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.
- A Cautionary Tale: The Importance of a Thorough and Thoughtful Investigation in the #MeToo Era
- Stop And Look Both Ways: Your No-Fault Attendance Policy May Be Creating Risk Under The FMLA
- Five Workplace Policies That Trending Caselaw Suggests Employers Should Include In Their Employee Handbook
- FMLA Medical Certifications: Does 15 Days Really Mean 15 Days?
Litigation & Arbitration
- Regularly represents employers in employment and appellate litigation involving complex procedural and jurisdictional questions and substantive claims of discrimination, sexual and racial harassment, breach of contract, 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 litigation, including both single plaintiff and large class and/or collective actions and often involving difficult statutory, procedural, and indemnification issues
- Reported cases include Shaikh v. Aerovias de Mexico, 127 S.W.3d 76 (Houston [1st Dist.] 2003); Bryan v. McKinsey & Co., Inc., 375 F.3d 358 (5th Cir. 2004); Toronka v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 411 Fed. Appx. (5th Cir. 2011); Henry v. Continental Airlines, 415 Fed. Appx. 537 (5th Cir. 2011); Austin v. Onward, LLC, 161 F. Supp.3d 457 (S.D. Tex. 2015); In re Archer Directional Drilling Services, LLC, 630 Fed. Appx. 327 (5th Cir. 2016)
- Conducted more than sixty workplace investigations as an independent investigator involving sensitive, complex, and often high-stakes claims of discrimination, sexual and racial harassment, sexual assault, unequal pay, and code of conduct violations
- Worked with clients as advocacy counsel in assessing workplace investigation reports and devising post-investigation action and communication plans
- 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