2021AM-nl skyscraper

DRI Annual Meeting

COVID-19 Update

EEOC Guidance and Recent Litigation on Vaccines

By Helen Holden

On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 related technical assistance document, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” which can be found here (“WYSK”). This document was first published on March 19, 2020, and was last updated on December 16, 2020. Although the recent update was published without consideration of updated guidance from CDC for fully vaccinated individuals issued on May 13, 2021, it still contains valuable guidance for employers with respect to vaccines in the workplace.

Vaccine Mandates

The EEOC updates reiterate and confirm the EEOC’s previous guidance stating that an employer may implement mandatory vaccination requirements if the employer determines that such a requirement is job related and consistent with business necessity, and provided that the employer understands its obligations under the equal employment laws. These obligations require an employer with a mandatory vaccine policy to consider whether employees with disabilities who cannot get the vaccine pose a direct threat in the workplace, and, if so, to then assess whether there is a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the position before excluding an individual with a disability from the workplace. In its most recent update, the EEOC notes that the best practice when implementing a mandatory vaccine policy is to inform all employees that the employer will consider requests for reasonable accommodations based on disability and religious circumstances on an individualized basis.

In its introduction to the May 28 update, the EEOC was careful to state that its guidance relates only to the analysis of whether mandatory vaccine programs are lawful under the laws it enforces, noting that the vaccines are currently authorized under an emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. This reference suggests that employers should consider the status of vaccine approval in evaluating whether to implement mandatory vaccination requirements.

In recent litigation that received national attention, a group of employees of Houston Methodist Hospital brought an action against the hospital challenging the hospital’s mandatory vaccination policy. The employees, who had refused to get vaccinated, alleged that terminating them for refusing the vaccine would be, in effect, wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The court rejected the claims of the employees and dismissed the complaint, emphasizing that the hospital’s policy did not require the employees to engage in an illegal act, which is a required element of a wrongful termination claim under Texas law. The court cited the EEOC guidance favorably, and noted that “Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties. [Plaintiff] is refusing to accept inoculation that, in the hospital's judgment, will make it safer for their workers and the patients in Methodist’s care.” Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hosp., CV H-21-1774, 2021 WL 2399994, at *1 (S.D. Tex. June 12, 2021) (appeal filed June 14, 2021).

The court further discussed the mandate, noting that the employer “is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving [patients] the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer. [Plaintiff] can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else.” Id., at *2.  In the days and weeks since the decision in the Houston Methodist matter was issued, a number of employers have begun announcing vaccine mandates or policies in which they mandate either the vaccine or weekly COVID testing for employees.

Vaccine Incentives

The most recent EEOC guidance also addresses vaccine incentive programs, stating explicitly in a new section of the WYSK document (section K.16) that employers may lawfully offer incentives to employees to voluntarily obtain the vaccine in the community, and require employees to show confirmation that they received the vaccination. The EEOC notes that incentives for community vaccination are lawful under both the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). If an employer or an employer agent (which may include a health insurance provider) is directly providing the vaccines, then an employer may only provide incentives to employees if they are not so substantial as to be coercive. Further, employers may not provide incentives to family members of employees to obtain the vaccine from the employer under GINA.

The EEOC, therefore, suggests that for employers who incentivize employees to obtain the vaccines in the community, there is no need to undergo the analysis of whether the incentives are so substantial as to be coercive. This guidance is a welcome confirmation from the EEOC. For health care providers and others that may provide the vaccine directly to employees, however, the recent update confirms the need to limit incentive programs. The EEOC did not provide guidance regarding how large an incentive might be considered coercive, and proposed regulations regarding such incentives were recently withdrawn.

The EEOC’s update also confirms that employers must maintain information about employee vaccination status as confidential under the ADA. The EEOC explained that this information must be maintained as confidential because it is “medical information.” The need to maintain information as confidential applies regardless of whether employers obtain the information in connection with mandatory vaccination programs, vaccine incentive programs, or for any other reason. 

The updated technical assistance document from the EEOC also notes that employers must continue to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities related to COVID-19. For example, employers may receive requests for accommodations from fully vaccinated employees who express concern that they may face an increased risk of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection. Such a request should be considered by the employer as a request for reasonable accommodations, and be treated consistently with all other accommodation requests.


The EEOC has provided helpful guidance around employer programs to incentivize employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. In an important update, EEOC also confirms that employers may, under federal EEO law, implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies consistent with equal employment opportunity laws, with some limitations. Specifically, in doing so, employers must allow for an opportunity for employees to request accommodations in the event of disability-related concerns or sincerely held religious beliefs. Additionally, vaccines continue to be in emergency-use status, which presents a risk that employees may allege that mandatory vaccine policies are against public policy. Employers should therefore carefully evaluate all of the facts and circumstances and applicable state and local law before implementing mandatory vaccination policies. 

Helen HoldenHelen Holden is a Partner with Spencer Fane LLP, in Phoenix, Arizona.

To Test or Not To Test

Cannabis and Employment

By Stacy L. Moon

As opinions regarding cannabis and the stigma surrounding cannabis-use shift, and as state laws begin to legislate the legality of cannabis in various degrees, employers and their counsel are faced with questions of whether to test for cannabis in the pre-employment setting, whether they must accommodate cannabis usage by employees, and whether they are permitted to test employees who appear impaired (yes). States have instituted differing legislative regimes related to cannabis and CBD. With respect to whether an employer must accommodate “medical marijuana” usage will depend on the specific state law and the extent to which the employer is a federal contractor. The longer answers are “it depends,” and “one size does not fit all” for employers in today’s atmosphere regarding the regulation of cannabis.

What is Cannabis, CBD, and Hemp?

Many employers are confused by the difference in treatment of cannabis, CBD, and hemp. Current advertising by a variety of retailers suggests that “cannabis” and CBD are the same thing.

By way of background, cannabis is the entire plant many people refer to marijuana. It is the plant with the stereotypical leaves, and it is the source of many products — from rope to hemp (defined in the 2018 Farm Bill as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta–9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis”), to adult-use cannabis. CBD oil is currently viewed as a potential treatment for seizure disorders, but it does not contain THC. Cannabis is considered a “Schedule 1” drug under the Controlled Substances Act. While a movement exists to re-schedule cannabis, at the moment, it is still a schedule 1. Schedule 1 drugs are considered highly dangerous and addictive with no medical use. If cannabis were to be rescheduled to schedule 2, it would still be considered highly dangerous and addictive, but with acknowledged medical uses.

Approximately 20 states allow adult-use recreational cannabis. An additional 18 states permit specific use of cannabis for medical reasons. Some of those states prohibit an employer from hiring an employee due to a positive THC test if the applicant has a proper, medical marijuana certificate.

While the Delta-8 compound from the cannabis plant is gaining more attention; traditionally, the statutes regarding cannabis have focused on Delta-9 THC levels.

States May Limit Whether an Employer Can Refuse to Hire an Applicant for a Positive THC Test

Of the 38 states (or District of Columbia) that allow either the use of “medical marijuana” or recreational adult-use, differing attitudes are expressed in the statutes. Accordingly, an employer should be aware of what each specific state statute allows or prohibits when making an employment decision.

One example of a state prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a positive THC test is Connecticut. Under Connecticut law, “No employer may refuse to hire a person or may discharge, penalize, or threaten an employee solely on the basis of such person’s … status as a qualifying patient … under sections 21a-408 to 21a-408m[.]” CT ST § 21a-408p. However, the statute does include a caveat. That prohibition applies “unless required by federal law or required to obtain federal funding.” Id.

In Smith v. Jensen Fabricating Engineers, Inc., 2019 WL 1569048 (Conn. Super. Ct. March 4, 2019), plaintiff Adam Smith sued after Jensen Fabricating withdrew an offer of employment when he tested positive for THC (the active ingredient in cannabis), which he took to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Smith told the doctor and the drug screening facility that he had the proper certification under Connecticut law. Nevertheless, Jensen Fabricating revoked its employment offer. Smith filed suit, alleging a violation of § 21a-408(p). Jensen Fabricating moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act preempted the Connecticut statute.

The Connecticut court denied the motion to dismiss, finding the CSA did not actually conflict with the Connecticut statute. “In this case, the fundamental issue is that the CSA does not make it illegal to employ a marijuana user. Indeed, the CSA does not purport to regulate employment practices in any manner.” Id. Further:

In and of itself, § 21a-408p(b)(3) does not authorize the use of marijuana. Section 21a-408p(b)(3) simply says that an employer may not fire or refuse to hire an employee solely because that individual uses marijuana in compliance with [the statute’s] requirements and in a manner that has no effect on that employee’s workplace performance or the employer’s ability to obtain business.

Id. The court also rejected the argument that the ADA preempted the Connecticut statute, stating that the Connecticut statute does not force an employer to accommodate marijuana use. Indeed, the statute permits an employer “to prohibit the use of marijuana at work, to terminate an employee for showing up for work under the influence, and to terminate or refuse to hire an employee using medical marijuana if required to do so by federal law[.]” Id.

Therefore, under the statute, as interpreted by the courts, an employer may not refuse to hire an applicant who tests positive for THC so long as (a) the applicant meets the requirements of the Connecticut statute and (b) does not somehow violate federal law or impact federal funding.

In contrast, Alabama’s medical marijuana statute (passed this year) specifically allows an employer to make decisions regarding employment based on the use of medical marijuana. Specifically:

This chapter does not … [p]rohibit any employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against an individual with respect to hiring, discharging, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment as a result, in whole or in part, of that individual’s use of medical cannabis, regarding of the individual’s impairment or lack of impairment resulting from the use of medical cannabis.

Ala. Code § 20-2A-6(3) (1975) (as amended).

If an employer is in a state that prohibits making an employment decision based on the use of medical marijuana, it must also take into account that no legitimate test exists for testing whether a user of cannabis is, in fact, intoxicated or impaired. Even states that prohibit making employment decisions based on the use of medical marijuana, such as Connecticut, allow making decisions based on impairment of the employee or applicant. However, without a test (such as a breathalyzer or blood alcohol content test), an employer may find supporting its decision without clear documentation difficult.

Federal Contractors and the Drug-Free Work Zone Requirement

Some employers are deciding quietly not to test for cannabis-use, unless an employee appears impaired. However, if an employer is a federal contractor, they may not be able to do so.

Under the Drug Free Work Zone Act, a drug-free workplace means a site of an entity performing work as defined by the act “at which employees of the entity are prohibited from engaging in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance …” 41 U.S.C. § 8101(a)(5). Loosely explained, the Drug Free Work Zone Act requires federal contractors to post warnings to employees that the unlawful use of a controlled substance, such as cannabis, is prohibited and to specify what actions will be taken if the employee violates the prohibition. 41 U.S.C. § 8102(a)(1)(A).

Based on the provisions of the Drug-Free Work Zone Act, then, an employer – even if located in a state that prohibits actions taken on the basis of an employee’s use of medical marijuana – may be required to take actions otherwise prohibited by the state law.

So – Now What?

Employers need to be aware of the terms of any particular contract under which they operate. If an employer is operating a worksite in Connecticut for example under a private contract, and it requires a drug-free workplace, the employer needs to address an exception that complies with Connecticut’s medical marijuana act. Moreover, if an employer operates a worksite and that worksite, but perhaps another, is subject to the Drug Free Work Zone Act, the employer needs to ensure that it complies with the federal requirement, where appropriate.

Worse than the differing requirements among the states and federal government, the states are changing laws frequently. The state of the law with respect to both medical and recreational use is in constant flux. The correct answer today likely may not be the correct answer in three to four months.

Employers needs to stay aware of changing state and federal laws as public opinion shifts more positively toward cannabis. Unfortunately, most of the answers to any questions will be “it depends.”

Stacy Moon

Stacy L. Moon is an Office Partner in the Birmingham office of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP, and is a member of the Employment Litigation practice group as well as Employment Law, Cannabis, Hemp & CBD, Construction Law, and Professional Liability practice groups. Ms. Moon is an AV-rated attorney, with more than 20 years of primarily defense litigation, including commercial, construction, employment litigation, and professional liability defense.She is active in DRI, including the Employment Law Committee.

DRI Solutions Marketplace

Legislative Update

Illinois Set to Further Restrict Use of Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Covenants for Illinois-Based Employees

By Sandy L. Morris

With the unanimous May 31, 2021, passage of Senate Bill (SB) 672 amending the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (IFWA), Illinois is poised to join Washington and Virginia in limiting employers’ enforcement of non-compete and non-solicit covenants with their employees. The bill imposes advance notice requirements; increases existing minimum compensation thresholds; limits the use of restrictive covenants for certain union members and construction workers; codifies Illinois common law regarding enforceability, adequate consideration, legitimate business interests, and the reformation of overbroad covenants; adds new remedies and enforcement mechanisms; and identifies a number of exclusions from the definition of a covenant not to compete.

SB 672, which Governor JB Pritzker is expected to sign, would apply to agreements signed on or after January 1, 2022, but would not apply retroactively.

Advance Notice Requirements

Under SB 672, before entering into a non-compete or non-solicit covenant on or after January 1, 2022, employers must comply with two notice requirements. First, the employer must advise the employee “in writing to consult with an attorney before entering into the covenant.” 820 ILCS 90/20. Second, the covenant will be “illegal and void” if the employer does not give the employee at least 14 days to review a copy of the covenant before signing. Id. Employees may voluntarily sign the covenant before the 14-day period expires. Id.

Increase to Minimum Compensation Levels

Currently, IFWA prohibits non-competition agreements between an employer and any “low wage” employees – those who earn the greater of the applicable minimum hourly wage or $13 per hour. 820 ILCS 90/10(a).

The amended IFWA would significantly increase the minimum compensation thresholds. For covenants not to compete, an employee’s actual or expected earnings must exceed $75,000 per year. 820 ILCS 90/10(a). For covenants not to solicit, an employee’s actual expected earnings must exceed $45,000. 820 ILCS 90/10(b). These thresholds include step increases every five years through January 1, 2037. 820 ILCS 90/10(a)-(b). Earnings are defined to include all forms of taxable compensation reflected on an employee’s Form W-2 (including but not limited to earned salary, bonuses, and commissions) plus any elective deferrals, such as retirement plan contributions and flexible spending accounts. 820 ILCS 90/5.

Covenants for employees who are under these thresholds are “void and unenforceable.” 820 ILCS 90/10(a)-(b).

Restrictive Covenants Prohibited for Certain Union and Construction Employees

Under the amended IFWA, covenants not to compete are “void and illegal” with respect to non-management employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act or the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act or persons employed in construction. 820 ILCS 90/10(d).

Pandemic-Related Compensation Requirements During Enforcement Period

The amended IFWA would prohibit employers from entering into restrictive covenants with any employee who is terminated, furloughed, or laid off as the result of business circumstances or governmental orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic or a similar event, unless the employee is compensated at his or her base salary for the period of enforcement minus compensation earned through subsequent employment during the enforcement period. 820 ILCS 90/10(c). Any covenant not to compete or solicit in violation of this provision is “void and unenforceable.”

Codification of Illinois Common Law Regarding Enforceability, Adequate Consideration, Legitimate Business Interests, and Reformation (“Blue Penciling”)

SB 672 would establish a five-factor test for enforceability of a non-compete or non-solicit covenant. Specifically, a restrictive covenant would be “illegal and void” unless: (1) the employee receives “adequate consideration, (2) the covenant is ancillary to a valid employment relationship, (3) the covenant is no greater than is required for the protection of a “legitimate business interest” of the employer, (4) the contract does not impose undue hardship on the employee, and (5) the covenant is not injurious to the public. 820 ILCS 90/15.

With respect to consideration, the bill would codify the two-year, post-execution standard of Fifield v. Premier Dealer Servs., Inc., 993 N.E.2d 938 (Ill. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 2013), defining “adequate consideration” to mean (1) the employee worked for the employer for at least two years after the employee signed agreement containing a covenant not to compete or solicit or (2) the employer otherwise provided consideration adequate to support an agreement to not compete or solicit, which consideration can consist of a period of employment plus additional professional or financial benefits or merely professional or financial benefits adequate by themselves. 820 ILCS 90/5.

The bill would also codify the legitimate business interest standard set forth in Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo, 965 N.E.2d 393 (Ill. 2011), which assesses the totality of the facts and circumstances of the individual case. Factors that may be considered in this analysis include, but are not limited to, the employee’s exposure to the employer’s customer relationships or other employees; the near-permanence of customer relationships; the employee’s acquisition use or knowledge of confidential information through the employee’s employment; the time restrictions; the place restrictions and the scope of the activity restrictions. The same identical contract and restraint may be reasonable and valid under one set of circumstances and unreasonable and invalid under another set of circumstances. 820 ILCS 90/7.

In addition, the amended IFWA confirms Illinois’ courts discretion to reform (or “blue pencil”) overly restrictive covenants in order to make them enforceable, or to hold such covenant unenforceable. Factors that a court would be able to consider when deciding whether reformation is appropriate include the fairness of the restraints as originally written, whether the original restriction reflects a good-faith effort to protect a legitimate business interest of the employer, the extent of such reformation, and whether the parties included a clause authorizing such modifications in their agreement. 820 ILCS 90/35.

Enforcement and Other Remedies

The amended IFWA would allow the Illinois Attorney General to bring civil actions against any person or entity engaged in a pattern and practice prohibited under the Act. Courts may impose a civil penalty up to $5,000 for each violation or $10,000 for each repeat violation within a five-year period. 820 ILCS 90/30.

The bill would also entitle a prevailing employee – but not a prevailing employer – to recover attorneys’ fees and costs in any enforcement action brought by an employer. 820 ILCS 80/25.


Illinois’ prospective new law reflects a national trend curtailing covenants not to compete or solicit. This trend is likely to continue in light of President Biden’s July 9, 2021, executive order directing the Federal Trade Commission to issue rules curtailing the “use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility.” In anticipation of these changes, and in recognition of our increasingly mobile workforce, employers across the country who rely on restrictive covenants should consider evaluating their restrictive covenant strategy to assess whether their agreements are enforceable and compliant under the most restrictive state law.

Sandy Morris
Sandy L. Morris is Of Counsel with Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel, P.C. in Chicago, Illinois, where she concentrates her practice on advising and representing employers.

From the Committee Chair

We are All Connected, and Closely Connected We Have Remained

By Dessi Day

“Humans are social beings, and we are happier, and better, when connected to others.” - Paul Bloom

The 2020-21 pandemic has taught us many lessons, but two of them have resonated closely with me. The first one is that we are all connected, and what each of us does daily affects everyone else, the whole tapestry of life. As social beings, we yearn for a sense of belonging, community, and close personal interaction with others for our own physical, emotional, and spiritual growth and well-being. Many of us do not do well isolated, on our own.

As many communities around the world shut down in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we suddenly realized that what we all do every day is not in isolation, but is closely connected with others, and that living a life without in-person contact, physical touch, and close relations with friends, colleagues, and loved ones can cause pain, suffering, and is not something we can sustain for too long. We need one another, in more ways than we may have anticipated or realized.  

Anita Moorjani wrote recently in her book “What If This Is Heaven?” that we are all connected in the “grand tapestry” of life and that our lives are “woven together with the treads of other lives.” Each thread connected and part of a “beautiful, cohesive, cosmic work of art. No thread can be extracted without changing everything,” and “each thread is indispensable to the overall image” and is a vital element of the whole story. I loved Moorjani’s imagery and insights.

When I read her book, I was immediately reminded of the “grand tapestry” of my DRI tribe. The brilliant image of 20,000 plus individual strands, symbolizing the individual paths of talented lawyers and awesome human beings whose lives have been intricately woven together to create a brilliant tapestry of complex and colorful patterns. With 29 substantive and affinity committees, DRI members, whose background, experience, and personal journeys have been intertwined in this amazing community that stands strong together and benefits all of us and our clients.

Despite all the challenges we have faced over the past 16 months, my DRI community has managed to stay together, show up for one another, learn from one another, and navigate this trying period with resilience and grace.

This brings me to the second lesson I learned during the pandemic: Most times, we navigate life from a place of fear, not love. And I do not mean fear of physical threats, but fear that many lawyers experience every day, when faced with the ongoing demands to excel under pressure, to fit in and perform complex tasks under severe time constraints. It is that fear that I know you have heard many lawyer friends share: “I am overwhelmed,” “I don’t feel like I fit in,” or “I feel like I am not good enough.”

Again, I was reminded of that fateful day, 20 years ago, when I walked into a room full of employment lawyers at a DRI Employment and Labor Law seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, and even as a young lawyer surrounded by experienced professionals, I immediately felt a deep sense of belonging. I did not try to impress or fit in. I showed up as me and that was good enough. What I did not know back then is that for the next 20 years, I would have the incredible opportunity to collaborate and work with some of the most talented lawyers from around the country, to give presentations, to publish articles, to lead continuing education events, and most importantly, that I would do all that not because someone demanded or expected it, or because I needed to pad my resume. I did (and do) all that because I love it. Service that flows from the heart is priceless, and in return you get so much back.

As we grew our DRI community during the pandemic, and celebrated adding new members, we did so with keen sense of awareness that we are not adding numbers to a membership roster. Each lawyer we add to our team is a valued member with unique experiences, background, talents, and insights, and shares in the DRI common values of representing businesses in the United States and beyond. Our DRI community is like no other that I have experienced in that regard. We are welcoming, inclusive, and do not “other” each other. We support one another, collaborate, and everything that we do is a beautiful work of a perfectly orchestrated team effort. For my DRI tribe, it is never about the individual strands. It is always about the whole picture — the brilliant work of a team that works well together, even in trying times.

Our 2021 seminar planning team led by Stacy Moon (Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLC) and Eric Kinder (Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC) put on an incredible virtual seminar in May 2021. We not only learned from the experts but gathered in round table groups sharing practical tips and experiences about litigation tactics and return to work issues in the COVID-19 environment.

Joseph DeBlasio (Jackson Lewis P.C.), one of our long-standing members, put on a great webinar on “Employment Law 101” topics, which is available in our DRI library and a great resource for those who are new to the employment law practice.

Helen Holden (Spencer Fane LLP) and Marti Carti (Matrix Absence Management, Inc.) presented an informative session on COVID-related leaves of absence, accommodations, and vaccination issues, which was broadcast in January 2021 and again in February 2021, due to popular demand. It is also available in our online library.

With the pandemic landscape constantly evolving and changing, Anne R. Yuengert (Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP) and Laura Proctor (Numotion) will soon share their insights about the “Lessons from the Pandemic (Or Please Can We Get Back to Business as Usual?)” on August 2, 2021.

In October 2021, we are poised for an incredible coming together of the entire DRI community that is so eager to be together, in person, at the DRI Annual Meeting in Boston, October 13–16, 2021. The speakers are fabulous and the relationship-building opportunities amazing! You do not want to miss it! Join me and my DRI tribe at our next event. You will not regret it!

Until then, be well, do good, and stay connected!

Dessi DayDessi Day is the Chair of the DRI Employment and Labor Law Committee. She is Senior Counsel at Greene & Roberts LLC, in San Diego, California, advising clients and representing businesses throughout California in wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and a wide variety of employment law disputes, including complex representative/class actions.