Nixon Peabody provides attorneys who are dedicated to labor and employment issues for health care providers, and have substantial experience representing clients in the health care industry, including academic medical centers, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, medical transport companies, and related entities.
We understand the unique environments of health care providers and their employment and labor relations needs. Our attorneys provide preventative counseling, designing programs to ensure legal compliance and developing sound management strategies for avoiding litigation and enhancing employee morale and productivity.
We have considerable experience counseling our health care clients regarding effective and lawful social media policies, and we represent management in the defense of all employment related litigation including claims for wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
Employee claims and class actions over wage-hour violations are becoming increasingly prevalent in the health care industry—and the repercussions for such violations are often severe. Even minor mistakes can expose an employer and its individual managers to millions of dollars in damages.
Nixon Peabody’s experienced litigators understand the unique issues that arise in wage-hour cases and have successfully resolved disputes ranging from single plaintiff cases to complex class actions involving thousands of potential class members with high damages exposure. We have decades of experience representing clients in state and federal courts, before administrative agencies, and on a multi-jurisdictional basis. These cases have involved a wide array of issues including allegations of misclassification of exempt/nonexempt employees, “off the clock” work, and improper use of “comp time.”
We are strong believers in advising clients regarding preventative measures that keep our clients out of litigation. To assist in wage-hour litigation avoidance, we have developed a wage-hour audit program. In such audits, we evaluate job descriptions, interview managers of the positions in question, conduct legal research and, in some cases, shadow an individual in the job classification to determine the individual’s actual job duties and whether exempt tasks constitute their primary job duty. Our audits frequently include an analysis of payroll practices and meal-period compliance for non-exempt employees.
These preventative measures will assist in avoiding employee claims and class actions over wage-hour violations that can expose the organization (and its individual managers) to costly damages and increased liability. We have been successful in assisting clients in determining the appropriateness of their exempt designations and saved them millions in potential future liability.
We advise many health care employers on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and executive compensation matters, including the design and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement and deferred compensation plans, cafeteria plans, and plans for health, disability, death, severance, early retirement, and similar benefits. For tax-exempt entities, we have experience structuring retirement and deferred compensation plans to meet the special rules of Sections 403(b) and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code. We counsel health care clients during the physician recruitment and retention process, and have an active immigration practice to assist our clients with issues that frequently arise regarding foreign medical graduates and other emigrating staff members.
Health care is a labor-intensive industry. As a result, the quality and performance of a health care organization’s workforce, and the costs of recruiting, training, and retaining that workforce, have a direct impact on the quality and cost-effectiveness of the health care provided by the organization. With a thorough understanding of this environment, our labor attorneys have developed the experience and judgment to devise the most effective strategies and tactics for effective labor/management and employee relations in the health care field.
We routinely counsel health care providers who are encountering attempts by unions to organize their employees, and we negotiate collective bargaining agreements with unions. Our attorneys also have extensive experience representing health care industry employers in National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings.
Although we are always on the management side, we take pride in the respectful relationships we have developed with all of the leading health industry unions. In many instances this has proven enormously helpful to our health industry clients that have encountered labor relations difficulties.