Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation

Our Global Employment lawyers have defended hundreds of employment discrimination actions and administrative charges brought under federal and state discrimination, harassment and retaliation theories.

Our abilities to help clients evaluate strategies and options are backed by solid skills in the courtroom. Our Employment lawyers have extensive experience with high-profile cases, including significant civil actions, private class actions and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) pattern-and-practice investigations. The Orrick experience adds real value to clients trying to resolve difficult high-exposure claims. Our lawyers achieve positive outcomes for our clients at all stages of a matter – whether through success at a motion to dismiss, class certification, trial, appeal or settlement.

Our team is one of the most highly rated practices handling EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) cases, and our focus is on early assessment, audit and prevention of claims where possible. Our strength is in assessing, resolving or, if necessary, successfully litigating systemic cases both in court and before federal agencies.

  • Affirmative Action and OFCCP Compliance

    The Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) conducts approximately 4,000 audits every year, and in recent years those audits are more expansive and in-depth than ever. Our Employment team has significant experience navigating the affirmative action and equal opportunity compliance requirements of the OFCCP to ensure that your organization meets the complex and ever-changing guidelines. We also have particular strength in assessing, resolving and, if necessary, litigating cases before administrative law judges.

    Being proactive is the best way to avoid problems with the OFCCP. We provide business-savvy advice to ensure your affirmative action program is current and compliant. Our OFCCP team works with both in-house compliance teams as well as outside affirmative action consultants and statisticians to analyze your data, identify areas of potential legal risk, confirm that you are meeting recording-keeping and other regulatory requirements, and that your employment practices are fair, are transparent and meet business needs – while withstanding agency scrutiny.

    Our lawyers understand the OFCCP because we have been on both sides of the fence: our team includes a former senior regulatory and policy lawyer from the DOL’s Solicitor’s Office, a former EEOC attorney, and recognized thought leaders on OFCCP policies and procedures. We are often asked by leading organizations – including the Practising Law Institute (PLI), the National Employment Law Institute (NELI) and the American Employment Law Council (AELC) – to educate employers, and we have co-presented with OFCCP officials in connection with PLI programs, Industry Liaison Group (ILG) meetings and other contractor-focused programs. Our team of experts also brings a deep understanding of the government’s priorities and is experienced in dealing with OFCCP’s national and local offices.

    Our lawyers can also offer custom in-house CLE programs designed to educate your entire team on OFCCP compliance obligations.

    Our Affirmative Action and OFCCP Compliance team has significant experience in:

    • Reviewing, or assisting in the development of, affirmative action programs and ensuring your program remains compliant
    • Training HR and management teams on OFCCP compliance issues
    • Conducting mock audits, adverse impact analyses and compensation analyses
    • Advising on and defending OFCCP audits, including negotiating with OFCCP over disputed findings
    • Defending enforcement actions brought by the OFCCP
  • Industry Experience

    We have experience advising a wide range of OFCCP-covered employers, including federal contractors in the technology, financial services and health care sectors; higher education and cultural institutions; and professional services firms.

    Select Engagements

    We have represented numerous contractors before the OFCCP in well over 100 audits. None of these matters went beyond the administrative stage and were either closed or successfully resolved.

    • Represented a software technology company in more than 50 OFCCP matters, including multiple simultaneous audits.
    • Negotiated class hiring settlements on behalf of a food processing company.
    • Defended a compensation discrimination finding against a software technology company, achieving a reversal and audit closure of a multimillion-dollar pay bias finding.
    • Provided affirmative action and compliance advice on corporate management compliance evaluations, or corporate "glass ceiling" audits, on behalf of multiple technology, health care and professional services employers.
    • Conducted an OFCCP class complaint investigation on behalf of a research and technology employer.
    • Advised, assisted or defended numerous matters before the OFCCP for clients across a variety of industries. While most of the clients/matters are not public, references can be provided on request.

    Our Employment lawyers offer practical advice and expertise to help our clients choose the best options for meeting their legal obligations in this changing area of the law by:

    • Advising on audits
    • Reviewing employment policies and handbooks
    • Creating training materials for HR, legal and decision-makers
    • Advising on data retention policies

    Given our expertise in this area, we are often asked to draft amicus briefings on significant issues, such as Dukes v. Wal-Mart and Reid v. Google.

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