Labor & Employment
Employees are an employer’s biggest asset. While they add tremendous value to a business, they may also expose a company to considerable risk.
Employee disputes have the potential to disrupt company growth, employee productivity, and employee morale. Employers face daily challenges of meeting operational needs while also trying not to run afoul of federal and state employment-related laws and regulations, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
That is where Lincoln Derr’s labor and employment attorneys come in. We represent large and small employers, delivering personnel advice, providing counseling, and training senior leaders and employees. We can help employers develop and implement strong policies that minimize corporate risk. Our attorneys know the law and create a proactive approach to navigate any employment situation.
Our attorneys are known for making creative and innovative solutions outside of litigation possible. When litigation is necessary, we leverage our extensive courtroom experience to craft persuasive trial strategies to defend your company against a variety of claims.
Our goal-oriented approach helps your company manage matters such as:
- ZDiscrimination and Harassment Claims
- ZEmployment Agreements
- ZNon-compete and Non-solicitation Agreements
- ZNon-disclosure Agreements
- ZSeverance Agreements
- ZEmployee Handbooks
- ZPersonnel Policies
- ZReductions in Force
- ZProblem Employees
- ZManagement Training
- ZWorkplace Security
- ZAttendance and Leave of Absence Issues
- ZDisability Accommodation Issues
- ZUnemployment Compensation
- ZSexual Harassment Training and Investigations
Prepare Company Employees for Success
Successful employers set high standards for their employees. At Lincoln Derr, we help our clients effectively communicate those standards to employees. We regularly advise employers at each phase of the employment relationship from recruiting, interviewing and hiring, to reorganizations and terminations.
We take the time to get to know our clients, their industries, their core values and culture. With strong client relationships, we are able to recommend the most efficient and effective strategies and defenses during what can often be highly emotional circumstances. We maintain a diligent fact-driven approach to ensure our clients have sound legal guidance in advance of appearances before juries or agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Labor (DOL).
Manage Claims and Mitigate Risk
Our firm is experienced in legal project management. We collaborate with our clients to create processes to prevent and respond to allegations, such as discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Our attorneys have experience defending complaints related to any of the following laws:
- ZTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- ZAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- ZFair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- ZAge Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- ZFamily and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- ZFamilies First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
- ZOther State and Federal Laws
Can we offer you some advice?
When you work with Lincoln Derr, you benefit from the forward-thinking approach of some of the brightest legal minds in the Carolinas. We realize that an essential requirement in helping you achieve your desired outcome is fully understanding your interests and utilizing our skillsets to meet company objectives. We help employers think ahead, maximize advantages, manage cases efficiently and position our clients for success in a number of ways, including:
Workforce Compliance Training
A team that can hold itself accountable is much more likely to be successful. That is where education comes in. Our team regularly creates interactive presentations to educate employees on company policies, procedures and applicable laws. Additionally, we provide manager training to minimize the risk of supervisor and manager conduct as the basis of company exposure to legal liability.
Workplace investigations, whether simple or complex, have the potential to present challenging issues for management and human resources departments. Our attorneys help employers with internal investigations and ensure that any investigation is detailed, thorough, and completed in an appropriate and timely manner.
Case presentation is often the difference between winning and losing. Our experienced attorneys are gifted at taking complex legal matters and communicating them in a manner that resonates with jurors and reduces the risk of unfavorable outcomes.
Our Attorneys in Action
National Executive Search Team
We represented an executive search firm with a nationwide footprint in an arbitration applying Maryland law against a former employee and owner. The action involved unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation, non-compete violations, and other related claims. Lincoln Derr’s Labor and Employment team won a favorable arbitration award totaling $1.75 million in damages with the non-compete upheld.
Lincoln Derr successfully defended a Charlotte-area manufacturing company against race discrimination claims brought by a former employee. The Middle District of North Carolina granted partial summary judgment in favor of the company and a federal jury took just 45 minutes to return a defense verdict.
Lincoln Derr Labor and Employment team defended a multi-state healthcare corporation in an employment and professional negligence matter. We obtained a complete defense verdict in a multi-week jury trial saving our client eighty (80) million dollars in damages sought.
Large U.S. Energy Entity
Lincoln Derr obtained a motion to dismiss claims of discrimination based on race, age, and retaliation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of one of the largest U.S. energy companies.
Labor & Employment FAQ’s
Are non-compete agreements enforceable in North Carolina?
Yes, they are generally enforceable, so long as the agreement is in writing, part of an employment contract, supported by valuable consideration (such as a raise or new employment), reasonable in its time and territory restrictions, and designed to protect the employer’s legitimate and narrowly defined business interests. Our attorneys can help you draft a custom employment agreement and non-compete agreement that protects your company’s business interests.
Can a company fire an employee without cause in North Carolina?
North Carolina is an “at will” employment state. That means that absent an employment contract, employers have significant discretion in whether to hire job applicants or fire employees, so long as they do not violate federal, state or local law in doing either one. Hiring or firing decisions based on traits like age, race, sex, disability or national origin rather than on merit can infringe upon an employee’s civil rights and trigger a Charge of Discrimination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Our attorneys are available to counsel employers on critical employment decisions.
I just received a charge of discrimination from the EEOC. Now what?
Most Charges of Discrimination come from the EEOC in email format rather than hard copy via U.S. Mail. You should review the charge notice carefully as it will tell you the name of the employee making the complaint, the substance of the complaint and most importantly, the deadline to respond to the employee’s complaint. Preparing supporting documentation and an appropriate position statement in response to a complaint with the EEOC can mean the difference between the EEOC quickly closing its investigation and the EEOC filing suit against your company. Our attorneys are happy to help you craft the best response strategy for your unique circumstance.