Galanis, Pollack, Jacobs & Johnson, S.C. practices in the critical areas of labor and employment law that our clients must navigate to successfully advance their businesses’ interests and goals. Serving both a national and local client base and with decades of experience in all aspects of federal, state and local employment law, we help clients avoid the myriad of pitfalls employers face in this complex and dynamic area.
Our attorneys firmly believe in the axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is particularly true in the employment setting, where laws are constantly in flux and where the risks and costs in employment litigation are steadily increasing. By addressing workplace issues in a proactive and collaborative manner, we help our clients avoid problems before they occur.
From a relatively simple issue like a disruptive employee to more complex federal employment litigation, we partner with our clients to find the best, most cost-effective solution to any issues in the labor and employment arena. When litigation does arise, we are skilled in defending all matters in state and federal forums.
The most effective deterrent and defense to any legal challenges in the workplace is a preventive approach, whether in the form of appropriate policies and procedures, training, or advanced consultation. With that goal in mind, we provide the following services to our clients:
*Day-to-day consultation on all human resources issues, including employee discipline and discharge, hiring, background checks, drug testing, requests for leave or accommodation, performance evaluations, absenteeism and managing the problem employee. Preventive consultation in advance of any employment action is the best method to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local laws and regulations.
*Draft, revise and administer employee handbooks, workplace policies and procedures, leave policies, separation agreements and all manner of employment documents and contracts (i.e. employment contracts, independent contractor agreements, confidentiality and no solicitation agreements, covenants not to compete, separation agreements.)
*Train owners, managers, supervisors and employees concerning discipline and documentation, diversity, ethics, harassment, workplace safety, wage and hour compliance and all related areas concerning labor and employment law.
*Conduct investigation of harassment and employment discrimination claims.
*Conduct audits of employment policies and procedures, including harassment, wage and hour, and leave practices.
*Assist in the defense and prosecution of claims for unemployment compensation.
From responding to administrative complaints before the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division (ERD) and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to defending clients in complex federal litigation, our firm is experienced in evaluating, resolving, and when necessary, vigorously defending all manner of lawsuits alleging violations of employment law. On a state and federal level we have extensive litigation experience in defending all manner of employment claims, including: sexual and other forms of harassment, discrimination (i.e. race, sex, disability, and age), retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of contract, protected leaves and wage and hour claims. We have defended clients in hundreds of administrative claims before the EEOC and the ERD. We will prepare a cost-effective and winning strategy to either resolve or prevail all forms of employment litigation.
Recent developments in leaves of absence and workplace accommodations have drastically increased the liability employers’ face in addressing such requests by employees and applicants. The increased complexity regarding the interplay of state and federal laws concerning family and medical leave, worker's compensation and disability accommodations, have made compliance all the more difficult. We provide our clients with assistance in compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and similar state leave and accommodation laws and worker's compensation requirements. From drafting forms, policies and procedures, to consulting on day-to-day compliance issues, we provide businesses with practical and timely solutions to leave and accommodation problems and strategies for litigation avoidance. When litigation does arise, we are skilled in defending claims leave and accommodation claims in all state and federal forums.
The firm is highly experienced in advising compliance with complex state and federal wage and hour laws and regulations. This includes compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) employee classification (exempt or non-exempt, independent contractor or employee) and recordkeeping and overtime requirements. The firm also has extensive experience advising clients on comparable state laws, particularly Wisconsin’s wage, hour, overtime, meal and rest periods, minimum wage and child labor laws. We have successfully defended clients in dozens of administrative claims and lawsuits alleging violations of wage and hour laws, including claims under the FLSA and the Wisconsin Wage Payment and Collection Act.
The firm represents clients in all areas of traditional labor law that arise under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). We also have extensive experience in collective bargaining and contract administration, including processing grievances. We have successfully litigated many dozens of labor arbitrations on topics such as discharge and discipline disputes, outsourcing, wage disputes and contract modification and interpretation. In addition, we routinely represent clients in the defense of unfair labor practices and complaints before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as well as all manner of representation and election proceedings before the NLRB.
We advise clients in all aspects of compliance with the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act and defend employers in claims alleging an unreasonable refusal to rehire or claims alleging an employer violated a safety order or statute, failed to use a safety device or disobeyed a safety rule.
We also advise clients regarding compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), including developing safety programs and training supervisors and employees, advising clients facing an OSHA inspection, representing businesses issued OSHA citations, and defending clients against complaints before the U.S Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission alleging violations of OSHA and attendant rules and regulations.
The firm advises clients on workplace I-9 compliance with immigration laws including non-discrimination procedures, workforce verification, Social Security no-match letters, the E-Verify employment variation system and documentation polices. We also represent clients in investigations and audits conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Changes in the nature of a business, from discontinuing some operations to acquiring a new business and employees, necessarily raises a whole host of issues regarding the legal requirements for reductions in force (RIF) and plant closings. We have worked extensively with clients large and small to guarantee compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN Act), the federal Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBRA) and Wisconsin’s Business Closing and Mass Layoff Law. We provide clients with a prudent and cost effective way to conduct a proper RIF, plant closing or acquisition to avoid the significant risk these laws hold for business.
Protecting customer lists, trade secrets and other specialized, proprietary and confidential data can be critical to the success of any business. With that in mind, the firm assists clients in protecting such critical information by drafting and enforcing agreements, polices and procedures that prohibit the unauthorized use or transfer of such data. We are highly skilled in drafting enforceable non-compete and no solicitation agreements, non-disclosure agreements and similar documents. We can also draft individual executive employment agreements and policies to protect such information and have successfully litigated the enforceability of such policies and agreements. We have also enjoined individuals from utilizing or transferring such information on a temporary and permanent basis.