Employment Advice & Counsel

As workplaces become more dynamic, employment counsel is increasingly complex. Employers face stiff headwinds from ever-changing labor and employment regulations. At the same time, there’s a war for talent, four generations are figuring out how to collaborate effectively, new technology is changing or replacing work, and workers increasingly choose when and where work happens.

Key Contacts

Carolyn D. Walker Partner Portland, OR
Keelin A. Curran Partner Seattle, WA
James C. Dale Partner Boise, ID
See all contacts
Overview

Our large labor and employment team provides counsel on unions, workplace disputes and litigation, executive compensation, wage and hour issues, and workplace safety. We keep you ahead of regulations and issues, respond when thorny issues crop up, and serve as passionate defenders when disputes arise. While many of our clients are located in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West, an equal number have headquarters elsewhere and employees throughout the U.S. and abroad. 

Our Services

  • Labor relations and unionization response
  • Policies and handbook preparation/review
  • Harassment, discrimination and diversity training
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Wage and hour practices and defense
  • Reductions in force and plant closures
  • Discipline and discharge
  • Leaves and disability accommodation
  • Confidentiality, restrictive covenants and non-competition
  • Internal Investigations
  • DOL/OFCCP audits
  • Litigation prevention/risk management strategies
  • Workplace safety and health 

Advice & Counsel

Employers wrestle with questions and issues as diverse as their settings and populations. You deal with everyday concerns including recruiting and hiring processes, union matters, supervisor training, wage and hour management, workplace investigations, and the ADA, FMLA and similar state and local protected leave laws, as well as the complicated interplay between them all. At times you experience additional burdens that come with claims of discrimination or harassment, disability and religious accommodations, and reductions in force or workers’ compensation claims. We partner with you on resolving all of these issues and focus on keeping your business moving. We keep your compliance strong and your costs for legal counsel in check and will work with you to arrange a system of ongoing counsel that fits with your business objectives. 

Policies, Handbooks and Training

It is just as important to establish effective workplace employment policies and procedures as it is to keep the workforce informed about and trained on them. We’ll help you update policies and share best practices for organizing and providing easy access to them. We also deliver training programs—in person or using technology—so appropriate team members are proficient with performance management, termination, appraisal, harassment and discrimination avoidance, interviewing, and hiring practices. 

Workplace Safety and Health

We have substantial experience with the nuances of safety and health regulations, both from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state agencies, as they relate to your environment and operations. Our clients are involved with wood products, metals, mining, energy, manufacturing, construction, health care, high tech and more. Your workers weld, operate cranes and heavy equipment, handle hazardous materials, lift patients, scale scaffolding, wear protective equipment and work with blood-borne pathogens. We help protect your workers, keep you in compliance with OSHA regulations, and help you prepare for inspections and respond to citations.

 


Matters
  • Advised a renewable power producer on a matter involving a transgender employee of a contingent service agency who alleged gender discrimination and harassment.
  • Advised a membership-only warehouse retailer on discrimination and harassment issues, interpreting and applying employment policies and legal requirements for specific personnel decisions, and counseled on appropriate actions to minimize risk of liability.
  • Advised a loan service company on discrimination and harassment issues, interpreting and applying employment policies and legal requirements for specific personnel decisions, and counseled on appropriate actions to minimize risk of liability.
  • Advised a producer of dental products on personnel and employment practices and negotiated and prepared non-competition employment contracts and separation agreements.
  • Advised a drilling company on general employment matters, including workplace investigations, wage and hour laws, industrial appeals, and employment policies, and provided on-site employment law trainings to managers and supervisors.
  • Assisted a consulting firm with the of drafting policies, contracts and non-compete agreements; advised on agency appeals, terminations, disciplinary issues and workplace investigations; and provided on-site trainings.
  • Assisted a manufacturer of aerospace components on the preparation of employment contracts and advised on severance agreements, terminations and disciplinary actions, workplace investigations, and wage and hour issues.
  • Advised a public university on an internal investigation regarding the potential wrongdoing by a senior administrator.
  • Advised a nationwide automotive dealership on acquisitions and day-to-day labor and employment issues.
  • Advised a large silver producer in connection with a major downsizing of a mining complex and the corresponding issues pertaining to a reduction in force.
  • Advised a lumber, pulp and paper producer on general harassment training issues related to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and security modifications.
  • Advised a group of executives in a company being acquired on employment agreements and drafted new contracts.
  • Advised a medical service provider and its chief executive officer on reduction-in-force scenarios, counseled the medical peer-review committee, and provided in-house training to executive personnel.
  • Advised an employer with multiple unionized operations in an acquisition of another employer with unionized operations so as to integrate operations efficiently.
Team
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