Sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, workforce diversity, wage and hour claims, CEPA claims, severance agreements and myriad other employment issues present challenging risk management challenges in today’s increasingly litigious society.
Having practiced employment law since its founding in 1912, Schenck, Price, Smith & King’s Labor and Employment Law practice group has successfully represented its clients in all aspects of labor and employment law. SPSK has experience in all corners of the labor and employment universe, such that it can advise clients before problems arise and, when they do occur, provide experienced representation, regardless of the venue.
Among the most critical employee relations challenges facing human resource departments today is preventing and correcting both employment discrimination and workplace harassment. Taking appropriate action before a complaint occurs is crucial to limiting the organization’s exposure. Proper investigative conduct and corrective action further enable the organization to maintain a harassment-free workplace. Additionally, when claims are made, it is essential that a vigorous defense be mounted. SPSK offers a variety of services to enable organizations to achieve these goals.
We help to ensure the overall effectiveness of personnel management by crafting effective employment policies and management procedures; drafting personnel manuals; and importantly, conducting sophisticated investigations into allegations of impropriety. SPSK guides its clients in aggressively addressing potential areas of concern before they manifest themselves in regulatory issues or litigation.
SERVICES TO CLIENTS
Our Labor and Employment Law group advises clients on the full range of issues facing management, including:
- Employment audits, including human resources and wage and hour audits to identify potential problem areas, as well as suggesting preemptive solutions.
- Employment training, including management training programs for supervisors to educate them on their legal obligations and to help them develop practical solutions to everyday problems. Topics include performance management, interviewing and selection, accurate and effective documentation, and the various statutes that provide potentially devastating avenues to litigation.
- Employment investigations into all complaints or management concerns regarding the occurrence of improper conduct.
- Labor and employment litigation, including discrimination, Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) claims, dismissal, tenure proceedings, grievance arbitrations, unfair practice proceedings and workers’ compensation.
- Preparation and review of employee handbooks and employment policies and procedures to ensure compliance with current laws and emerging legal requirements, provide specific recommendations for modifications when appropriate, and develop new policies and procedures, including development and analysis of job descriptions and development of employee performance appraisal systems.
- Preparation and negotiation of executive contracts, including restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements and non-compete agreements. We litigate actions to enforce, and defend individuals against alleged violations of such agreements.
- Collective bargaining and union-related services, including negotiations, unfair practice and restraint of arbitration proceedings, unit clarification petitions and counseling non-union employers on techniques for avoiding unionization.
- Employer counseling, including family and medical leave issues under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and related issues regarding disability claims and reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), discipline and discharge decisions, such as WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) requirements for large reductions in force.
- Employment discrimination and sexual harassment, including drafting written anti-harassment policies and reviewing existing policies and postings, administering proactive anti-harassment training (including one-on-one training), creating effective complaint intake procedures, providing harassment investigation services and consulting regarding corrective action following a harassment complaint.
- Representation of employers in state and federal court and before federal, state and local administrative agencies, defending claims of wrongful discharge and employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, handicap disability, sexual orientation and other protected attributes, and sexual and workplace harassment.
- Defense of breaches of express and implied contracts of employment, tortious interference, retaliation and alleged violations of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (the “whistleblower” statute).
- Defense of unfair labor practice charges and representation of public employers in actions before the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission.
- Representation of private employers in actions before the National Labor Relations Board, including defense of unfair labor practice charges, and representation and unit clarification petitions.
- Representation of boards of education in tenure dismissal proceedings arising from abuse of students, falsification of leave and sabbatical requests, sleeping during standardized testing, insubordination, theft and falsifying student grades.