Overview

Mayer Brown’s employment practice has extensive experience in all aspects of employment, labor law and litigation including reorganizations of personnel, restructuring and redundancy measures and outsourcing projects. Our clients are among the largest businesses in the world. Members of the Fortune 500, FTSE 100, DAX and Hang Seng repeatedly seek our counsel to design and implement their employment law and litigation strategies across numerous regulatory environments, including:

Practice at a Glance

  • More than 100 lawyers focus on employment law and litigation across the United States, Europe and Asia.
  • Our clients are members of the Fortune 500, FTSE 100, DAX and Hang Seng.
  • Our presence in the largest national economies in Europe bolsters the reach of our European employment and labor lawyers.
  • We have the largest employment capability of any firm operating in Asia.
Highlights

Praxis

Mayer Brown’s Employment Litigation & Counseling practice has extensive experience representing clients in the United States, Europe and Asia in all aspects of employment law. We have included a representative sampling of our work worldwide below.

Americas

United States

Mayer Brown’s Employment and ERISA Litigation practice in the United States represents employers in a broad range of employment-related issues, including complex, high-profile actions on matters of regional, national and international significance. A significant number of our litigation matters are class actions.

We litigate employment cases for our clients in all areas of employment law, including cases under discrimination laws that protect employees on the basis of their age, race, gender and disability (e.g., FEHA, ADEA, Title VII, ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act and California state wage and hour laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act, CFRA, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act “whistleblower” claims. We also litigate cases involving reductions in force and disputes with departing executives, including restrictive covenants.

We are very well equipped to litigate ERISA cases for our clients in a rapidly changing legal environment which bring new challenges every day. These cases include fiduciary breach claims and benefit claims.  Our clients include plan sponsors, plan administrators, fiduciary committees, trustees, investment managers and other service providers to ERISA plans.

A representative sampling of our experience includes:

  • Employment Litigation - Extensive labor and employment litigation experience in federal and state trial and appeals courts, including class actions, employment discrimination actions of all types, wrongful discharge actions, and cases alleging defamation and other torts. Our litigation team includes members of the firm’s top-ranked Supreme Court and appellate practice.
  • Employment Advice - Representation of employers with respect to federal and state anti-discrimination laws, OSHA, practice before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, United States Department of Labor and analogous state agencies; assist clients who have government contracts in the preparation of affirmative action plans in compliance with Executive Order 11246 and related executive orders; and representation of employers before the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and experience in matters arising under the Railway Labor Act. Through counseling, we assist clients in such matters as review of personnel practices and procedures, employee manuals, drug testing programs, and advice on anticipated employee terminations.
  • FLSA and Wage and Hour Litigation - Representation of employers in collective and class actions under the wage and hour laws in multiple industries. We also have extensive experience in representing employers in investigations by the US Department of Labor and state agencies.
  • Sales, Mergers and Acquisitions; Plant Closings and Work Transfer - Counseling on the many labor and personnel issues which arise with respect to both organized and unorganized employees on transfers of corporate ownership; counseling on plant closings and transfer of work.
  • Restrictive Covenant/Trade Secret - We prosecute and defend actions in state and federal courts, and before arbitration panels, relating to the enforcement of covenants-not-to-compete and the protection of trade secrets. We have pursued former employees or defended the new corporate employer in numerous states.

Employment Counseling

In addition to representing our clients in litigation, we regularly provide counseling and advice to clients on the full range of employment matters, including employee discipline and discharge matters, leave of absence matters and termination of employees on leave of absence, reasonable accommodation for disabled employees and managing compliance with the wide variety of overlapping employment laws that apply to any particular employee relations challenge. We advise employers, in both individual and reduction-in-force situations, with the objective of accomplishing business goals, including the smooth separation of employees and executives, while minimizing employment law liabilities. We also advise clients on the legal enforceability of HR policies, including advice on how to reduce legal risk associated with such policies.

Europe

European employment law is based on European legislation and jurisprudence and our European employment group has more than 30 lawyers who are experienced in all national and cross-border employment law issues in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. We have an in-depth and extensive knowledge of national European laws with experience on a Pan-European level including Acquired Rights Directive questions. We are members of the European Employment Law Association (EELA).

France

The Employment Group of the Paris office of Mayer Brown advises and assists on all employment-related matters for clients who are both French and non-French, from mid-sized companies to multinational organizations in the manufacturing and service industries.

The Employment Group works closely with our clients' management and human resources teams to create, develop and implement strategies to address labor and employment issues. We provide added value in mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, private equity transactions, and related litigation matters with a particular expertise in due diligence and the consultation of employees representative bodies.

We provide advice in the following areas:

  • Restructuring, outsourcing, transfer of employees and workforce reduction
  • Labor law aspects of mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyout and private equity transactions
  • Drafting, negotiation, modification and termination of employment agreements
  • Negotiation of collective agreements relating to working time or profit-sharing
  • Assistance with and representation in connection with matters heard before the civil, criminal and administrative courts

As an active member of an HR manager’s network, we organize on a regular basis conferences and publish a monthly newsletter.

Germany

In Germany, our employment lawyers offer individual solutions for all employment related questions. We are particularly adept at comprehensively presenting the particularities of German employment law to multi-national clients. We view our practice as an active support of modern HR management and work with our clients to explore opportunities when, at first glance, German employment law seems to set an inflexible limit. We regularly assist clients with:

  • Drafting and negotiating employment and service contracts
  • Employee co-determination and works constitutional law
  • Personnel reorganization
  • Mergers
  • Integration
  • Restructuring and redundancy processes
  • Outsourcing
  • Compliance
  • Labor law disputes
  • Negotiations with works councils and trade unions
  • Litigation

Our German employment lawyers hold a special qualification as certified employment expert ”Fachanwalt fuer Arbeitsrecht”). We also regularly organize client seminars and publish client alerts and newsletters.

United Kingdom

The London Employment Group is a market leader in the UK. It consists of a core team of 19 lawyers (including three partners). It is rated as one of the leading firms for both national and international employment law by Legal 500 and Chambers. The UK Legal 500 comments on the "excellent industry knowledge", while Chambers states "Rated for its broad experience and the strength in depth of the team, from trainees up to senior partner level, this group is adept at cross-border advice and strategic restructuring, redundancy and outsourcing work."

Our advice to clients is based on our extensive experience of all aspects of employment law and the issues facing employers in their dealings with employees, consultants, trade unions and employee consultative bodies. In order to be successful, employment advice must be timely, commercial and pragmatic. We will always offer a recommendation as to how to proceed, even when the options are finely balanced because that is what we believe advisers should do. Our aim is to ensure that clients are able to proceed with confidence, either that their chosen outcome is achievable or that they are following the best course of action in the circumstances and are forewarned about the challenges that may arise.

Our work for employers covers many different areas but our overall service offers a one stop shop for all legal and HR employment concerns raised with us. Our work covers the full range, from high profile cases reported in the news to short sharp advice designed to enable a client to surmount a particular obstacle or challenge, where advice is delivered on the telephone during the course of a single phone call. Accordingly, we have significant experience in the following areas:

  • Recruitment of employees
  • Management of employees during employment (e.g. grievance or disciplinary matters, sickness)
  • Dismissal of employees
  • Equality and diversity issues covering all areas prohibited by law in the UK, such as sex, race, disability, age and gender discrimination together with equal pay issues
  • Advice on whistleblowing claims brought by employees and ex-employees
  • Data protection issues (and in particular subject access rights) for employees
  • Drafting and enforcement of restrictive covenants and other post-termination obligations on employees and directors
  • Directors service contracts and obligations
  • The Working Time Regulations
  • The recruitment of self-employed individuals (including the preparation of appropriate documentation) and the ending of such arrangements
  • Advice in connection with Trade Union recognition and derecognition issues
  • Advice on collective consultation for redundancy exercises and TUPE transfers
  • Drafting contracts of employment and staff handbooks
  • Restructuring of workforce, to reduce labour costs
  • Redundancies, both on an individual and collective basis

Increasingly, we are undertaking international employment work. This may either take the form of international projects, such as the co-ordination of international redundancy and restructuring projects or work with a more limited international focus. For example, we advise on the secondment of individuals from the UK to another country. In undertaking this work we are often working with our colleagues in the US, Europe and Asia.

We regularly undertake training work for our clients, viewing it as part of our commitment to our relationship with our clients.

Information about our prices for handling unfair or wrongful dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunal in the UK is set out in our SRA Transparency Statement

Asia

Mayer Brown’s employment group acts for a broad spectrum of clients ranging from international and domestic corporations to government and government-funded organisations. As one of the leading firms operating in Asia, we offer our clients substantial capabilities in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Combining the skills of experienced practitioners in the human resources industry, we offer a truly integrated contentious and non-contentious capability, advising on all aspects of employment law and providing cutting edge advice tailored to the needs of our clients. We advise clients on:

  • Drafting and reviewing employment contracts and staff handbooks
  • Legal obligations of employers and employees
  • Termination of employees and employee's rights
  • Industrial disputes
  • Discrimination/Diversity obligations
  • Personal data issues
  • Harmonisation of benefits
  • Employment issues concerning transfers of businesses

Mayer Brown has offices in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand. On behalf of its clients it regularly coordinates the provision of legal advice across all jurisdictions in Asia through a network of first rate human resources lawyers built up over the years.