Practice Areas

Employment Law

Collaborating with employers, we develop useful and effective solutions to even the most challenging workplace issues.

Strong employee-employer relationships are the lifeblood of every business. Yet, it is increasingly difficult for management to deal successfully with daily employment-related problems and complex workplace laws that are constantly changing.

Stein Sperling's Employment Law practice is well versed in the ever-changing world of employment law. We help executives, managers and human resource professionals stay abreast of employment laws and assist them in developing policies and procedures that promote constructive employee relations and reduce liability in the workplace. In the event litigation does occur, our attorneys are strategic and effective.

Working closely with our clients, we strive to find practical solutions to employment issues. Our approach not only helps clients adapt quickly to changes in employment laws and regulations, but also helps them proactively implement workplace strategies that minimize legal burdens and achieve results for their organizations. In addition, our firm's background in business law bolsters our employment law services, which means the solutions we offer also make good business sense.

Planning and Compliance

Stein Sperling’s employment law attorneys work closely with business owners, managers, executives and human resource professionals to establish and maintain useful legal and regulatory compliance strategies for their employment practices. As part of our ongoing counsel, we help clients ensure that their daily operations encourage constructive employer-employee relationships, while minimizing their risk for potential employment disputes.

As federal, state and local employment laws are constantly changing, we keep our clients informed of relevant updates and, when necessary, help them adjust their policies and practices to meet new standards of regulation. This means developing and defining appropriate hiring, compensation and supervisory plans, as well as plans for discipline and termination of employees.

Our role in advising our clients is to develop plans that are as effective and enforceable as possible, while reflecting changes in wage-hour laws, as well as current employee classification definitions and other regulations. It is especially important to address these issues at the time of an acquisition or merger in order to to successfully transition employees between entities. Our attorneys can conduct employment audits to find and investigate areas of non-compliance. These audits can highlight opportunities for change that will allow employers to meet federal, state and local requirements.

As part of our comprehensive employment practice, our attorneys advise large and small businesses on ongoing employment issues, including drafting job descriptions for recruiting, interviewing and hiring new employees. As businesses continue to grow or maintain their workforce, we help management ensure that their policies and practices are compliant with federal, state and local laws, including ADA, FMLA, FLSA, ERISA, ADEA, OSHA and Title VII.

Our attorneys also counsel businesses and their human resources staff on appropriate methods for employee discipline and performance reviews. When a reduction in a business’s workforce is necessary, Stein Sperling’s employment law team can help clients plan and implement layoffs in compliance with the WARN Act when appropriate.

Employment Handbooks and Policies

Stein Sperling’s employment law attorneys understand that employee handbooks and policies are a vital component of any business’s operations. We take a proactive approach in assisting clients as they draft and make regular updates to these documents, whether because of changes in operations or because of updates in federal, state and local employment laws.

Our goal is to help businesses ensure their employment policies are comprehensive and effective. Businesses must then communicate these policies and uphold them in the course of their operations. One standard method for doing this is developing an employee handbook, which includes policies related to discrimination and harassment, employment classification, compensation, paid and unpaid leave and other employee benefits, as well as discipline and termination policies. Handbooks may also include policies related to confidentiality, conflicts of interest and document retention or destruction, as well as telephone, computer, internet, e-mail and social media policies. In addition, some employers may wish to document their drug and alcohol testing policies.

Because we take the time to listen to and get to know our clients and their businesses, we are able to help them craft policies that best suit their particular circumstances and needs. Our goal is to provide employers with actionable documents that can reduce liability in the workplace and mitigate risk of employment related claims.

Documents and Agreements

Stein Sperling’s employment law attorneys advise businesses as they create documents and agreements that govern how employment relationships are established, defined and terminated. Written properly, such documents and agreements can protect a business from liability exposure or other threats to productivity.

Documentation begins with an employment application that seeks an appropriate breadth and depth of information from job candidates. It continues through the hiring process, as employers frequently draft offer letters and execute employment contracts. Such contracts can include executive compensation agreements, confidentiality agreements, as well as restrictive covenants, also known as non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. Restrictive covenants in particular provide added protection for businesses and their customers or clients by prohibiting employees from taking advantage of a business’s customer data, trade secrets or intellectual property. At the end of an employment relationship, having proper termination, separation or severance agreements in place is equally important.

Our attorneys often assist employers as they develop employment agreements, keeping an eye to enforceability so as to discourage violations.

In-House Training

Stein Sperling’s attorneys provide clients in-house training for supervisors and human resource professionals on relevant employment law topics. This in-person access to a member of our employment law team, outside the confines of a particular legal matter, helps our clients to stay on top of changes in laws and regulations and to ensure they follow employment best practices in their respective industries.

For clients that are interested in our in-house training services, we suggest holding a meeting to discuss areas of concern to the organization’s leadership. With these guideposts in place, we create an in-house training environment where our attorneys are able to share insights specific to that particular business and its employees. This tailored approach makes for training that is particularly useful for supervisors and human resource professionals.

Employee Benefits

Stein Sperling counsels business owners on legal and regulatory aspects of providing employee benefits. Whether we are assisting a start-up business, a well-established company or a party to a pending commercial transaction, we work closely with clients to ensure their employee benefit plans take into consideration important business implications, while complying with local, state and federal regulations.

Employee benefit plans ranging from employee leave programs to fringe benefits (e.g., health, life and disability insurance, retirement plans, severance benefits, cafeteria plans and similar arrangements) are an important recruiting and retention tool. However, the laws that govern these plans are extremely complicated and require that businesses carefully consider all regulatory requirements before plans are made available to employees. Stein Sperling’s attorneys regularly counsel clients on the costs, advantages and disadvantages of various employee benefit plan options. After businesses adopt a plan, Stein Sperling continues to help them navigate the complex regulatory environment. Our goal is to understand a client’s business and to work together to develop that reflect a business’s workforce needs as well as its values and culture.

Offering employees qualified retirement benefit plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) requires careful design to comply with federal and IRS regulations. Our employment law team, in conjunction with our tax law department, can review these plans before they are implemented to protect the plans’ tax-qualified status. We can also assist employers as they amend these plans due to changes in economic conditions or state and federal laws.

Our attorneys have a depth of experience helping clients implement executive compensation plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, stock option plans, restricted stock plans, phantom equity plans and other non-qualified compensation arrangements. We help to ensure such arrangements comply with applicable laws, including Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. Throughout the process, Stein Sperling’s employment law attorneys consult with the firm’s tax law department to review applicable tax laws for compliance.

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Stein Sperling’s employment law team works closely with the firm’s litigation department to aggressively defend claims against our clients brought by former, current and prospective employees. These include wage-hour, harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and other matters. We also handle litigation claims alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), among others.

Our attorneys regularly enforce and defend breach of contract claims arising from alleged violations of restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements and other employment agreements. When necessary, we are able to pursue emergency injunctive relief to prevent irreparable harm to our clients’ businesses. We also are well versed in employment claims brought before federal, state and local administrative bodies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Maryland Department of Labor, as well as county-level human rights commissions.

For each of these matters, our team of litigators works closely with our employment law attorneys to devise strategies to protect our clients’ rights and achieve their goals. To that end, and before forming a case strategy for any employment dispute, we learn about our clients’ organizations, their culture and how their employees, managers and owners interact. Armed with this knowledge, we work side-by-side with clients to set manageable expectations to achieve their goals, whether through litigation or through mediation and arbitration.

Learn more about our civil litigation practice.