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Employment, Labor, OSHA & Immigration


The Firm has one of the largest and most diverse employment practices in the region with a national reputation, particularly for its pioneering immigration compliance representation, OSHA practice and preventive measures training.

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THE CAVANAGH LAW FIRM represents employers in a wide range of employment law matters to achieve corporate objectives, train management, prevent potential liability, handle government investigations and administrative proceedings, and defend against litigation.

The practice group represents clients on a national basis for employer immigration compliance, OSHA defense, training and preventive programs, and litigation. The firm’s lawyers have drafted and lobbied to enactment landmark employment laws limiting wrongful termination claims in Arizona.

The group’s lawyers have also authored three books to help guide employers through the complex legal minefield presented by federal and state statutes, regulations and common law principles.

The firm’s employment group has experience in matters such as the following:

  • Preparing and implementing human resources strategies, including drafting or revising employment policies, manuals, handbooks, and employment agreements.
  • Counseling employers on employee performance management, discipline, counseling, and termination.
  • Conducting training sessions for management and employees on topics such as diversity, anti-discrimination/anti-harassment, I-9, E-verify, and immigration compliance, employee performance management, OSHA and safety, and more.
  • Auditing employer compliance with federal and state employment laws and regulations, including I-9s, E-Verify, immigration compliance, wage and hour and payroll practices, EEO, affirmative action plans, etc.
  • Representing employers before federal and state discrimination agencies, including preparing position statements, preparing witnesses for interviews, mediating claims, etc.
  • Defending government investigations of immigration compliance by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and state and local authorities, such as law enforcement raids on work sites under the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA).
  • Handling investigations of employers by law enforcement pursuing investigations of identity theft and fraud by employers.
  • Defending employment litigation, including jury and bench trials in federal and state court in Arizona and other states, alleging class action and individual claims such as the following:
  • Alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act or state wage and hour laws.
  • Discrimination claims based on sex, race, national origin, color, religion or other protected categories.
  • Disability discrimination claims for failure to hire, failure to accommodate, or for employee performance management, discipline or termination.
  • Age discrimination claims, including those arising out of reductions in force, individual discipline and termination, hiring practices, etc.
  • Wrongful termination contract and tort claims, including whistleblowing, retaliation, and other statutory and common law causes of action.
  • Claims for additional compensation under executive employment agreements, incentive compensation plans, separation agreements, or other employment contracts.
  • Unfair labor practice charges.
  • Defending against OSHA investigations to minimize the risk of citations and contesting at administrative hearings any citations that are issued.
  • Prosecuting and defending claims for violations of confidentiality agreements, covenants not to compete, and other restrictive covenants, or for misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with contractual relations, or other unfair competition.
  • Planning and implementing communications strategies and other personnel practices to assist employers in remaining union-free and retaining the rights of their employees to exercise free choice about representation.
  • Preparing affirmative action plans and representing employers during audits or compliance actions regarding Executive Order 11246.
  • Counseling, compliance and defense of claims for WARN Act requirements.
  • Investigation and prosecution of claims against employees for breach of their duties, including fraud, theft, conversion, conflicts of interest, usurpation of corporate opportunities, disclosure of confidential information, etc.
  • Representation of public employers regarding the additional obligations they have concerning employee rights.
  • Representing employers regarding employee privacy interests, employer rights, and collateral issues arising from Internet usage and electronic document retention.
  • Representation of employers during DOL and IRS audits, including retirement and health and welfare plans approved by ERISA.

Representative matters:

  • Representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 10 Arizona business associations in challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona employer sanctions immigration law, the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA).
  • Planning and implementing comprehensive responses to I.C.E. raids, and law enforcement raids under the LAWA, including media communications strategy, communications to managers, employees and customers, liaison with law enforcement, representing employers in I-9 and E-Verify audit sand defending against penalties and charges of knowingly hiring undocumented workers.
  • Handling more than 50 OSHA fatality cases.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict rejecting disability discrimination claims for multiple chemical sensitivity by multiple employees dismissed after 12 weeks of workers compensation leave following an exposure to toxic substances at work.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict rejecting the claims of five pharmacists who alleged that their terminations violated public policies regarding safe pharmaceutical practices and approximately 40 other claims.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for a national supermarket chain in an age discrimination trial brought by a 35-year employee with a history of good performance, whose duties were redistributed largely to a woman in her 30’s.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for a national department store in a disability discrimination claim by a long-term employee who was separated because her quality of speech was considered substandard after she developed a neurological condition that reduced the clarity of her enunciation.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for a hospital rejecting sexual harassment claims by an operating room nurse arising out of alleged sexual advances by an anesthesiologist.
  • Obtaining an injunction prohibiting the seller of a business from proceeding with opening a competing business for four years.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for a national retailer rejecting claims for additional compensation by a store manager.
  • Obtaining summary judgment through Arizona Supreme Court reversal of lower court decisions, upholding out-of-state choice of law provision in a national publisher’s executive employment agreement that precluded triple-damage claim for severance pay under Arizona Wage Act.
  • Obtaining summary judgment, upheld on appeal, rejecting a whistle-blowing claim by an in-house counsel alleging that he was terminated for asserting that the company, during a public offering, failed to set aside sufficient reserves for claims he was defending for the company.
  • Obtaining the dismissal of more than 1,900 claims in a labor union sponsored Fair Labor Standards Act collective action against a construction company.
  • Successfully defending claims by EEOC, including settlement to dismiss class action by agreeing to facilitate training for construction industry associations to educate other companies regarding respectful treatment of Latino employees.
  • Successfully defending employers in unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB.
  • Assisting employers preserve the rights of their workers to decide for themselves whether to be represented by a labor union.
  • Obtaining injunctions against harassment against former employees, including a former company president, a chief marketing officer, and lower-level employees.
  • Obtaining dismissal of claims against a national financial services company for negligent hiring and negligent retention after worker shot and killed co-worker and their unborn child on company premises, before committing suicide.
  • Successfully defending OSHA citation against general contractor for a subcontractor’s violation of fall protection standard.
  • Obtaining dismissal of OSHA citations in another state against highway construction subcontractor for a fatality of the general contractor’s employee that was shown at the hearing/trial to have been the responsibility of the general contractor and the state highway department.
  • Successfully bringing claims to discover who was anonymously blogging or posting disparaging comments or disclosing confidential information on the Internet.
  • Obtaining judgment against former Company president for taking company information on CDs and laptop and for breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Successfully representing doctors and medical practice groups from allegations of inappropriate touching asserted by employees and patients, including defending professional licensing proceedings.
  • Obtained consent decree for surrender of license by professional who disclosed confidential information of company’s principals.
  • Representing employers in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and OFCCP audits and debarment proceedings and Federal Acquisition Regulation compliance for general contractors, subcontractors and manufacturers.
  • Defending against Davis-Bacon compliance actions by Department of Labor.
  • Successfully obtaining Department of Labor opinion letters upholding exemptions, including deferral of DOL enforcement action for three years pending obtained a DOL opinion letter that ultimately recognized FLSA exemption for nurses, mechanics and others associated with providing air ambulance services.
  • Drafting legislation and lobbying the Legislature to obtain passage of laws to limit wrongful termination claims, expand use of injunctions to prevent workplace threats and violence, promote use of drug and alcohol testing, and expand protection against defamation claims.
  • Investigating countless allegations of harassment, discrimination, employee theft, embezzlement, conflict of interest, disloyalty, misappropriation of trade secrets, violation of company policies, etc.
  • Training thousands of management employees for industry-wide compliance with immigration hiring practices, diversity, anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policies, etc. in the restaurant, construction and other industries.
  • Regularly counseling employers in construction; retail; manufacturing; health services; financial services; high technology software, servicing and capital equipment manufacturing; employment/payroll services; mining and more, to comply with employment laws and reduce the risk of claims.

Employment, Labor, OSHA & Immigration Attorneys

Jeong, Yijee

Associate

Nunn-Gilman, Heidi

Senior Member

Pace, Julie A.

Senior Member

Selden, David A.

Senior Member