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.

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)
Workplace Investigations
  • 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
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
  • 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)
  • Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • SuperLawyers, Employment Litigation: Defense (2015-2021); Top Women Attorneys in Texas 2020
  • 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
  • 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
  • Member/Participant: Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI); 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); American Employment Law Council (AELC)
  • 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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