Hawaiian coffee farmers have alleged that Kroger has breached a settlement agreement to stop selling falsely labeled “Kona” coffee and urged a Washington federal judge to order the grocery chain to turn over sales records so the farmers can calculate the damages.
A Company’s Most Valuable Resource
Employees are an indispensable resource of any business or nonprofit enterprise. For an organization to run smoothly, personnel must be well managed and utilized to their fullest potential. Likewise, from the worker’s point of view, the terms and conditions of employment are key elements to quality of life.
Ideally the relationship is mutually beneficial. But labor and employment laws can be as complicated as the 21st Century workplace and are constantly evolving at the same brisk pace as today’s technology. Modern employers, whether dealing with a small storefront or managing multiple locations for a corporation must have legal counsel who can provide the most up-to-date information, proactively address potential labor and employment developments; and help clients understand, apply, and comply with legal requirements.
A primary goal of our labor and employment attorneys is to help clients avoid litigation, if at all possible, by providing timely and accurate advice. When disputes do arise, it is indispensable to have a legal team that not only is knowledgeable, effective, and experienced, but also insightful, diplomatic, and in possession of superior interpersonal and negotiating skills. Our attorneys ably advise our clients, and should the need arise, will litigate effectively.
How We Can Help
Our Employment and Labor Relations lawyers have extensive experience resolving the wide range of employment issues that involve represented and non-represented employees, in both the public and private sectors. Our attorneys work hard and efficiently, whether at the negotiating table or in court. They are well versed in state and federal laws that address employment discrimination, including sexual harassment and disability accommodation; minimum wage and overtime issues; employee benefits; executive and deferred compensation; workplace safety; industrial insurance; immigration issues; hiring, discipline and termination; and unemployment compensation. The team also has experience in labor negotiations, labor arbitrations, union-management relations, and strike management.
Our attorneys have represented clients before state and federal courts and before all local, state, and federal agencies that have jurisdiction over employment issues. They have successfully defended lawsuits concerning individuals as well as classes of employees in matters involving claimed failure to pay overtime; race, disability, sex, and age discrimination; the failure to provide employee benefits; and many other workplace topics.
In litigation, it is vital that clients be represented competently, zealously, and cost effectively. However, it is perhaps even more important for clients to be educated and advised so that they might anticipate problems and avoid lawsuits altogether. The Labor and Employment Relations team establishes relationships that foster a proactive, collaborative approach to employment issues. Our attorneys pride themselves on providing practical, cost-effective solutions to difficult and complex problems, before litigation arises.
Our attorneys offer the finest legal services in a cost-effective manner. They are skilled and experienced in everything from representing large employers in complex class-action litigation, to advising small-business owners about how to deal with an employee’s performance deficiencies.
Counseling and Training
Department attorneys counsel clients on how to avoid employment disputes and devise practical solutions to workplace problems. They help clients develop handbooks, policies, procedures, and employment agreements. They are skilled at conducting confidential workplace investigations involving wage and hour violations, harassment, discrimination, whistle-blower retaliation, and employee misconduct.
Our attorneys take seriously their responsibility to educate clients, regularly sending out alerts regarding new legal developments. The Department periodically provides free, day-long educational seminars for clients. Recent topics have included: Interacting Leave Laws, Agreements Affecting the Employment Relationship, Compensation Update, Sexual Orientation and Domestic Partnerships, Immigration Update, and Hiring Pointers.
Our labor and employment lawyers are also available for customized training to managers and employees on topics such as discrimination and harassment, how to manage employees, pros and cons of unionization, and wage and hour pitfalls.
Labor Law Background
Department attorneys have significant experience in all aspects of labor law. They regularly practice before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC). Our lawyers have successfully represented public and private employers in union-organizing campaigns and with regard to unit composition issues, interest and grievance arbitrations, conventional and interest-based labor negotiations, and unfair labor practices.
Industrial Insurance / Worker’s Compensation
Department attorneys have handled hundreds of industrial insurance matters for state-fund and self-insured employers. Their work in this area includes advising clients about industrial insurance claims, representing clients during the claims process, and litigating appeals before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals and in superior court.
The attorneys in the Employment Relations Department represent commercial, nonprofit, and public employers in an array of different fields, including health care, hospitality, construction, education, manufacturing, retail and wholesale sales and services, transportation, and insurance. Representative clients include Group Health Cooperative, the Seattle School District, Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation, the University of Washington/Harborview Medical Center, the Salvation Army, FedEx Freight West, Inc., Interstate Brands Corporation, Anthony’s Restaurants, Metropolitan Market, UniSea, Inc., Regence Blue Shield, and Sysco Corporation.
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