James is a labor and employment law attorney. His clients include private, not-for-profit and public sector employers: from a multi-national automotive manufacturer to a small municipality with multiple collective bargaining units and from a large and organizationally complex not-for-profit agency to a large community foundation.
Among this diversity of clients, James' practice focuses on three common employer needs: first, compliance with the ever-changing and increasingly complex web of federal, state and local laws and regulations; second, the need for employers to be strategic and ahead of the curve from a people resource standpoint; and, third, the need to vigorously prosecute and defend labor relations and employment claims as necessary or strategic. Responding to these needs requires James to serve as advisor, problem-solver, and litigator for his clients.
James regularly consults with clients about the application and implementation of the laws regulating the employment relationship - for example, the federal and state wage and hour laws, the federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment, the Family and Medical Leave Act and similar laws regulating leaves of absence, and the laws regulating the legality and enforceability of restrictive covenants that restrain unfair competition and protect trade secrets and confidential information. In this advisory role, he helps clients develop and review employment policies and employee handbooks tailored to the client's specific needs and circumstances. James is a frequent presenter on labor relations and employment topics.
Addressing workplace issues and problems is rarely a linear, straight-forward process. James regularly assists clients to identify and define workplace problems, to develop alternative scenarios for addressing those problems, and then to choose and, as necessary, adjust a course of responsive action. This problem-solving process is most evident in discussing matters of employee discipline and discharge, in advising employers about union organizing and collective bargaining issues, and in representing employers at the table in union negotiations.
James represents and defends employers before the courts and various administrative agencies when workplace issues turn to litigation. He has defended discrimination and other claims against employers in the federal and state trial courts, before the New York State Division of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York Workers' Compensation Board and the New York Unemployment Insurance Division, and before the federal and New York appellate courts. For example, James defended a class claim which the EEOC brought against a large multi-national automotive company claiming that its attendance policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also counseled and defended a small proprietary nursing home through the successful decertification of SEIU 1199 by the National Labor Relations Board and related litigation.