Littler’s vast experience advising and representing retail clients makes it a go-to labor and employment law firm for retailers. Our Retail Industry Practice Group is dedicated to providing cutting edge advice and representation specifically tailored to retail employers. Leveraging the deep knowledge of Littler’s substantive practice groups and the wealth of experience gained from representing the full range of local to international retailers, the Retail Group provides practical and effective solutions to the complex workplace problems that retailers most commonly face.
Littler regularly represents major multi-outlet retail employers, including a significant number of U.S. Fortune 500 retail companies. Littler represents nearly 1000 retail clients, many of which have both national and international operations. Thanks to Littler’s representation of these retailers, as well as its involvement in state and national retail industry groups, the Practice Group is well-positioned to identify trends and provide insight to retail clients on the emerging issues that impact them most directly.
We recognize that effectively representing retailers is as much about understanding their industry and business as it is about understanding the law. We also know that retailers need answers and solutions that are high quality, but cost-efficient. Retailers face unique economic challenges, and we are well-positioned to work with clients to identify the most cost-effective approach for achieving a successful and desired result. We strive to approach engagements comprehensively, and attempt to both resolve the specific legal issues at hand and partner with clients to develop solutions that enhance overall business practices. In terms of fees, this may take the form of collaborating on individual case budgets and action plans, identifying appropriate fixed or phased fees, or identifying other such alternative fee arrangements as may be appropriate for specific client needs. In terms of substance, this means identifying goals not only for the outcome of a particular matter, but for the improvement of the business and processes as a whole.
Littler attorneys routinely counsel retail employers on the day-to-day employment law issues that most often impact their workplaces. Our goal in counseling retailers is to help avoid or minimize what otherwise could be costly litigation. Drawing upon our extensive experience and benchmarking capabilities, Littler attorneys provide thoughtful, knowledgeable advice on a number of issues affecting retailers, including:
- Wage and Hour Compliance: Attorneys in our Wage and Hour Practice Group routinely assist retailers with Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour law compliance. Littler can also audit a retailer’s wage and hour practices using Littler’s Audit Quarterback (Audit QB) – our efficient and cost-effective online auditing tool.
- Policies and Procedures: We review, draft, and update employment and HR policies and procedures with particular focus on issues unique to the retail industry in order to help prevent problems before they occur. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T v. Concepcion upholding the use of arbitration agreements as a means of limiting class action litigation, our attorneys have also been actively engaged with many retail clients in drafting and implementing arbitration policies.
- Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation: In addition to advice regarding the prevention, management and resolution of these claims, we provide seminars and training workshops for supervisors and HR personnel in areas such as workplace harassment, internal investigations and handling terminations to minimize the risks of employment-related litigation. Our attorneys, together with field and economic experts, can also assist retail clients with comprehensive human resources audits, OFCCP audit reviews and statistical system wide audits to proactively address potential class action disparate impact and discrimination claims.
- Workplace Safety: We can prepare and review written safety programs, standard operating procedures, safety rules and employee handbooks for compliance with local, state and federal statutes.
- Union Campaigns: We have tailored our union avoidance and anti- harassment and performance management training for supervisors to be directly relevant to retail clients, and are always able to modify and hone a particular program for specific retail needs.
- Personnel Management: We advise on a wide range of personnel management issues, such as coordinating employee leaves of absence, managing contingent workers, complying with medical restrictions, managing employee performance and conducting internal investigations. For many smaller retail operations that do not have employment counsel, our attorneys are in regular communication with HR personnel to manage these day-to-day issues.
- Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation: Our sophisticated and experienced Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Groups have the capacity to handle virtually any benefits related matter and help retailers design, document and operate all types of employee benefit and compensation plans and arrangements.
- Reductions-in-Force and Corporate Restructuring: We can advise retailers on compliance with both the federal WARN Act and applicable state WARN Acts when RIFs are contemplated.
In addition to the advice and counsel of Littler attorneys focused in particular areas of the law, retailers can subscribe for a fee to Littler GPS®, an interactive state-survey database through which they can access comprehensive surveys of federal and state legislation and regulations on various topics critical to multi-state retailers.
Inside the retail industry, Littler attorneys are widely recognized for the depth of their knowledge and breadth of experience in handling employment litigation matters. The Retail Group works closely with attorneys in all of our substantive subject matter practice groups to provide a comprehensive approach to handling the litigation matters retailers most commonly face. These matters include litigation on behalf of local and national retail clients in state and federal courts and before state and federal agencies in single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff and class action cases involving claims of wrongful discharge, retaliation, discrimination and harassment.
Littler also has extensive experience in defending potential class actions under the FLSA and state wage and hour laws, including cases involving allegations of failure to pay minimum wage, failure to reimburse employees for the cost of alleged uniforms, off-the-clock work, misclassification of employees in retail management, purported meal and rest period violations, failure to provide mileage reimbursement, unlawful deductions from earnings, unpaid overtime and unique state law violations, such as failure to provide “suitable seating” under the California Labor Code. Because Littler’s Class Action Practice is highly integrated, we have been able to identify and develop successful defense strategies. The result is that we can approach the preparation for, and defense against any wage and hour lawsuit in ways that are battle-tested and efficient, thereby enhancing the likelihood of success in class action litigation at the least cost.
Retailers are often the targets of union organizing campaigns. Littler has more than 70 years of experience counseling retail clients regarding union avoidance and performing comprehensive training for managers on union avoidance. Attorneys in our Labor Management Relations practice group often provide legal advice to help retailers devise and implement strategies for lawful union prevention or avoidance and for dealing with conventional organizing campaigns and unconventional anti-corporate tactics. With our unmatched decades of experience, size and geographic scope, Littler can respond quickly and effectively to virtually any labor problem and craft state-of-the-art answers to complex issues. We design our strategies to meet the distinct needs of our clients, never losing sight of their business goals, philosophies and best interests.