The U.S. labor force, defined as the number of people over 16 and working or seeking work, reached a high of 165 million people in 2020. Given these vast numbers, opportunities for disputes and lawsuits by employees against employers and vice-versa are myriad. In addition, the nature of work has changed significantly in the recent past, providing more workplace compliance and employee relations issues for employers to manage.
COVID-19’s impact was felt in every sector, and fundamentally changed the way organizations do business. Remote work and leave conflicts were frequently litigated, along with issues related to staffing and retaining talent and, conversely, furloughing employees. Many employers faced retaliation claims by employees who refused to come to work for fear of infection, or by workers who refused to get vaccinated in accordance with workplace directives. Wage and hour mistakes and misclassification of employees caused significant risks to employers, in large part because many nonexempt employees are now working from home. In 2020, the courts certified the vast majority of wage and hour class and collective actions that were filed, the highest level in the last two decades.
Government enforcement actions brought by the Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs focused on aggressive enforcement of workplace laws including discrimination and affirmative action.
The year 2020 was a record-setting year for ERISA litigation, with more than 200 class-action lawsuits filed, covering such issues as COBRA notices, financial performance issues in small retirement funds, and fiduciary breaches.
In the litigious labor, employment and ERISA realm, skilled expert witnesses are necessary to give your client a distinct advantage in commercial litigation, class action lawsuits, multi-district litigation and arbitration.