Foulston Siefkin's Employment and Labor lawyers advise and represent employers in the full range of issues arising from the employment relationship. The firm's diverse clientele includes private and public sector employers of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and non-profit organizations. Our lawyers regularly defend wrongful and retaliatory discharge claims and race, age, gender, and disability discrimination claims at the administrative level and in state and federal court. We assist employers with OSHA investigations and citations, Department of Labor audits, and wage claims under state and federal wage and hour laws.
In addition to advocacy, a significant portion of our practice is dedicated to providing clients with accurate and practical employment advice, with the goal of avoiding litigation. We regularly advise management and human resources professionals, provide practical management training, and assist in implementing appropriate employee handbooks, other policies and procedures, and affirmative action and EEO plans. Our labor lawyers have considerable experience in responding to union organizing efforts, representing employers in unfair labor practice proceedings, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
For updated news on local, state and federal employment law issues, please visit our blog at: KansasEmploymentLawBlog.com.
Update your FMLA policies and forms with Foulston Siefkin's 2013 FMLA Compliance Manual & Forms.
Foulston Siefkin offers its clients a full-service employment and labor law practice, with attorneys experienced in a wide range of employment practice areas including:
Foulston Siefkin has a long history of representing clients in employment related litigation matters. We defend federal claims arising under numerous laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Equal Pay Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. We also encounter state law employment claims under numerous theories, including breach of implied contract, workers compensation retaliation, and whistleblowing. We strive to provide our clients with outstanding legal services at a reasonable cost. Our litigation practice includes the use of legal assistants when appropriate and advanced information technology. While we prepare our cases as though they will be tried, we are proud of our record of obtaining summary judgment or dismissal of many of the employment lawsuits we handle.
Primary Contacts: Boyd Byers, Vaughn Burkholder
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Mikel Stout, Jack Focht, Vaughn Burkholder, Trish Thelen, David Rogers, Donald Berner, Forrest Rhodes, Teresa Shulda, Tara Eberline, Charles "Ed" Watson, Charles McClellan, Matt Stromberg, Jeffrey Hurt, and Steve Massoni
Associates practicing in this area: Josh Hill
Employment-related Class Actions
Foulston Siefkin lawyers have handled numerous class action and qui tam litigated matters on a broad range of topics. Our employment lawyers have served as both lead counsel and local counsel in significant class action litigation involving claims of race and gender discrimination.
Primary contacts: Trish Thelen and Boyd Byers
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: James Armstrong, Scott Nehrbass, and Charles McClellan
Foulston Siefkin provides clients large and small with practical management training services. We provide training on a variety of topics with the goal of giving our clients the tools they need to make and document good employment decisions. Our training is specifically crafted for each client’s needs but typically includes topics such as avoiding and recognizing workplace harassment, understanding discrimination laws, hiring, discipline and firing, ADA compliance, FMLA compliance, conducting workplace investigations, union avoidance and wage and hour compliance. At Foulston Siefkin we believe that we add value to our clients' businesses by providing them with legally sound and practical human resources information. Our management and supervisor training services are prepared and carried out with that goal in mind.
Primary contacts: Vaughn Burkholder, Trish Thelen
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Vaughn Burkholder, Tara Eberline, Donald Berner, Jeffrey Hurt, and Trisha Thelen
Human Resources Counseling
Foulston Siefkin employment lawyers provide human resources professionals, managers, and business owners with employment advice on a daily basis. We believe that we add value to our client’s businesses by providing them with legally sound and practical human resources information. Our lawyers review and prepare employee handbooks, draft or update policy and procedure manuals, prepare employment agreements, including non-competition and confidentiality agreements, and counsel decision-makers in matters relating to hiring, discipline, and discharge. In addition, we prepare Affirmative Action and EEO plans, assist in OFCCP and other audits, and give advice on the full range of issues that arise from the employer/employee relationship.
Primary contacts: Boyd Byers, Vaughn Burkholder
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Trish Thelen, Donald Berner, Tara Eberline, Forrest Rhodes, and Jeffrey Hurt
Associates practicing in this area: Sarah Burch Macke
Employee complaints regarding discrimination, harassment, and other workplace issues are common. Foulston Siefkin lawyers have extensive experience in identifying the need for, assisting with, or carrying out workplace investigations. Our lawyers can also provide human resources professionals with advice, training, and materials to help them complete effective and sound workplace investigations.
Primary contacts: Vaughn Burkholder, Boyd Byers
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Tara Eberline, Trish Thelen, David Rogers, Donald Berner, Forrest Rhodes, and Teresa Shulda
Agency Proceedings and Compliance
Foulston Siefkin counsels and represents employers in agency and administrative proceedings before numerous state and federal agencies, including OSHA, EEOC, OFCCP, the Department of Labor, the Kansas Human Rights Commission, the Kansas Department of Human Resources, and others. Our lawyers provide compliance advice, assist in investigations, conduct negotiations and appear in agency and administrative hearings.
Primary contact: Donald Berner
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Our lawyers often represent employers in mediation and arbitrations in a variety of employment related claims. In employment cases where a client is not involved, several of our lawyers serve as fair and effective mediators and arbitrators.
Primary contacts: Mike Stout
Our Employment and Labor group includes several attorneys who focus their practice on representing employers in workers compensation matters. Our representation is on on behalf of both self-insured and insured entities.
Primary contact: Eric Kuhn
Foulston employment lawyers have considerable experience working with government entities and their unique employment challenges. We represent public entities at all levels of government, including cities, counties, and school districts, in managing their relationships with their employees, and we defend those entities when litigation is unavoidable.
Primary contacts: Tara Eberline and Jeffrey Hurt
Our lawyers focus our practice on working closely with our clients’ human resources staff, in-house counsel, and/or benefits consultants to provide practical, innovative; and business-centered approaches to meeting our clients’ needs. In doing so, we offer a full range of services in the area of employee benefits law with an emphasis placed on achieving the client’s desired tax benefits, while at the same time complying with the substantive rules of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and applicable state law.
Primary contacts: Doug Hanisch, James Rankin
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Jason Lacey
Today’s immigration laws and regulations have become increasingly relevant to employers of all sizes and within every industry. The combination of our modern economy’s ever-increasing demand for educated and skilled employees and the demographic changes occurring in our own domestic population has dramatically increased the need for foreign labor. At Foulston Siefkin, we can help guide your company through the ever-changing maze of immigration laws and regulations to help meet your employment needs. We have assisted employers and individuals alike with employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant (H-1B Visa) petitions and family-based petitions. In addition, we have advised employers with respect to various work-authorization issues (such as I-9 compliance) and the avoidance of immigration related discrimination offenses.
Primary contact: Donald Berner
Compliance with federal and state requirements on workplace health and safety costs employers millions of dollars each year. In addition to civil penalties charged by OSHA and state occupational safety and health agencies, companies not complying with these laws may also be subjected to criminal fines and imprisonment.
Foulston Siefkin LLP, Kansas' largest law firm, represents large corporations and small businesses in compliance with OSHA standards on process safety management, hazardous chemicals, lockout/tagout, permit-required confined spaces, hazard communication, hazardous waste operations and emergency response, respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, recordkeeping, toxic substance exposure (including asbestos, cadmium, lead, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen fluoride, cyanide, and methane), and a wide variety of other safety concerns.
Foulston Siefkin attorneys have the experience and specialized knowledge to understand the related issues to help clients comply with federal and state laws on workplace safety and health. By choosing Foulston Siefkin, a full service law firm, clients will have access to attorneys with extensive OSHA experience along with other attorneys across several related practice areas including agribusiness, litigation, construction, employment and labor, environmental law, mergers and acquisitions, energy, and workers compensation.
Our attorneys will work closely with clients and with engineering, safety, and industrial hygiene experts to meet specific occupational safety and health needs. We represent clients before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and in both state and federal courts.
Primary contact: Jay Rector
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Donald Berner and Forrest Rhodes
Wage & Hour/FLSA
Foulston Siefkin attorneys regularly advise employers on matters involving compliance with federal and state minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, and other wage and hour laws. This includes advising employers on payroll matters and otherwise helping employers to be proactive in recognizing and eliminating potential wage and hour issues, as well as defending employers involved in wage and hour litigation, including audits with the Department of Labor.
Primary contacts: Boyd Byers, Forrest Rhodes
Partners/Special Counsel practicing in this area: Jeffrey Hurt
Foulston Siefkin attorneys have considerable experience in representing and advising public and private employers in all phases of labor relations. We have assisted in responding to union organization efforts on behalf of a diverse group of clients and have negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements involving units as large as 5,000 and as small as five.
Primary contact: Don Berner and Forrest Rhodes
Partners practicing in this area: Teresa Shulda and Charles McClellan
Our lawyers advise union-free employers regarding effective responses to union organizing campaigns and are experienced in preparing and presenting evidence and legal arguments before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the federal courts arising out of union organizing efforts. Foulston Siefkin provides training, guidance, and counseling regarding the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act and union representational proceedings and elections.
Union avoidance can be achieved only through diligence along with attention to the desires and sentiments of employees. Foulston Siefkin can assist employers periodically audit their work force to determine whether management's relationship with its employees remains strong or whether problems exist that may make the employees receptive to union organizing. We counsel employers regarding the development of lawful positive employment practices and employee relations programs designed to foster employee support for union-free status. We assist in developing an atmosphere which makes unions unnecessary which may lead to NLRB decertification proceedings.
Union Collective Bargaining
The collective bargaining process begins when the majority of workers in an appropriate bargaining unit vote to be represented by a specific union. The National Labor Relations Board then certifies the union. At this point, the management of the organization must recognize the union as the collective bargaining agent for all the employees in the bargaining unit. Once this part of the process is completed, collective bargaining can begin. We assist clients in developing a labor strategy to accomplish the outcomes desired from the collective bargaining process. Foulston Siefkin attorneys counsel unionized employers before, during and after bargaining sessions on legal questions, collective bargaining strategy, and tactics; drafting and analyzing proposals; and responding to union information requests. Our attorneys have served as the chief spokespersons in labor negotiations covering a cross-section of public and private employers. Our experience includes strike preparation, managing labor relations through the course of a strike, hiring replacements, negotiating concession contracts, negotiating a first contract, as a successor employer, and negotiating as part of a workforce shutdown. Foulston Siefkin attorneys then advise employers concerning the administration of the collective bargaining agreements and represent our clients in litigation to enforce collective bargaining agreements.
Fouslton Siefkin attorneys have handled many arbitration cases concerning the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements. Arbitration resolves conflicts of interpretation over the established terms and conditions of employment, for example, the wage rate, working hours, and justification for employee termination. In labor relations, these terms and conditions are negotiated through collective bargaining, and agreements are formalized in collective bargaining agreements or union contracts. Many matters can be resolved through negotiation and mediation. Others require resolution before an independent arbitrator. Our cost-effective representation during arbitration proceedings is aided by our substantial courtroom experience helping to achieve favorable outcomes for our clients.
An employee may be entitled by a collective bargaining agreement to seek relief through a particular series of steps called a grievance procedure. In an unionized organization, a grievance is a formal complaint against the employer, in written format, filed by a union on behalf of a member of the local union. It is typically understood as any difference arising out of the interpretation, application, administration or alleged violation of the collective bargaining agreement that is in effect at the place of employment but it can also concern violations of common law, such as workplace safety regulations or a human rights code. Our attorneys assists companies in responding to contractual grievances and representing them in proceedings.
Other Contacts for Employment & Labor
- Defense counsel in gender discrimination class action claims against The Boeing Company in the federal courts of Kansas and Oklahoma.
- Plaintiff’s counsel in trial of wrongful termination claim for corporate president, resulting in substantial actual and punitive damage award.
- Plaintiff’s counsel in Koch Engineering Co. v. Faulconer, 227 Kan. 813, 610 P.2d 1094 (Kan. 1980) and 239 Kan. 101, 716 P.2d 180 (Kan. 1986), involving injunctive relief for misappropriation of trade secrets and related proceedings..
- Lead counsel in numerous state court and jury and bench trials involving claims of personal injury and property, commercial claims involving claims of unfair competition, and claims alleging deceptive practices under the Packers and Stockyard Act; second chaired five-week medical malpractice trial resulting in defense verdict and six-week trial involving claim of property damage from asbestos contamination; has taken numerous depositions of party, fact and expert witnesses in medical malpractice, product liability, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, retaliatory discharge, and a variety of state and federal law discrimination, competition, and business tort claims.
- Currently represents clients in numerous employment law cases as well as cases alleging violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act; a class action claim alleging gender discrimination; a class action antitrust and price-fixing claim; class action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act; claims alleging breach of contract and fraud in the sale of significant closely held business concerns; and claims involving unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference with contract and business relations.
- Served as defense counsel in gender discrimination class action cases against the Boeing Company in the federal courts of Kansas and Oklahoma. See, e.g., Carpenter, et al. v. Boeing, No. 02-1019, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24296 (D. Kan. Feb. 24, 2004).
- Successfully represented national manufacturers in serious product liability cases in both state and Federal court. Recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a general contractor in a complicated multi-million dollar construction case and successfully defended a physician in a medical negligence case involving the flesh-eating bacteria, Group A Streptococcus.
- Creation of a diversity awareness program for a 30,000 employee workforce.
- Our attorneys have tried numerous employment arbitrations in both union and non-union settings. Issues have included employment terminations, suspensions, the terms of a golden parachute agreement, and general contract interpretation. They have also represented employers as an advocate in several NLRB hearings and has defended employers in contested OSHA hearings.
- Foulston Siefkin attorneys have participated in adversarial hearings in a wide range of forums on behalf of employer clients. These hearings include an OSHA trial to an OSHRC administrative law judge, several NLRB hearings, and several labor arbitrations involving issues ranging from employment terminations to contract interpretation disputes.
- Foulston Siefkin attorneys currently represent clients in numerous employment law cases as well as cases alleging violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act; a class action claim alleging gender discrimination; a class action antitrust and price-fixing claim; class action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act; claims alleging breach of contract and fraud in the sale of significant closely held business concerns; and claims involving unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference with contract and business relations.
- Foulston Siefkin attorneys also regularly represent employers in state and federal court litigation, generally involving allegations of employment discrimination. These suits have included defending both individual and class actions.
Debate Continues on Whether Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation (Authored by: J. Steven Massoni, 04/05/2017)
After over a year of waiting and wondering, the Department of Labor finally issued its proposed amendments to the white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. These are often referred to as the salaried exemptions because of the threshold requirement that the employee be paid on a salary basis at a minimum salary level. As you may recall, the impetus for these changes was direction from President Obama that the exemptions were too many employees were being treated as exempt. In other words, the stated goal of the proposed changes was to make sure that more employees will become non-exempt and thus entitled to overtime.
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NLRB quickie election rule faces Congressional attack
Like a Girl Superbowl commercial
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Top ten most frequently cited OSHA standards for FY2014
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Termination goes south
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How will the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage impact Kansas employers?
For Discrimination, it depends on what the meaning of the word “sex” is
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Employment & Labor in Missouri - Lexology Q & A
Employement & Labor in Missouri - Lexology Q & A
A freaky non-compete non-sequitur
DOL updates COBRA notice regulations and model COBRA notices
The lessons of the recent Ebola outbreak
Corporate media policy runs afoul of the National Labor Relations Act
Court of Appeals weighs in on H-2B wage rule
DOL delays proposed amandments for white collar exemptions
Royals, Royals, Royals
Kansas Supreme Court describes tool to determine employment status under KWPA
EEOC challenges another wellness plan under the ADA
NLRB opens company email up for employee use in organizing campaigns
EEOC concern about targeted job advertisements
EEOC catches grief over wellness plan litigation
Facebook like Protected concerted activity
Happy Labor Day!!!
DOL proposes rule to raise minimum wage for federal contract workers
Drunk employee who fell through roof still gets workers' comp
Foreign student employment
Municipalities subject to new empolyment rules relating to handguns
Affirmative Action Update - December 2014
Fun in the Sun? Not While on FMLA Leave
-Kansas Employment Law Letter
New Notice Rule Reaches out to Union and Nonunion Employers Alike
-Kansas Employment Law Letter
Kansas Supreme Court makes Husky Hogs squeal
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Get the message: OSHA says employers must ban texting while driving
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2009 FMLA Forms and Compliance Manual
-Foulston Siefkin LLP
Employee's Wage Claim Against Telephone Company is Disconnected
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What Do I Do When My Competitor Is Hiring My Employee, or I’m Hiring Theirs? (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employees (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
When the FMLA Gets Tough: Handling Complex Leave Scenarios (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
Affirmative Action Update: OFCCP’s New Regulations and Recent Enforcement Activity (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
What Do I Do When My Competitor Is Hiring My Employee, or I'm Hiring Theirs? (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
Back to the FMLA Basics (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employees (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
Perspectives from a Plaintiff's Lawyer: Things Employers Do to Make My Job Easier (and More Profitable) (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
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Hot Topics in Employment Law (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
FMLA Basic (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
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How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employees (Foulston Siefkin LLP)
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Dangers of Social Media in the Workplace (KHHRA Spring Conference)
Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) and Other Employee Private Information (Kansas Human Rights Commission)
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ADAAA Update (Emporia SHRM Chapter)
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Military Leave and USERRA Issues (Foulston Siefkin Summer HR Box Lunch Series)
Health & Welfare Benefit Plans (Foulston Siefkin Summer HR Box Lunch Series)
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A Prescription for FMLA Headaches (Foulston Siefkin Employment Law Seminar)
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Employee Benefits Law Developments (Foulston Siefkin Employment Law Seminar)
Employment Law Update (Foulston Siefkin Employment Law Seminar)
Decisions 2008 – Employment Law Update (Association of Corporate Counsel of America)
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Injured Worker Series (Foulston Siefkin HR Box Lunch)
Employee Responsibilities Under the ADA (EEO Law Update)
Termination/Retaliation (Foulston Siefkin HR Box Lunch)