Employment & Labor Law

Claims and suits brought against employers by employees are a large part of the cases being handled by the Employment lawyers at Houston Harbaugh. We focus on assisting our clients to be positioned to avoid claims, and if the claims are brought, to be prepared to defend against them.

Increased Salary Minimums

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) is raising the minimum salary required to be paid employees otherwise allowed to be exempted from overtime pay. The last increase of...
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The Coming Rule & Battle over Non-Compete Agreements

The battle over non-compete agreements is gearing up. The Federal Trade Commission voted last week to adopt a Final Rule, as promised back in January 2023, that largely...
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Court Ruling Shows Misunderstandings about Employment At-Will & Legal Claims

A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision regarding an employment at-will defense serves as a helpful reminder to employers and employees by illustrating misunderstandings amongst courts regarding the scope...
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New Year’s Review of Legal Changes in Employment Accommodation: Pregnancy Accommodation

This is a follow-up article on changes in employer accommodation law. Last week’s article addressed the increased level of accommodation required for employees’ religious beliefs – New Year’s...
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New Year’s Review of Legal Changes in Employment Accommodation: Religious Accommodation

The New Year serves as a time to take note of some significant employment law changes in the past year to longstanding rules and requirements regarding employer accommodation...
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Sponsors of 401(k) Plans Without Roth Provisions May Want to Add Them Before 2024

* The effective date has now been delayed to January 1, 2026. See here for details. Our prior bulletin summarized the multitude of changes applicable to 401(k) and...
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The Future of Non-Competes – What to Do Now

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced for public comment a proposed rule banning existing and future non-competes, with few exceptions. Proposed Rule The proposed rule would only...
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SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 Makes Sweeping Retirement Plan Changes

 The 2022 holiday season brought a long-awaited gift from Congress; the retirement plan bill known as “SECURE 2.0” (successor to 2019’s Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement...
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Late Deposits of 401(k) Contributions: New DOL Procedures to Allow for “Self-Correction”

Under federal law, amounts withheld from employee paychecks as 401(k) plan contributions are required to be promptly deposited into the trust under the plan.  Failure to do so...
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Allegheny County Employers Mandated to Pay Sick Leave to Employees

Businesses and employees continue to deal with the ever-changing employment landscape arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, the changes are occurring on a local level. On March...
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American Rescue Act Extends Key FFCRA and CARES Act Provisions through September 30, 2021

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“Rescue Act”). While most news reports regarding the Rescue Act focus on the stimulus...
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Employer Alert: OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 Vaccines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its highly anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) regarding COVID-19 vaccine requirements for certain larger employers. The ETS took effect Friday,...
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OSHA’s New View From Above

OSHA’s New View From Above Thanks to a recently released Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) memo, we know that OSHA inspectors now have the option of using...
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Age Discrimination Releases – The Courts Are Finding Devils in the Details

Age Discrimination Releases – The Courts Are Finding Devils in the Details Employers terminating employees, particularly in layoffs, often condition the receipt of severance pay or other benefits...
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Is Your Employee Handbook Leaving You Exposed?

Is Your Employee Handbook Leaving You Exposed? All employers, large and small, should have employee handbooks. However, simply having an employee handbook is not enough. Employers should also...
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Updated FMLA Forms for 2018

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 requires DOL to review and resubmit...
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Terminating an Employee Soon After Hire: How to Protect Yourself From a Lawsuit

When hiring new employees, employers engage in all sorts of activities to evaluate if the candidate is right for the job. There are background checks, credit checks, reference...
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Physicians Cutbacks

Physicians are receiving pink slips more than ever before. Hospitals and other practices are cutting back and changing business models. Many organizations employing physicians have seen this day...
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Executive Action Amends HIPAA: Allows More Reporting to Criminal Background Check System

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was amended by the Department of Health and Human Services, on January 6th, when it published a final rule that...
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EEOC Guidance Supports Caregivers

The Facts: The EEOC Response: The EEOC issued Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities. The EEOC recognizes in the Enforcement Guidance that there...
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Do Owners Count As Employees? SBA Issues Additional Guidance on Definition of “Owner-Employees” For PPP Borrowers

On Monday (August 24) the SBA issued another Interim Final Rule (the “8/24 Rule”) under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  This Rule in part provides further insights on...
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Department Of Labor Increasing Activity On Wage And Hour Law Issues

The Department of Labor is starting to get active again, recently issuing notices regarding minimum salary levels and other items. In general and no surprise, the DOL is...
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Are Non-Competes Enforceable in PA Independent Contractor Agreements?

Short Answer: Yes, but as with all non-compete provisions, proceed with caution and draft wisely. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail...
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When it Comes to Retaliation, Timing Isn’t Everything – Third Circuit Reinforces that Temporal Proximity Must be Considered with Other Evidence of Causation

In the employment discrimination context, retaliation claims can be a huge issue (and headache) for employers. In fact, retaliation claims were the most frequently filed charge with the...
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Pennsylvania Federal Court Recognizes “Constructive Demotion” as a Type of Adverse Employment Action

In the employment law context, you’ve probably heard of constructive discharge as a type of adverse employment action. A constructive discharge occurs when an employer’s actions make an...
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The Challenging World of Blogs, Tweets and Posts

It is no secret that social media and the workplace are colliding, and this storm will likely get rougher before the skies clear. An argument can be made...
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Recent Employment Law Updates: FMLA Legislative Changes and New EEO Poster

A.  NEW LEGISLATION EXPANDING FMLA COVERAGE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that includes an expansion of...
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New Disability Discrimination Provisions Go Into Effect January 1, 2009

Legal changes, effective January 1, 2009, significantly expand the number of people covered by the law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of a person’s physical or mental...
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Is Alcoholism a “Serious Health Condition?”

A tax filing deadline is enough to drive some to drink as they lament the lack of common sense in governmental actions. Just to show that all hope...
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Give Your Supervisors A Bit Of The Same Attention You Give Your Taxes

The April tax filing season is not only a good time to take steps to avoid needless future tax costs by educating yourself about tax law requirements and...
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Employment Law Update: Pittsburgh Sick Leave Pay Ordinance Upheld

The Pa. Supreme Court reinstated the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Ordinance that was passed in 2015. The Ordinance was due to go in effect in January 2016 but...
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Educate Your Employees on E-Mail Policy

E-mails have emerged in the last decade as the most common “smoking gun” evidence in employment and other lawsuits. Sexual and other harassment is transmitted via e-mail. Departing...
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Reminder: One Month until the DOL’s New Higher Minimum Salary Takes Effect

In May of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final rule increasing the minimum salary that must be paid to employees exempt from overtime...
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NLRB Poster Nixed Again

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been trying for many months now to require employers to post a notice in their workplaces informing employees of their rights...
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FMLA Includes Leave for Military Service Members Families

President Bush, on Monday January 28, 2008, signed into law the first expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act to provide leave for military servicemember families. Under the...
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Employment Law Battles Between the Supreme Court & Congress

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor serve as a backdrop for noting an overall change in the stability of employment law.  For many years, the...
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Employment Law Activity Heats Up

Employment Law Activity Heats Up There has been a lot of activity in the employment law field in recent weeks, including numerous Supreme Court decisions, and a new...
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Non-Compete Agreements Require Consideration

Most know that a restrictive covenant, usually found within an employment agreement, can serve to protect a company from training an employee and then losing that employee to...
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Family Responsibility Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is out drumming up business in a new area – family responsibility discrimination – involving employment discrimination against caregivers, such as...
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Employment Law Update: Pittsburgh Sick Days Act Takes Effect March 15, 2020

The Pittsburgh Sick Days Act (the “Act”), codified in Pittsburgh City Code as Chapter 626, takes effect on March 15, 2020 (the “Effective Date”). It applies to all...
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Does Your Business Contract With the Federal Government? Here’s What You Need to Know About New COVID Vaccine Rules

Last week, the federal government issued new COVID vaccine rules that will apply to many federal contractors and subcontractors.  These are the highlights: Q: Will the new rules...
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No-Hire Provision Unenforceable in Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking LLC

For the first time in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court recently took on the issue of whether a no-hire provision (i.e., no-poaching) in a services contract is enforceable under...
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EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Incentives

On May 28, 2021, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) revised its guidance on COVID-19 in the workplace in an attempt to answer questions from employers about...
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COVID Rescue Plan Provides Free COBRA Coverage For Certain Employees

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.  In addition to other ways of helping individuals during...
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CDC Coronavirus Workplace Update & Potential Legislative Action

The CDC recently issued coronavirus guidance for office building workplaces. In short summary, it continues and updates CDC employer guidance, calling for wearing masks in all areas, maintaining...
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Employer Option for Extended Government Reimbursement of COVID-19 Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

Last week’s federal stimulus legislation contains a little noted option for employers to continue to receive full government reimbursement for qualifying COVID-19 sick pay to employees through the...
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Employment Law Update: New COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Requirements for Pittsburgh Employers

On December 9, 2020, Pittsburgh Mayor, Bill Peduto, signed the Temporary COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), which takes effect immediately. The Ordinance provides additional paid...
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Coronavirus Leave Pay Resulting From Governors Orders & Federal Coronavirus Relief Act

I predict that the stay at home orders issued by numerous state Governors, including Ohio, Pennsylvania (limited to seven counties including Allegheny), and West Virginia, in combination with...
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U.S. Supreme Court Expands LGBTQ Rights

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision expanding protections for gay and transgender individuals in a group of three cases under the...
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OSHA & COVID-19: Does An Employee’s Positive Test For COVID-19 Trigger OSHA’s Illness Reporting Requirement?

OSHA has generally taken a backseat on COVID-19, leaving it to the CDC and state governments to give directions to employers. However, recent OSHA COVID-19 guidance puts employers...
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Coronavirus Workplace Infection Control Policy

The Pennsylvania Governor added new information on Friday (May 8, 2020) to the phased resumption or continuation of business and organization activities. This includes mandated steps that employers...
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What Businesses And Non-Profits Need To Know About The CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”) was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. The Act provides relief...
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MODEL NOTICE TO PARTICIPANTS REGARDING CARES ACT RETIREMENT PLAN DISTRIBUTION AND LOAN RULES:

As described in more detail in our recent bulletin, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides expanded retirement plan distribution and loan opportunities for...
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COVID-19 Update for Employers – Federal & State Employment Law Update

Federal Coronavirus Legislation A coronavirus relief law with numerous varied provisions is now in effect. There are significant revisions from the bill issued by the House last weekend...
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Update on How to Apply the Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

Here are some important updates on handling the paid sick pay due under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”) that was passed into law on March 18,...
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Employer Awareness of Implicit Gender Bias in the Workplace

The topic of sex discrimination in the workplace has been heavily researched, discussed, and frequently litigated, particularly in the era of the #metoo movement. Today, employers are more...
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Uncharted Territory of Medical Marijuana and Employment Law in Pennsylvania Demonstrated by Police Officer’s Administrative Leave

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that the city confirmed a Pittsburgh police officer with a medical marijuana card was placed on administrative leave after testing positive for marijuana....
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Are You Prepared for a Religious Accommodation Request? Third Circuit Finds Employer’s Approach Proper

Handling requests for religious accommodations by employees can pose challenges for employers. A recent opinion by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit provides a...
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New DOL Rule Increasing Minimum Salary for Overtime Exempt Employees in 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor issued its long awaited final rule increasing the minimum salary for overtime exempt employees to $35,568/year ($684/week), effective January 1, 2020. The current...
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West Virginia Case Reinforces that an Employee's General Managerial Skills are Not a Protectable Interest Sufficient to Justify a Restrictive Covenant

In West Virginia, an inherently reasonable restrictive covenant is presumptively enforceable if the employer can show that it has interests requiring protection from the employee. In other words,...
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When it Comes to Retaliation, Timing Isn’t Everything – Third Circuit Reinforces that Temporal Proximity Must be Considered with Other Evidence of Causation

In the employment discrimination context, retaliation claims can be a huge issue (and headache) for employers. In fact, retaliation claims were the most frequently filed charge with the...
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Rescinds Marijuana Enforcement Guidance

In early January 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the long-standing Obama-era guidance regarding the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) treatment of the marijuana industry. In a series...
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Federal Court: Marijuana Industry Workers Not Categorically Excluded from Federal Overtime Requirements

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has held that workers in the marijuana industry are not automatically excluded from coverage under the federal Fair...
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DOL Salary Increase Requirement Put on Hold

The U.S. Department of Labor’s new rule increasing the minimum salary for overtime exempt employees that was scheduled to go into effect December 1, 2016 has been put...
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PA Superior Court Holds Service on Franchisee’s Employee Ineffective to Complete Service on Franchisor

In Trexler vs. McDonalds Corp. (June 3, 2015), the Pennsylvania Superior Court was asked to decide whether a corporate franchisor was properly served with original process where the...
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Employees of Gentleman’s Club Stripped of Coverage For Lawsuits Stemming From Altercation Outside of Club

In Navigators Ins. Co. v. Oasis on Essington Ltd., No. 11-7074, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104461 (E.D. Pa. July 31, 2014) (Jones, II, J.), the U.S. District Court...
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Are Your Employment Policies Ambiguous? Third Circuit Case is a Reminder of the Value of Clear Wording

Are Your Employment Policies Ambiguous? Third Circuit Case is a Reminder of the Value of Clear Wording
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Pennsylvania High Court Takes Up Enforceability of Restrictive Covenant In Non-Compete Agreement

In Sucko the plantiff sued his employer, Mid-Atlantic, after it threatened litigation to enforce a non-compete agreement Socko executed during his tenure with Mid-Atlantic. While employed as an...
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Pennsylvania Superior Court Holds That Insurer Cannot Enforce Subrogation Rights in Independent Suit Against Third Party in Workers Compensation Claim

In Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., v. Domtar Paper Co., No. 1052 WDA 2012, 2013 PA Super 262 (September 27, 2013), the Pennsylvania Superior Court examined the issue of...
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President of Contracting Company Has No Individual Liability Under CASPA

The Superior Court recently affirmed a trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of an individual president/owner of a company, finding that an individual officer has no...
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Tackle Issue of Whether Mechanics’ Lien Law Should be Liberally Construed

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has granted a Petition for Allowance of Appeal in Bricklayers of W. Pa. Combined Funds, Inc., v. Scott’s Dev. Co., 2012 Pa. Super 4...
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Toolkit for Dealing with Opioid Abuse in the Workplace Released by National Safety Council

The impact of the opioid crisis in the workplace is significant; an estimated seventy five percent of employers report having had to address an opioid-related issue at work....
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FMLA Housekeeping

FMLA Housekeeping The start of the 2008 is a good time to clean up lax practices and plan for likely changes under the Family & Medical Leave Act...
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About Us

Claims and suits brought against employers by employees are a large part of the cases being handled by the Employment lawyers at Houston Harbaugh. We focus on assisting and counseling our clients to be positioned to avoid claims, and if the claims are brought, to be prepared to defend against them.

Craig Brooks attorney headshot

Craig M. Brooks - Practice Chair

An employment and labor attorney, Craig primarily represents management, providing advice on how to handle employee issues and actions, as well as defending or pursuing claims in court and before government agencies on matters.

An employment and labor attorney, Craig primarily represents management, providing advice on how to handle employee issues and actions, as well as defending or pursuing claims in court and before government agencies on matters including:

  • Employment discrimination claims
  • Wage and hour matters
  • Sexual and other harassment investigations and claims
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Labor/Union matters
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Affirmative action programs
  • Defamation
  • Privacy

Craig also represents individuals with advice and pursuing claims arising out of their employment.