I am an employment defense attorney. What does that mean? For more than 25 years, I have represented employers in all matters concerning their employees (except workers’ comp). For most of those 25 years, I have been with Doerner Saunders as outside counsel. Although for several years, I was in-house counsel with CITGO Petroleum as its labor, employment, and benefits counsel – up close and personal learning about the opportunities and challenges facing employers as they manage business demands in light of a myriad of employment laws and regulations.
As outside counsel, I work with employers as to every facet – as they need. Sometimes (okay more than sometimes) that is as a sounding board working through a discharge decision, talking it through or assisting in drafting a letter. Sometimes that is drafting more formal policies, handbooks, RIF programs, etc. I might be involved in labor arbitrations or employment arbitrations. Of course, there’s litigation. Lately, there’s been a lot of wage and hour litigation – a very interesting FLSA collective action – and quite a bit of work in the area of non-solicitation agreements and confidentiality / trade secret agreements. Although I love litigation, my clients prefer I spend my time helping them avoid litigation. I get that. However, it’s nice to know that when litigation comes, the defense is ready because solid groundwork has been laid.
Kristen L. Brightmire