We provide comprehensive employment law services, including counseling, investigation, and litigation, to businesses, non-profit organizations, governmental entities, and individuals.

Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies and public institutions to executives and individuals who seek representation for a wide range of employment-related issues. Our attorneys have tried cases to verdict—in state and federal court, and arbitration forums—and handled appeals in courts around the country in the full range of employment disputes.

Experience

Employment Discrimination Litigation

We recognize that litigation is a last resort for most employers. Even so, when a dispute turns into a lawsuit or arbitration, our experience can help you.

We regularly defend cases alleging gender, race, age, and disability discrimination. We regularly defend both private and public sector clients when current or former employees accuse them of  discrimination of sex, race, disability, or other protected-class status. Often these cases involve allegations of retaliation in response to the underlying discrimination actions. And they may even include whistleblower or other similar claims. We work with our clients defending personnel decisions when they are challenged before various administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Economic Security, the Department of Labor, or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. And we regularly defend them in state and federal court actions, and in arbitration forums.

Trade Secret, Non-Compete Disputes, and Emergency Injunctive Relief

Employees come and go. Sometimes, they take with them commercially sensitive information or regulated customer data. Other times, they are accused of violating non-competition covenants or various other legal duties to their former employers.  Greene Espel mobilizes immediately to seek or defend against the expedited injunction motions that arise in these situations. 

We regularly seek and obtain injunctive relief to prevent former employees and agents of our clients from using or disclosing non-public personal and financial information, technical trade secrets, and confidential business methods belonging to our clients.  We also successfully resist such motions, whether representing the accused individuals or their new employers.

When necessary, we work with computer forensics specialists to develop the evidence necessary to prove or defend against these cases, and to secure the return and deletion of data from the computers and networks of the other side. We have negotiated creative resolutions to many of these cases, frequently including stipulated preliminary injunctions that ensure that the court orders relief consistent with the parties’ needs.

Employment Investigations

Litigants and governmental entities often seek to hold employers accountable for their employees’ acts or omissions—even if the employer had no idea what their employees were doing. We help employers find out what is happening in their workplaces to avoid such surprises, while complying with privacy standards and other legal requirements and documenting findings for future use.

Among other things, we

  • Advise clients in conducting their own internal workplace investigations;
  • Oversee workplace investigations by third-party employment investigators;
  • Train internal investigators in investigation and interview skills; and
  • Conduct workplace investigations ranging from alleged harassment by employees to potential financial misconduct by high-ranking officials.

Employment Counseling

Every Greene Espel employment attorney is an experienced litigator. This gives us special expertise when it comes to what is most important to you—avoiding litigation in the first place through active counseling and training.

Our attorneys can train your employees and supervisors to help prevent and respond to allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Putting such training programs in place can help prevent litigation and can also provide meaningful defenses in the event a lawsuit is filed.

We can assist your human resources professionals, managers, and supervisors when they hire, discipline, discharge, or test employees to help minimize the likelihood of litigation and to ensure that your company has every possible defense available to it in the event of a claim.

We can also negotiate executive employment contracts and severance agreements to maximize the benefits to our client and minimize the chances of future litigation. And we are highly experienced in developing and analyzing non-competition and confidentiality agreements.

We can do all of this on a case-by case basis, or we can assist you in drafting overall workplace policies and procedures to help ensure that your business is always in compliance with the myriad requirements of statutory schemes including:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Americans With Disabilities Act
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Minnesota Government Data Practices Act
  • Minnesota Human Rights Act
  • Minnesota Whistleblower Act
  • Public Employment Labor Relations Act
  • Title VII
  • Veteran's Preference Act

Non-competition and solicitation

  • Brought a successful 26-defendant lawsuit in federal court and FINRA on behalf of a financial services company to enforce its departed employees’ non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements, achieving a favorable settlement after a stipulated temporary restraining order
  • Represented a major financial services firm in federal litigation and companion FINRA arbitration seeking the return of nonpublic personal and financial information and to enforce non-solicitation agreements
  • Represented executives of a Fortune 500 transportation-logistics company in a two-week jury trial involving allegations of tortious interference, non-compete violations, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
  • Defeated a motion for temporary restraining order in an action in which plaintiffs alleged that Greene Espel’s client tortiously interfered with plaintiffs’ contract with our client’s newly-hired employee. Medtronic, Inc. and Medtronic USA, Inc. v. Ernst, Nevro Corp., Case No. 16-cv-244 (D. Minn. 2016)

Discrimination and wrongful termination

  • Successfully defended a corporate client accused of sexual harassment and retaliation initiated by a former employee. We convinced an arbitrator after a two-day arbitration that our client had immediately and appropriately responded to the initial report of sexual harassment and had not retaliated against the employee
  • Successfully defended a client accused of discrimination and wrongful discharge initiated by a terminated broker against his financial services employer. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed in exchange for our client-defendants’ agreement not to enforce court sanctions imposed on the Plaintiff and his counsel. Paul v. Blaylock Robert Van, LLC, et al., Case No. 13-cv-04068 (N.D. Ill 2015)

PUBLICATIONS: 

  • Pregnancy Accommodation and Non-Discrimination (Minn. CLE 2017), edited by Marilyn Clark, Jenny Gassman-Pines, and Steven Andrew Smith
  • Handling Internal Investigations (Minn. CLE 2017), edited by Joseph T. Dixon III, Peggy Kubicz Hall, and Peter H. Walsh. Jenny Gassman-Pines and Karl Procaccini, Chapter 2: Managing Attorney-Client and Work Product Privileges During (and After) the investigation