Labor & Employment Relations Practice

Approach

The employer-employee relationship is an important and complex business relationship. Michael Best & Friedrich LLP’s Labor and Employment Relations Practice Group is a national practice providing leading-edge advice and creative solutions to guide businesses as they make employment decisions, set policies and plan for the future.

Attorneys
Michael Best’s Labor and Employment Relations attorneys are recognized by their clients and peers as among the best and most respected management-side labor, employment and employee benefits attorneys in the country. Michael Best “is one of Wisconsin’s premier Labor and Employment practices, and counsels employers on a diverse range of issues,” according to Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. This group has been ranked number one in Wisconsin for seven consecutive years.

Clients
Our clients are some of the most innovative and ground breaking business, public sector and non-profit organizations in the nation. Their workforces are large and small, white-and blue-collar, unionized and union-free. Our attorneys provide a range of services covering all aspects of labor, employment and employee benefits law.

Practice
In a practice group that values skill, experience and judgment, we encourage counseling with clients at the earliest stages of employment-related decision-making. We are committed to helping our clients develop workable employment policies, practices and procedures consistent with existing and evolving legal requirements.

We assist our clients in all phases of their employee relations, including the complex legal issues that can arise when businesses are bought and sold. Our practice includes employment-relations counseling, planning, training; reviewing and drafting handbooks and other employment policies; state and federal court employment litigation, appellate practice, and class actions; and practice before the NLRB, EEOC, OSHA, OFCCP and other state and federal administrative agencies. We cover all areas of labor and employment law from discrimination, occupational health and safety, and wage-hour issues to affirmative action, and immigration law.

Our attorneys provide collective bargaining, grievance and interest arbitration services to those clients whose employees are unionized. We also have an active practice helping our non-union clients maintain their union-free status as unions continue to become more sophisticated and aggressive in their organizing efforts. Also of note,Chambers USA states that the attorneys in this group “are highly equipped to deal with complex, aggravated labor situations.”

In employee benefits matters, our highest priority is to help businesses create and maintain sound, workable benefits plans that prevent employer-employee conflicts while maintaining cost-effectiveness for employers. The scope of our work ranges from the drafting of entire benefits plans to providing advice on individual benefits-related matters. We represent both single- and multi-employer pension plans, and have provided counsel in the areas of executive compensation plans, retirement plans, employee stock ownership plans and other employment benefit plans and funds.

A growing area of our benefits practice relates to health insurance issues. We have broad experience in handling litigation related to health and disability benefits issues. We provide representation in disputes before the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor regarding compliance, as well as in disputes with individual employees and unions regarding pension and benefits issues.

In all aspects of our employment practice, we strive to provide sound advice and creative solutions while maintaining the highest levels of responsiveness and communication possible.

National Affiliations

Michael Best is a member of the Employment Law Alliance (“ELA”). ELA is the world’s largest and most prestigious network of labor and employment lawyers. With skilled and knowledgeable attorneys in all 50 states and more than 100 countries, members work closely together to provide seamless and cost effective services around the globe.

Management Training Programs

Recognizing the “Alphabet Soup” of employment laws, Michael Best is pleased to offer clients customized training programs designed to help organizations understand, create and implement positive employment practices. Clients design the curriculum choosing from a wide variety of topics, such as:

  • Attracting and retaining employees
  • Development and review of employee handbooks
  • Managing employee attendance
  • Avoiding discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims
  • Immigration law compliance
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Wage and hour laws
  • Evaluating employee performance
  • Managing diversity
  • Developing a bulletproof discipline system
  • Staying union-free
  • Conducting internal investigations
  • Reducing worker’s compensation liability
  • Employee benefits
  • ERISA
  • Managing the collective bargaining relationship
  • Arbitration and mediation skills
  • Protection of Trade Secrets and Confidential Information
  • Non-competition employment agreements and enforcement
  • Social media and the workplace

Our Management Training Program is designed to provide organization leaders with the tools needed to manage employees effectively and to avoid exposing the organization to legal liability. Michael Best frequently hosts interactive breakfast briefings for small groups of human resource professionals in our offices, allowing the participants a forum to interact with the speakers and other human resource professionals. However, Michael Best also will conduct training programs at the client’s facility, and create an agenda that meets particular needs of the organization and specific issues the client requests are discussed.

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