Labor and Employment

Our team of attorneys is experienced in every aspect of labor and employment law – advice and counseling; litigation; administrative proceedings; benefit plan design, training and compliance; investigations; audits; and more.  The employers we represent span a variety of industries –  manufacturing; health care; higher education; banking and financial services; energy and natural resources; food services; transportation; retail; information technology; construction; government contractors; hospitality and entertainment; state and local government entities; and non-profits, to name a few.  Our clients range from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

What Sets Us Apart?

We are a Nationally Recognized Go-To Firm
Bowles Rice’s Labor and Employment Practice Group has been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report's Best Law Firms and Chambers USA, and also as a “Go-To Law Firm for the Top 500 Companies” by American Lawyer Media in Fortune magazine.

We are Practical, Solution-Oriented, Problem Solvers
We know that when you come to us with a question, you want an answer or options, not a law review article or a treatise.  Our attorneys offer practical, no-nonsense advice and creative solutions.

We are Your Business Partners
Although a few aspects of employment law are black and white, there are many “gray” areas in which formulating the “right” answer is more of an art than a science. We devote significant time to getting to know our clients and their business, industry, people, products or services, goals, risk appetite, culture, and people management philosophy, so we can identify the right solution for your unique workplace. We are committed serving you as a trusted business advisor and as a reliable extension of your leadership team.  Your success is our success.

We are Committed to Providing Affordable Value
We know that employers desire efficiency and effectiveness. We are committed to offering the highest quality legal services at competitive, affordable rates.

We are Responsive, Approachable, and Available
Members of our team know that when labor and employment issues arise, often times they are time-sensitive and require urgent attention.  We aim to offer highly-responsive, unparalleled service.

We are Counselors, Advisors, Litigators, Negotiators, and Advocates
Members of our team are not siloed into narrow, niché subsections of labor and employment law. Our attorneys are well-rounded, and we constantly keep our finger on the pulse for new developments and trends in the law.


Representative Experience

Strategic Advice and Counseling
From our perspective, Benjamin Franklin’s well-known quote – “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – is highly applicable to the labor and employment context.  Employment cases can be rather expensive to litigate given the highly fact-intensive nature of many disputes, the wide range of damages that are available to employees under various employment statutes, and the fact that many laws provide for fee-shifting. Therefore, we work closely with employers to provide advice and counseling to help them mitigate risk and avoid unnecessary, disruptive litigation.

Our team is equipped to advise employers on the “alphabet soup” of federal, state, and local workplace laws affecting employee rights, benefits, and workplace safety, including:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
  • Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
  • Equal Pay Act (EPA)
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
  • State and local EEO laws
  • State wage payment and collection laws
  • Workers’ compensation laws
  • Whistleblower statutes

We have experience offering advice on a variety of workplace issues, ranging from routine to complex, including:

  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Hiring, discipline, and discharge
  • Wage and hour compliance
  • Managing medical leaves of absences
  • Addressing accommodation requests
  • Investigating employee misconduct
  • Compliance with wage payment laws
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Medical cannabis/marijuana
  • COVID-19
  • Layoffs, furloughs, and reductions-in-force
  • WARN Act requirements
  • Restrictive covenants and trade secrets
  • Employee privacy

Additionally, we are equipped to:
  • Draft and negotiate employment agreements, including contracts with complex executive compensation issues and restrictive covenants;
  • Draft and revise personnel handbooks, policies, and procedures; and
  • Draft and negotiate separation and severance agreements.

Employment Litigation
Sometimes litigation is simply unavoidable. When our clients are sued or desire to offensively commence litigation to protect their rights, our well-rounded team members easily transform from able advisors to zealous litigators.  We routinely defend employers in state & federal courts, grievances & arbitrations, and administrative proceedings against single-plaintiff and class/collective action claims, including:

  • Race, age, sex, religious, national origin, disability, and other prohibited discrimination
  • Sexual and other harassment
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Whistleblower and retaliation claims
  • Disability-related claims for failure-to-accommodate
  • ERISA and employee benefits
  • Wage & hour claims
  • FMLA interference & retaliation
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Negligent hiring, retention, and supervision
  • Pay equity litigation
  • Enforcement of restrictive covenants
  • Wage payment and collection claims
  • Workers’ compensation discrimination

Additionally, in the administrative setting, we handle:
  • Unemployment compensation claims;
  • Grievances by public employees;
  • Workers’ compensation claims; and
  • Discrimination charges and complaints before the EEOC and state EEO agencies, such as the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

Our team has experience handing claims for employers who have Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). Members of our team also have experience serving as EPLI panel counsel.

Workplace Investigations & Audits
Our team is equipped to skillfully and discreetly handle investigations of employee misconduct, such as harassment, leave abuse, and theft. Additionally, we offer behind-the-scenes guidance and advice for HR-led investigations.

For employers who wish to have their processes, practices, and procedures audited in order to proactively identify vulnerabilities, gaps, and blind spots, we offer a variety of audit programs for these HR functions:

  • Hiring process
  • I-9 compliance
  • Wage & hour pay practices
  • Pay equity audits
  • FMLA leave administration process
  • Personnel file maintenance
  • Medical inquiries and examinations
  • Interactive process for disability accommodations
  • Harassment reporting & investigation process
  • Drug & alcohol testing protocol
  • Disciplinary documentation
  • Performance management

This oft-quoted saying describes our approach to training clients on employment laws: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Along with counseling and advice, regular training is critical to managing risk and ensuring compliance. We are experienced in providing customized training solutions for the following audiences:

  • HR Professionals
  • C-suite and Senior Leadership
  • Supervisors and Managers
  • Workforce-at-Large

Some examples of the topics covered in our training programs include:

  • Best practices for human resources
  • Sexual harassment
  • Managing medical leaves of absences
  • The interplay between the Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Workers’ Compensation Act
  • Addressing accommodation requests
  • Investigating employee misconduct
  • Employee discipline and discharge
  • Wage and hour law compliance
  • Alcohol and drug testing

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