Leading legal industry publication “Super Lawyers” has named Hall, Arbery, Gilligan, Roberts & Shanlever LLP as the 2015 “Top Law Firm” in Georgia in the small firm category for employment law. We are honored and sincerely grateful to all our clients who have made this possible.
Our Savannah office continues to grow with the addition of attorney Maury Bowen as a partner. Maury brings 20 years of diverse experience to the firm, most recently as a partner at another law firm and before that as Assistant General Counsel for a sizable corporation.
In her labor and employment practice, Maury advises and defends corporate clients On a wide variety of issues, including lawsuits, arbitrations, administrative charges, employment decisions of all types, collective bargaining issues, and multi-employer benefit plan management.
Maury also has a thriving corporate law practice, in which she advises on entity formation, asset sales and acquisitions, workforce restructuring, and various other matters.
Ms. Bowen is a 1994 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, with an undergraduate degree from the University of the South at Sewanee. She is an active member of the Savannah community and has served on boards for a number of charitable and educational organizations.
We are extremely excited to have such a strong presence in Savannah with Maury and Kristen Goodman, both of whom are long-time residents with outstanding professional reputations and relationships. Including our main office in Atlanta, the firm now has 12 lawyers focused on employment law and related litigation.Read More
A recent decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Georgia, Florida, and Alabama) may have opened the door for countless otherwise-expired claims of age discrimination with no evidence of intentional basis.
In Villareal v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the Court ruled that an unsuccessful job applicant could pursue a claim of age discrimination under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act based on a “disparate impact” theory. Under this approach, the claimant does not have to prove (or even allege) intentional discrimination, but instead that a neutral policy or practice resulted in adverse actions (e.g., non-hire) that are statistically disproportionate against older individuals.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the decision was the Court’s ruling that the running of the 180-day statute of limitations did not necessarily preclude the filing of a claim. The Court held the statute could be “equitably tolled” as long as the claimant did not know and could not reasonably have known about any discriminatory practices or statistical disparities.
The Court’s rulings on both the “disparate impact” and the “equitable tolling” claims could have substantial repercussions for employers. This case highlights the importance of ensuring that employment-related policies do not have a discriminatory impact. The best way to guard against such a policy is to have a qualified employment attorney conduct a privileged employment practices audit. For more, please do not hesitate to call any of our attorneys.Read More
The US Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently issued an Administrative Interpretation that greatly expands the possibility that two or more businesses are “joint employers” of one employee. Joint employment status means two or more employers may be held jointly and severally responsible for fulfilling minimum wage, overtime, and other obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The WHD’s guidance discusses two types of relationships: (i) “horizontal,” in which the employee is potentially employed by two related companies, and (ii) “vertical,” in which the employee is directly employed by a staffing company or contractor but is dependent upon (and thus employed by) a second business. If joint employment exists under either analysis, both employers could be liable for overtime and other wage and hour violations.
When viewed alongside last summer’s DOL guidance on classification of independent contractor/employees, the imminent increase on salary level required for white collar exemptions, and the National Labor Relations Board’s recent decisions on joint employment, it is clear that today’s labor and business models face a rapidly changing legal landscape.
While these Administrative Interpretations are not binding law, they are persuasive to courts and are used by DOL agents in compliance investigations. The WHD has made clear that it intends to influence how companies do business. This opinion specifically highlights a few industries, but all businesses should be mindful of these issues when considering alternative staffing models and labor related contracts. Having a qualified employment law attorney review the arrangement can go a long way to addressing joint employer risks.
For more information, contact a Hall, Arbery, Gilligan, Roberts & Shanlever attorney in Atlanta or Savannah.Read More