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.
- FMLA Medical Certifications: Does 15 Days Really Mean 15 Days?
- Can an Employee Decline FMLA Leave? The DOL Says “No”
- The Use of Third-Party Background Checks – New Forms And Old Traps
- OSHA Issues New Guidance on Workplace Safety Incentive Programs and Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing Policies – And It’s Good News for Employers
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)).
- 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
- 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