations, and, to defend them from individual claims and class actions before state and federal courts.
Discrimination Claims/Civil Rights Litigation/OFCCP Audits and Compliance
Laws and regulations regarding employment discrimination are constantly changing and there is no margin of error. Our lawyers focus on preventive practices, including developing custom-tailored management/supervisory seminars and training programs that meet individual clients’ needs and workplace-specific requirements. In particular, we offer assistance to Human Resources and legal staff in developing consistent employment policies at nationwide locations. Employers depend on our in-depth knowledge of federal and state laws and regulations including our advice regarding compliance with the matters arising under Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act, and related requirements for federal contractors.
Wage & Hour
Every business must comply with the various federal and state wage and hour laws. Hiscock & Barclay advises, educates and trains clients on the legal requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, Walsh-Healey Act, the Service Contract Act, and other federal and state wage and hour laws and regulations. Our practical counsel includes advice on employee classification issues, minimum wage and overtime pay, and policy reviews to help our clients achieve compliance while meeting their business objectives.
We advise employers on lawfully maintaining a union-free workplace, counsel them during union organization drives and campaigns, and represent them before the National Labor Relations Board, the New York Public Employment Relations Board, and other state labor relations agencies. Our lawyers serve as chief negotiators and strategists during collective bargaining and assist employers in analyzing and interpreting collective bargaining agreements.
Excellent employment agreements are an essential ingredient of business success because they can help attract and retain high caliber employees, protect the employer’s trade secrets and other intellectual property, and can minimize the risk of costly litigation. Hiscock & Barclay has substantial experience in reviewing and preparing employment contracts, confidentiality agreements, noncompetition agreements, nondisclosure policies, invention assignment agreements, nonsolicitation agreements, as well as separation and release agreements.
Trade Secret Protection
Many businesses fail to protect the most valuable and easily stolen assets they own: their ideas, customer information, and data essential to their business. The protection of commercially valuable information and trade secrets is a unique area of intellectual property law and employment law. Trade secrets can include financial, technical, scientific, or economic information about a business or its clients and can take the form of documents, electronically stored information, graphics, charts or a combination of these and trade secret protection is a critical component of sound business planning.
All employers face the challenge of developing economic employee benefit plans and executive compensation packages that attract, retain and provide incentives to employees. The employee benefits arena is governed by the extremely complex statutes and regulations and rulings released by various federal agencies. One of our primary responsibilities is the interpretation and application of the various statutes to help our clients create and administer benefit structures that are individually tailored to them and their employees. We design, draft, and help them administer all varieties of qualified pension and profit sharing plans, cash or deferred (401k) plans, stock bonus and employee ownership plans, 403(b) annuity and other plans for tax-exempt organizations, Section 125 cafeteria plans, 501(c)(9) organizations (VEBAS), medical expense reimbursement plans and disability plans, and various forms of executive compensation arrangements, including non-qualified deferred compensation plans, “golden parachutes,” excess benefit plans and incentive stock options.
As government responds to environmental and workplace safety concerns, laws and regulations affecting safety and health continue to multiply. Amendments to the federal Occupational Safety & Health Act and state health and safety laws are commonplace as are new demands by the state and federal agencies that enforce workplace safety rules. Employers who develop fully-integrated safety programs often find that there is a significant decrease in the costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses, including a reduction in the payment of workers’ compensation benefits. Hiscock & Barclay attorneys develop written safety and health programs; we assist employers in complying with OSHA standards and regulations; and our experience representing employers includes assisting employers in OSHA audits and, when necessary, contesting safety citations and penalties.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) was passed to provide employees and communities notice of certain plant closings and mass layoffs. Generally speaking, it requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60-days-advance notice of plant closings and mass layoffs to affected workers or their labor union representatives; to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government. Hiscock & Barclay counsels our clients regarding their obligations under this statute and similar statutes enacted in several states, including New York.
Labor & Employment Chair