Michelle Mahony

For over twenty years, Michelle has counseled and defended both large and small employers in matters covering a wide range of traditional employment and wage and hour matters.

She is recognized by her clients and peers as a subject matter expert and a go-to business partner with a reputation for offering innovative, timely, and practical solutions to complex workplace issues. She is used to handling the tough questions, whether that is in a courtroom, in arbitration, before a government agency, or directly with her clients.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE
Litigation & Arbitration
  • Regularly defends employers as lead counsel in litigation and arbitration involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, sexual and racial harassment, breach of contract, wrongful discharge, and worker’s compensation retaliation
  • Represented, as part of litigation team, through trial and appeal a large manufacturing client in a class-action race discrimination lawsuit involving precedent-setting issues of disparate treatment and disparate impact
  • Regularly defends employers in wage and hour cases, including both single plaintiff and large class and/or collective actions often involving difficult statutory, procedural, and indemnification issues
  • Defended cases on appeal in both state and federal courts, with results including affirmance of multiple summary judgments and successfully litigating writ of mandamus (published cases include Toronka v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 411 Fed. Appx. (5th Cir. 2011) and In re Archer Directional Drilling Services, LLC, 630 Fed. Appx. 327 (5th Cir. 2016)).
Government Investigations
  • Department of Labor: Successfully managed DOL Wage & Hour Division investigations and audits for multiple employers in multiple locations, including nationwide manufacturer and multi-state oilfield services client
  • EEOC: Managed and assisted clients in responding to hundreds of charges as well as subpoenas and directed investigations
  • OFCCP: Successfully represented and assisted federal contractors in audits resulting in no violations, including a large hospital system and nationwide manufacturer
  • ICE: Represented employers in ICE audits, obtaining favorable results
  • TWC: Strong record of success in representing clients before the TWC in administrative proceedings and tax audits
Counseling and Training
  • Extensive experience advising employers in drafting employment and independent contractor agreements, severance agreements, voluntary retirement plans, confidentiality agreements, and non-competes
  • Advised and assisted multiple employers on office closures and mass layoffs in Texas and other states, including drafting WARN notices and severance agreements and bargaining with any affected unions
  • Advised clients on complex wage and hour questions, sought opinion letters on behalf of clients, drafted compliant wage and hour policies, and conducted internal wage and hour audits
  • Drafted materials and conducted employee and management training on all aspects of labor and employment law, including on the topics of anti-harassment, diversity and inclusion, and wage and hour and FMLA compliance
  • Advised clients in the course of mergers and acquisitions and the due diligence process on key labor and employment issues
Workplace Investigations
  • Handled dozens of workplace investigations as an independent investigator involving sensitive and often high-stakes claims of discrimination, harassment, bullying, and employee theft
  • Worked with clients as advocacy counsel in assessing workplace investigation reports and devising post-investigation action plans
EDUCATION
  • J.D., With Honors, University of Texas School of Law, 1997 (Honors: Order of the Coif)
  • M.A., Economics, Northwestern University, 1992 (Honors: University Fellowship Recipient)
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Economics/Mathematics, Vanderbilt University, 1988 (Honors: Phi Beta Kappa)
BACKGROUND
  • Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • SuperLawyers, Employment Litigation: Defense (2015-2019); Top Women Attorneys in Texas 2018
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Ewing Werlein, Jr., United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 1997-1999
  • Former Associate, Vinson & Elkins, LLP (Houston, Texas) and Mitchell Williams (Little Rock, Arkansas), Labor & Employment Section
ADMISSIONS
  • Texas (1997); Arkansas (1999); United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; United States District Courts, Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas; United States District Courts, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas; United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee
MEMBERSHIPS/RECOGNITION
  • Member/Participant: American Employment Law Council (AELC) (2009-2019); American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section), Leadership Development Program (2014); Texas Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section); Houston Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section)
  • Former Board Member, Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, Houston, Texas, (2007-2011)
  • Regular writer and speaker on labor and employment topics
  • Pro bono counsel for local, non-profit organization
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