Background - Practices (Details)
Labor & Employment Investigations

Businesses are encountering increasingly complex legal and regulatory risks in their day-to-day operations with employees and strategic business partners. To minimize these risks, employers must ensure compliance with ever-expanding labor and employment laws and, when necessary, conduct timely and proper investigations of claims of impropriety or unethical behavior. Crowell & Moring’s Labor & Employment Investigations team helps companies and other organizations identify and resolve workplace issues that pose a threat to business operations.

Whether investigating a series of complaints against large multinational corporations or a single matter involving a small employer, we understand the importance of completing investigations in a prompt, yet thorough manner. A key outcome of successful investigations is the creation and implementation of appropriate corrective actions that can help minimize future liability. To this end, we partner with our clients, their boards, and audit committees to recommend appropriate disciplinary actions, make necessary policy changes, provide training to supervisors and managers, and institute programmatic operational and compliance changes.

Services

Our Labor & Employment Group attorneys have decades of experience investigating matters in response to internal complaints and in connection with governmental investigations, audits, and inquiries. We conduct thorough analyses of claims involving hiring practices; individual and systemic discrimination and harassment; employee disabilities and leaves; wage and hour matters, including misclassification and overtime issues; background-check processes; privacy; whistleblower allegations; and white collar matters. We provide effective counsel on issues arising under:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • Executive Order 11246
  • Section 3730 (h) of the False Claims Act (FCA)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • The Service Contract Act (SCA)
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments
  • State whistleblower protection laws, including the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)

Among other federal and state agencies, we represent employers before:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  • The Department of Labor (DOL)
  • The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Experience

Our lawyers have extensive experience with federal and state agencies that regulate labor and employment in the United States, including all of the agencies identified above. We are the authors of numerous legal treatises on employment law and investigations, and our blog, Whistleblower Watch, is a comprehensive source on developments in whistleblower law at the federal and state levels. Members of our group are also regularly sought for their insights on emerging issues by legal, industry, and other media outlets, ranging from Bloomberg BNA to Law360.

Representative Engagements

  • Exposing employee fraud within a health care organization. Conducted an investigation on behalf of shareholders of a health care clinic that revealed the mishandling of millions of dollars of corporate funds and provided an investigation report used by the U.S. attorney’s office to the indictment and conviction of the organization’s prominent accountant.
  • Resolving claims of impropriety against senior-level company officials. Launched an investigation of senior-level officials of a national health care plan in response to allegations of impropriety in connection with the rate calculations for bids for large government contracts for a major U.S. city, preventing litigation and preserving the business relationship with the city.
  • Investigation of alleged Code of Ethics violations by CEO. Led an investigation involving multiple internal and ethics hotline complaints against CEO and other top officials involving claims of corporate misconduct, kickbacks, and retaliation against objecting senior executives. Investigation resulted in revision of ethics and compliance policies and implementation of other corrective actions that helped organization avoid threatened litigation.
  • Minimizing risks created by senior executive’s misconduct. Investigated allegations that the head of a metropolitan area’s largest blood bank misrepresented material information to maintain accreditation of the blood bank, resulting in termination of the senior executive and effective changes in reporting procedures.
  • Preventing a discrimination-related class action. Investigated allegations of systemic discrimination and related unethical behavior against senior-level officials of a prestigious university. Helped the university avoid class action litigation, negotiate a favorable global settlement, divert negative media attention, and implement corrective actions.
  • Correcting potential discrimination. Directed a six-week investigation on behalf of a tri-state healthcare system in response to several anonymous, but specific, allegations of systemic discrimination. Following detailed statistical analyses, reported key findings and partnered with the system’s ethics and compliance officer to implement appropriate corrective actions.
  • Reducing liability at professional-services firm. Directed an internal investigation on behalf of a professional services firm in which four employees separately brought claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and recommended corrective actions to minimize potential future liability.
  • Investigating and advising on merits of FCA retaliation claims. Investigated internal and external whistleblower claims reported by senior level employee to officials of two regulatory agencies. Advised client on appropriate corrective actions and strategies for minimizing potential legal risks and damages claims.
  • Investigating alleged FCPA and tax improprieties. Directed an investigation on behalf of a multinational employer in which internal legal counsel claimed tax improprieties, bribes to foreign governments, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and retaliation; also assisted client with navigating and managing potential negative media attention.
  • Investigating pre-litigation anonymous claims of “reverse” discrimination. Conducted investigations of two anonymous “hotline” complaints alleging discrimination against non-diverse male employees of legal department by the general counsel, with reports to head of compensation committee of board of directors. Investigation included interviews of the general counsel, key deputies, and analysis of key data and documents.