Overview

Rich Black is co-chair of Littler’s Class Action Practice Group, and has represented employers in some of the largest and most significant class and collective action employment lawsuits in the country for nearly 25 years. Rich’s experience handling class and collective matters spans the wage and hour, employment discrimination, and ERISA breach of fiduciary duty areas across the retail, technology, financial services, computer services, communications, energy, pharmaceutical, construction, hospitality, travel, and transportation industries.

Rich has specific knowledge and experience in issues relating to class/collective action certification and decertification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the use of statistical analysis and "social science" expert testimony in single plaintiff, multiplaintiff and class action employment discrimination matters, and the enforcement of class and collective action waivers and arbitration agreements. Rich has also briefed appellate issues relating to, among other things, class certification and breach of fiduciary duty issues, including before the United States Supreme Court.

Rich’s recent class and collective action experience includes:

  • Successfully obtaining the decertification of a conditionally certified putative FLSA collective consisting of more than 400,000 independent contractors on behalf of a national financial services company
  • Defeating plaintiffs’ motion to conditionally certify an FLSA collective of hundreds of distribution center managers on behalf a national retailer
  • Defeating plaintiffs’ motion to conditionally certify an FLSA collective of thousands of merchandisers on behalf of a national sales, marketing and merchandising company

In addition to representing employers in class and/or collective action litigation and other complex employment litigation, Rich regularly appears in state and federal courts, and before federal and state government agencies, including the Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in single plaintiff and multiplaintiff matters related to:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Title VII
  • The Equal Pay Act (EPA)
  • State and local anti-discrimination and equal pay statutes

Rich’s practice also focuses on advising employers with respect to compliance measures that reduce wage and hour disputes and other employment-related issues.  

Rich was one of four Littler attorneys responsible for the creation and development of the Littler Xmpt Toolkit, which was recognized in December 2016 by the Financial Times with a commendation in its North America Innovative Lawyers awards.  

While attending the University of Iowa College of Law, Rich served as managing editor of the Iowa Law Review.  

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member

Labor and Employment Section

American Bar Association

Member

Labor and Employment Section

District of Columbia Bar

Member

Trial Law Institute

Member

Diversity Law Institute

Recognition

Fellow

Litigation Counsel of America

Named, The Best Lawyers in America©

2021

Named, Super Lawyer

Washington, DC

Super Lawyers

2014-2018

Named, SuperLawyers in Labor and Employment Law

HR Professionals Magazine

2018

Named, Collegiate Scholar

The University of Iowa

1992

Named, Outstanding Achievement Scholar

Temple University

1988-1990

News, Analysis & Press

The Federal Enclave Doctrine: A Potentially Powerful Defense to State Employment Laws

Thomson Reuters Westlaw Journal Employment

April 17, 2013

Sales Reps v. Pharma: The Overtime Issue

Pharmaceutical Executive

April 25, 2012

Understanding Christopher v. SmithKline

Law360.com

March 27, 2012

The Increasing Risk of Legal Challenges to an Employer's Compensation Policies and Practices: Considerations for Self-Assessment

The Journal of Investment Compliance

Spring 2005

Books & Book Chapters

  • Civil Practice and Procedure, Employee Benefits Law, Section of Labor and Employment LawAmerican Bar Association and Bloomberg BNA, Chapter 12, 3rd Ed., Contributing Author, 2012
  • Class Certification Under Rule 23, Littler Mendelson on Employment Law Class Actions, LexisNexis, Chapter 9, 2nd Ed., Chapter Co-Editor, 2012
  • Collective Actions, Fair Labor Standards Act, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, BNA, Chapter 17, Chapter Editor

Speaking Engagements

Preparing for Change: DOL's Final Rule on Overtime and Brief Update on the Affordable Care Act

Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Springfield, VA 22150

September 8, 2016

Working on Overtime: Preparing for DOL’s Changes to the FLSA Overtime Regulations

Federal Publications Seminars

August 3, 2016

2016 Mid-Atlantic Employer Conference

Washington, DC

June 7, 2016

DOL’s Final Exemption Rule: How to Prepare and Comply with the New FLSA Regulations

Center for Competitive Management (C4CM), Webinar

June 6, 2016

DOL Issues Final Overtime Rule - May 31

May 31, 2016

Arbitration Programs with Class Waivers – Protection from Wage and Hour Class/Collective-Action Liability

Tysons Corner, VA

October 21, 2014

Misclassification Creep: Steps to Armor Your Organization Against the Latest Wage and Hour Threat

C4CM

March 28, 2014

Litigation Armoring — Building Advance Defenses to Common Wage and Hour Class and Individual Claims

Tysons Corner, VA

January 23, 2014

Litigation Armoring – Building Advance Defenses to Common Wage and Hour Class and Individual Claims

Washington, DCTysons Corner, VA

October 16, 2013

Litigation Armoring – Building Advance Defenses to Common Wage and Hour Class Claims

The 2013 Houston Employer Conference

Littler Mendelson, Houston, TX

August 22, 2013

Supreme Court Update - Employment Class and Collective Actions

DC Bar

June 13, 2013

Where Are You and What Are You Doing? Exemption and Work Time Issues in the Mobile Workforce of Sales, Techs and Travelers

The 2013 Executive Employer® Conference

Littler Mendelson, Scottsdale, AZ

May 10, 2013

401 (k) Fees – Litigation, Regulation & Compliance

2011 Executive Employer Conference - Littler Mendelson, Phoenix, AZ

May 2011

New York Benefits Summit

New York, NY

February 10, 2011

Mediation in Class Action Cases

DC Bar

2008

Education

  • J.D., University of Iowa College of LawWith Distinction
  • B.A., University of IowaWith High Distinction

Bar Admission

Georgia
District of Columbia

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland