Labor & Employment

Bailey Cavalieri's experienced labor and employment lawyers represent public and private employers of all sizes across a variety of industries. Our lawyers apply their extensive experience to collaborate with our clients to strategically address the challenges of a modern workplace. We proactively consult with our clients in establishing contracts, policies, practices and training to minimize the potential for disputes and litigation. We routinely counsel our clients as labor or employment decisions are made to clarify the clients' goals and identify the action most likely to achieve those outcomes. When disputes arise, we collaborate with our clients at every stage of the dispute or litigation to maximize the likelihood of efficiently and successfully concluding the dispute or litigation.

Our labor and employment practice includes legal services in the following principal areas:

Loss Prevention

We seek to foster long-term client relationships through our commitment to the principle that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We understand that operating a business is more complicated than ever and seek to maximize the productivity and morale of our clients' workforce, while minimizing employee-related costs and risks. While implementation of preventative measures will not enable our clients to avoid every problem, we seek to be proactive through regular and timely client communications, audits of employer practices and policies, drafting and implementation of appropriate workplace policies which preserve employer rights, employee training focusing primarily on supervisors, drafting employment contracts where appropriate to protect trade secrets and motivate high performance, and conducting due diligence relative to new employees through hiring and mergers.

Employment Litigation

Although our emphasis on prevention seeks to decrease the likelihood of litigation, we also understand that litigation is often unavoidable. We, therefore, represent employers in all types of employment-related litigation. Our lawyers regularly defend employers against claims of unlawful harassment and discrimination, wage-hour violations, defamation, breach of contract, quasi-contract, retaliation, whistleblower claims, and violation of public policy. We represent employers in administrative proceedings, trials before state and federal courts, arbitration, and appeals. We frequently enforce employer rights through litigation, including protection of employer's trade secrets, enforcement of non-compete agreements, recovery of employee theft, and enjoining unlawful pickets from employees or union representatives. Our goal is always to conclude the matter as quickly as practical, on the most favorable terms to our clients as possible.

Labor & Management Relations

We have extensive experience in traditional labor law, having advised Fortune 500 companies and other public and private employers regarding union avoidance, union organizing efforts, and union election campaigns. We have significant collective bargaining agreement experience, and have defended employers in grievance hearings, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice proceedings under both federal and state law. We are also frequently asked to play a key role in business mergers and acquisitions by analyzing collective bargaining agreements and other employment-related representations and warranties.

Employee Performance Management

We work closely with employers to maximize the efficiency of their employees through focused job training and the communication of expectations to employees. Our employment law attorneys assist employers in the preparation of job descriptions and regularly advise employers with respect to handling and documenting employee performance, leave of absence, disability accommodation, and disciplinary issues. We frequently counsel employers regarding discharge and other post-discharge issues, including COBRA compliance, to minimize the risk of potential liability or costly litigation from departing employees.

Employment Contracts

We regularly work with employers to ensure that their employment relationships accurately reflect their intentions and protect their interests. It is our experience that care at the commencement of employment relationships in the form of appropriate documentation of terms and expectations will minimize the costs and risks of future disputes. Where appropriate, we draft employment contracts with the goals of protecting employer investment in key employees, ensuring the protection of employer's trade secrets, and preventing unfair competition in the event the employment terminates.

Discrimination & Harassment

We have experience in defending employers with respect to charges of discrimination filed with either Ohio or federal civil rights authorities alleging discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, and national origin. Our experience includes advising employers with respect to equal employment opportunity issues, affirmative action compliance, supervisor training, appropriate policies, and internal investigations of alleged discrimination and harassment.

Wage & Hour

We frequently assist employers in wage and hour compliance and litigation, and also work with employers to assess exempt employee status. We have assisted employers with respect to navigating Department of Labor audits and have represented construction employers relative to the interpretation of Ohio and federal prevailing wage laws and the defense of actions to recover wages and penalties under such laws.

Workplace Safety

Our practice includes rendering frequent advice regarding employer preparation for potential violence in the workplace and responding to such violence if it occurs. We guide employers through misconduct and harassment investigations which carry the possibility of violence and/or retribution, and assist employers in evaluating the risks presented by the performance of safety sensitive duties by employees with disabilities. We counsel employers with respect to OSHA compliance issues and defend employers when OSHA seeks to inspect their workplaces or issues a citation for violation of safety obligations.

Employee Privacy

We regularly counsel clients with respect to a broad range of employee privacy issues, including background and criminal investigations of employees and applicants. We frequently prepare policies and counsel employers regarding privacy issues pertaining to drug testing, employee computer, phone and internet usage, and employee personal property on the employer's premises. We often counsel employers during misconduct and sexual harassment investigations which raise issues relating to employee privacy, and have counseled numerous employers regarding Ohio's concealed carry law and its impact on the workplace.

Leave of Absence Policies

We provide timely and necessary counsel to employers regarding leaves of absence, including, but not limited to, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), military leave, jury duty leave, pregnancy leave, and leave due to injuries covered by Ohio's workers' compensation law.

Reduction in Force

We work closely with employers relative to workforce downsizing and plant closing issues under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and the National Labor Relations Act. We also have assisted numerous employers with respect to conducting layoffs in a manner which minimizes the disruption to the remaining employees, and minimizes the risk of potential liability to those employees selected for layoff.