Employment Litigation Attorney in Texas
Advising, Counseling & Representing Employers
Navigating the pitfalls of labor and employment law can be challenging
for even the most experienced employers, let alone individual business
owners, entrepreneurs, and new government contractors. Employers face
numerous regulatory and compliance issues, concerns over the protection
of their critical and confidential information, and matters regarding
remedies or defense when things do not go as planned.
At Hicks Thomas LLP, our attorneys’ decades of combined experience
enable our firm to provide an array of services in the area of employment
law litigation, counseling, and advice. Hicks Thomas’ employment
law expertise include matters involving:
Hicks Thomas litigates in federal and state courts around the nation, and
prosecutes and defends administrative proceedings before both federal
and state agencies. Because objectives and efficient resolutions are different
for every company, our Texas employment litigation lawyers place an emphasis
on client collaboration and implementation of legal strategies tailored
to their specific industries and needs.
For more information, please contact
Stewart Hoffer, Head of Hicks Thomas’ Employment Law Section.
Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets
Trade secrets and proprietary information which provide an industry edge
are among a business’ most valuable assets. As such, it becomes
essential to take reasonable measures in protecting these assets pro-actively
through carefully crafted agreements and safeguards, as well as through
available actions which provide remedies when critical information cultivated
by your company is obtained or disclosed through wrongful or dishonest means.
Our attorneys understand both the legal and business needs involved in
protecting clients’ key information and competitive advantage. When
confronted with decisions about these critical business issues, we understand
clients need both
advisors who can provide strategic and practical counsel and
litigators who are able to protect a client’s interests in state or federal
court. With a focus on customer service, Hicks Thomas attorneys are well-positioned
to provide timely advice and in-court representation for clients facing
the potential loss of their business relationships and confidential and
As Advisors, our counsel is tailored strategically to the unique needs of clients
in all aspects of the employment relationship, with a focus on the protection
of intellectual property and trade secrets through legally binding and
enforceable policies and agreements. This includes crafting customized
agreements that protect clients’ interests, maximize competitive
advantage, and minimize litigation risks, including non-compete or non-solicitation
agreements and non-disclosure agreements, among others.
As Litigators, we help clients avoid the high costs and uncertainty of litigation by
attempting to negotiate the resolution of unfair competition disputes
as early as possible. Creative settlements resulting in positive business
outcomes are the ultimate goal. With litigation, we devise efficient strategies
to address all relevant matters, including injunctions, discovery, and
trial. By leveraging experience and connections with forensic, economic,
and industry consultants and experts, we focus on moving quickly to secure
judicial intervention with minimal business interruption.
Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation
Our employment attorneys focus on advising, counseling, and defending clients
against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation issues arising under
the Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans
with Disabilities Act, Equal Pay Act, Family & Medical Leave Act,
and state-law equivalents. Our combined expertise offers clients experience
in both state and federal disputes, as well as guidance through the mandatory
administrative process with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
or equivalent state agencies, such as the Texas Workforce Commission.
In addition to compliance, we assist employers facing investigations and
legal actions involving all types of employee grievance and discrimination
matters, including those based on race, gender, or religion, or disability
and reasonable accommodations. Additionally, we ensure employers have
access to focused, proactive counseling as changes and issues arise.
Because we approach each client’s case with the understanding that
litigation can be both costly and time consuming, our attorneys collaborate
with clients on case strategy and risk management from the beginning,
to avoid surprises down the line. When doing so, we draw from a breadth
of knowledge regarding the relevant law, and familiarity with the state
and federal judges who adjudicate these types of lawsuits, as well as
opposing counsel who frequently bring them. This combination of experience,
depth of legal knowledge, and sensitivity to the client’s ultimate
goals, allows Hicks Thomas to proactively counsel and efficiently defend
Wage & Hour Disputes
Wage and hour disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) expose
employers to substantial liability. Because these actions have proliferated
in light of plaintiff-sided laws, increased administrative enforcement
efforts, and mandatory fees for attorneys who pursue collective actions,
their potential impact on a business, including penalties or costly litigation,
warrants competent attention from attorneys who can address compliance
issues and efficiently handle disputes.
Hicks Thomas attorneys have the experience and resources to keep clients
well-informed, well-prepared, and well-represented in any wage and hour
dispute. We respond quickly when a lawsuit is filed or a federal or state
investigation commences, and are often aware of them before our clients
are. We offer cutting edge strategies to help limit a client’s exposure
and litigation costs, and have extensive experience defending against
every type of wage and hour claim, including but not limited to:
- Misclassification of employees
- Unpaid overtime
- Validity of tip pools
- Calculation of regular rate
- Motor Carrier Act Exemption
- Missed meal and rest periods
Hicks Thomas also works with clients to help ensure compliance with applicable
wage and hour laws and regulations before litigation commences. Our attorneys
work with clients to identify and address potential exposure to penalties
or litigation, and apply practical knowledge to ensure counsel is driven
by everyday work realities, the effect those realities have on wage payment
issues, and the unique sources of proof of compliance available in each industry.
In addition to informally resolving wage and hour disputes as they arise
in the workplace, our firm combats claims, including class decertification
and defending claims on the merits, when litigation becomes inevitable.
Our legal team also has experience representing clients in wage and hour
investigations instituted by the United States Department of Labor and
state labor departments on an ongoing basis.
Hiring, Performance Issues & Termination
Hicks Thomas attorneys work with clients daily to manage any issues that
may arise during the employment lifecycle. From hiring and performance
to termination, Hicks Thomas advises and counsels clients to minimize
the risks associated with hiring and terminating employees.
Hiring – During the hiring process, Hicks Thomas assists its clients in
negotiating and preparing employment agreements to both memorialize the
agreed terms of employment, as well as protect the client’s interests
through legally enforceable non-disclosure, non-competition, and non-solicitation
covenants. We also assist in staffing and independent contractor analysis
under employment, tax, and benefit law, and applicable law from different
states and industries.
Performance – Sometimes during their employment, good employees make poor decisions
that put clients at risk for claims by other employees. Hicks Thomas helps
guide clients through the process of analyzing employee behavior and advising
on appropriate levels of disciplinary action, including termination, commensurate
with the employee’s actions. Our attorneys also have experience
counseling clients in workplace safety and, if necessary, seeking and
obtaining peace bonds and restraining orders to help ensure the safety
of other employees while present at a client’s worksite.
Termination – Eventually, an employee may need to be terminated because of performance
problems or other legitimate business justifications. Before termination,
Hicks Thomas assists its clients with identifying and implementing the
steps necessary to minimize the risk of potential claims of wrongful termination
and protect key information and competitive advantages.
Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Appeals
In Texas, employees typically seek unemployment benefits even if they are
not qualified to receive such benefits under Texas law. Texas employers
should know and understand their rights with respect to which employees
actually qualify for benefits.
Hicks Thomas can help. Our attorneys have the experience to assist clients
in responding to unemployment claims and appealing unfavorable determinations,
both initially, by hearing officers, and by the Commission. From communicating
with the hearing officers and identifying relevant evidence to preparing
witnesses to testify at telephone hearings, Hicks Thomas attorneys are
well-positioned to help clients through this often confusing administrative
maze, and to seek final judicial relief if warranted by the circumstances.
Policies, Procedures & Handbooks
A company’s policies and procedures can be essential to its operations
and defining the working relationship with its employees. Hicks Thomas
helps clients ensure their policies and procedures are consistent with
the organization’s goals and corporate culture, as well as in compliance
with all applicable laws and regulations.
Hicks Thomas revises outdated policies and handbooks, tailors new template
policies to conform to its clients’ specific needs, and helps establish
internal systems to efficiently implement policies. Our approach to employee
handbooks also prioritizes positive employee relations and enhanced productivity.
Backed by decades of experience working in partnership with its clients
on employment issues, our attorneys meet clients’ needs when it
comes to compliant employment policies and procedures that protect their
interests and provide remedies when violations occur.
Texas Workforce Commission Audits
At times, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) may initiate an audit of
an employer if it believes an employer may be incorrectly classifying
employees as independent contractors rather than employees. Hicks Thomas
attorneys are experienced in guiding clients through such TWC audits by
investigating TWC’s claims and working with TWC auditors to attempt
to minimize the effect an audit may have on the client’s business.
We have the skills and experience to see TWC audits through from beginning
to end, with an eye toward resolving the audit in the client’s favor.
Leave of Absence & Disability Accommodations
Employers face challenges in their obligation to manage employee leave
and absences, as well as requests for disability accommodations. Due to
evolving regulatory and statutory changes, including those under state
or federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and Americans
with Disabilities Act, these issues must be addressed frequently and with
particular care. Having effective counsel when doing so can help reduce
exposure to litigation brought by administrative and private parties.
Hicks Thomas attorneys address accommodation and leave of absence matters
with a practical, result-oriented approach. Not only does this enable
clients to ensure compliance with various and at times conflicting areas
of law, but also to address and administer their obligations as employers
Discuss Your Needs with a Texas Employment Lawyer
Employment law matters demand the insight, experience, and foresight of
attentive representation that prioritizes personalized service and strategies
and the ultimate success of your business. From counsel and compliance
to mitigation, defense, and litigation, our legal team at Hicks Thomas
is prepared to help businesses of all types efficiently navigate their
unique legal concerns.
For additional information on any of the above practice areas, or to see
how Hicks Thomas may be able to assist you with your employment law needs, please
contact Stewart Hoffer, Head of Hicks Thomas’ Labor and Employment Section.