Many companies watch their main assets walk out the door each evening—their employees. Businesses increasingly depend on their employees' intellectual firepower to drive success. Attracting, retaining, and developing that talent is among the biggest challenges facing successful companies and the start-ups that want to emulate them. However, the incentives that worked in the past are being challenged by the shifting economic climate, as well as changing employee values. The new economy has also generated new business models that rely on flexible workforces and require careful management of trade secrets. There are very clear tradeoffs that these different approaches to employment have highlighted, but securing top talent remains a priority for management worldwide.
We helped Goldman Sachs defeat class certification in a nation-wide case in which the named plaintiffs alleged that the company's performance evaluation processes adversely affected female professionals' compensation and opportunities for promotion. Our team argued that because the effect of the processes varied so widely among the businesses covered by the suit, it would require individualized determinations to prove whether the evaluations had a negative impact on a professional's compensation. A federal magistrate judge in New York held that the plaintiffs could not refute our team's argument and, as a result, the case did not meet the standards to be handled as a class action seeking monetary relief for class members.
We won summary judgment before the Eastern District of California in a significant employment case for Morgan Stanley. The plaintiff, a Kern County Supervisor, was terminated after being elected to office because of conflict of interest concerns arising out of his desire to work full-time for both Morgan Stanley and the County. He later alleged political discrimination under the California Labor Code and other claims arising out of his discharge. The matter was of special concern to Morgan Stanley in the wake of increased regulation of financial institutions, as well as a multi-million-dollar loss in a similar matter outside of California. We successfully argued that the plaintiff was terminated for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons and suffered no damage as a result of Morgan Stanley's actions. Following the District Court win, we then won a preliminary injunction involving of a subsequently-filed FINRA action based on "waiver by litigation."
We secured a complete "walk-away" victory for Advantage Sales & Marketing in a class action alleging wage-and-hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law, potentially affecting thousands of employees nationwide. After the complaint was filed, we removed the case to federal court and persuaded the plaintiff's counsel to stay formal discovery pending our evidentiary presentation on the lawsuit's lack of merit. Following the presentation, the plaintiff's counsel agreed to dismiss the case in its entirety.
We are representing a tech company in an employee mobility case involving former employees suspected of stealing an important invention and launching a competing business. While the former employees mounted an aggressive defense campaign, and filed multiple motions to dismiss and attempted to block discovery, we repeatedly prevailed. Ultimately, we were able to secure discovery from the defendants confirming misconduct. The case is scheduled to go to trial in August 2016.