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EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

Thompson Coburn represents employers in employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, and breach of contract cases, ranging from individual lawsuits to class and collective actions. While we are typically on the defense side of cases, we have also successfully prosecuted numerous suits against former employees who leave to compete, utilizing a number of strategies and techniques to enforce restrictive covenants and breaches of fiduciary duties.

Our emphasis is on winning cases efficiently. To do this, we immediately marshal the facts of all new matters and prepare a preliminary analysis for the client. We collaborate with the client to develop a strategy for winning the case, either by motion or at trial. We are mindful of our clients’ need to contain legal costs, so at all times, we staff each matter appropriately, with the attorney best suited to the particular task.

We handle employment cases in many jurisdictions. In fact, we have defended companies in the District of Columbia and more than 35 states. Our attorneys are ranked in Chambers USA, and several attorneys have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® for Labor and Employment Litigation.

Representative Matters

A major chemical company chose Thompson Coburn to defend it in a suit brought by a 15-year employee who was dismissed for willfully violating a life-critical safety policy. The employee accused the company of discrimination and harassment based on race, national origin and color. The jury, seated in a plaintiff-friendly venue, deliberated for only 40 minutes before returning a verdict in favor of our client on all counts.

Won judgment as a matter of law in a federal age discrimination lawsuit at the close of plaintiff’s evidence in federal court in East St. Louis, Illinois, for a major U.S. banking company.

Obtained summary judgment in a race discrimination lawsuit on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to disclose the existence of her claim when she filed for bankruptcy protection.

Obtained replevin order in favor of our client allowing U.S. Marshals to seize confidential information taken by former employees.

On behalf of a Fortune 500 manufacturer, obtained summary judgment on grounds that the ERISA plan participant had failed to exhaust her administrative remedies and the time for filing a further administrative appeal was now time-barred.

On behalf of an nationwide retailer, obtained summary judgment on grounds that the plaintiff failed to prove his ERISA 510 claim because he did not show that he had lost an entitlement to plan benefits and did not show that the company's stated reason for terminating his employment was pretextual.

Obtained dismissal of sexual harassment case and received award of sanctions against the plaintiff when it was discovered that the plaintiff had worked as an exotic dancer at a time during which she testified at deposition that she was unemployed.

Class and Collective Action Employment Litigation

By succeeding in limiting discovery, we prevented an Americans With Disabilities Case from becoming a class action over the requirement of providing a “full release with no restrictions” in order to return to work.

Successfully defended the world’s largest publishing company against a sex discrimination/hostile environment class action, resulting in a favorable settlement on the eve of trial.

Successfully defended a sex discrimination class action against the hiring practices of a major manufacturer. In the face of a compelling dispositive motion, EEOC settled for truly nuisance value.

FLSA collective action challenging policy of not paying employees for time spent at home uploading and downloading work information over the Internet. Almost 1,000 current and former employees opted in, and a collective action was preliminarily certified. Following discovery, our motion to decertify the class led to realistic settlement demands that resulted in a confidential resolution.

Several FLSA collective actions across the country were consolidated in California and challenged flat fixed-rate pay for over 300 nurse staffing coordinators working on-call during evening and weekend hours. We were able to greatly reduce the number of plaintiffs and then, with an expert, show that the number of hours plaintiffs claimed they worked was grossly exaggerated.

Putative class action brought to challenge the subjective decision making for promotions by a major financial services company. We succeeded in persuading the Court to deny class certification, with the case later dismissed as to the remaining plaintiffs. The dismissal was affirmed by the Eighth Circuit.

In a class action challenging the exempt classification of software code writers and testers (approximately 150 employees in a variety of job classifications were involved), the Circuit Court tentatively granted class certification. We were able to convince class counsel that about one-half of the job classifications were most likely correct. As a result, the case settled for a low amount.

A major telecommunications company retained Thompson Coburn in a putative class action retaliation claim brought by a terminated employee on behalf of a class of employees who were offered a “last chance agreement,” whereby they would avoid termination only by agreeing, among other things, to a plenary release of claims to date against the company. After some discovery, we successfully moved to dismiss the class claims, and then were able to litigate the case as a single plaintiff case.

For a major insurance company we obtained summary judgment in an unlawful retaliation and race case claiming violation of Title VII and state law.

Publications

House passes bill to clamp down on class actions

Missouri to join Right to Work ranks: Is the fight over or just warming up?

Texas overtime ruling directly affects California employers

Are HR employees ‘investment advisors’ under the DOL’s fiduciary rule?

California expands pay equity, limits pay stub requirements

New Illinois law prohibits non-competition agreements with low-wage employees

Technology companies: Are your employment policies due for a reboot?

Former head of OSHA discusses workplace injury policies, DOJ enforcement

U.S. Department of Labor issues final rule updating overtime regulations

New OSHA reporting and anti-retaliation rules

What you need to know about federal trade secret protection

California ups the ante on minimum wages

What’s next for class action defendants after Tyson Foods?

Post that policy: California FEHA amended regs take effect April 1, 2016

EEOC wants employer payroll data to discover pay discrimination

Trick or Treat for California employers

DOL claims most workers classified as independent contractors are "employees" covered by the FLSA

DOL proposed rules limit overtime exemptions

Missouri employers take note: don't wait to challenge the timeliness of a charge under the Missouri Human Rights Act

Illinois employers face decision as appellate court limits offer of at-will employment as consideration for competition restrictions

NLRB posting requirement struck down by court; federal contractors still on the hook

Third Arthur Sternberg article appears in Illinois bar publication

Second Arthur Sternberg article appears in Illinois bar publication

Blog Posts

Illinois strengthens, expands scope of personal information protections

Gainful employment webinar recordings now available

Can colleges compensate recruiters based on graduation rates?

Employers and medical marijuana: Are California's anti-drug policies up in smoke?

Why the GE regs apply to some programs and not others

Reporting gainful employment data to DOE: Time to get started

Possible hospital malpractice exposure in Missouri for non-employed physicians

New desk guide: How to project gainful employment rates

How to project gainful employment rates – Part 5

TCLE

Traffic Ahead: California Employment Law Update

Overtime Law 2016 – Expanded New Rule: What It Means for You

A New Horizon: What You Need to Know About California Employment Law

News

Nelson Williams joins the board of Forward Through Ferguson

Laura Jordan named a 2017 BTI Client Service All-Star

Thompson Coburn earns 11 national top-tier rankings in U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ survey

Art Silbergeld named one of the top employment lawyers in California

Employment litigator Arthur Silbergeld joins Thompson Coburn in Los Angeles

25 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2015 Chambers USA

Nelson Williams named one of Business Journal’s 30 Under 30

Employment litigator John Viola joins Thompson Coburn in Los Angeles

Congratulations to our 15 St. Louis ‘Lawyers of the Year’

112 Thompson Coburn attorneys featured in 2015 Best Lawyers list

Cliff Godiner, Chuck Poplstein named to 2014 ‘Most Powerful Employment Attorneys’ list

27 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2014 Chambers USA

Krissa Lubben, Mark Sableman named 2014 Lexology Client Choice Award winners

Webinar will review attorney client privilege for in-house counsel

Three partners named 2013 Up & Coming attorneys

Lori Jones talks Affordable Care Act delays, employee benefits in a post-DOMA world

Cliff Godiner, Chuck Poplstein named to ‘Most Powerful Employment Attorneys’ list

St. Louis judge backs Thompson Coburn-designed firefighter pension overhaul

Cliff Godiner, Hope Abramov to dissect a modern labor dispute at SHRM annual conference

Thompson Coburn wins union election, decertifies longtime union facility

Thompson Coburn secures Illinois appellate victory for community hospital

19 Thompson Coburn partners named 2013 St. Louis Lawyers of the Year

Chuck Poplstein elected to College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Laura Jordan selected for 2012-2013 class of Leadership St. Louis

Arthur Sternberg publishes article in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Thompson Coburn part of team that won landmark religious liberty case in U.S. Supreme Court

Events

4th Annual Labor, Employment & Benefits Breakfast

Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6496

A partner in the Labor and Employment practice area, Hope's extensive labor and employment practice is bolstered by her experiences as an in-house attorney for more than ...

A partner in the Labor and Employment practice area, Hope's extensive labor...

Hope Abramov
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6014

Mary has spent her nearly 40-year career representing major corporations in high-stakes trials and arbitrations across the region.

Mary has spent her nearly 40-year career representing major corporations in...

Mary Bonacorsi
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6506

Tabitha counsels management in all types of disputes related to human resources law.

Tabitha counsels management in all types of disputes related to human resou...

Tabitha Davisson
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2218

Mike represents management clients in a wide variety of labor and employment matters and related litigation.

Mike represents management clients in a wide variety of labor and employmen...

Mike Duffee
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6433

Cliff is a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney who advises executives and HR leaders on all aspects of employment litigation and labor disputes.

Cliff is a nationally recognized labor and employment attorney who advises ...

Cliff Godiner
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6469

Laura provides high-level strategic human resources counseling to executives and HR managers on the challenging legal questions that crop up during every phase of employm...

Laura provides high-level strategic human resources counseling to executive...

Laura Jordan
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2324

Susan is an experienced and trusted employment law advisor who counsels employers at every stage of a personnel-related issue.

Susan is an experienced and trusted employment law advisor who counsels emp...

Susan Lorenc
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6389

Krissa practices human resources law, focusing on the representation of employers in employment litigation and client counseling.

Krissa practices human resources law, focusing on the representation of emp...

Krissa Lubben
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6349

Pam is an experienced civil litigator and a national leader on issues of civil rights and equal justice under the law.

Pam is an experienced civil litigator and a national leader on issues of ci...

Pamela Meanes
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6470

Rick is one of the few attorneys nationwide who devotes his entire practice to the defense of employers in ERISA litigation related to pension, life, health, and disabili...

Rick is one of the few attorneys nationwide who devotes his entire practice...

Rick Pautler
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6095

Chuck is a creative and highly efficient employment litigator and advisor to private and public sector employers across a wide spectrum of industries.

Chuck is a creative and highly efficient employment litigator and advisor t...

Chuck Poplstein
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6577

Cody represents employers in various aspects of employment litigation and labor law.

Cody represents employers in various aspects of employment litigation and l...

Cody Reinberg
Associate
Los Angeles
310 282 9435

Nikki practices in the Thompson Coburn's Business Litigation group.

Nikki practices in the Thompson Coburn's Business Litigation group.

Nikki Rivers
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6432

Tim provides practical, in-depth counsel to management during two of the most critical junctures in the employer-employee relationship: union organizing and employee term...

Tim provides practical, in-depth counsel to management during two of the mo...

Tim Sarsfield
Partner
Los Angeles
310 282 9412

Art represents employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor relations matters.

Art represents employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor rel...

Art Silbergeld
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2235

Art is an experienced trial lawyer and employment law counselor.

Art is an experienced trial lawyer and employment law counselor.

Art Sternberg
Partner
Los Angeles
310 282 9407

John serves as a one-stop resource for employment counseling and litigation for companies across the country, particularly as they relate to California operations.

John serves as a one-stop resource for employment counseling and litigation...

John Viola
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6505

Nelson represents employers in various aspects of employment law and litigation.

Nelson represents employers in various aspects of employment law and litiga...

R. Nelson Williams