Howell Law Group, pllc counsels businesses on routine and complex employment law issues that, if handled incorrectly, could negatively affect profitability. Clients count on us for:
- Negotiating and litigating employment and contract-based disputes before various agencies and in federal and state courts;
- Representing clients through alternative dispute processes; and
- Composing and defending employment-related agreements, including restrictive covenants (covenants not to compete/noncompetition agreements/noncompetes, non-solicitation agreements, confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements).
Government is continuously promulgating and modifying laws and regulations, putting more pressure on businesses to keep up with all the moving parts. Howell Law Group works with businesses to keep them in compliance with the ever-changing laws and regulations so that they can maintain focus on their business. HLG counsels on laws including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII);
- Sections 1981 through 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code;
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA);
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA);
- The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN);
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
- The Equal Pay Act;
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA);
- The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA);
- The Virginia Human Rights Act;
- Virginia Statutory Provisions Regarding Retaliation/Discrimination for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim;
- The Virginia Equal Pay Act;
- The Virginians With Disabilities Act;
- Virginia Code § 40.1-27 regarding preventing employment by others;
- Virginia Code § 8.01-40 regarding unauthorized use of name or picture of any person;
- Virginia Code § 40.1-28.7:2 regarding protection of crimevictims’ rights in employment;
- Virginia Code § 18.2-465.1 regarding protection of court witnesses’ and jurors’ rights;
- the AIDS Testing Law; and
- Virginia Wage Payment and Hour Laws.
If an employment issue arises, we counsel management on litigation avoidance and mitigation strategies.
Employment litigation can arise even when a business has done everything it should have done. Having the right counsel can allow your team to maintain focus on the success of your business rather than become distracted by protracted, costly litigation.
Experience matters in the court room. Howell Law Group has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts. The firm is also knowledgeable and has extensive experience with representing clients before powerful federal and state employment agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI).
Wage & Hour Compliance
The United States Department of Labor estimates that 70% of all employers are not in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector. As is evident from the statistics, many businesses that violate wage and hour laws do so mistakenly. Good intentions, however, do not inoculate a business. DOL still assesses fines and penalties and, in some cases, brings costly lawsuits. Likewise, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) enforces the Virginia Wage Payment Act, the Virginia Minimum Wage Act and other employment-related state laws. Howell Law Group advises clients on wage and hour compliance (including proper classification of employees as either exempt or non-exempt) and, in the event of an audit or litigation, defends our clients in an effort to avoid costly fines, penalties and litigation.
Business Torts & Employment Contracts, Including Restrictive Covenants
Contracts are an essential part of conducting business. They can remove some of the uncertainties in a transaction, clearly set out the expectations of both parties, protect your business and prevent misunderstandings that lead to litigation. Clients count on Howell Law Group to create, review and enforce a variety of contracts, including:
- Employment Agreements (including Executive Employment Agreements);
- Non-competition/Covenant not to Compete/Noncompetes;
- Non-solicitation Agreements (of employees and/or customers);
- Non-disclosure/Confidentiality Agreements; and
- Severance agreements.
Howell Law Group routinely advises past employers as well as prospective employers and employees on the enforceability of restrictive covenant agreements. Additionally, HLG has enforced the above agreements, including restrictive covenants. Finally, HLG has both successfully enforced and challenged restrictive covenant agreements as well as brought and defended claims of conspiracy, tortious interference with a contract or business expectancy, breach of fiduciary duty and related claims. In business torts and employment contract disputes, Howell Law Group will represent not only former employers who are bringing claims but also individual employees and their new employers who find themselves defending such claims.
Claims for Unemployment Benefits
Howell Law Group works closely with clients in order to establish policies and procedures that will enable them to achieve success at unemployment hearings. Whether an independent contractor is claiming misclassification or a terminated employee is challenging a misconduct finding, HLG has the expertise and experience to assist.
Employee Handbooks/Personnel Manuals
Proactive, experienced business leaders recognize the need to set out well-drafted policies and procedures in writing through an Employee Handbook or Personnel Manual. Not only does a handbook or manual clarify for employees a business’ expectations, but they oftentimes are critical in disputes. From the unemployment commission to Federal court litigation, written policies and procedures can help a business establish a claim or defend its position. Failure to adopt well-written policies can result in foregoing defenses to certain claims and, for some employers, are required by Federal law.
Our clients count on us to prepare or review their handbooks/manuals to ensure their personnel policies are compliant with all laws and to clarify or correct misstatements or ambiguities – a source of significant litigation.
As the size of government has grown, so has the number of investigations into businesses. Howell Law Group understands agency processes and has an established reputation with a variety of government agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) and the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). HLG helps clients maneuver through audits with as little disruption as possible and mount defenses to charges as efficiently as possible so that they can stay focused on running their businesses.
Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment Prevention
The best way to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment in your business is to develop policies and strategies to prevent these behaviors from occurring and to quickly remedy them if they do. Clients count on Howell Law Group to create a practical, easy-to-understand approach that can be implemented throughout the business and will stand up in court if the company comes under fire. The firm stands ready to vigorously defend clients if they ever are accused of unlawful discrimination and harassment and to prevent or defend against claims of retaliation.
Businesses that take the time and make the effort to train their leadership on employment laws and proper conduct and procedures spend less time in court and more time gaining market share. Clients count on us to train their supervisors to identify and properly respond to a variety of employment law issues. The firm also conducts companywide employee training to help prevent unlawful harassment and discrimination, bullying, retaliation, and other misconduct.