Labor & Employment

Practice Group Chair: Ronald G. Polly, Jr.

Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP’s Labor and Employment practice group has been recognized by its clients as providing elite, professional, and cost-effective legal representation in litigation, investigatory, and advisory matters involving the employment relationship. Its lawyers represent clients on a national basis, and the groups’ clients include Fortune 500 companies, privately held entities, public employers, and senior company executives. 

The Labor and Employment Group has experienced attorneys based in its offices in New York, Georgia, Texas, and California, allowing for efficient and practical nationwide representation wherever our clients may need it. We have represented clients and litigated cases and administrative matters in more than 40 states. Its members are licensed to practice in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

The Group’s attorneys include alumni from some of the country’s largest firms, the former General Counsel of a financial services company, and a former Assistant General Counsel of a major manufacturer. We leverage those experiences in working with in-house counsel, litigation managers, and human resources departments to provide results-oriented and cost-effective legal services. Its attorneys are regularly called on by national organizations to speak on a number of topics, including class action litigation, employee violence, and wage and hour issues.  

HPTY’s Labor and Employment Group has developed particular expertise in handling labor and employment matters in the healthcare, financial/investment, retail, manufacturing, professional services, and transportation industries, advises technology and professional firms on labor and employment matters, and represents city governments, school districts, and similar political bodies with respect to the unique issues that face public employers.

Class Action, Collective Action, and Mass Plaintiff Cases

The Labor and Employment Group has substantial experience in litigating complex class-action and collective action cases, both under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws. Its lawyers have been involved in large employment discrimination and wage-hour matters for decades, and have deep insight into the unique challenges such cases bring with respect to discovery, document management, business disruption, and settlement. Since only 2009, lawyers in the Labor & Employment Group have been lead counsel in more than 15 class action, collective action or large multi-plaintiff cases, including: 

Wage and Hour

As described above, HPTY’s experience in handling major wage and hour cases is extensive.   Its attorneys have a substantial expertise in litigating and advising clients with respect to the difficult wage and hour issues that face employers.  In addition to the class and collective action cases described above, HPTY’s lawyers regularly represent employers in single-plaintiff FLSA cases, before state and federal compliance agencies such as the federal Department of Labor, California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”), and similar state agencies across the country. In addition, HPTY’s attorneys regularly advise clients on wage and hour compliance issues, assisting them to avoid the very costly litigation that can ensue, and conducting compliance audits of positions and departments. Among others, HPTY’s attorneys have handled matters involving: 

Discrimination, Retaliation, and Harassment Cases

HPTY’s Labor and Employment group also regularly defends and advises employers faced with claims of illegal discrimination, retaliation, and harassment under federal and state law. Our attorneys have served as defense counsel in hundreds of cases and arbitrations alleged under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) similar state and local laws, and whistleblower statutes. HPTY lawyers have handled a number of serious matters under such statutes, including: 

Tort Cases Involving Claims of Employee Violence and Sexual Assault

HPTY’s Labor and Employment Attorneys are also experienced in handling serious and tragic matters involving employee violence, including sexual assaults committed by employees. Its attorneys’ experience in this area have enabled them to handle such cases efficiently, effectively, and without excess negative publicity. HPTY’s attorneys have handled a number of such matters, including: 

Employment Contracts, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets, and Confidential Information

The Labor and Employment Group is also experienced in drafting, evaluating, and enforcing employment contracts, restrictive covenant agreements, and non-disclosure agreements across the country. Its lawyers are called upon to advise and assist employers in protecting and retaining their most important and confidential trade secret information, customer goodwill, and employees. HPTY’s lawyers also advise employers who are considering hiring an employee subject to non-compete covenants as to the enforceability of those covenants and the attendant risks of hiring such individuals. We pride ourselves on providing accurate risk assessments and thinking creatively to allow employers to hire qualified employees without violating legal obligations. HPTY lawyers have: 

Internal Investigations

HPTY’s Labor and Employment Group also conducts sensitive internal investigations for employers into allegations of employee misconduct, including instances of employee theft, harassment, and violence. Clients trust HPTY’s lawyers to investigate fairly and thoroughly, using their experience and judgment to find the truth. Lawyers at HPTY have conducted confidential and sensitive investigations into allegations of executive misconduct implicating Sarbanes-Oxley, racial and sexual harassment, and potential criminal activity. [Because of the confidential nature of such investigations, further elaboration is unfortunately not possible]

Traditional Labor / Collective Bargaining

HPTY’s lawyers also have extensive experience in representing management in union organizing campaigns, handling arbitrations before the National Labor Relations Board under collective bargaining agreements, and defending unfair labor practices charges. Members of the group have: 

Recent Trial Experience

HPTY’s Labor & Employment Group sets itself apart from similar practices in other firms because its lawyers try cases to verdict. While we obtain summary judgment for our clients in many of our cases, we have also been fortunate enough to represent clients who are willing to go to trial in tough cases where they believe no wrongdoing has occurred. Recent trial successes include: 

Appellate Experience

HPTY’s experience does not stop at the trial court level. On behalf of our clients, we have successfully handled, briefed, and argued multiple appeals before federal and state appeals courts. Our attorneys have appeared in eight of the eleven federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, the United States Supreme Court, and multiple state Courts of Appeal. Examples of recent appellate victories include: 

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