Overview

Kelley Edwards focuses her practice on a variety of labor and employment litigation matters. She represents employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, such as the Texas Workforce Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the United States Department of Labor. She handles litigation matters at the pre-trial, trial, and appellate levels.  

Kelley is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Kelley has represented management in charges and litigation matters related to:

  • Race, gender, national origin, disability, and equal pay discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Wage and hour disputes
  • Employment tort
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Workers' compensation
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act

Her litigation practice also includes complex commercial disputes, from products liability and unfair competition to covenants not to compete and breach of contract litigation. She often works with clients in the following industries:

  • Health care and health services
  • Financial and banking
  • Retail
  • Airline services and transportation
  • Oil and gas / energy services

With extensive trial and oral advocacy experience, Kelley has handled single- and multi-plaintiff actions in state and federal courts and before the EEOC.  She has first- and second-chaired jury and bench trials to verdict in federal, state, and local courts and has successfully defended judgments for clients on appeal.  Among her notable cases, she tried two high-profile race discrimination trials for a national fast food franchisee, both resulting in defense verdicts; successfully defended a telephone directory company in a multi-plaintiff federal bench trial alleging wrongful denial of overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act; and obtained a defense verdict for a Texas healthcare provider in a Title VII retaliation case following a three-day jury trial in federal court.  She has also prosecuted numerous Class C misdemeanor jury trials for the Houston City Attorney's Office as part of an attorney loan program with the City of Houston.

She has obtained favorable rulings on summary judgment in cases involving:

  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • ERISA
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Workers' compensation
  • Title VII
  • Breach of contract

She has handled numerous federal appeals, including successfully defending awards of summary judgment in ADA, ERISA, workers' compensation, and Title VII cases.

Kelley performs training seminars, prepares and reviews personnel handbooks and policies, and conducts workplace investigations. She also advises clients on a variety of labor and employment matters. In particular, she provides counsel and document preparation to clients regarding:

  • Executive compensation
  • Employment and severance agreements
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Layoffs
  • Executive hiring

Her counseling practice extends to all workplace issues, including:

  • Employment policies
  • Employee retention
  • Hiring and termination decisions
  • Reductions-in-force
  • Supervisor and executive training
  • Wage and hour law/FLSA compliance
  • The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Drug testing
  • Privacy
  • Immigration compliance

Kelley serves as the office managing shareholder of Littler Mendelson's Houston office.

Prior to joining Littler Mendelson, Kelley was an associate in the Labor and Employment practice of an international law firm. In law school, she was the managing editor of the Virginia Tax Review.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member

Greater Houston Partnership

Member

Litigation Section

Houston Bar Association

Member

Houston Young Lawyers

Federal Bar Association

Member

Labor and Employment and Litigation sections

State Bar of Texas

Chair

Labor and Employment Section

Houston Bar Association

2007 and 2008

Recognition

Named, Rising Star

Texas Monthly Magazine

2010-2018

Named, Up and Coming 50: 2018 Women Texas Rising Stars

Super Lawyers

News, Analysis & Press

Meet the Largest Labor and Employment Law Firm in Houston

Houston Business Journal

May 25, 2018

Fracking Activities Could Pose Heightened Risks to Employers

Energy Litigation News & Developments, Section of Litigation – American Bar Association (ABA)

July 2, 2012

Recent EEOC Lawsuits Highlight Importance of Adopting Comprehensive Procedures for Managing Employee Leaves

Society for Human Resource Management Atlanta

March 1, 2011

Recent EEOC Lawsuits Highlight Importance of Adopting Comprehensive Procedures for Managing Employee Leaves

Littler Mendelson Insight Article

February 2011

Texas Supreme Court Holds Certain Tort Claims Related to Sexual Harassment are Preempted by the TCHRA

Littler Mendelson ASAP

June 21, 2010

Supreme Court Upholds Ability to Agree to Mandatory Arbitration of Discrimination Claims for Union Members,

The Houston Lawyer

July/August 2009

EEOC Issues New Guidance on Severance Agreements

Littler Mendelson ASAP

July 31, 2009

The NEW Americans with Disabilities Act

Human Resource Fundamentals Lorman Educational Services

March 2009

Supreme Court Broadly Interprets Title VII Anti-Retaliation Provision

Firm Publication

January 27, 2009

United States Supreme Court issues Significant Labor and Employment Decisions

Firm Publication

June 20, 2008

Uniform Application of Absence Control Policy Trumps Evidence of Motive in Workers' Compensation Retaliation Case

Firm Publication

May 18, 2005

Employee Handbooks

Employment Related Records in Texas, Lorman Educational Services

May 2005

Speaking Engagements

2018 Houston Employer Conference

Houston, TX

August 8, 2018

Power Breakfast – Human Resources

Houston Business Journal

July 20, 2018

Workplace Violence: Strategies for Recognizing and Avoiding Workplace Violence

2017 Littler Houston Employer Conference

August 10, 2017
2016 Houston Employer Conference

Houston, TX

August 11, 2016
2015 Houston Employer Conference

Houston, TX

August 13, 2015
Furloughs, WARN, Reductions-in-Force and Other Cost-Savings Considerations in the $40 per Barrel Oil Economy

February 11, 2015
Wage & Hour Issues in the Oil Patch

December 2, 2014
Wage & Hour Issues in the Oil Patch

Houston, TX

October 24, 2014
The 2014 Houston Employer Conference

Houston, TX

August 14, 2014
The 2012 Houston Employer Conference

Houston, TXDallas, TX

August 2, 2012

Controlling Employee Personal Behavior in the Age of Social Media and Personal Technology

The 2012 Houston Employer Conference

Littler Mendelson, Houston, TX

August 2, 2012
2012 Littler Healthcare Summit: Critical Employment Law Issues Facing Healthcare Employers Today

Houston, TX

June 14, 2012

Latest Employment Law Trends and How to Channel Compliance Efforts

Employment Law Update

December 2011
The 2011 Houston Employer Conference

Houston, TX

August 11, 2011

Social Media and the Workplace: How Does an Employer Manage ‘Social’ Postings?

The 2011 Houston Employer Conference

Littler Mendelson, Houston, TX

August 11, 2011

What does Ricci v. DeStefano Really Mean? The Diversity Tightrope

The Littler Mendelson Houston Employer Conference

Littler Mendelson, Houston, TX

August 12, 2010

Wage and Hour Class Actions in the Healthcare Industry: Diagnosis and Prevention in 2010

Houston Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration

June 16, 2010

EEOC Issues New Guidance on Severance Agreements

Legal Update, Labor and Employment Section Luncheon - Houston Bar Association

October 12, 2009

The NEW Americans with Disabilities Act - What the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 Means for Disability Discrimination and Harassment Issues in the Workplace

Human Resource Fundamentals - Lorman Educational Services

March 2009

The Employer's Duty to Furnish Information to Unions

Traditional Labor Law 101

February 2009

What Has the Supreme Court Done Now?

Labor and Employment Law Update

September 2008

Employment Litigation: Where's the Action and How Can Your Organization Avoid It?

Labor and Employment Law Update

June 2007

Employee Handbooks

Employment Related Records in Texas - Lorman Educational Services

May 2005

Education

  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2003
  • B.S., Rice University, 2000cum laude

Bar Admission

Texas

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas