Employers navigating complex scenarios are represented by Schwabe.
When disputes devolve into litigation, Schwabe provides a deep bench with decades of experience.
Comprehensive litigation experience
We represent clients in employment-related litigation in court, in arbitration, and before administrative agencies. We have extensive experience representing clients in complex non-competition, non-solicitation, and trade secret enforcement actions. In addition, we regularly defend employers against claims filed by a former, current, or prospective employee for discrimination, retaliation, harassment, hostile work environment, constructive discharge, wrongful termination, wage-and-hour, breach of contract, or unfair labor practices.
Your goals define the case strategy
Schwabe lawyers work closely with clients to identify strategies to resolve disputes and help them move forward. Whether we obtain a summary-judgment dismissal, a temporary restraining order, or a complete defense jury verdict or whether we work creatively to settle, we recognize that every employment dispute is different and requires a thoughtful strategy that fits the individual client’s needs.
Schwabe’s experienced wage-and-hour team has handled many disputes and prevented even more from ever starting.
Avoid high-risk litigation
Wage-and-hour lawsuits are expensive and seldom covered by insurance. Our team focuses on helping clients comply with wage-and-hour laws to prevent these disputes altogether. Through cost-effective compliance, our clients become less vulnerable to attack while increasing their company’s value.
Skilled advocacy in court
When litigation is necessary, we draw on the resources of our full-service law firm’s deep employment litigation experience. We have achieved successful client outcomes in numerous wage-and-hour cases, including class action and individual claims.
CONTRACT, NON-COMPETE, AND TRADE SECRET DISPUTES
As the competition for innovative companies and thinkers continues to grow in the Pacific Northwest, Schwabe helps clients protect contractual rights and trade secrets to preserve value.
Schwabe lawyers work closely with clients to solve problems and protect sensitive information through non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements and in trade secret matters. We understand that while some situations require an immediate, aggressive response, others can be resolved with creative thinking and long-term business solutions. We make it a point to learn our clients’ businesses and industries to look for the best approach to the problem at hand.
Our lawyers are highly skilled at drafting sound agreements and restrictive covenants that protect and increase the value of an employer’s business. In addition, we help employees negotiate agreements that protect their rights and preserve opportunities for future employment.
Effective enforcement advocates
When litigation is necessary, Schwabe lawyers have the experience to successfully navigate the nuances of this dynamic area of law in front of courts and arbitration panels throughout the Pacific Northwest. Wherever possible, we work to resolve disputes directly with opposing parties so the business can move forward. Our strong relationships in the legal community enhance our ability to handle problems quickly and decisively.
CLASS ACTION LITIGATION
We represent employers in employment class action litigation in state and federal courts in Oregon and Washington and in the arbitration forum.
Schwabe attorneys have defended clients against employment class action litigation alleging wage-and-hour issues under both the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws as well as statutory discrimination claims. We develop or hone our understanding of your industry to create a strategy that supports your goals. We consider, among other things:
- the ultimate downside of financial exposure to the client and the reputational effect of an adverse decision;
- the effect on the client’s established business practices and the need to change those business practices to address the allegations of the complaint;
- the likelihood of mounting a successful and cost-effective defense to certification of the class and/or the merits of the claim; and
- the pros and cons of an aggressive defense to the claims as opposed to a more pragmatic solution at earlier stages of the litigation.
Not just saber-rattling
More is at stake than financial risk; class actions can adversely affect how employers are viewed by their employees, stakeholders, customers, and the broader communities in which they are located. We work creatively by consulting with industry and subject-matter experts to provide calculated advice and scalable strategies that offer value beyond the courtroom.
We assess and evaluate strategies to further our client’s business interests, with an eye on the ultimate resolution of the case—whether by dismissal, denial of class certification, summary judgment, trial, or negotiating favorable settlements when necessary. In addition, we keep clients well-informed of the latest changes in laws affecting their class action litigation. We provide access to a wealth of resources and timely information that enables them to stay abreast of case developments and monitor costs throughout the litigation.
Leading Employment law firm
- Represented a national insulation company in class action litigation regarding an alleged failure to pay rest breaks and for a non-productive time under Washington’s Minimum Wage Statute. The plaintiff, a former insulator, alleged that the defendant failed to pay rest breaks and non-productive time separately and hourly from the piece rate compensation work. The parties engaged in discovery. During the litigation, the Washington State Supreme Court held in Sampson v. Knight Transportation, Inc. that non-agricultural employers are not required to pay non-productive time separately from piece-rate compensation. With this blow to the plaintiff’s theory, the matter was resolved favorably through settlement.
- Successfully upheld and enforced a non-solicitation agreement on behalf of an Oregon company whose former sales associate began employment with a competing company and solicited the plaintiff’s clients. Obtained a TRO and subsequent resolution that included a two-year injunction.
- Won a defense verdict on behalf of a national assisted-living facility on a novel pregnancy and gender discrimination theory.
- Defended an international logistics company against disability discrimination and retaliation claim.
- Won an arbitration award on behalf of a financial institution on a breach of non-solicitation agreement claim.
- Won a defense verdict on behalf of a national play structure manufacturer involving gender discrimination and retaliation claims.
- Won summary judgment in Federal Court on an employment discrimination claim on behalf of a major nationwide retailer.
- Won a complete motion to dismiss in State Court on behalf of a residential community development company.
- Won summary judgment in State Court on an OFLA discrimination claim on behalf of a nationwide shoe and boot manufacturer.
- Obtained a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against a former employee suspected of embezzlement.
- Prevailed in an arbitration to enforce a liquidated-damages provision after a breach of a nonsolicitaition/no-hire contract, and successfully enforced the attorney fee provision of the contract.
- Won a defense verdict on behalf of a financial-services client in which the plaintiff alleged a variety of causes of action, including sex discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge.
- Represented an international logistics and distribution company in class action litigation regarding an alleged failure to pay rest breaks and for a non-productive time under Washington’s Minimum Wage Statute. The parties engaged in extensive discovery and resolved the matter favorably through settlement.
- Represented a large national retailer in class action litigation in Washington. We successfully defeated a motion to certify the proposed statewide class of employees. After that, the plaintiffs’ counsel filed 14 separate county-wide class actions in Washington, which our team successfully defended. We also were involved in the defense of several putative class action arbitration proceedings brought by the same plaintiffs’ attorneys on behalf of employees who had signed arbitration agreements at the time of hire.
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