The Sullivan Law Group is one of the few practices in the Tidewater area that represents both employees and employers. This dual representation gives our attorneys the advantage of having practical insight from both sides of the courtroom, which directly benefits our clients with respect to assessing risks and benefits, litigation strategy and settlement. Our attorneys demonstrate excellence in their work and concern for their clients’ interests.
Types of Proceedings We Handle
Our attorneys are experienced in all avenues of dispute resolution.
Litigation in State and Federal Courts
In addition to their employment work, our attorneys have litigated claims arising in a variety of areas, including construction, contract and commercial areas of the law. Our attorneys have appeared in the United States Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court and obtained excellent results for our clients in these forums.
- We have a strong motions practice with which we have had great success in dismissing unwarranted claims and limiting issues for trial, and we are experienced with presenting our cases in a manner that is persuasive to both judges and juries.
- We will fight for your rights in court! We routinely take on large private companies or government agencies. In a recent federal court victory for our client against the United States Navy, the judge noted that we “vigorously litigated” our case against two employers, a large government agency and a private contractor.
- The firm routinely acts as local counsel in civil litigation for out-of-state attorneys seeking attorneys with experience with the local rules, customs and law. Procedures and court rules vary from court to court, and our attorneys are familiar and experienced with the rules, procedures and guidelines set forth by the local courts.
- Our office is directly across from the federal court house. Our attorneys have excellent relationships with the judge and clerks. Ms. Collins is active in the Federal Bar Association.
In order to file a lawsuit on many types of claims, you are required to first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Our attorneys are experienced with the EEOC process and have developed relationships with the investigators and management in the EEOC. Our office is located within walking distance of the local Norfolk office of the EEOC.
- Some of the information you provide to the EEOC in defense of a charge will be provided to the charging party and may be used against you in a subsequent lawsuit. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the EEOC procedures and the legal elements of employment claims and can strategize to present the best defense for your business.
- What you include in your charge is very important because your lawsuit is generally limited to what you alleged in your charge. We can help draft the EEOC charge, attach the appropriate documentation, and assist with navigating this administrative process.
Our attorneys have participated in many arbitrations that have focused on employment, investment litigation including churning, and construction issues. This forum often obtains faster resolutions utilizing decision makers knowledgeable about the field.
Ms. Sullivan is trained as a certified mediator and has provided services in this role that have led to creative and productive negotiations, leading to resolutions that could not have been obtained in court. Ms. Sullivan has also served as an advocate in numerous mediations for employees and employers in administratively required forums, such as at the E.E.O.C. or court ordered settlement conferences. Her skills as a problem solver with creativity have brought many difficult cases to a quick and effective resolution.
Our attorneys are trained on the proper methods for conducting an effective internal investigation, from conducting witness interviews to preparing the investigative report. Ms. Collins recently presented on this topic at the Advanced Employment Law Conference. Our attorneys are skilled at making employees feel comfortable and forthcoming and have the expertise to recommend action to prevent litigation.
Ms. Sullivan has served as a Supreme Court hearing officer for many years. Our attorneys have experience navigating the grievance process and can assist employees with filing a grievance and employers with defending against a grievance.
- If you have recently terminated an employee for misconduct who is now attempting to get unemployment benefits from you, we can help. Our attorneys are knowledgeable of the case law and statutory regulations that govern disqualification for unemployment benefits and are experienced with handling unemployment hearings at all levels.
- If you have been unexpectedly and wrongfully terminated, we understand the importance of unemployment benefits while you search for new employment. Our attorneys can help you gather the documentation and witnesses you need to obtain benefits, and we can represent you in the unemployment hearing.
Our attorneys have well-developed relationships with attorneys in the area and are skilled at crafting creative solutions to reach a resolution outside of litigation. We are experienced in evaluating the strength of a claim to determine whether an employee should expend the legal fees to assert a demand and whether an employer should offer a settlement.
Employers and Management
Our clients include businesses of all sizes and types, including corporations, partnerships, technology firms, medical practices and city and municipality employers and agencies. We enjoy close relationships with our employer clients and are “on call” to advise them with regard to issues that arise on the job and assist them in managing and limiting risks through developing and using employment policies and procedures.
Our attorneys have experience in all facets of the employment relationship, from drafting handbooks and employment agreements, to advising clients regarding best practices, to negotiating the termination of the employment relationship. With our significant experience in the field of employment law, we are skilled at assessing risk and evaluating pros and cons with respect to early resolution of claims, and adept at negotiating successful and creative resolutions that often produce results not achievable through litigation.
Drafting Employee Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
Our attorneys have several decades of experience and education in employment law and human resource management. We can help you draft an employee handbook and policies and procedures tailored to your business and the employment laws that apply to you. Having these policies in place can provide a defense against future claims by employees and provide clear guidance for uniform and equitable treatment by your managers. These handbooks must be regularly updated to reflect current business practices and changes in applicable laws and regulations.
‘On Call’ to Advise on Employee Issues
The best policy is prevention. We are skilled at recognizing the red flags in a situation that could develop into a lawsuit in the future. Call our office if you are concerned about an employee situation.
Discipline and Termination of Employees to Avoid a Lawsuit
The majority of employment lawsuits arise out of facts involving disciplinary actions or termination. Our attorneys can protect your business interests by guiding you through the discipline and termination process with an eye towards preventing or defending against future litigation.
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
If you are in a situation where you need to conduct a mass layoff, contact our firm to determine if the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act applies to you and if so, to ensure compliance.
Theft of Employer Electronic Records
Theft of Employer Trade Secrets
Employee Breach of Fiduciary Duties and Business Relations
Interference with Contractual and Business Relations
Our attorneys are experts in a broad range of employment claims. For employers, we can advise you on employee situations to avoid violation of these laws and can defend you against any claims asserted or lawsuits filed. For employees, we can evaluate your situation and advocate for your civil rights to obtain a settlement or other justice.
- Title VII – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. A broad range of actions can be considered discrimination and direct evidence of discrimination is not required.
- Sexual Harassment – Sexual harassment can take the form of “quid pro quo” or hostile work environment. Whether or not sexual harassment has occurred is a case specific analysis to determine how severe or pervasive the conduct was. If you suspect your business may be at risk for a sexual harassment claim or that you have been subjected to sexual harassment, give our attorneys a call.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment an all areas of public life to include housing and transportation. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Our firm is knowledgeable about the reasonable accommodation requirements and the obligations on both parties in reaching an accommodation.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees some employees up to 12 workweeks of job protected unpaid leave. The FMLA only applies to certain employers, certain employees, and certain work and family responsibilities. Our attorneys are knowledgeable of the responsibilities of an employer and the rights of an employee.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping requirements and other regulations governing the employment relationship. Our attorneys can ensure an employer is in compliance with these regulations to avoid costly penalties and can evaluate an employee’s work arrangement to determine if his/her rights have been violated. We are experienced with filing and defending against overtime class actions under the FLSA.
- Equal Pay Act (EPA) – The Equal Pay Act prohibits an employer from paying unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility. Our attorneys are skilled in conducting this case specific analysis. Employers should also be aware that the court recently heightened the standard for an employer to defend itself against such a claim.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employment discrimination against persons age 40 or older.
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) – The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, to include pumping at work for breastfeeding purposes.
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for having participated in the exercise of his rights or having opposed an unlawful act.
- An employer can be subject to penalties if it is found to have misclassified a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Our attorneys can design an organizational structure that meets your classification goals and can defend you in audit or against a claim of misclassification.
- If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, then you may be owed reimbursement for employer taxes paid, as well as unpaid overtime wages. Our attorneys can assist you with negotiating with your employer.
False statements made to third parties outside of those who are in your workplace about you professionally may provide the basis for a defamation action for damages.
Whistle Blower Claims
Federal Whistleblower Protection Statutes include:
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) which prohibits discrimination or retaliation by employers against employees for making complaints concerning workplace safety and health hazards or participation in OSHA investigations.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) which prohibits publicly traded companies and their officers and employees from discriminating against any employee who provides information which the employee reasonably believes violates any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which provides remedies to employees in the financial services industry who allege retaliation related to the disclosure of information about unlawful conduct in connection with the offering of consumer financial products and services.
- False Claims Act which allows individuals to file “qui tam” actions against federal contractors for fraud in connection with payments or requests for payments to the federal government, and which prohibits the discharge, demotion, harassment or discrimination of an employee for engaging in activities in furtherance of an action under the law.
- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which prohibits retaliation or discrimination against employees or retailers and manufacturers for making complaints to the employer, federal government or a state attorney general concerning activity that violates the federal Consumer Product Safety Act.
- National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA) which protects public sector transit employees from discrimination or retaliation for whistleblower activities.
- Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA) which protects employees, contractors, and subcontractors of railroad carriers for reporting safety violations, or acts of waste, fraud, or abuse involving federal grants or money.
- Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) which protects workers from retaliation for making complaints concerning the operation of commercial motor vehicles.
Virginia Whistleblower Protection Statutes include:
- Virginia Code Section 40.1-51.2:1 which prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee who files a safety and health complaint or participates in a proceeding concerning a safety and health complaint.
- Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act which prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who report false claims activities concerning payments or contracts with the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Virginia Fraud and Abuse Whistleblower Protection Act (FAWPA) which prohibits discrimination and retaliation of employees of state government who in good faith report instances of wrongdoing or abuse committed by their employing agency, other state agencies, or independent contractors.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
USERRA establishes rights, benefits, and remedies for uniformed service members and responsibilities for their civilian employers.
Unemployment Benefits Claim
If a third party was involved in a workplace accident, our attorneys can assist you in distributing liability and providing coverage for the accident.
Employment Contract Issues
Our attorneys are experts in both drafting employment agreements, as well as asserting and defending breaches of these contracts.
Noncompete and Nonsolicitation Agreements
Before you agree to a noncompete or nonsolicitation provision, which could affect your business or your ability to find other work, contact our attorneys for their expert review to protect your interests.
Severance agreements have implications for future lawsuits, unemployment benefits, confidentiality, noncompete and nonsolicitation, as well as tax implications for the treatment of the severance payout. Before you sign a severance agreement, let our attorneys use our expertise to protect your interests.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Claims
ERISA establishes the minimum standards for the majority of the voluntary established pension and health plans in the private industry. If you feel medical treatment or benefits are improperly withheld, we can be of assistance in your appeal. Our attorneys are experienced in navigating the complex claims and appeals procedures under ERISA and can advise an employer on best practices to ensure compliance with ERISA requirements.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) Claims
COBRA requires that employers issue certain notices and provide certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates.
Employers involved in government contracting are subject to special requirements and certifications. Our attorneys can assist with the required compliance.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Claims
Our attorneys are skilled at navigating the complex EEO process particular to government employees.
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment and by federal contractors.
Professional Licensure Defense
Medical Licensure Defense
Virginia State Bar License Defense
Other Professional Licensure Defenses
Private Disability Claims
Our attorneys are specialized in navigating the contract issues involved in private disability claims and have successfully identified errors by the carriers, resulting in increased disability payments to our clients.
We are experienced in advocating for the rights of academic professionals who have been wrongfully denied tenure.
If you believe your investment accounts were improperly handled or that transactions were made to generate commissions, our attorneys are experienced in FINRA arbitration and can help evaluate your claim.
Fair Housing Act Claims
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. Our attorneys are familiar with the Federal and Virginia Fair Housing Act provisions and the investigative process. We can help you assert or defend against a housing discrimination claim.
This is attorney advertising. The information contained in this website is not legal advice nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.