About this industry
Most U.S. manufacturers are in the middle of a rapid rebound from the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet at the same time, industry employers face increased safety, sustainability and environmental regulations, rising costs, high turnover, supply chain issues and workforce transformation, labor and compliance concerns.
We represent a broad assortment of original equipment and supply chain manufacturers. We offer particularized knowledge, depth of experience and insight are automotive, food & beverage, metals and coatings, aeronautics, electronics, cosmetics, chemicals — and their related transportation, distribution and logistics supporters. The forward thinking and pragmatic insights and guidance our attorneys offer to our clients are enriched by the many years we have represented employers in these manufacturing-related sectors. Importantly, our geographic reach, together with our culture of cross-functional collaboration and dedicated industry knowledge, combine to enable Jackson Lewis to deliver the truly “value added” advice our clients need to succeed in this era of significant systemic disruptions in the global manufacturing ecosystem.
Attorneys on our manufacturing industry team have extensive knowledge of federal, state and local laws and regulatory concerns that impact manufacturing business operations. We leverage our international capabilities and networks to help our clients manage their global operations, including the issues facing manufacturers and their supply chain partners.
We provide a full range of services addressing all aspects of the labor and employment relationship, including litigation, human resource development, AI manufacturing initiatives, data/information security, traditional labor law and counseling.
Hiring and workforce re-deployment and utilization
- Advise on affirmative action and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and compliance.
- Facilitate the protection of confidential and proprietary information in remote work environment.
- Provide strategic assessment of disability and leave management policies and practices (ADA, Title VII, among others).
- Advise on operational restructuring and production flexibility including:
- Contract negotiation and reformations;
- Plant closings;
- Predictive scheduling; and
- Addressing union interference or disruption (positive employment relations advice).
- Provide representation in labor disputes including:
- Unfair labor practice charges;
- Picketing and strikes; and
- Collective bargaining negotiations.
Compliance assessment and upgrading of policies and procedures
- Conduct audits and advice and counsel on a wide range of matters including:
- OFCCP compliance for federal contractors;
- Wage and hour compliance reviews;
- Drug testing;
- Background check process;
- Data privacy;
- Immigration; and
- Benefits matters.
- Ensure compliance with a number of regulations governing the workplace including:
- Workplace Safety and Health—OSHA, Rehabilitation Act;
- Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”);
- False Claims Act and other state whistleblower laws;
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and internal complaints;
- Federal contractors;
- Wage and Hour—FLSA and state law; and
- Disparate Impact analyses.
- Litigate cases involving allegations of discrimination and retaliation under federal and state law, as well as related tort (including misuse of protected company data) and contract claims.
- Defend wage and hour lawsuits, including class actions involving “donning and doffing” claims and other off-the-clock work as well as other class actions.
- Represent employers in grievance and arbitration proceedings.
National COVID-19 task force
- Serve as a one-stop reference source for compliance with all state and federal regulations.
- Outline best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Advise on the most recent recommendations from federal and state regulators for PPE and administrative controls.
- Advise on workforce restructuring and reductions-in-force.
- Provide guidance on how to prepare the workplace for employees and design policies to facilitate employee return to work or continued or expanded remote work.
Growth into new markets such as autonomous vehicles, electrification and the mobility sphere impacts automotive OEMs and global suppliers of parts and technologies as they transform transportation and integrate cross-sector solutions. This transformation is often accompanied with sharpening operations and the modernization of business practices.
Anticipating problems, identifying and implementing preventive measures and providing sensitive representation during litigation and labor relations requires knowledge of both the law and the nuances of the automotive industry. Jackson Lewis attorneys—consisting of former senior leaders and seasoned industry veterans—can assist clients with virtually every type of workplace law concern, including issues like data security and the protection of trade secrets, defending systemic class action claims and compliance with immigration laws and regulations.
Some of the specific services we provide to a number of automotive-related Fortune 50 companies, tier–two and tier-three suppliers, financial institutions and dealers include:
- Advising on affirmative action plan (AAP) preparation and OFCCP audit defense;
- Advising on union organizing, neutrality agreement requests and proceedings before the NLRB;
- Defending and managing charges before the EEOC and all state agencies responsible for the processing of anti-discrimination claims;
- Advising on executive and individual employment agreements, post-employment restrictive covenants and non-compete agreements;
- Providing advice and representation during arbitration proceedings;
- Advising on workforce restructuring and reductions-in-force;
- Reviewing policies concerning leaves of absence, reasonable accommodation and related issues;
- Prosecuting and defending lawsuits involving post-employment non-competition and non-solicitation agreements and other employment-related business torts;
- Handling sensitive internal investigations related to potential Code of Conduct and FEP policy violations;
- Advising on compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws, as well as privacy and data security mandates across the country; and
- Providing diversity counseling as part of an overall corporate compliance strategy.
Companies that produce chemical products from the Earth’s raw materials must be proactive in identifying business opportunities while monitoring the risks inherent in managing their workforce, including protecting trade secrets and complying with safety mandates.
We understand that employers in the chemicals industry face environmental, intellectual property and product liability concerns that may exist in addition to their employment law needs. Our top priority is to provide tailored legal advice that always takes into account the client’s specific regulatory and operational challenges.
Some of the specific services we offer include:
- Defending individual, collective and class action lawsuits alleging discrimination, defamation, breach of contract, intentional torts, and other issues in federal and state trial and appellate courts;
- Drafting employment-related documents, including employment and severance agreements, handbooks and policy manuals, and non-compete and non-disclosure agreements;
- Advising on compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws, as well as privacy and data security mandates across the country;
- Reviewing policies concerning leaves of absence, reasonable accommodation, FMLA and related issues;
- Advising on affirmative action plan (AAP) preparation and OFCCP audit defense;
- Advising on a broad scope of workplace safety matters, including representing clients in investigations by federal and state governmental agencies, defending OSHA citations, providing crisis management advice and counsel, conducting accident investigations, conducting safety and health audits and providing representation in whistleblower proceedings; and
- Providing labor, employment and benefits advice in the context of mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases, management agreements, corporate restructurings and other transactions.
Electrical and components
Manufacturers of electrical products and components, including hydraulics, face challenges with rapidly evolving technology, automation, ever-changing regulatory schemes and a work force that includes highly skilled engineers and technicians. Whether they are developing new equipment or designing and producing complex mechanisms and components, companies in this area must navigate countless laws and regulations at the federal, state and (increasingly) local level that affect their workforce.
We are cognizant of the employment policies, practices and employee relations issues this industry faces. Utilizing our attorneys’ collective experience across multiple practice areas, along with hands-on knowledge of clients’ businesses, we tailor our advice and services to companies’ specific needs.
Food, beverage and packaging
Employers in the food, beverage and packaging industry must balance the demands of providing essential goods and services with the complex workplace challenges that come with managing a workforce necessary to reach significant numbers of local, national and global customer, often with ever fluctuating demands for goods.
Challenges arise from managing a diverse and changing workforce, which is often unionized, stringent consumer and worker safety requirements and complying with various regulatory requirements. At the same time, customer demands, including sustainability and related calls for heightened social responsibility, are abundant. At all times, we strive to help manufacturers reduce workplace disputes and union issues through preventive measures and to reach optimal and timely solutions in the event of litigation or government action.
Metals and coatings
The essential role that metal and coating manufacturers play in the nation’s infrastructure has spared them some of the sweeping shutdowns that have impacted other industries during the pandemic. However, employers in this area face many challenges as they return to full production and reimagine their workplaces for the coming years. We monitor trends that are impacting workforces in this sub-sector and regularly advise employers on how these issues impact their organizations.
U.S. manufacturers that maintain operations or supply chains in Mexico will continue to face challenges as Mexico accelerates implementation of its new labor law and the United States increases pressure on Mexico for faster labor reforms through unprecedented enforcement tools available under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Manufacturers are the principal focus of this new initiative. Our attorneys are collaborating with our Mexican counterparts in L&E Global, the international alliance of labor and employment firms and our partner firms in Canada, to assist international manufacturers in navigating this major change in the law.