O’Melveny Worldwide

Labor & Employment

We help clients navigate their most challenging and nuanced employment matters, from workplace misconduct investigations to crisis management counseling to complex employment litigation.

How SCOTUS Ruling Banning Race in College Admissions Impacts Corporate DEI Policies
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We help clients navigate their most challenging and nuanced employment matters, from workplace misconduct investigations to crisis management counseling to complex employment litigation.

How SCOTUS Ruling Banning Race in College Admissions Impacts Corporate DEI Policies
Read More

With an elite Labor & Employment team that spans from coast to coast, we have deep knowledge and decades of experience guiding US and multinational clients through a range of employment issues. Companies across diverse industries seek our guidance in navigating complex and constantly evolving federal, state, and local employment laws, and we are a national leader in counseling major air carriers through labor and employment law matters.

We build effective, collaborative relationships with our clients, grounded in an in-depth understanding of their industry, their business, and the labor and employment risks and opportunities they face daily. That approach helps us minimize our clients’ exposure to liability and costly litigation so they can focus on fostering productive relationships with their workforces.

  • Employment Compliance, Counseling, and Training. Businesses rely on us for tailored advice on personnel decisions, employment contracts, personnel policies and procedures, and disciplinary actions and terminations. We draft and review employment policies and consult with clients on termination or discipline, as well as on the design and implementation of management seminars and training.
  • Employment Litigation. In complex and evolving employment-related disputes, sophisticated and creative advice makes the difference between damaging outcomes and productive victories. Our lawyers represent clients in tough, “bet the company” class actions and single-plaintiff suits, appearing before all levels of courts, arbitral forums, and administrative bodies. Our clients respect our litigation skills in cases both large and small, which is why we often serve as lead counsel in industry-wide lawsuits.
  • Government Enforcement. We have worked closely with both state and federal labor and employment enforcement agencies, including the US Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Department of Transportation. We regularly handle investigations and litigation before the EEOC on behalf of companies facing allegations of retaliation and pattern-and-practice discrimination.
  • Noncompetes, Employee Raiding and Trade Secrets. We counsel our clients and represent them in high-stakes transactions and litigation, advising them on policies, agreements, and strategies that can limit competition from sellers in M&A transactions and from current and former employees. These include noncompetition, nonsolicitation, employee raiding, unfair competition, and trade secrets policies and agreements.
  • Railway Labor Act. We have the nation’s premier Railway Labor Act practice, having advised passenger and cargo airlines and airline service companies on all aspects of the RLA for more than 40 years. Our lawyers regularly counsel clients on RLA consequences of merger transactions, represent them in proceedings before the National Mediation Board, litigate in federal court, arbitrate significant cases, and participate in collective bargaining negotiations—often as lead negotiator.
  • Traditional Labor Relations. We advise clients in connection with union-avoidance campaigns, elections decertification proceedings, strikes, injunctions, and other traditional labor matters. We also represent employers in the defense and prosecution of unfair labor practice charges and other issues that arise before and against the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the National Mediation Board, Public Employee Relations Board, and state labor agencies.
  • Wage and Hour/Executive Compensation Litigation and Counseling. We have advised our clients on their obligations under federal and state wage and hour laws for more than 50 years and have litigated or are litigating more than 100 wage and hour class actions and PAGA actions. We also counsel our clients on—and litigate when necessary—complex employee benefits and executive compensation disputes.
  • Workforce Crises. Our cross-disciplinary teams represent companies and executives in confidential investigations and high-profile litigation involving reputation-shaking allegations of wrongdoing, including sexual misconduct and racism, and on resulting government investigations and related governance issues and process and privacy claims. This includes investigations and litigation involving whistleblowers alleging an array of federal and state law violations, as well as retaliation claims arising out of those complaints.
American Airlines

Obtained summary judgment dismissal of a nationwide Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) collective action on behalf of more than 600 former flight attendants based on American’s implementation of Voluntary Early Out Programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this victory.

American Airlines

Represented the airline in a class action lawsuit where pilots alleged violations of USERRA, by failing to provide paid military leave for military leaves of certain time periods, and failing to provide credit under the profit-sharing plan for employees’ military leaves of absence. This is one of seven USERRA class actions that O’Melveny has handled in the last five years and one of three such class actions involving a claim for paid military leave.

Arise Virtual Solutions

Represented the virtual technology platform, which connects home call center businesses to Fortune 500 and other large companies requiring business processing and contact center services, in a series of independent contractor misclassification cases and arbitrations across the country.

Atlas Air and Southern Air

Helped the airlines to end several years of labor negotiations and litigation to establish the first-ever collective bargaining agreement covering the two carriers’ combined group of pilots following their merger. With the September 2021 ruling, the arbitrator’s decision set precedent for future airline industry CBAs with respect to comparative wage rates and important subjects such as scope and labor protection provisions.

Broadcom

Represented the company in Saw v. Avago Technologies, 51 Cal. App. 5th 1102 (2020), prevailing on summary judgment and then in a published California Court of Appeal decision against claims seeking US $70 million in damages in a unique, multi-national executive compensation dispute that presented novel legal issues involving the interplay of four countries’ laws.

California State University

Counseling administrators, at the board of directors and general counsel's office level, on a variety of ongoing employment aspects, including advising the university on a suite of cases and related matters related to sexual misconduct by the former San Jose State University director and head athletic trainer.

Century 21 Real Estate

Won a significant California appellate victory for the subsidiary of Anywhere Real Estate, in a statewide representative action brought on behalf of real estate agents who alleged that they were misclassified under California law as independent contractors rather than employees. The case challenged the constitutionality of California statute AB-5, enacted for the purpose of reclassifying gig workers as employees.

Exar Corporation

Represented Exar Corporation in its lawsuit against a former Vice President of the company for using trade secrets and highly confidential information to solicit a team of engineers to work for a new competitive venture in Hangzhou, China started by another former Exar employee.

Major Financial Institution

Represented a major financial institution in a putative wage and hour class action alleging the bank failed to reimburse employees for necessary business expenditures incurred while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Retail Grocery Chain

Represented a national grocery store chain in investigations into its hiring, promotion, and compensation practices by the California Civil Rights Department; and successfully defended several wage and hour class actions including a class action alleging failure to provide rest breaks to a class of nearly 10,000 employees (class certification was denied).

Remington Arms

Advised the manufacturer of firearms and ammunitions, and one of the oldest companies in the United States, in its Chapter 11 restructuring, including the sale of the company’s assets under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code to multiple buyers. Our labor team led the debtor’s labor negotiations with the United Mineworkers, helped the company transition its businesses to successful bidders in a bankruptcy auction, and handled over a dozen unfair labor practices filed by the union and multiple grievances.

Portland Trail Blazers

Conducted a neutral review of a sensitive, high-profile matter related to allegations of workplace misconduct at the team’s practice facility. Following the independent investigation, the team announced the termination of the general manager and took remedial measures.

TuneCore

Served as lead counsel for TuneCore in obtaining a complete victory in a New York state court through a successful motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment in connection with a former CEO’s executive compensation dispute.

Twentieth Century Fox

Secured a key win for Twentieth Century Fox in high-profile litigation against Netflix—with industry-wide ramifications—arising from Netflix’s “brazen campaign” to target, recruit, and poach executives working at Fox under fixed-term employment contracts.

United Airlines

Represented the airline in proceedings where the Professional Airline Flight Control Association filed a grievance alleging that United’s vaccination mandate violated their Collective Bargaining Agreement. Following a hearing before a Board of Adjustment chaired by a neutral arbitrator, the Board held that United did have the right to unilaterally promulgate its vaccine mandate for the impacted union employees. We advised United on all labor aspects regarding its COVID-19 vaccination response and the proceedings.

Representative Clients
Activision Blizzard
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Anywhere Real Estate
Better Mortgage Corporation
Broadcom
California State University, Board of Trustees
Delta Air Lines
FedEx Ground
H&R Block
Korn Ferry International
Marriott International
Riot Games
Southwest Airlines
Twentieth Century Fox
United Airlines
Warner Bros.

“If you have an employment claim that may create a risk of significant monetary or reputational harm, this group should be on your speed dial.”

—Client Testimonial, The Legal 500 US, Labor and Employment Disputes 

“They have a very bright team who give excellent legal advice and are very thorough. They often get involved in complex, high-stakes, nuanced matters.”

—Client Testimonial, Chambers USA, Labor & Employment: The Elite: California

“This team stands out for its intelligence, insight into our business, ability to provide practical advice, written work product, and ability to litigate a case in court.”

—Client Testimonial, The Legal 500 US, Labor and Employment Disputes 

O’Melveny’s “labor aviation team is led by one of the most experienced and knowledgeable labor lawyers in the industry (Bob Siegel) and has a really strong team supporting him. They know the relevant case law and precedent and provided us with sound advice on strategy throughout.”

—Client Testimonial, The Legal 500 US, Labor-Management Relations

“They are superb lawyers who think carefully about the strategy for resolving a matter, putting the strategy together and then implementing it.”

—Client Testimonial, Chambers USA, Labor & Employment: The Elite: California

O’Melveny “has a deep understanding of our industry as they have represented airlines for many years. Their employment group is extremely responsive, and they come up with creative airline-specific defenses that firms who do not have as deep an understanding of the airline industry might miss.”

—Client Testimonial, The Legal 500 US, Labor-Management Relations