Miles & Stockbridge's labor and employment lawyers counsel employers of all sizes and in all industries regarding equal employment opportunity and discrimination matters , including advice on and defense of claims under:
The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) holds that every employer has a general duty to provide a workplace "free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm" to employees, and this includes protection from criminal acts. Similarly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines the prohibited sexual harassment conduct that makes any employer legally liable for creation of a hostile working environment, even when the conduct is an individual matter. Our lawyers frequently help employers take necessary steps to identify and correct the individual and institutional sources of sexual harassment and workplace violence. The appropriate policies and procedures not only help protect an employer from workplace violence or sexual harassment liability; they can often stop improper and potentially criminal acts from occurring.
Employment discrimination liability can involve a multitude of allegations over hiring and orientation protocols, drug and alcohol issues, and equal employment opportunity requirements. We routinely help clients comply with all laws and protocols involving these matters, as well as with the difficult issues relating to leave of absence policies, work redesign and reasonable accommodations questions. We emphasize proactive counsel to implement internal human resources policies and procedures that foster a positive working environment. Our objective is to minimize employee claims for sexual, racial and ethnic discrimination, unfair personnel evaluations, wrongful termination, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage violations, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The most important part of our discrimination and harassment counsel is helping employers establish procedures to assess the plausibility of the accusations and of everyone involved in the investigation, and assisting them in the assessment. If the complaint is supported by the investigation, we work with our clients to determine the appropriate discipline needed to end the proscribed conduct (ranging from written warning and counseling to demotion or discharge), and determine if any remedial action is necessary toward the complainant. If the complaint is not supported by the investigation, we offer advice on counseling for one or both parties. Our goal in all discrimination and harassment matters is to provide proactive, protective counsel that enables our clients to avoid the negative consequences of regulatory sanction or litigation.
A growing field of investigation practice for us is whistleblower complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We work with the Act's provisions relating to employee allegation of discrimination over whistleblowing. We conduct these and all other investigations quickly and quietly for effective resolution in full compliance with the law.