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Capabilities / Labor & Employment

Labor & Employment

Guiding you through labor and employment law issues.

Employers face unprecedented workplace regulation and risk. Managing employees has become more difficult, and the potential consequences of mismanagement—or even perceived mismanagement—have become more dire. Husch Blackwell takes a service-first approach to assisting employers. Our labor and employment law team partners with clients to minimize risk and to aggressively solve labor and employment issues, whether through program development, day-to-day counseling, or labor dispute resolution. And when trial is your best option, we are your fiercest advocates.

The attorneys on our labor and employment law team are entrepreneurial and innovative in their approaches, and aggressive and bold in their strategies. We are comfortable in front of juries, and from the moment we are engaged, we prepare cases as if they will be tried before juries. We may not, but we will always be prepared.

Preventative/Counseling

Identifying and eliminating potential risks can help avert legal troubles. Our labor and employment law team counsels employers locally, regionally and nationally on state-of-the-art policy development and implementation and best practices in managing employees. Additionally, we advise on:

  • Affirmative action programs
  • Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) investigations
  • Collective bargaining agreements
  • Employee misconduct and whistleblower activity
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Compliance audits
  • Employee handbooks, policies, and practices
  • Leave laws including Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)/National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • Workers' compensation

Litigation

Employment practices often support business models and strategic plans. We have the experience and skills to protect these practices and steer you through the litigation process. Our national litigation work includes:

  • Class and collective actions, including wage and hour
  • Defense of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims
  • Defense of OSHA/MSHA citations, with a rapid response capability for fatalities and catastrophic accidents
  • Enforcement and defense of restrictive covenants
  • Trade secret and other confidential information protection
Case Study
Conagra Brands

Our team clarified important points of law regarding CBAs in this class action suit. 

Representative Experience

  • Obtained defense verdict on behalf of The Kansas City Southern Railway Co. in a week-long jury trial in St. Louis County, Missouri wherein an employee alleged that KCSR had violated the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, Federal Safety Appliance Act and the Locomotive Inspection Act.
  • Negotiated with OSHA on behalf of a medium-sized medical practice, successfully achieving the elimination of six citations and a penalty reduction of 80%.
  • Obtained dismissal of a whistleblower complaint filed with OSHA against a client in the cable television sector. The whistleblower accused our client of failing to provide him with certain safety equipment and of retaliating with wrongful termination.
  • Won summary judgment regarding two different union elections in two different cases, halting the unionization efforts at a major home healthcare provider. Because of this litigation success, attempts to unionize the client’s workforce were prevented.
  • Defended ConAgra Foods in a class and collective action filed by supervisors seeking overtime compensation alleging they were misclassified as "exempt" under state and federal wage and hour laws. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for ConAgra and found that the supervisors satisfied all tests for the "executive" exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law. The court also ruled on an issue of first impression and agreed that the plaintiffs were liable to ConAgra for its litigation costs.
  • Represented ConAgra Foods in a collective action filed by its employees seeking compensation for time spent dressing and undressing before and after their shifts, and walking to their work stations around those dressing activities. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ConAgra Foods did not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. Deciding a novel issue of law in the Eighth Circuit, the court agreed that employees need not be paid to walk to or from their work stations when management and the labor union had agreed employees would not be paid for adjacent dressing time.
  • Defended Missouri-American Water Co. against 26 unfair labor practice charges filed by a union with the National Labor Relations Board. Won 24 of the charges and settled two, with settlements that required the posting of a notice, with no monetary outlay and no finding or admission of liability.
  • Represented client in lawsuit alleging violations of Fair Labor Standards Act (as well as the Colorado Wage Act and Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 31) for unpaid overtime wages, penalties, and fees.
  • Represented manufacturing company in connection with a multi-year audit of compensation practices by the U.S. Department of Labor, alleging exposure for unpaid time in the range of several million dollars. The Husch Blackwell team successfully persuaded the DoL to conclude its investigation without any finding or assessment of penalty.
  • Represented university in a novel employment discrimination matter pending before the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division. Following intensive discovery and a multi-day evidentiary hearing, the Husch Blackwell team prevailed with a full dismissal for the client.
  • Successfully defended energy company in a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee who claimed age discrimination, gender discrimination, associational race discrimination, and retaliation.
  • Assisted and counselled client through a reduction in force involving approximately 10% of its workforce in the spring of 2020.
  • Led the defense of a class and collective action where plaintiffs claimed unpaid overtime with alleged damages in the seven figures.
  • Represented Suddenlink in a collective action filed by a group of call center employees who alleged they were not paid for periods of time spent prior to clocking in (booting up computers and other work activities).
  • Served as labor & employment counsel for a crop improvement company as the growing AgTech firm went public via a SPAC.
Legal Updates | May 10, 2024
EEOC Finalizes Workplace Harassment Guidance
Articles | May 2024
Rock Products: MSHA's Silica Rule
Articles | February 29, 2024
Rock Products: Show Me Your Badge!
Articles | February 12, 2024
Rock Products: MSHA Tackles Social Media
White Papers | November 01, 2023
Legal Insights for Manufacturing: Outlook for 2024

With each passing day it becomes more apparent the world that entered the COVID-19 pandemic is not the world that emerged from it.

Legal Updates | October 27, 2023
NLRB Issues Final Rule on Joint-Employer Status
Legal Updates | September 08, 2023
California Further Restricts the Use of Non-Competes
Legal Updates | June 21, 2023
EEOC Casts New Focus on Construction Industry
White Papers | January 04, 2023
Legal Insights for Manufacturing: Outlook for 2023

What manufacturers can expect in the new year.

Articles | November 09, 2022
Rock Products: Tell Me How You Really Feel
Legal Updates | September 16, 2022
Starbucks Diversity Policy Challenged in New Lawsuit
Blog | September 06, 2022
NLRB Mandates National Dress Code
Legal Updates | June 27, 2022
Chicago Updates Sexual Harassment Prevention Law
Articles | June 01, 2022
Risk Management: Equity in the Workplace
Legal Updates | January 20, 2022
City of Milwaukee Passes New Indoor Mask Mandate
Legal Updates | January 14, 2022
U.S. Supreme Court Stays OSHA Vaccine Mandate
Legal Updates | November 30, 2021
New Kansas Law Affecting Employer COVID-19 Policies
Legal Updates | November 16, 2021
Vaccine Mandates May Require Collective Bargaining

Vaccine mandates present interesting issues for the unionized employer.

Legal Updates | November 15, 2021
President Biden Signs Infrastructure Package into Law
Legal Updates | October 1, 2021
Reopening Considerations for Fitness Facilities
Legal Updates | September 10, 2021
Legal Overview – Executive Orders on Vaccine Mandates
Legal Updates | April 05, 2021
EEOC Resumes Collection of EEO Data
Articles | March 24, 2021
Law360: Labor And Employment Changes Ahead For Gov't Contractors

"While predicting the future from certain presidential appointments and executive orders can be problematic, they point to changes ahead for federal contractors in the area of labor and employment law." 

Legal Updates | March 11, 2021
The New FFCRA Under the American Rescue Plan Act
Legal Updates | February 09, 2021
Minimum Wage Increase on Legislative Horizon
Articles | February 01, 2021
TLNT: Whiplash: Is a New FFCRA on the Horizon?
Legal Updates | January 27, 2021
Whiplash: Is a New FFCRA on the Horizon?
Legal Updates | December 23, 2020
COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Checklist
Legal Updates | November 04, 2020
FAQs for Colorado Paid Family Leave Law (FAMLI)
Legal Updates | September 22, 2020
Wisconsin's Mask Mandate Extended for 60 Days
Video | September 15, 2020
Return-to-Work Policy Generator - Video
Articles | September 14, 2020
Rock Products: ‘One MSHA' Is Coming Into Focus
Legal Updates | August 17, 2020
Coronavirus and Foreign National Travel and Visas
Articles | July 31, 2020
Lexis Practice Advisor®: Business Continuity and Emergency Planning Checklist and Emergency Action Plan

Erik Dullea and Stephanie Kaiser have compiled a Business Continuity and Emergency Planning Checklist and an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for employers, both published by Lexis Practice Advisor®.

Legal Updates | July 17, 2020
Wisconsin COVID-19 Ordinances Impact Employers
Legal Updates | June 18, 2020
Workplace Issues and COVID-19
Legal Updates | June 04, 2020
Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, Stage Two
Legal Updates | May 28, 2020
ReOpen DC to Begin Phase 1
White Papers | May 2020
Survey Results: COVID-19-Related Return-to-Work Planning

Return-to-Work Client Survey Provides Insights Across Industries

Legal Updates | May 14, 2020
Nebraska Authorities Ease COVID Restrictions
Articles | May 08, 2020
Lexis Practice Advisor®: Pandemic Flu/Influenza/Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Response Checklist

Avi Meyerstein, Stacey Bowman and Courtney Steelman have compiled a Pandemic Flu/Influenza/ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Response Checklist for employers, published by Lexis Practice Advisor®.

Legal Updates | April 28, 2020
Key Labor & Employment Considerations for Developing a Return-to-Work Strategy

This article outlines a judicious return-to-work strategy, drawing upon the advice of experts in government and science who are developing tools to fight the virus.

Legal Updates | April 24, 2020
Coronavirus-Related School or Daycare Closures

Updated DOL Guidance Permits Concurrent Use of Employer-Provided Leave with Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the FFCRA     

Legal Updates | April 21, 2020
2019 Wisconsin Act 185: Unemployment Provisions
Legal Updates | April 13, 2020
"Essential Services" under Executive Order GA-14
Legal Updates | April 02, 2020
Key Employment Law Implications of the CARES Act
Legal Updates | March 25, 2020
Colorado Governor Issues Stay-at-Home Order
Legal Updates | February 27, 2020
NLRB Announces Final Rule on Joint Employer Standard
Legal Updates | February 04, 2020
Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order

This impact will also be significant because non-exempt Colorado employees are entitled to overtime for workdays in excess of 12 hours, which is not a requirement under federal law. 

Blog | February 04, 2020
2020 Hindsight
Blog | January 16, 2020
Time to raise OSHA and MSHA penalties!
Blog | January 02, 2020
With a little help from my friends
Articles | December 31, 2019
Cannabis Concerns? Employer Strategies for Maintaining a Safe Workplace

Employers should evaluate and revise their drug policies to comply with the law and protect the health and safety of their workplace.

Blog | December 16, 2019
Putting the ‘H' back In MSHA?
Articles | September 27, 2019
HR.com: New Rulemaking At NLRB
Webinar | June 18, 2024
Minnesota Employment Law Update
Speaking Engagements | May 9, 2024
Speaker, "How to Build a Team," WEW 2024
Speaking Engagements | May 8, 2024
Speaker, "Revitalizing Your Workforce," TechSTL
Speaking Engagements | February 14, 2024
Speaker, "Labor and Employment," Pub K GovCon Annual Review 2024
Webinar | January 31, 2024
Legal Insights for Manufacturing
Speaking Engagements | December 7, 2023
Speaker, "DEI Policies in Employment," ADC Annual Meeting
Webinar | May 16, 2023
2023 Workplace DEIA
Webinar | January 26, 2023
Clarifying Pay Transparency
Speaking Engagements | January 13, 2023
Speaker, "Navigating Amendment 3 Webinar," The Missouri Chamber
Speaking Engagements | January 24, 2022
Speaker, "Labor and Employment," Pub K Annual Review 2022
Webinar | February 2021
What the H-1B Is Going on in Immigration Law?

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Webinar | December 15, 2020
Labor & Employment in Higher Education Year-in-Review 2020

Issues in Higher Education Webinar Series

Webinar | October 28, 2020
Pre-Election Webinar Series - Election 2020: Defining the Stakes

Pre-Election Webinar Series

Webinar | September 2020
COVID-19 Accommodations
Webinar | July 16, 2020
The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Webinar | June 10, 2020
Labor and Employment Virtual Program
Webinar | June 4, 2020
Legal Considerations in Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Employees

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Webinar | April 21, 2020
COVID-19: Labor and Employment Issues in Higher Education

Issues in Higher Education Webinar Series

Webinar | March 20, 2020
Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between: Coronavirus/COVID-19 - Update for Employers

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Seminars | February 12, 2020
Labor and Employment Seminar - Chicago
Webinar | February 4, 2020
Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between: 2020 H-1B Cap Season - Changes You Need to Know

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Webinar | December 5, 2019
Annual Higher Education Labor and Employment Law Update

Issues in Higher Education Webinar Series

Webinar | November 2019
Dialing In on Dialing Up Salaries: Practical Steps for Adapting to the New DOL Overtime Rule

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Seminars | November 1, 2019
Fall Labor and Employment Seminar - Milwaukee
Seminars | October 30, 2019
Fall Labor and Employment Seminar - St. Louis
Webinar | September 2019
The Healthcare Industry and Immigration: Shifting Policies and Compliance Issues You Need to Know

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Webinar | July 24, 2019
Plant Closings and Mass Layoffs: Answers to FAQs About the WARN Act

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

Webinar | June 26, 2019
The States of Marijuana: The Impact of Changing Cannabis Laws

Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between Webinar Series

News Releases | March 20, 2024
Husch Blackwell Lands Second Team in Minneapolis
News Releases | November 07, 2022
Husch Blackwell Elects 29 to 2023 New Partner Class
Media Mentions | September 13, 2022
BizTimes: Rising Stars in Law: Catarina Colón
News Releases | April 27, 2022
Husch Blackwell Prevails in Discrimination Lawsuit for CoxHealth

Husch Blackwell earned a victory in Missouri state court for CoxHealth, the Springfield-based healthcare system, in connection with race, national origin, workers’ compensation and disability discrimination claims, as well as claims of retaliation.

Media Mentions | April 19, 2022
Ingram's: 40 Under Forty Class of 2022
News Releases | December 06, 2021
Husch Blackwell Elects 36 to 2022 Partnership Class
Media Mentions | November 24, 2021
Rock Products: Biden Nominates Williamson for MSHA Head
News Releases | October 25, 2021
Husch Blackwell Lands Leading Litigator Tracy Wolf

Tracy Wolf joins Husch Blackwell’s Dallas office as a partner in its Labor & Employment practice team and Healthcare, Life Sciences & Education business unit.

Media Mentions | August 17, 2021
WDJT-TV: MPS considering all-staff vaccine mandate
Media Mentions | August 02, 2021
Austin Monthly: Austin's Top Attorneys 2021
Media Mentions | December 02, 2020
WUSA-TV: 'No one wants to be a guinea pig'
News Releases | August 18, 2020
Jenna Brofsky to Receive 2020 Missouri Lawyers Media Up & Coming Award

Brofsky was part of a team that in June launched a tool to help small and mid-market businesses return to their worksites during COVID-19 by developing Return-to-Work policies that comply with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations.

Media Mentions | June 19, 2020
Kansas City Business Journal: Husch lawyer: LGBTQ ruling is groundbreaking, but gray areas remain

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County created a landmark decision protecting homosexual or transgender employment, but it leaves questions unanswered.

Media Mentions | June 17, 2020
St. Louis Business Journal: What employers need to know about the Supreme Court's ruling on LGBTQ rights

"Update your policies, and know that much ambiguity remains."

News Releases | March 31, 2020
Missouri Lawyers Weekly Chooses Two Husch Blackwell Litigators for 2020 Women's Justice Awards

Jones and Robinson are members of the firm’s Real Estate, Development & Construction industry group and Construction Litigation practice team.

News Releases | January 21, 2020
Janelle Carter Anderson Joins Husch Blackwell's Chicago Office

Anderson brings a diverse background to her practice with service as in-house counsel to a global healthcare and technology education provider as well as a state university.

News Releases | January 21, 2020
Janelle Carter Anderson Joins Husch Blackwell's Chicago Office

Anderson brings a diverse background to her practice with service as in-house counsel to a global healthcare and technology education provider as well as a state university.

News Releases | October 01, 2019
Benchmark Litigation's 2020 Edition Recognizes 33 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

The firm also received Benchmark’s “Highly Recommended” ranking in Missouri and Wisconsin and its “Recommended” ranking in Nebraska.

News Releases | August 15, 2019
Husch Blackwell Places 143 Lawyers in 2020 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The firm has eight "Lawyers of the Year" and 11 attorneys appearing on the list for the first time.

News Releases | July 29, 2019
Tyler Hibler Joins Husch Blackwell's Kansas City Office

Hibler, a litigator, has significant experience representing companies and individuals in complex litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country.

News Releases | July 19, 2019
Demetrius Peterson Named to Centurions Leadership Program's Fall 2021 Class

The Centurions Leadership Program is a two-year immersion in leadership and community engagement activities.

Media Mentions | June 25, 2019
Steve Scaffidi Show: The Gig Economy (AUDIO)

Husch Blackwell has a very strong labor and employment practice. The team goes out of its way to anticipate our needs and use its knowledge to strategize and foresee next steps.

Chambers USA 2023