Crowell & Moring provides in-depth labor and employment law counseling and representation to many clients in the health care field. Our lawyers offer guidance in the full range of modern employment issues that confront the industry, including discrimination complaints, government investigations and enforcement, whistleblower allegations, and wrongful discharge claims. We also provide distinctive experience in traditional labor law.
Employment Counseling & Litigation
Employers in the health care industry face the full range of employment law issues, from negotiations with executives to dealing with representational issues involving broad employee classes. We represent hospitals and other health care employers in the negotiation, drafting, and interpretation of employment contracts involving executives, physicians, and other key employees, and in litigation involving the dissolution of employment relationships. We also provide counseling regarding compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and other federal employment statutes. In addition, we provide advice on union representational issues, and represent clients in proceedings under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). We also handle the full range of litigation issues for our health care employer clients, including, for example, representation regarding breach of employee privacy agreements.
Hospitals, medical groups, and other health care providers are just as susceptible to discrimination claims as any other employer. We have successfully defended health care professionals from claims of race, age, and/or gender bias and also counseled and defended a number of professional organizations faced with similar claims. For instance, we assisted an HMO in a very sensitive and complex investigation of alleged sexual harassment by senior executives. We conducted the investigation, reported to the board of directors, and developed the strategy that led to a quiet resolution without litigation or publicity.
Similarly, we have handled audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, which investigates the affirmative action programs of federal contractors. OFCCP enforcement can lead to debarment if the government concludes that a contractor's affirmative action efforts are insufficient. The health care industry has become a special target of OFCCP audits in recent years and we have brought our clients successfully through every audit. We also represent health plan contractors under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), TRICARE and Medicare Advantage programs regarding applicability of OFCCP requirements to their relationships with subcontractors and providers, and participate as amicus curiae in litigation on this issue of concern to the entire industry.
Health insurers and health plans also face special age and disability discrimination concerns in the structuring and analysis of their health benefit products. We have counseled our insurance and plan clients on compliance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the development of insurance products and the provision of benefits. In particular, we have provided advice regarding coordination of employee benefits with Medicare and the development of products and strategies to address retiree health benefit issues.