Wage and Hour Litigation
Over the last 15 years, employers throughout Wisconsin (and beyond) have witnessed an explosion of wage and hour litigation. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and similar state laws provide employees powerful tools to challenge a wide variety of wage-related practices.
When your company receives an FLSA claim, you will need the assistance of attorneys who have deep experience in defending against these types of cases. Godfrey & Kahn has a team of litigators who have tackled numerous individual claims, FLSA collective actions, and state wage and hour class action claims for clients ranging from the Fortune 500 to those with fewer than 50 employees.
We have successfully defended hybrid class and collective action claims against our clients brought by individuals who file a case on behalf of all similarly situated employees, upping the stakes dramatically. If that employee wins, whether on behalf of him or herself or a larger group, the employer is liable not only for back pay and liquidated damages, but also the other side's attorney fees.
Wage and hour cases require a comprehensive analysis of the merits of your defenses, as well as a strategy for defeating the plaintiff's effort to proceed on behalf of a broader collection of employees. Godfrey & Kahn attorneys have experience assisting clients in defeating certification and achieving decertification whenever possible. We weigh the benefits of an early settlement versus protracted litigation. With over 60 years of collective experience defending these claims, Godfrey & Kahn can help you develop the right approach for your particular case.
Avoidance and Defense of Wrongful Discharge and Related Employee Claims
The assertion of common law state claims like defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful discharge claims are among the fastest-growing threats to employers. Many of these claims, unlike most governed by civil rights laws, are not subject to limitations on the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages. Claims by non-union employees that their employers have retaliated against them for lawful concerted activity protected under the National Labor Relations Act are also growing in frequency. Our labor, employment & immigration attorneys anticipate these issues and prepare effective defenses against these claims in whatever forum they are asserted.
Civil Rights Claim Defense
When employers find themselves named as respondents or defendants in discrimination or other employment claims, our labor, employment & immigration practice promptly offers a full range of litigation counsel and assistance. We have extensive experience representing employer interests before governmental bodies such as:
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- The Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
- Other federal, state, and local agencies
We have had great success representing employers in both state and federal trial courts, as well as state and federal courts of appeal on a broad range of claims, including:
- Discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Federal and Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Acts (FMLA)
- Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA)
Labor Litigation, Mediation, and Arbitration
Our labor and employment attorneys have represented employers before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) in unfair labor practice proceedings, election petitions, injunction proceedings, grievance and interest arbitration proceedings, union decertification matters, and appellate work relating to the enforcement of NLRB and WERC decisions. Our team has handled hundreds of disputes concerning the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements. Many differences of opinion can be resolved through negotiation or mediation, while others require resolution before an independent arbitrator. Our team also handles interest arbitration cases arising in public safety employee contract disputes.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Our primary goal is to help our clients avoid costly OSHA penalties and litigation by offering proactive and practical advice regarding occupational safety and health issues to ensure compliance with OSHA standards. We rely on our experience and best practices to formulate and enhance safety and health programs.
When OSHA shows up at our clients’ doorsteps, we are adept at effectively handling OSHA inspections and negotiating favorable informal settlements of OSHA citations. If informal settlements do not produce our clients’ desired results, we stand ready to defend our clients in formal proceedings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and beyond.