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“Thank you, Tom, for all you do for CCLS. Your efforts have saved us from a costly mistake. I love working with you.”

Sherry Marshall, Vice President of Human Resources, Creative Community Living Services

Overview

When employers call Tom about business problems that keep them up at night, he listens closely and then guides them to their goals—and a better night’s sleep.

Practicing healthcare employment law can mean sorting out complicated facts and strong emotions. As he develops solutions, Tom is guided by his close working relationships with clients and his understanding of their business. Tom also represents construction, nonprofit and small-business clients.

Tom advises employers on issues such as wage and hour claims, discrimination claims, confidentiality and noncompete agreements, independent contractor relationships, recruiting and retention, policy development, training and discipline. He represents clients before the National Labor Relations Board, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, and other state and federal administrative agencies.

Whether clients need guidance on high-stakes business sales or expansions, day-to-day operations or litigation, Tom is there for them.

“Thank you, Tom, for all you do for CCLS. Your efforts have saved us from a costly mistake. I love working with you.”

Sherry Marshall, Vice President of Human Resources, Creative Community Living Services


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment Star - Midwest, 2019-2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management, Litigation-Labor & Employment, 2012-2020; Lawyer of the Year, Litigation-Labor & Employment, 2017; Labor & Employment Law, 2009-2012
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers, 2008-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • 2018 Top Rated Lawyer in Construction Law - ALM

Education

  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
    • cum laude
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • cum laude
  • Telugu Diploma, Andhra University

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • Disability Service Provider Network, Inc., Board
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin, Associate Member Board
  • Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Wisconsin State Elections Board, Former Chair
Featured Experience

Healthcare Client Successfully Navigates Critical Transitions

The board chair and board of a healthcare institution sought to terminate their chief executive officer, an action the CEO challenged. Tom advised the board on interim leadership and proper steps under the bylaws to accomplish the termination. Tom successfully negotiated a severance agreement, achieved without disruption in services, fractious litigation or negative press.

Tom then helped the board with issues of conflicts of interest when it identified the chairman as a CEO candidate. He negotiated a mutually agreeable employment contract. The new CEO then sold portions of the business and reorganized the internal organizational chart with assistance from Husch Blackwell. Finally, Tom guided this organization through the successful change from a for-profit organization to a not-for-profit.


Additional Experience

Labor & Employment

  • Represented CEO recruited into large hospital system by negotiating executive agreement, mindful of "fairness" test applied to compensation and benefits for not-for-profit executives.
  • Provided training and new models for developing corporate culture consistent with goals of #MeToo movement.

Litigation

  • Successfully defended employer accused of violating state and federal wage and hour laws in class and collective action by reducing scope of claimed class, undermining key element of proof of work performed off the clock and negotiating resolution that was a fraction of damages plaintiffs anticipated.
  • Defended gender-based discrimination claims at administrative level based on aggressive initial investigation, thorough Statement of Position on employer's behalf and careful review of applicable state and federal laws at issue.
  • Obtained summary judgment and subsequently defended Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) summary judgment at Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Secured reversal of million-dollar verdict for employee in successful appeal to California Court of Appeals.

Ancillary Service Providers

  • Advised growing transport service for individuals with disabilities on wage and hour compliance, adoption of new policies and job descriptions, and new hiring process and handbook.
  • Developed and led plan that combined into one organization two healthcare trade associations committed to providing opportunities for the disabled. As member of new association's board of directors, continues to offer direction and counsel to providers of residential and day programs for the disabled.
  • Represented clinic in successful effort to provide magnetic resonance imaging services at area hospitals, avoiding Stark and anti-kickback traps.
  • Untangled billing issues related to private insurers for company providing in-home dialysis.

Hospitals and Health Systems

  • After hospital system underwent significant restructuring, defended against departing executive's claim for extensive severance benefits based on previously negotiated agreement. Successfully resolved claim with mutually agreed-upon agreement and release representing less than 50 percent of contract claim.
  • Restructured relationship between orthopedic clinic and local hospital.

Physicians and Other Professionals

  • Advised multispecialty clinic in assessing risks and responding to long-term partner's injury and subsequent leave of absence and impact upon other physicians and patients. Identified steps to structured and respectful response while protecting medical and financial interests of other clinic shareholders.
  • Reviewed and reorganized all ownership, employment and compensation-related documents for multispecialty clinic.

Labor and Management Relations

  • Negotiated employment agreements against challenges of Wisconsin's right-to-work law and labor unions' demand for regular dues deductions by employer.
  • Acted as chief spokesman at bargaining table for employer who had purchased several unionized plants and had not previously engaged in collective bargaining activities. Engineered withdrawal from union pension and healthcare plans.

Other

  • As key member of the firm's CARES Act resource team, advised clients on accessing COVID-19-driven financial assistance, including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Main Street Lending Program.
  • Represented owners in $12 million sale of 16 Wisconsin cemeteries and a granite monuments business to NYSE-traded company.
Alerts | June 18, 2020
Workplace Issues and COVID-19
Alerts | March 13, 2019
Here We Go Again: DOL Releases Proposed Salary Increase for Overtime Exception

After the Obama Administration proposals to increase the salary threshold to qualify for exempt status were halted, the Trump Administration spent two years formulating its version of changes.

Blog | November 28, 2018
Sexual Abuse of People with Disabilities
Articles | August 06, 2018
Law Week Colorado: NFL Halts New Anthem Policy to Come to Compromise With Players Union

“So when the union takes on this [player protest] issue by grieving the action of the NFL owners, they're being relevant to their members.”
- Thomas Godar, labor & employment attorney

Articles | May 23, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal: Don't allow executive sexual misconduct to destroy corporate value

Tom Godar explores the connection between firm culture and the preservation of corporate value.

Articles | April 30, 2018
HR.com: Wisconsin Follows Trends To Limit Reach Of Non-Compete Agreements (log-in required)

Tom Godar explores a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that impacts the use and enforceability of non-solicitation provisions.

Articles | January 03, 2018
InBusiness Madison: The Crisis of Sexual Misconduct

Thomas Godar writes about the impact of sexual misconduct at the executive level.

Blog | September 12, 2017
Is Your Workforce Secure?
News Releases | November 11, 2019
26 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to 2019 Wisconsin Super Lawyers/Rising Stars

The firm has 17 attorneys named to the Super Lawyers list and nine attorneys named to the Rising Stars list.

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 | November 13, 2018
32 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to 2018 Wisconsin Super Lawyers/Rising Stars

Husch Blackwell has 32 attorneys named to the 2018 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

News Releases | October 11, 2018
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 28 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

Husch Blackwell is recognized as a top litigation firm in the 2019 edition of Benchmark Litigation, with 28 attorneys across six offices listed.

News Releases | August 15, 2018
Husch Blackwell Places 143 Lawyers in 2019 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The Best Lawyers in America® has listed 143 Husch Blackwell attorneys in its 2019 directory. The firm has eight "Lawyers of the Year" and five attorneys appearing on the list for the first time.

News Releases | August 15, 2017
Husch Blackwell Places 156 Lawyers in 2018 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The Best Lawyers in America® has listed 156 Husch Blackwell lawyers in its 2018 directory, breaking the firm’s old record of 151 set last year. The firm also has 10 attorneys listed as “Lawyers of the Year” and 15 lawyers who have made the list for the first time.

Outside the Office

Tom is a man for all seasons.

In the summer, Tom enjoys cruising with family and friends on Wisconsin lakes in his 1956 Chris Craft Runabout. As a member of the Antique and Classic Boat Society Inc., Tom participates in local shows and shares his enthusiasm for the hobby with a new generation charmed by these mahogany masterpieces.

When the lakes freeze, he and his wife, Cindy, head for the curling rink, where both volunteer at their local club. Tom enters local and national competitions and in 2016 led his team to the USA Senior Men’s National Championship.

Community Leadership

One of Tom’s greatest satisfactions is mentoring and counseling young adults. He and his wife have provided premarital counseling and accepted invitations to perform marriages in the United States and Mexico for several couples.

  • Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Board of Directors
  • Okauchee Lake Management District Board, Secretary
  • Kettle Moraine Curling Club, Wisconsin State Curling Association, Board of Directors
  • U.S. Curling Association, Volunteer Ethics Committee

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