Civil Rights, Discrimination and Retaliation

  • Holland & Knight's Labor and Employment Group provides ongoing employment counsel to employers for the full range of labor and employment policies and contracts, in such areas as equal employment opportunity, reasonable accommodation, employee benefits, employee handbooks, policy manuals and forms, compliance programs, change in control and alternative dispute resolution programs.
  • We represent employers in employment discrimination proceedings, advise clients in meeting affirmative action obligations, counsel on the liability traps associated with employment-related torts, defend employers against such claims in state courts nationwide, and provide training for management employees, human resource professionals and first-line supervisors on various employment law topics.

Employment Discrimination and Affirmative Action

Holland & Knight's Labor and Employment Group represents employers in race, color, religion, sex, sexual harassment, age, disability, pregnancy, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation and HIV-related employment discrimination proceedings before federal, state and local equal employment agencies; in arbitration; as well as in the federal and state courts. We also advise our government contractor clients in meeting their affirmative action obligations under the applicable federal and state laws and represent them in connection with OFCCP compliance reviews, the negotiation of conciliation agreements and related enforcement proceedings.

State Law Tort and Statutory Claims

State courts and legislatures increasingly are creating inroads on the long-established at-will employment doctrine. As they do, employees have a greater number of options available to challenge their employer's discipline, discharge and employment-related decisions. Our team has substantial experience in advising employers to avoid the liability traps associated with employment-related torts and state statutory claims such as defamation, negligent retention, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, tortious interference with a business relationship and wrongful discharge. We also regularly defend employers against such claims in state courts across the nation.

Employment Counsel, Policies and Contracts

Members of our team provide ongoing employment counsel to employers on the full gamut of labor and employment issues involved in their businesses, including equal employment opportunity, reasonable accommodation, discipline and discharge, wage and hour, employee benefit, medical leave and criminal background check issues. We regularly draft employee handbooks, policy manuals, corporate codes of conduct, compliance programs, work rules, disciplinary guidelines, drug testing programs, employment applications, and other employment policies and forms. We also draft employment, change in control, independent contractor and employee leasing agreements and alternative dispute resolution programs, including mandatory mediation and arbitration procedures.

Employment Law Training

Having well-trained supervisors and managers is a key to avoiding or successfully defending against employment claims and related liability. Our attorneys regularly provide training for management employees, human resource professionals and first-line supervisors on various employment law topics, including conducting internal investigations, workplace harassment, minimizing exposure when making and implementing discipline and discharge decisions, effectively handling retaliation claims, attendance control programs, conducting performance evaluations and managing employee leave requests. We work with clients to deliver customized training on the most efficient and cost-effective basis, using the latest technology and a variety of techniques, including lectures, mock demonstrations, group discussions, role-playing and quizzes.