Businesses of all types and sizes throughout the United States, Mexico and beyond bring their disputes to Gardere's litigation team and receive practical, responsive, boutique-style attention in return. Our clients have access to the firepower and value of a well-known and highly-regarded Firm's capabilities and interdisciplinary strengths.
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.
As a big football fan and an employment lawyer, it is not often that the two overlap. For the past few weeks, however, I have been listening to news and sports programs alike discuss the issues affecting the Miami Dolphins and accusations of bullying. The focus of much of the discussion has been on bullying and hazing in the NFL. But, that really misses the bigger picture – these issues are no different from claims of harassment in any workplace – they are just highlighted because they allegedly occurred on professional sports team. While it is easy to ignore locker room issues as atypical to a workplace, that locker room is still a workplace. If an HR professional or employment lawyer heard these facts – employer knowledge of sexually offensive conduct at a work sponsored charity event (that lead to the employer’s apology) and subsequent promotion of that employee to a leadership role, we would be concerned about the claim that followed. If that claim involved threats, racial epithets and other forms of bullying, we might cringe.
It is not yet clear what the Miami Dolphins knew of hazing and bullying but they were aware of sexually offensive conduct and still promoted the employee to their leadership council. Of course, bullying, in and of itself, is not a legally recognizable claim. To be legally actionable, these claims would have to rise to harassment on the basis of race or sex, etc. But, the promotion following offensive conduct does create an environment in which employees perceive that inappropriate conduct is accepted and that complaints are not warranted. Instead, employers should not ignore warning signs and should carefully consider whether it is appropriate to promote a person so closely on the heels of such offensive conduct.
HR professionals and employment attorneys should consider these issues carefully. Remember that anything that impedes productivity is not good for business. Perhaps a formal investigation is not warranted but HR should meet with the concerned party, hear the concerns and discuss potential options. Some issues learned may require more formal responses, like learning about racially charged communications, but others may just require some advice and counsel. Another HR idea is to offer training on bullying and related issues. Too often, we may be quick to dismiss something that we do not believe subjects the organization to liability. We also need to look at the whole picture: is the individual involved targeting only women or only men? Those facts have led to liability under Title VII for some employers.
We will see some legislation involving workplace bullying. New York has proposed the Healthy Workplace Bill and other states have considered it as well. The proposed legislation defines an “abusive work environment” and requires proof of health harm. Abusive conduct is defined as conduct, with malice taken against an employee by an employer or another employee in the workplace, that a reasonable person would find to be hostile, offensive and unrelated to the employer’s legitimate business interests. The trier of fact would consider the severity, nature and frequency of the conduct. Employers would be insulated from liability when they have internal correction and prevention mechanism are in effect. Individuals could sue the bully for violations.
These issues give us food for thought while we cheer for our favorite team.
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