Healthcare Labor & Employment
Seyfarth Shaw provides a full array of traditional labor services to healthcare employers, including:
- providing strategic legal counsel in union corporate campaigns;
- providing legal advice and representation to employers involved in or in anticipation of potential union elections including NLRB representational proceedings and related issues regarding appropriate bargaining-units, supervisory status, lawful communications and other issues that arise in the course of union organizing;
- assisting employers in positive employee relations representing employers before the National Labor Relations Board in all types of unfair labor practice charges and proceedings, including those relating to union and non-union represented employees;
- representing employers in collective bargaining negotiations with healthcare unions involving non-professionals, registered nurses, skilled maintenance, technical workers, and other collective bargaining units within the healthcare industry;
- assisting employers with preparing for and responding to labor disputes including informational picketing, one day strikes and long term strikes;
- handling injunction proceedings that can arise from primary strikes against the employer and/or secondary boycotts aimed at contractors, vendors or other third parties;
- helping clients with labor and WARN Act issues arising as a result of mergers and acquisitions;
- working with clients engaged in business restructuring including outsourcing, consolidation, expansion of services and related business activities;
- handling grievance arbitrations, including contract interpretation and discipline disputes; assisting with drafting of handbooks and policies to minimize the risk of challenge in union campaigns;
- advising on federal preemption of state labor laws; handling litigation under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act; and
- representing healthcare employers in employee decertification matters.
Administrative Charges and Single Plaintiff Litigation
Seyfarth Shaw has handled employment related administrative charges and single plaintiff litigation for many healthcare providers and through its long history of representing healthcare providers is familiar with issues that are unique to healthcare. Our firm provides representation at all levels, including preparation of documentation to respond to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state and local administrative agency charges. Our firm also handles cases in state and federal court arising out of all aspects of the employment relationship, including claims under: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1981 (the 1866 Civil Rights Act); The Americans with Disabilities Act; The Age Discrimination in Employment Act; The Family and Medical Leave Act; The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act; the equal Pay Act, The Occupational Safety and Health Act and corresponding state laws; We also represent healthcare employers in connection with common law actions including defamation, wrongful discharge, whistle-blowing, and other tort-like claims. Our charge team can handle administrative charges at a flat fee, offering predictable and reasonable legal fees. We also offer fixed fee and other alternative billing approaches for single plaintiff cases.
OFCCP, Affirmative Action and Diversity Consulting Team
Many healthcare employers are simply not aware that they may be a federal contractor or subcontractor covered by affirmative action requirements until the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) schedules an audit. By then, it is often too late to avoid intrusive monitoring and expensive fines.
Our OFCCP, Affirmative Action and Diversity Consulting Team helps healthcare employers understand if they are subject to affirmative action requirement as a federal contractor or subcontractor. The OFCCP had been targeting healthcare providers that are providers under the Tricare program, which provides healthcare benefits to members of the military and their families. On December 31, 2011, a new law this is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 effectively ended the OFCCP’s jurisdiction over Tricare providers. However, many healthcare providers are unaware that the OFCCP has taken the position that this Defense Authorization Act does not change the OFCCP's coverage over medical institutions, pharmacies, or other health care providers that provide health services to federal employees and their families covered by federal health coverage or to those that provide services pursuant to Medicare Part D. These contractors and subcontractors are may still be obligated to comply with the affirmative action obligations enforced by OFCCP under Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the VEVRAA, unless an exemption applies.
Our team can assist your facility in determining whether you have affirmative action requirements and, if so, how to comply with them in a cost effective and understandable way. Complying with these obligations is more important than ever. The resources of the OFCCP have grown exponentially larger in recent years and the Agency is pursuing more and larger fines against federal contractors and subcontractors.
Our healthcare lawyers regularly consult with healthcare clients to advise them on all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including:
- Drafting/review of employment policies, handbooks, and procedures;
- Advising on pre-employment processes, including those unique to healthcare employers, such as criminal background, licensure and data base inquiries;
- Drafting/review of offer letters and contracts of employment including restrictive covenants;
- Managing employee absences, including FMLA, ADA and other related laws;
- Terminating/disciplining employees;
- Reductions in force;
- Presenting in-service programs to keep management up to date on the employment laws.
Employed Physician Issues
As healthcare providers continue to follow the trend of employing physicians, many issues arise in the context of the physician/healthcare facility relationship. Our multi-disciplinary healthcare team can assist your organization with managing these issues, including:
- Preparation of employment contracts for physicians and other healthcare professionals;
- Advising on the unique issues raised by the impaired physician;
- Navigating the complexities raised by employed physician membership on hospital medical staffs;
- Addressing competition issues, including preparation of restrictive covenants;
- Advising on pay for performance and other issues unique to physician compensation;
- Handling compliance issues raised by physicians.
Many of our healthcare clients rely on foreign employees to stay fully staffed. Our Business Immigration Group, which uses proprietary case management, document assembly, and case delivery techniques, advises our healthcare clients on all immigration related issues, including: Global immigration; Immigration policy development; Workforce authorization issues, including I-9 audits; Program implementation and transition; Immigration training.
Employment Law Training
Seyfarth Shaw at Work® is the firm’s training subsidiary and provides training on a broad range of topics affecting healthcare providers. Courses include all aspects of the healthcare employer/ employee relationship, including healthcare compliance plans, harassment/discrimination, absence management, safety/environmental law; and general employment law courses designed to assist managers to conduct business within the law.
Wage & Hour Litigation and Counseling
Our firm has advised healthcare clients for many years on the intricacies of wage and hour law. In the past few years, we have been actively engaged in defending and counseling healthcare employers that have either been targeted for class and collective action wage and hour lawsuits or are concerned that they may be targeting for such litigation in the future. Most of these lawsuits challenge pre-shift, post-shift and meal period hours of work and have caused healthcare providers to spend thousands and sometimes millions of dollars in defense and settlement payments. Seyfarth Shaw has successfully represented a number of healthcare clients in these cases and have been able to achieve a number of successful resolutions of these difficult and time-consuming cases. We also provide day to day advice to our clients on wage and hour issues, including assessing exempt/non-exempt status of positions.
Complex Employment Litigation
In addition to complex wage and hour class actions, Seyfarth Shaw has successfully represented healthcare clients in other types of complex employment litigation. This includes EEOC pattern and practice claims, class-action discrimination claims and class-action antitrust litigation claiming that healthcare institutions conspired to fix and suppress the wages of its employees.