Wargo French’s employment practice is nationwide in scope, with our attorneys having represented clients in every region of the country. Our attorneys provide our clients with a full complement of employment litigation services. From class action wage and hour and employment discrimination litigation to single-plaintiff employment claims, we take pride in working with our clients to anticipate and efficiently resolve the employment issues that arise in today’s challenging workplace environment.
Our experienced employment litigators aggressively defend client interests in federal and state courts, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, and other state and federal agencies. We have particular expertise in class and collective action wage and hour litigation, having successfully handled over 20 class/collective action wage and hour lawsuits in the past several years.
Through our preventive services program, Wargo French attorneys assist clients in implementing policies and programs that allow for the early detection and resolution of potential employment disputes. Our attorneys ensure that clients take full advantage of the legal protections available to employers by providing practical counseling and advice on day-to-day employment issues, drafting and reviewing employee handbooks and policies, and providing training in all areas of employment law.
One of the trademarks of our employment litigation practice is our practical and efficient approach to litigation. We do not believe in applying a “cookie-cutter” approach to any lawsuit. Instead, each case stands on its own, and we take pride in identifying strategies that allow for early dismissal or most effectively position the case for summary judgment or an advantageous settlement. We litigate every matter in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, consistent with providing the highest standards of legal service to our clients. Matters routinely handled by our employment group include:
- Class and Collective Action Employment and Wage and Hour Litigation
- Employment/Disability Discrimination Litigation
- Harassment Litigation
- Family and Medical Leave Act Complaints and Litigation
- DOL Wage and Hour Complaints and Litigation
- Trade Secret/Restrictive Covenant Litigation
- EEOC Charges
- DOL (OSHA) Charges
The following matters are indicative of the types of employment litigation matters successfully handled by Wargo French attorneys:
- Representing major pharmaceutical company in multiple litigation matters against former employees who breached their restrictive covenants and misappropriated client’s trade secrets for the purpose of selling competitive products to client’s customers. Obtained injunctive relief to prevent further breaches of restrictive covenants and use or misappropriation of client’s trade secrets.
- Obtained preliminary injunction enforcing non-competition and non-solicitation agreements after conducting a live evidentiary hearing against a client’s former employee in case pending in the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
- Represented national cable telecommunications company in numerous lawsuits throughout the country, with an emphasis on class and collective actions brought under state and federal wage and hour laws.
- Represented national hotel chain in various employment actions, including multiple race and sex discrimination lawsuits in federal courts in Georgia and Florida. Obtained summary judgment or nuisance value settlement in all cases.
- Defended major talent agency in class action age discrimination lawsuit first filed in federal district court and then in the California Superior Court. Negotiated favorable settlement of claims.
- Represented data analytics airline industry company and its chief executive in defending claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and enforcement of restrictive covenants, reaching favorable settlement of all issues.
- Obtained summary judgment on after-acquired evidence claim and on counterclaims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract against former in-house attorney of one of the nation's largest power companies where company learned that attorney had removed, without authorization, privileged and confidential documents prior to termination.
- Represented national insurance company in a race discrimination/retaliation claim in the Northern District of Georgia. Obtained dismissal of the race discrimination claim on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and settled the retaliation claim for nuisance value.
- Represented large internet service provider in action for theft of trade secrets by former executive. Obtained injunction in foreign court within four days of discovery of misappropriated trade secrets.
- Represented distribution company and individual defendants in dispute alleging tortious interference and breach of restrictive covenants. Successfully defended clients against threatened enforcement of non-competition agreement.
- Represented international office equipment company in a Lanham Act false advertising and restrictive covenant case filed against a former employee in federal district court in West Virginia. Case settled with offending parties agreeing to pay attorneys’ fees and abide by the terms of the restrictive covenant.
- Defended distribution company and individual defendants against multi-state lawsuits alleging non-compete, computer theft, trade secret and civil RICO violations. Negotiated de minimis settlement of all claims and preserving clients’ right to compete in industry.
- Represented leading data storage company in trade secret/non-competition litigation in federal district court in Georgia. Defeated effort to obtain injunctive relief against client and negotiated a favorable settlement.
- Represented national telephone and internet communications company in numerous cases throughout the country involving actual or threatened misappropriation of trade secrets, employing raiding and enforcement of non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.
- Defended numerous clients before Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state Fair Employment Practices agencies against charges of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Wage and Hour Litigation
Our employment practice group has particular expertise in the area of wage and hour litigation, particularly in the class and collective action context. Over the past few years, the employment group has handled over 20 federal and state wage and hour class and collective actions. We have successfully obtained dismissal of many of the lawsuits on first motion, obtained summary judgment in numerous cases and have settled many of the other lawsuits for nominal amounts on an individual plaintiff basis. The key to our success is understanding that class and collective actions are frequently won long before the case ever proceeds to the certification phase. Because certification drastically raises the stakes of the litigation, we pride ourselves on being particularly creative and aggressive in identifying and asserting meritorious dispositive motions prior to the certification phase.
The following matters are indicative of the types of wage and hour matters services successfully provided by Wargo French attorneys:
- Defended national cable telecommunications company in numerous cases in state and federal court in California alleging violations of California labor code provisions regarding, among other things, minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest breaks and wage statements. Obtained dismissal on first motion or summary judgment in numerous cases prior to class certification, while negotiating nominal settlements on an individual basis in other matters. See, e.g., Corona v. Time Warner Cable Inc., et. al., No. 2:13-cv-05521-PSG-VBK (C.D. Cal. Oct. 16, 2014); Deleon v. Time Warner NY Cable LLC, No. CV10-2468 AG (RNBx) (C.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2011); Fregoso v. Time Warner Cable Inc., et al., CV 10-1668 AG (RNBx) (C.D. Cal. May 23, 2011); Durazo v. Time Warner Cable LLC, et al, No. CV10-04496 AG (RNBx) (C.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2011); Harding v. Time Warner, Inc., No. 09CV1212-WQH-WMC, 2010 WL 457690 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2010).
- Retained by major personal computer sales company after Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) class action was conditionally certified against company. Our team took lead role in briefing and oral argument against plaintiffs’ motion for final certification, winning that motion and decertifying class in matter of first impression in District of Idaho. See Smith v. Micron Electronics, Inc., Case No. CV-01-244-S-BLW (D. Idaho Feb. 4, 2005).
- Defended Fortune 50 company in multimillion dollar FLSA class action. Obtained summary judgment prior to class certification in matter of first impression in Sixth Circuit regarding applicability of outside salesperson exemption under FLSA. See Fields v. AOL Time Warner, Inc., 261 F. Supp. 2d 971 (W.D. Tenn. 2003).
- Represented international web hosting company in class action brought under FLSA alleging time shaving. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of all class action claims on mootness grounds prior to class certification process in matter of first impression in Eleventh Circuit. Prior to dismissal of class claims, obtained emergency relief prohibiting named plaintiff from contact with putative class members and other company employees. See Thomas v. Interland, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:02-CV-3175-CC, 2003 WL 24065651 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 25, 2003).
- Represented international consulting company in class action wage and hour litigation in the District of Massachusetts. Successfully bifurcated case to initially argue applicability of FLSA exemption to individual plaintiff and negotiated favorable settlement of individual plaintiff’s claims, terminating all class issues as part of individual settlement.
Through the firm’s preventive services program, Wargo French attorneys assist clients in implementing policies and programs that allow for the early detection and resolution of employment disputes. The firm also ensures that its clients take full advantage of the legal protections available to employers by:
- Providing Counseling and Advice on Day-to-Day Employment Issues
- Drafting and Reviewing Employee Handbooks and Policies
- Drafting Employee Severance Agreements and Releases
- Auditing Employment Practices and Wage and Hour Compliance
- Advising employers on compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act
- Providing Training in All Areas Of Employment Law, including:
- Proper Hiring, Discipline and Discharge Techniques
- FMLA And ADA Compliance
- Workspace Violence
The employment group also assists clients with:
- Executive compensation
- Employment and severance agreements
- Layoffs and related WARN issues
- Employment issues related to mergers and acquisitions