Labor and Employment

Shumaker labor and employment lawyers advise private and public sector clients on all aspects of workplace relationships.  Our goal is to work with clients to ensure compliance with federal and state labor laws, minimize disputes with employees, and maximize strategic advantage if disputes arise.

We concentrate on those issues that present the greatest potential concerns for employers located throughout the United States:

  • Proactive workplace policies and procedures that avoid problems and comply with the law.
  • Workplace training programs customized for individual clients in particular industries.
  • Labor law compliance affecting both unionized and nonunionized workplaces.
  • Collective bargaining negotiations, contract administration and grievance and arbitration matters.
  • Discrimination and harassment allegations of every type – including age, race, gender, disability, religion and national origin—whether filed administratively or in court.
  • Workplace torts from wrongful termination to workplace injuries to violation of noncompetition agreements.
  • Wage and hour compliance and claims, including those that lead to class action lawsuits.
  • Inbound and outbound immigration for an increasingly global workforce.
  • Specialized workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation counseling, management, and defense.

What Makes Us Different

We structure employer-employee relationships that are firmly founded on the long-term needs and goals of the employer. Innovation and creativity are keys to our counseling.  For example, our labor lawyers have been able to negotiate a number of long-term collective bargaining agreements that, by exceeding the typical three-year timeframe, promote stable workplace relationships while reducing long-term legal costs.  We have also developed progressive discipline and "decision-making leave" policies that ensure fairness in termination decisions and are designed to reduce claims of wrongful termination.

Our labor and employment lawyers work closely with each client's managers and human resources professionals, as well as with senior executives and in-house counsel, to address each client's unique employment issues and policies and to assist them in improving employee relations.  We view ourselves as the behind-the-scenes support team, helping client professionals carry out day-to-day employment decisions, administer employment policies, implement bargaining agendas, address grievances or defend administrative claims and litigation.  At the same time, we work to help our clients avoid litigation by conducting in-house training or employment self-audits to ensure legal compliance, proactively resolve employee concerns, and reduce overall legal costs.

Our Clients

  • Union and nonunion private sector employers
  • Public sector employers
  • Employers with special sector-specific needs, including those in manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, construction and education

Why You Benefit

We believe the best approach to employment law problems is to prevent them from occurring.  Our lawyers help develop a sound strategy for administering employment relationships in a way that identifies potential problems before they become the basis for legal action.  For example, we review employment applications to ensure that they are asking appropriate questions, advise on screening and hiring procedures, and ensure that promotion, discipline and termination policies comply with the law.  We also develop employment handbooks and policies that are clear and comprehensive, and assist in the day-to-day implementation of such policies, which can be critical in defending litigation.  This integrated counsel approach aims to minimize the likelihood of employment claims and lawsuits, and maximize the employer’s ability to prevail in trial or administrative forums if disputes do arise.

Core Services

  • Advice and training on workplace policies and handbooks, as well as hiring, selection, promotion, discipline, and termination procedures.
  • Representation in employment-related litigation and enforcement proceedings involving allegations of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wage and hour violations, and regulatory noncompliance with Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, FLSA, OSHA and similar state and federal statutes.
  • Labor law compliance in unionized and nonunion workplaces.
  • Negotiating collective bargaining agreements, administering labor contracts, and assisting in grievance resolution and arbitration proceedings.

Additional Services

  • Drafting and enforcing employment, noncompetition, trade secret and executive severance agreements.
  • Obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for foreign workers to work in the U.S. and globally.
  • Management, counseling and defense of workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation claims.

What you can expect from Shumaker

Any employer of any size could face legal action by employees or regulators.  Shumaker has defended employers against many types of employment claims in state and federal courts and employment administrative agencies, as well as in mediation and arbitration. This includes defense against allegations of age, gender, race, religion, and national origin discrimination, as well as sexual harassment claims; wage and hour claims; and alleged violations of statutes such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

We frequently litigate cases involving wrongful termination and “employment-at-will” issues, as well as employment-related tort claims involving injuries and noncompetition agreements.  Not only do we have lawyers specifically dedicated to employment dispute resolution, our litigators can draw upon other colleagues in the firm for assistance with complex executive compensation, trade secret and intellectual property implications, employee benefits issues, or with employment concerns that arise in such contexts as bankruptcy or structuring mergers and acquisitions.

We have special expertise in dealing with traditional labor law matters, including helping clients address union organizing campaigns and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.  Unionized companies rely on our firm for assistance with negotiations, contract administration, resolution of grievances and arbitrations.  By developing long-standing working relationships with both union representatives and governmental agencies, and dealing with them in a direct and forthright manner, we enhance the credibility and effectiveness of our clients in addressing workplace challenges and opportunities.  It is an effective, low-key approach that typifies the strength of Shumaker’s employment practice.

News Releases



09.05.2014Client Alert - The Rules of the Game Change As ICE Targets Employers
08.18.2014Client Alert - Keeping Up with the Times: Solving the I-9 Conundrum for Remote Employees
04.14.2014Employment Law Checkup 2014
06.07.2013"FMLA/ADA: The Basics," Fundamentals of Employment Law (N.C. Bar Foundation, Greensboro, N.C.)
05.23.2013"Employment Law Update"
05.01.2012"Labor Law Update"
11.01.2009"Independent Contractor Or Employee"
08.20.2009"Employer Booster Shot: Update on Recent Employment Law Changes," Presented at the 2009 An Ounce of Prevention: A Management Check Up for Executives and Human Resources Professionals, paper and lecture
05.01.2009"Overview of Employment Retaliation Claims in North Carolina"
04.16.2009"Employee Cooperative as a Plan for Business Succession"
04.01.2009"North Carolina Legislature Considers New Employment Laws"
03.01.2009"Disability Discrimination – When Is An Employee Considered Disabled Under North Carolina State Law"
02.01.2009"Overview of the North Carolina Persons With Disabilities Protection Act"
12.01.2008"Employment At-Will or Oral Employment Contract"
11.01.2008"As Economic Route Turns Rough, Beware These 4 RIF Potholes"
09.01.2008"Prepare for Possible Changes in Employment Eligibility Verification"
07.01.2008"Beware Hazards When Calculating N.C. Unemployment Insurance Tax"
06.01.2008"Introduction to North Carolina Employment Security Law"
05.01.2008"Top 10 Things to Know about North Carolina Wage and Hour Act"
04.01.2008"Overview of Employment Contracts in North Carolina"
03.01.2008"Problems with Obtaining FMLA and Wage-and-Hour Releases"
02.01.2008"Vacation Benefits and North Carolina Law"
12.04.2007"I-9 Form News Bulletin"
11.19.2007"I-9 Form and Domestic Violence Leave Law - Regional News Bulletin"
11.01.2007"Employee Incentive Pay and Bonus Plans"
09.19.2007Co-Author, "Inoculating Your Business Against An Outbreak: I-9 Compliance," Presented at An Ounce of Prevention: A Management Checkup for Executives and Human Resource Professionals (paper and lecture)


Events and Presentations