Our attorneys bring to bear hands-on experience gleaned from years of experience in litigating employment disputes, as well as advising businesses in a wide variety of business sectors in order to help managers and human resource professionals manage and avoid costly employment litigation. The attorneys in our Labor and Employment Group pride themselves on being effective counselors that are available when you need them most to help with a highly sensitive or urgent employment matter. We pride ourselves on being accessible, knowledgeable and practical with the advice that we provide.
Harassment Investigations & Advice
Harassment in the workplace continues to be a real challenge for corporate America. We have substantial experience litigating harassment cases. This experience allows us to provide practical and candid proactive advice to companies on the front end. Specifically, we regularly assist our corporate clients in drafting harassment policies that contain effective complaint procedures. Thereafter, if an employee lodges a harassment complaint with one of our corporate clients, we have the experience and instincts to direct the investigation and/or provide recommendations to management as to an effective response to the harassment allegation. Indeed, we are keenly aware of the “affirmative defense” that may be available to the company in a case of workplace harassment.
We also recognize that harassment cases are rarely “black and white.” Companies faced with harassment complaints often are faced with credibility determinations and conflicting evidence. We have the experience to assist businesses in evaluating and addressing such cases.
Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) issues are among the most complicated for employers to navigate because the statute is incredibly nuanced, and because many FMLA issues also require consideration of a host of other state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), workers’ compensation laws, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) and many others. Our employment specialists are not just FMLA experts, but experts in negotiating the interplay between the FMLA and the other state and federal statutes FMLA issues often implicate. Our FMLA practice includes:
- Offering individualized counseling on specific FMLA issues
- Auditing, updating and preparing leave policies and procedures that comply with the FMLA and the myriad related state and federal laws
- Providing training regarding FMLA compliance and the interplay between the FMLA and other state and federal laws
- Defending FMLA claims
We annually provide a labor and employment symposium for our clients and for area businesses in an effort to provide the best and most up-to-date information regarding the latest trends in employment matters. We have also developed and regularly provide in-house training for supervisory personnel. Effective training programs are the heart of a company’s defense against employment claims and are essential once a claim is brought to prove that the company took reasonable steps to prevent the actions from occurring and to avoid the award of punitive damages if liability is found. We provide training on a host of topics:
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Avoiding discrimination claims
- Wrongful discharge clinics
- Union avoidance
- Sexual harassment prevention
- Investigation of workplace misconduct
- Implementing effective responses to workplace violence
- Basic EEO training for supervisors
- Managing disgruntled employees and avoiding retaliation claims
Drug Testing & DOT Compliance
Increasingly, companies that do not utilize drug screening procedures in the employment process are becoming the employer of choice for those individuals who seek employment but also have alcohol and substance abuse problems. Gentry Locke has experience in developing effective drug testing programs that involve post-accident testing, random testing and for cause testing. Specific policies and procedures are required for those businesses who have employees who work in safety sensitive positions that are required to be tested by Department of Transportation agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). We are familiar with the best practices that will help employers deter drug and alcohol use in the workplace, and we have significant experience representing companies in the transportation industry and in representing pilots.Have questions? Contact us.