Employers must react quickly to shifts, both seismic and subtle, in the workplace. Clients turn to our experienced and knowledgeable employment attorneys for the right advice and solutions for these challenging times.



A company's relationship with its employees is undergoing constant and fundamental change. In the last few years, employers – no matter how careful and conscientious – have faced an increasing number of employment class actions and collective actions, as well as heightened government enforcement. At the same time, labor unions have revived their organizing campaigns with new and tougher tactics. Ropes & Gray can help you avoid and solve workplace problems.

Employment Law

Our approach is client-oriented. We work closely with clients to avoid expensive and counterproductive legal disputes through the development of sound policies and practices. Where conflict is unavoidable, our experienced employment litigators defend clients in state and federal courts, before administrative agencies, and in arbitrations. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience defending multi-party and high–exposure employment matters including:

  • Wage and hour class actions and collective actions
  • ERISA class actions
  • Employment discrimination class actions (disparate impact and disparate treatment)
  • Highly–compensated executive employment disputes
  • Non-competition and trade secret claims
  • Whistleblower and retaliation claims
We also regularly represent clients in a broad range of non-dispute or pre-dispute matters, including:

  • Affirmative action programs and audits
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Plant closings, work relocations, and layoffs
  • Wage and hour audits
  • Personnel policies and practices
  • Employment agreements
  • Executive compensation

Labor Law 

We regularly handle union organizing petitions, contract negotiations, labor arbitrations, and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. Our experience helps us advise both our non-union clients on responding to union organizing campaigns, and our unionized clients on the broad spectrum of issues that arise in union-management relations. When litigation is necessary in the labor context, our litigators are at your disposal. We assist clients with:

  • Union avoidance
  • Union organizing drives and NLRB elections
  • Unfair labor practice charges
  • Labor contract negotiations and arbitration
  • Strike contingency plans

Immigration Law

Ropes & Gray’s immigration team routinely advises clients with regard to the preparation and filing of labor certifications, non-immigrant visa petitions and applications for permanent residency. When questions of status adjustment or deportation arise, our attorneys and immigration staff have the experience and extensive substantive knowledge to guide clients through this complicated process.


Our clients benefit from our diverse experience and recognized skill in labor and employment matters. Notable successes across the spectrum of our labor and employment practice include:

  • A landmark victory before the U. S. Supreme Court in Hazen Paper Company v. Biggins, an age discrimination case establishing a highly favorable precedent for employers under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Defeating class certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case that had exposed the defendant employer to over $10 million in potential damages
  • Favorable jury verdicts in two consecutive race discrimination trials for a federally–funded research and development center
  • Successfully representing a prominent cultural institution in an internal investigation into highly–publicized misconduct by a senior employee
  • Successfully advising a large community hospital in a critical cost-reduction initiative, requiring the cooperation of a major nurses’ union and a major service employees’ union
  • Representing a publicly–traded company in defense of a series of non-compete lawsuits arising out of a lift-out
  • Dismissal of a national financial services firm from a sex discrimination and breach of contract lawsuit
  • Concluding, for a major research institution, a first-time compliance review relating to OFCCP pay equity concerns
  • Enforcing for a public energy management company a covenant not to compete against a defecting employee
  • Representing a multi-national law firm and a number of the firm’s partners in defense of a sex discrimination lawsuit
  • Favorably resolving, without fines or penalties, a significant independent contractor compliance issue
  • Advising a large hedge fund client in implementing a comprehensive intellectual property protection strategy
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