Gary Oberstein is the Managing Partner of the Boston office, a partner in the Labor & Employment group and Chair of the Wage-Hour team. Gary passionately provides strategic legal advice to employers of all sizes across most industries regarding all aspects of the employment relationship and represents them in the resolution of employment-related disputes.
What do you focus on?
For almost 25 years I have devoted my practice to assisting employers with a broad array of business and human resources issues arising out of employment. I help employers solve immediate problems practically, while providing predictive and proactive counsel and forecasting the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. I focus on efficiently helping employers achieve their business and personnel objectives while minimizing legal exposure and business disruption.
I work strategically with employers to craft novel, pragmatic solutions to complex employee management problems. Some of my favorite work involves intricate performance and/or conduct management problems, including high stakes c-suite management issues. Clients call on me to navigate the increasingly complex world of employee leave requests and medical issues, including the intersection of the ADA with myriad other leave laws, workers compensation and disability insurance.
As Chair of our Wage-Hour team, I focus on helping employers guard against costly wage-hour suits, such as exempt employee status, payroll practices and meal and rest period issues. I regularly head teams that conduct customized audits and also defend employers against wage-hour suits.
Reorganizations/Restructurings and Reductions in Force
I have deep and wide experience with the labor and employment aspects of complex (and simple) reorganizations/restructurings and reductions in force, including significant job eliminations and international transfers. These multi-layered actions implicate dozens of statutes and often require the development of first-impression creative solutions involving the minimization of exposure to discrimination and other wrongful termination claims, compliance with WARN, the OWBPA and state laws, crafting internal and external communications approaches and preparing separation documentation.
What do you see on the horizon?
I am watching for a new trend to develop with the plaintiff’s bar focusing on “reverse discrimination” claims (male / Caucasian) and greater scrutiny of employers’ attempts to diversify their workplaces. In addition, I expect the aging workforce trend, tied to increasing life expectancy, will result in more age and disability claims and require employers to change their thinking about traditional retirement, mentoring, and benefits.