Masuda Funai's Employment, Labor & Benefits group offers the full range of employment counseling, investigations, negotiations and litigation services on behalf of management. In addition to representing domestic companies, our firm is known for advising foreign-owned companies wanting to establish a legal entity in the United States and those doing business in the U.S. We help our clients navigate the myriad of U.S. employment, labor and benefit laws which can present a formidable challenge to even the most sophisticated global company. Our attorneys understand the unique questions, problems and concerns both domestic and foreign companies have when attracting, retaining and managing their workforce as well as in defending their rights in the face of disputes and litigation.
The firm’s wide-ranging and in-depth experience covers employment, union and benefit law issues from human resource counseling, wage payment, and mergers and acquisitions, to risk management and working with management to find solutions to difficult problems. We guide our clients through every phase of the employment relationship, beginning with advice and assistance on recruitment and hiring. We assist our clients in drafting employment agreements, employee handbooks and policies as well as conducting training programs for employees and supervisors in such areas as the prevention of sexual harassment, union avoidance and wrongful termination. Given today’s economic climate, we work diligently with management to audit and implement agreements, policies and procedures to protect a company’s intellectual property and their near-permanent business and customer relationships.
As employers face an ever increasing number of employment-based agency claims and lawsuits, we continue to deliver a focused and aggressive approach to problem-solving as demonstrated by our track record of resolving legal actions for clients throughout the U.S. We have handled and resolved complex litigation pertaining to discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, wrongful termination, employee privacy, breach of restrictive covenants, and the defense of OSHA citations, union campaigns and unfair labor practices. We prosecute and defend unfair competition claims including the misappropriation of trade secrets, employee raiding and customer solicitation. We vigorously advocate our client’s position in administrative hearings before state and federal agencies, in mediation and arbitration, and in state and federal lower and appellate courts.
We know, from decades of serving as U.S. employment, labor and benefits legal counsel to our clients, that workforce conflict and “people problems” are never fully addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Whether a challenge involves discrete negotiation, litigation, arbitration, strategic planning, M&A due diligence, a reduction in force, or the day-to-day advice businesses need to succeed, our goal is to ensure that each client understands its options so that an informed decision can be made. We design cost effective human resource solutions that achieve “bigger picture” business objectives grounded in sound legal theory.
Represented a foreign government before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Illinois Department of Human Rights, obtaining the dismissal of all charges.
Obtained a summary judgment under the Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty between the U.S. and Japan, courts dismissing age and national origin discrimination claims.
In a putative FLSA collective action case filed in Tennessee against a manufacturer and its sister company in Ohio, obtained dismissal of the Ohio company and successfully settled the case before class certification.
Defended a national hardware retail chain against age discrimination in hiring and sex discrimination charges filed with a state human rights agency resulting in a dismissal of all charges.
Represented a manufacturing employer in Illinois found to have violated Title VII due to racial and national origin harassment, successful negotiating a settlement agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission without a consent decree or punitive damages.
Represented a manufacturer in Minnesota before the Minnesota Occupational Health & Safety Administration in which the employee alleged a retaliatory discharge after complaining about safety violations.
Strategized, planned and consulted with a consumer products manufacturer regarding federal and Illinois Worker Adjustment and Notification Act (WARN) requirements in the company’s relocation to a new facility and with second manufacturer regarding a series of reductions-in-force, including counsel regarding the impact of the reductions-in-force upon the 401k plan.
Obtained a dismissal of a retaliation case filed in the Atlanta Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board after the case was transferred from the National Railway Board.
Obtain dismissals of unfair labor practice claims before the National Labor Relations Board arising out of a union organizing campaign.
Represented a manufacturer in a union organizing campaign, resulting in the union’s failure to file a petition for an election before the National Labor Relations Board.
Negotiated union contracts with Machinists, Teamsters and other unions.
Assisted a company to decertify the union as the representative of its employees.
Defended companies in grievance/arbitration cases.
Represented an Ohio manufacturing company by spearheading its response to a U.S. Department of Labor audit of all of its welfare plans resulting in no penalties being assessed for a client’s non‑compliance.
Represented an Illinois-based freight forwarder in a failure to file a complete Form 5500 matter resulting in a significant reduction in the final penalty assessed by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Investigated, prepared and filed numerous 401(k) plan corrections for clients under the IRS’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System due to compensation, eligibility, employee deferral, employer matching, and plan loan errors.
Drafted and / or reviewed various non-qualified deferred compensation plans, including long-term incentive plans, bonus plans and phantom stock plans.