Labor and Employment Law
Baird Holm represents employers in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, in both the public and private sectors and in both unionized and non-unionized settings. We communicate the most recent legal developments through our quarterly Labor & Employment Law Update newsletter and through our annual Labor Law Forum.
Our labor relations and employment law services fall into overlapping, but distinct areas:
- Employment Law Counseling and Compliance
- Employment Litigation
- Management/Union Relations
- OSHA/Workplace Safety
- Workers' Compensation
We also provide employee benefits, compensation, ERISA and immigration law services to employers.
Employment Law Counseling and Compliance
We draft policies and provide advice on employee-related problems, both before and after they arise. We advise clients in a practical manner regarding the handling and discipline of problem employees. We also help them comply with the myriad of federal, state and local employment laws, including the anti-discrimination statutes (Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA), the FMLA, affirmative action, Davis-Bacon and wage/hour laws.
Baird Holm attorneys draft employee handbooks and employment, non-compete, confidentiality, and separation agreements. We have also developed tailored training sessions for clients and their managers on a variety of workplace-related issues, including:
- Employee Discipline and Discharge
- Legal Fundamentals of Hiring
- Workplace Investigations and Testing
- Workplace Violence
- Union Avoidance
- Harassment Prevention
Employment Litigation results in representing our clients in state and federal court before juries and judges, as well as administrative agencies. We also represent clients in mediation and arbitration proceedings. Our employment litigation attorneys are licensed in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Montana, Virginia and Wyoming.
Although we try cases, the vast majority of cases are resolved by securing summary judgment for our clients or achieving a settlement consistent with their goals. We attempt to control each case from the outset by conducting an early case analysis. We also collaborate with our clients to form a unique strategy for each case. When requested, we provide case budgets and litigation plans, and utilize electronic billing and the ABA uniform task-based billing codes.
Despite the individual nature of each case, we recognize that there are often recurring aspects among cases. We therefore use our technology and library of materials from previous cases to efficiently implement our strategy.
We also make considerable use of alternative dispute resolution to contain costs and manage litigation risk. We have helped employers compel arbitration when desired and appropriate.
- Defense of All Types of Discrimination Claims under State and Federal Law
- Class Action Wage and Hour Defense under State and Federal Law
- Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements
- Fiduciary Breach, Duty of Loyalty, Unfair Competition and Conspiracy Claims
- Trade Secret and Misappropriation of Confidential Information
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Litigation
- Defense of FMLA, § 1983, § 1981, ADA, and Rehabilitation Act Claims
- Breach of Express and Implied Contract Claims
- Retaliation and Public Policy Claims, Including Workers' Compensation and First Amendment Retaliation
- Montana Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act Claims
- Workplace Torts
- Defense of Wage and Benefit Claims under State Law and FLSA
Employment Class Action and Multiple Plaintiff Defense is handled by our attorneys in various states. Such cases include claims under both state and federal wage and hour laws as well as benefit claims, retaliation, and discrimination. Our experience in managing discovery and opposing class certification in large class actions in multiple forums enables us to counsel clients through early substantive and procedural challenges that can be outcome determinative. Additionally, when necessary, we are experienced and ready to take class action cases to trial and verdict.
Benefits Litigation includes all manner of litigation concerning ERISA benefit plans. We defend denial of benefit claims, common law estoppel, Section 510 retaliation claims, and fiduciary breach litigation against insured and self-funded welfare benefit plans. We defend and pursue subrogation claims asserting equitable relief under ERISA for insured and self-insured plans. We also litigate claims involving church plans, ESOPs, top hat plans and multi-employer welfare benefit plans—including funding disputes.
Appellate Litigation takes our attorneys to state and federal courts of appeals throughout the country. Our lawyers handle appeals of matters they have litigated in trial courts and they further assist trial counsel from other firms deal with adverse trial outcomes for employers on appeal. Our attorneys include many former state and federal court appellate clerks.
We provide management/union relations assistance to both public and private sector employers. We train clients' management teams on union avoidance, and then assist those faced with demands for recognition by a union or a union election with counter-organizing campaigns. We also assist clients who wish to become union-free by guiding them through the decertification election process.
Strikes, slowdowns, picketing and other work disruptions unfortunately occur from time to time. When they do, we assist clients by informing them about their rights during these disruptions, including the right to continue to operate and to permanently replace employees. We also assist employers who face picket line violence and similar misconduct by obtaining the appropriate relief from the courts.
Collective bargaining is another area in which we assist clients. We act as the primary negotiator for some clients. For others we are not at the bargaining table, but help formulate the strategy for negotiations and draft contract language.
Most collective bargaining agreements contain grievance and arbitration clauses. We assist clients by helping them effectively respond to grievances concerning contract interpretation and discipline/discharge, and we litigate on their behalf when unsettled grievances are taken to arbitration.
We represent clients throughout the country regarding government safety inspections of their workplaces. If they are alleged to be in violation of the law, we also represent them in connection with their citations, penalties and abatement requirements, from the informal conference stage with OSHA through the final appeal in the court system. When a workplace injury or fatality occurs, we are also cognizant of the subsequent litigation that might result, so we attempt to handle the workplace safety citations in a manner that will most likely reduce our clients' exposure to ancillary tort litigation.
OSHA/Workplace Incident Emergencies
We have formed teams to quickly respond to emergencies arising from workplace accidents. The emergency after-hours rapid response number is 402.231.8585.
We regularly handle Workers' Compensation claims for clients in both Nebraska and Iowa. Our clients include both insured and self-insured employers. We strive to consider every possible theory to support our clients' interests. Because we routinely counsel clients regarding the ADA and the FMLA, we are able to consider our clients' obligations under those laws to employees who have sustained workplace injuries. This is in contrast to many firms that primarily defend workers' compensation claims and have no ADA/FMLA or general employment law expertise.