Yesterday, in Lawson v. FMR LLC, a divided U.S. Supreme Court decided its first case addressing the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The question before the Court: do those protections extend only to the employees of public companies, or do they also reach the employees of contractors and subcontractors of public companies? You can see our prior posts on the case here (June 19, 2012), here (October 8, 2013), here (January 7, 2014), and here (January 28, 2014). Read More
Devin Slack, a senior associate located in the New York office, is a member of the employment law group. Orrick’s Employment Law and Litigation group was recently named Labor & Employment Department of the Year in California by The Recorder, the premier source for legal news, in recognition of their significant wins on behalf of leading multinational companies on today’s most complex and challenging employment law matters.
Devin’s practice focuses on a wide array of employment and commercial disputes, including equal employment opportunity, whistleblower protections, misappropriation of trade secrets, restrictive covenants, wrongful discharge, and compensation and benefits. Over his career, he has been involved in the litigation of dozens of actions in federal and state courts and arbitrations across the country, many proceeding to trial or contested merits hearings. In his counseling role, Devin has represented a variety of clients, including major financial institutions, leading law firms, emerging companies and non-profit organizations.
Devin was a summer associate with Orrick in 2006 and joined the firm as an associate in 2007. He rejoined the firm in 2012 after concluding a clerkship with the Hon. Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. While in law school, Devin interned with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Hon. Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the American Indian Law Alliance.
Devin’s representative matters include the following:
- Defending a major financial institution in an arbitration against a former employee asserting claims for gender-based discrimination and retaliation involving broad-based pattern or practice allegations;
- Defending a professional sports organization in litigation in California state court with a former executive asserting claims for breach of contract, wrongful termination, and defamation;
- Defending a multinational software company in litigation in federal court against a former employee of a foreign entity asserting claims for disability discrimination, breach of contract, and wrongful termination against the corporate parent;
- Defending a Fortune 100 oil and gas company in litigation in federal court against a former employee asserting a claim for retaliation under the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;
- Defending a regional satellite installation provider in litigation in federal tax court involving the alleged misclassification of independent contractors;
- Defending a leading law firm in trial and appellate litigation in New York state court against a former partner asserting claims for age discrimination, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent misrepresentation;
- Defending an online retailer in federal court against a customer seeking to represent a class asserting claims under the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act;
- Defending a major financial institution in arbitrations brought by former employees allegedly responsible for significant financial improprieties in complex securities transactions;
- Defending a major financial institution in an arbitration against a former employee asserting claims of national origin discrimination and breach of contract;
- Defending a major financial institution in litigation in federal court against a former employee of a foreign entity asserting claims for national origin and religious discrimination against the corporate parent;
- Defending a multinational computing company in temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction proceedings commenced by a competitor seeking enforcement of restrictive covenants and remedies for the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets;
- Prosecuting a civil action on behalf of a major financial institution against a former executive and an executive search firm formerly engaged by the institution asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties for poaching valued employees on behalf of a competitor;
- Representing an amicus curiae before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the scope of whistleblower protections under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;
- Conducting an internal investigation on behalf of a multinational insurance company involving alleged high-exposure improprieties by a senior executive;
- Counseling a professional sports organization in labor and employment matters, including employee terminations and separation agreements and compliance with federal labor law; and
- Counseling emerging companies in the medical services, technology, and social media fields in various employment matters, including employee on-boarding, restrictive covenants, and employee terminations and separation agreements.
With a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) issued earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial proposed regulations on union elections are once again making headlines. A near reincarnation of a 2011 proposal that was ultimately struck down, the proposed regulations look to “streamline” the union election process. The changes, however, make some substantive revisions that may negatively impact employers. Read More
In the decades since Post v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, 48 N.Y.2d 84 (1979), in which the New York Court of Appeals concluded it would be unreasonable to enforce a non-competition agreement requiring forfeiture of compensation against an employee terminated without cause, New York courts have struggled with articulating a clear rule as to whether an employee’s post-employment restrictive covenants are enforceable upon a termination without cause and, if so, when. Read More
In Moradi v. Marsh USA, Inc., the California Court of Appeal concluded that employees who are required to use their personal vehicles to travel to and from the office and make other work-related trips during the day are acting within in the scope of their employment when they are commuting to and from work. Read More
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must provide a “Notice of Coverage Options” to each employee. The purpose of this Notice is to inform employees that they may obtain health insurance through their states’ Health Insurance Marketplace. For current employees, the Notice must be distributed before October 1, 2013. For new employees, the Notice must be given within 14 days after work begins. Read More
So far in 2013, three states (Arkansas, New Mexico and Utah) have passed new social media legislation restricting employer access to employees and job applicants’ personal social media accounts. We previously posted about social media legislation in California and other states here and here. Read More
In a succinct opinion issued on November 26, 2012, the Supreme Court delivered a stern warning to state courts that fail to enforce arbitration clauses accompanying noncompetition agreements. In Nitro-Lift Technologies, L.L.C. v. Howard, 568 U.S. ____ (2012), the employment contracts between two energy-sector employees and their employer contained a two-year noncompetition provision and a mandatory arbitration clause. After the employees joined a competitor, the employer commenced an arbitration proceeding, prompting the employees to bring suit in Oklahoma state court seeking an injunction preventing enforcement of the noncompetition agreements. Despite the mandatory arbitration clauses, Oklahoma’s highest court declared the noncompetition agreements unenforceable under a state law prohibiting restraints on an employee’s ability to work in the same industry. Read More
In a divided opinion published on December 4th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit provided a reminder that employers should always be prepared to substantiate representations made during labor negotiations and clarified the scope of disclosure obligations for employers relying on competitive pressures as a basis for seeking concessions. In KLB Industries, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 11-1280 (D.C. Cir. 2012), the employer justified proposed wage concessions by citing, among other things, heightened competition from foreign manufacturers. Union representatives requested an array of information to test the employer’s claim, but the employer largely refused.
The Court of Appeals agreed with the National Labor Relations Board that the employer’s refusal constituted an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act, which requires employers to furnish relevant information that unions need to perform their role as bargaining representatives. The court found that once an employer makes specific claims of “competitive disadvantage” in labor negotiations, bargaining representatives are entitled to request specific information tailored to verify those claims. In so doing, the court rejected the suggestion—made by the employer and endorsed by the dissent—that “competitive disadvantage” claims are exempt from these liberal disclosure obligations.
Have questions? With Orrick’s expertise in traditional labor law, we can help you in navigating union-management relationships and in responding to unfair labor practice charges.