Our employment law group at Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie, P.C., provides consultation and litigation services. We have been at the forefront in defending employment claims ranging from discrimination claims to sexual harassment suits. As a result, we have the experience to advise clients regarding how these claims can be prevented and how employers can place themselves in positions to defend lawsuits if they are initiated.
Veterans of both the courtroom and the podium, our lawyers frequently conduct seminars on timely and important employment law issues. We also offer educational material free of charge.
We believe that it is a vital part of our practice to assist employers in developing policies and practices that foster dedicated and non-litigious work environments. Clients are assisted in pursuing business goals in manners that are designed to achieve success while minimizing risks of litigation. Despite their best efforts, however, employers will always face the occasional employment lawsuit, and at that juncture, we at Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie, P.C. – with each senior attorney having years of solid jury trial experience – are prepared to aggressively defend their interests.
While keeping our clients fully aware of each step in their lawsuits and apprised of all of their cases’ strengths and weaknesses, we try to make litigation as stress-free as possible for them. An employer should be able to focus on its business, not on lawsuits. Unlike many traditional labor lawyers, who have little familiarity with jury trials, our employment law practice has always been grounded in the jury trial system – experience that is exceedingly valuable for a client if a case goes to trial.
As with many areas of law, but, particularly in employment law, prevention of legal disputes is of vital importance. If there is a threat or prospect of either a claim or lawsuit, the intervention of counsel at the earliest opportunity is crucial. Often, action can be taken that will greatly reduce the litigation risk of a dispute.
When a discrimination claim is filed, for example, a carefully crafted response to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is exceedingly important, since it will set the tone for the whole lawsuit. If done thoroughly and with foresight, a well-prepared administrative response can lay the groundwork for a successful summary judgment motion if a lawsuit is eventually filed.
The areas in which we frequently provide services include:
- The drafting, review and negotiation of employment contracts
- The preparation of employee handbooks, personnel policy manuals and restrictive covenants
- Counseling and defense for clients in discrimination matters including race, sex, age, religion, national origin and claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Employee benefits matters, including severance plans, golden parachute agreements, profit sharing plans, pension plans and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) matters (areas handled by an attorney who is a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist)
- Independent contractor status
- Employee performance issues
- Separation, release and waiver agreements
- Discipline or discharge matters and wrongful discharge litigation
- Privacy rights
- Employee drug and alcohol policies
- Wage and overtime issues, with a primary emphasis on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (MWA)
- Employee assistance programs (EAPs)
- Unemployment compensation claims, including pre-termination counseling to avoid claims
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) advice and litigation
- Equal pay policies and lawsuits
- Internet/technology issues
- Whistleblower claims
- Intellectual property (IP)
- Sexual harassment lawsuits