Labor and Employment
Employment regulations, leave laws, union-management relations, non-competition agreements, independent contractors, executive agreements, discrimination law, minimum wage and overtime requirements … these and virtually every other labor and employment law issue raise unique concerns in the health care setting. Members of our Health Care team have extensive experience helping health care clients navigate the maze of obligations imposed by federal and state laws, collective bargaining agreements, common law claims – as well as sound human resources principles. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of labor and employment law advising hospitals, clinics, long term care providers, physician groups or other provider organizations, device manufacturers, and individual executives with their employment agreements.
Our attorneys take particular pride in advising clients at the front end in a way that helps prevent claims or controversies; but when disputes do arise, we respond in the most aggressive but cost-efficient manner, resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or in the courts. All of our work is motivated by a single goal: To allow our clients to provide the highest quality patient care without the unnecessary disruption or inefficiency that can result from employment disputes.
Representative work includes the following:
- We represented a coalition of health care providers as amici before the Washington Court of Appeals. The Court resolved the case on the issue we briefed establishing the correct rate of pay when employees miss a rest break.
- We represented a hospital client in federal court, turning back a union effort to force the hospital to arbitrate in one proceeding grievances arising under multiple different collective bargaining agreements.
- We regularly represent employers in collective bargaining negotiations. Our successes include negotiating "first" contracts for newly unionized bargaining units; negotiating "concessionary" contracts; negotiating transitions from defined benefit to defined contribution benefit plans; and negotiating contracts with units of nurses, service employees, technical employees, professional employees, maintenance employees, security personnel, physicians, as well as virtually every type of mixed employee group in health care.
- We have also routinely advised clients as to collective bargaining negotiations the client is handling itself.
- We regularly assist clients dealing with union strikes, picketing, handbilling, "bannering" or other attempts to garner publicity.
- We regularly represent employers before the National Labor Relations Board defending against unfair labor practice allegations. We have successfully turned back claims of bargaining in bad faith; anti-union discrimination; bargaining unit "skimming"; unlawful surveillance or the appearance of surveillance; refusal to furnish information; and other allegations of interference with protected concerted activity. Stoel Rives attorneys have also filed unfair labor practice charges against unions, for misconduct such as unlawful secondary boycotts and unions’ bad faith bargaining.
- We regularly advise health care clients on representation proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, including dozens of certification campaigns in hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities, and other facilities, and well as decertification campaigns and unit clarification proceedings.
- We regularly represent health care clients in labor arbitrations arising under collective bargaining agreements. Stoel Rives attorneys have handled hundreds of arbitrations involving discipline or discharge for just cause, as well as cases involving management rights, seniority, unit composition, lay-offs, bumping, premium payments, and virtually all other terms and conditions of employment.
- We assist health care employers in drafting physician and locum tenens agreements, and represent employers in peer review proceedings.
- We regularly assist health care employers with advice and counsel on employment practices and policies. For example, we recently helped a large hospital implement a new ‘no nicotine’ hiring policy.
- We regularly represent health care clients in employment litigation and administrative charges. We recently represented a hospital system against claims of discrimination from an employee. After we filed our summary judgment motion, the employee dismissed his claims.
Health Care Team Contacts