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Gardere has a national and international energy practice formed around our Energy Industry Team, which is a multidisciplinary group of approximately 80 attorneys with diverse backgrounds, experience and skills specific to the energy industry. Our team includes attorneys who have served as in-house counsel for major energy companies, providing a depth of insight into our clients' needs, issues and concerns. We understand and regularly practice in virtually every sector of the energy, and we represent a wide variety of industry participants from multinational corporations to individuals.
From our offices in the United States and Mexico, our International Practice helps clients operate in today’s global economy. We have more than 30 professionals operating as a boutique within an Am Law 200 law firm and are able to provide focused service with the resources of a large firm. We understand that clients who are engaged in the global marketplace need lawyers who can operate seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions. Our international experts are multi-lingual, are culturally fluent and intimately familiar with various legal systems across the world, especially those in Latin America. Whether you need help with commercial transactions, regulatory matters, customs and import regulations, immigration matters, M&A and joint ventures, international disputes, or international tax planning, Gardere’s international team is here to assist you.
We represent domestic and foreign private funds in all aspects of fund formation, fund operations, platform and add-on acquisitions, and portfolio company operations. Our team has a reputation for being the go-to-lawyers for private equity funds, hedge funds, venture capital funds and family offices. We are known for our vast deal experience, the efficient way we staff and manage our work, and the way we maintain our relationships. We get deals done with sophisticated, strategic, and practical advice tailored to the needs of our clients.
*Not admitted to practice law.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the "Updated Guidance"), which was issued over 1 1/2 years ago, has recently been challenged in a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas. In the Complaint, the state sued the EEOC, asking a federal district court to declare invalid the EEOC's Updated Guidance and to enjoin the EEOC from using its alleged misinterpretation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to challenge Texas's policy of not hiring convicted felons for many state jobs. See State of Texas v. EEOC, N.D. Tex., Case No. 5:13-CV-00255-C.
In the Complaint filed on Nov. 4, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the state seeks relief under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Declaratory Judgment Act from what it believes is the EEOC's incorrect view of Title VII and the agency's litigation strategy of suing employers who conduct criminal background screens and reject applicants with prior convictions. Specifically, the state alleges that the "EEOC's Enforcement Guidance purports to limit the prerogative of employers, including Texas, to exclude convicted felons from employment … The state of Texas and its constituent agencies have the sovereign right to impose categorical bans on the hiring of criminals, and the EEOC has no authority to say otherwise." The state asks the court to enjoin the EEOC from enforcing its Updated Guidance or issuing right-to-sue letters to charging parties alleging Title VII violations based on the Updated Guidance.
By way of background, the EEOC has targeted certain industries and has begun filing lawsuits, challenging the employers' use of background checks, based on the EEOC's concern that such practices have a "disparate impact" on protected classes of employees under Title VII. The Texas lawsuit, challenging what is perceived by employers to be the EEOC's overly aggressive restriction on the use of criminal background records in the hiring process, will be followed closely by employers who believe that careful and appropriate use of criminal history information in the hiring and employment context is an important and legitimate business tool.
If you have questions related to the content of this alert, please contact Labor and Employment Partner Cristina Portela Solomon (email@example.com or 713.276.5352).
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