Employment

Employers today must contend with many new and evolving issues in their workplaces.  For instance, there are the legalities of employee social media activity and employers' rights with respect to this activity.  Other issues are the rising use of independent contractors and the proper classification of employees for wage/hour purposes. 

Our Employment Law Group provides legal counsel in every aspect of employment law.  Companies of every size rely on us for advice and support on issues relating to:  hiring, training, policies, contracts, non-competition and non-solicitation, medical leave, compensation, discipline, termination, and protection of confidential and proprietary information.  We also have the litigation experience to enforce or defend our clients' rights at trial and in administrative proceedings. 

Every company (and its culture) is distinct.  We make it a priority to understand our clients' business, industry, and work environment, and to provide practical advice that fits their particular needs – today and well into the future.  

Our areas of expertise include: 

  • Administrative complaints (EEOC, BOLI, WHRC)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Departing employee disputes and wrongful termination claims
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Employee handbooks, policies and procedures
  • Employment contracts including non-compete agreements
  • Employment litigation
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Act
  • Family Medical Leave (FMLA and OFLA)
  • Employee complaint investigation and response
  • Privacy issues
  • Trade secret protection
  • Retaliation claims
  • Wage and hour claims

Articles
Representative Work
Trial/Summary Judgment
We represented a company that was sued in federal court by two former employees, who alleged sexual harassment, discrimination based on gender, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and wrongful discharge. Each individual was seeking over $750,000 in damages. We filed summary judgment motions in both cases and the judge dismissed all but one claim for each plaintiff. One week before going to trial on the remaining claim, the plaintiffs' attorney dismissed both cases.
BOLI Investigations
We represented an electrical contractor that faced two complaints filed with the Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) for discrimination based on the use of the workers' compensation system and wrongful discharge. We successfully argued that the workers were laid off after completion of the job and were not rehired because they did not have seniority or the requisite skills. BOLI did not find sufficient evidence to continue its investigation and closed its files.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
We represented an equipment dealer who was sued by a former bookkeeper, alleging sexual harassment against the company's president. In the course of investigation, we determined that the plaintiff had embezzled from the employer. We asserted counterclaims against her in the civil action and instituted criminal charges. The case was resolved with the employer paying nothing, and the employee being convicted of embezzlement and being ordered to pay criminal restitution to the employer.
Employment
We represented a president of a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company.  The Fortune 500 company had enticed our client to work for them approximately one year before, and the employment package included a $150,000 severance package.  After less than a year of operations, the Fortune 500 company, caught in the 2000-2001 economic downturn, decided to suspend operations of the subsidiary, and looked at transferring our client to manage another subsidiary.  The client did not wish to move out of state, and the company terminated our client and refused to pay him the severance package.  On behalf of our client we filed a lawsuit, and, thereafter, agreed with the company to mediate the disagreement.  Our client received in excess of $110,000 in cash, plus a release from his non-competition agreement with the company.  This settlement, in effect, allowed our client to receive a substantial amount of the severance package, and to set up a business in Oregon servicing those former clients for which the Fortune 500 company was no longer serving, providing the client substantially more in income than the total $150,000 initial severance package.
Non-Compete Agreements
We routinely represent both employers and employees in the negotiation, enforcement and defense of non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.  Oregon has an unusual statute governing effectiveness of a non-competition agreement between an employer and an employee, and we help our clients avoid being surprised by the statute's effect.
Employment Benefits and ISOs
We routinely assist clients in the design and implementation of incentive stock option plans, nonqualified options, and other employee benefit plans.
Employee Classification
Advised client regarding re-classification of more than 100 employees paid on a commission only basis from exempt to non-exempt including calculation of regular rate of pay and analysis of possible exposure for past due overtime based on regular rate of pay.