Dorsey’s Labor & Employment group dedicates the majority of its practice to dispute resolution through litigation, arbitration, mediation or negotiation. Whether the dispute is administrative, single plaintiff or class based, we are known for delivering successful results to employers in FLSA, discrimination, wrongful termination, trade secret and most other claims brought by employees. We are respected, efficient and cost-effective litigators.
The most successful lawsuit, though, is the one that is never filed. So, we spend the rest of our time helping employers develop workplace strategies to manage employment-related risk and implement effective policies and procedures to protect valuable assets and trade secrets. We also support merger and acquisition transactions for buyers and sellers and help companies secure talented foreign nationals through our comprehensive business immigration services. For employers with a unionized workforce or facing union organizing, we help resolve labor law issues.
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We help clients avoid litigation if possible and defend it when unavoidable. We partner with clients to reduce the likelihood of litigation through effective policies and procedures, training and response plans. Read more about our training programs.
When litigation is unavoidable, we put our many years of experience to work to defend employers in virtually every type of judicial, administrative and arbitral forum, including federal and state court, administrative hearings, arbitrations and NLRB proceedings. Our approach is guided by:
- Early assessment of the merits and corresponding risks of the claim
- Exploration of early resolution where warranted
- Focus on efficiency and cost control
- Close client partnering to ensure coordination of all critical decisions
- Post-case review to draw “lessons learned” and improve future processes and practices
Lawyers for employees have increasingly attempted to use the powerful tool of class actions to increase their leverage and improve their settlement posture. Class actions are often raised where a decision or practice affects a large group of employees. We assist employers in developing practices and procedures to help reduce the risk of class-based claims. And when such lawsuits are filed, we work quickly to develop creative strategies to neutralize and resolve the claim.
We work with management to structure, negotiate, interpret and enforce collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and represent companies in grievance arbitrations under their CBAs. We represent clients before the National Labor Relations Board and work with companies to ensure compliance with OSHA and other workplace safety statutes designed to enhance workplace safety.
- Land O’Lakes Acquires Vermont Creamery
- IEEE adds Engineering360 platform to its powerful resources for the global engineering community
- Key players combine in significant transaction for payments industry
- Founders sell oil and gas software business to private equity buyer
- Tekmira and OnCore merge to create global company focused on HBV treatment
Class & Collective Actions
- Dorsey defended a pork processing and packing company against class-action claims of involving allegations of pay stub violations, failure to pay overtime wages, off-the-clock work, automatic lunch deduction, donning and doffing, and violation of California Business and Professions section 17200. Our team obtained dismissal of all claims early in the case.
- Dorsey defended a dining and entertainment venue in class and collective actions in Minnesota and Illinois alleging unpaid wages on behalf of tipped employees in its restaurants. The cases involved parallel claims under federal, Minnesota and Illinois law and were significant for the novel legal and factual issues raised under Minnesota law involving the definition of tipped employees and the permissibility of employer involvement in ensuring equitable allocation of tips among service employees.
- With Dorsey attorneys handling the case, a national financial services company received a victory in a class action suit brought by its employees, who alleged breach of contract related to commissions paid employee and franchisee financial advisors. The Dorsey team successfully opposed class certification and obtained a dismissal of all claims
Individual Plaintiff Lawsuits
- Dorsey obtained summary judgment on behalf of a North Dakota health care system which had been sued by its former COO who alleged she had been terminated in violation of state and federal age discrimination laws. The plaintiff appealed the summary judgment dismissal, but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s order.
- Dorsey represented a large national bank against claims of race discrimination brought by a former employee in federal court in Washington. After a trial, a unanimous jury found that no unlawful discrimination had occurred.
- Dorsey acted as co-lead counsel for the defense in a case involving claims for over $1 billion for usurpation of corporate opportunity, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of restrictive covenants, and other claims. After 8 weeks of trial, we obtained a judgment for defense at conclusion of plaintiff's case. Our client was awarded $650,000 in costs.
- Dorsey represented a manufacturing company, in an unfair labor practice charge which alleged that the company had altered position requirements without bargaining for the changes. The charge stemmed from an employee being unable to perform the physical functions required for the position, creating a safety hazard, and the employer requesting a functional capacity assessment as a result. Following the NLRB’s investigation, in which Dorsey represented employer witnesses at their NLRB interviews, the union withdrew its charge.
- A Dorsey client’s union employees drive delivery trucks between the client’s bakery and its convenience stores. Their labor contract expired before reaching a new deal. The company instituted a lock out to avoid strike misconduct. As soon as the lockout began, the employees began to engage in threatening and dangerous picket-line misconduct. Dorsey immediately pursued temporary injunction relief, which led to a cessation of the picket line misconduct and a quick settlement of the labor dispute.
- Dorsey represented a national bank in connection with an unfair labor practice charge in which a former employee alleged that the class action waiver in the bank’s arbitration agreement violated the NLRA. After we provided a substantive response to the charge – including arguments based on timeliness, waiver, and federal law – the NLRB approved the charging party’s withdrawal of the charge.
Risk Management Experience
We have extensive experience counseling clients on both the routine and unusual issues that arise in the workplace (discipline, discharge, discrimination, leave questions, theft and workplace violence). We frequently work with clients to devise policies and procedures addressing sexual harassment, arbitration, progressive discipline and workforce reductions.
Labor Law Matters
Dorsey’s Labor and Employment attorneys work closely with clients that have a unionized workforce or face union organizing. Our services include:
- Assist and advise employers responding to union organizing activity, including “corporate campaigns”
- Work with management to structure and negotiate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs)
- Assist clients with the interpretation and enforcement of companies’ rights under CBAs
- Represent employers in grievance arbitrations
- Represent employers before the National Labor Relations Board
- Work with companies to ensure compliance with OSHA and other statues designed to enhance workplace safety
- Provide guidance to companies regarding the interplay between rights under the union contract and competing provisions of federal and state law
- Concession bargaining with labor unions, negotiating the closure of unionized plants, large scale reductions in force, WARN Act compliance, and OWBPA compliance in connection with group termination
Dorsey has significant experience working with a variety of labor organizations, including:
- Service Employees International Union
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- United Food & Commercial Workers
- International Association of Machinists
- United Steelworkers of America
- Various construction trades unions
Industries & Practices
- Benefits & Compensation
- Executive Compensation
- Healthcare Transactions & Regulations
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Mergers & Acquisitions