Debora L. Verdier, Senior MemberThe Cavanagh Law Firm is a full-service law firm trusted for its ability to provide best-in-class legal services in insurance defense and coverage, commercial litigation, ADR, labor and employment, estate planning, tax, and family law. The firm consists of a team of award-winning attorneys with experience in 45 different practice areas and over 40 industries. The Cavanagh Law Firm maintains a reputation for excellence in addressing its clients’ varying needs. Since 1999, the firm has served as a go-to choice for legal representation with clients of all sizes by adhering to the principles of hard work, quality service, and integrity.
In an interview with Manage HR, Debora L. Verdier, senior member at The Cavanagh Law Firm, shared her insights on how the firm leverages its expertise and experience to provide exceptional legal services to clients of all sizes when it comes to employment law.
Helping Clients Mitigate Challenges Pertaining to Employment Law
One of the major challenges facing many employers today is navigating the pandemic-induced changes in the work environment. In today’s post-pandemic world, employers are dealing with work forces with varied interests and goals as it relates to remote work. Some employees are excited to get back to on-site work environment. Others are more comfortable working remotely and wish to continue to do so. Some employees are seeking a hybrid of the two. Employers are forced to manage these differing employee expectations and balance those against the need for on-site training, mentorship, and overall employee development.
We encourage our employer clients not to lose sight of the importance of an on-site work environment in fostering camaraderie and teamwork under the guidance of managers or mentors. Nurturing an ecosystem like this can be challenging for organizations in today’s remote or hybrid work environment when so many employees are off-site. Serving as its clients’ trusted partner, we help these employers to bridge this gap. Specifically, we advise employers to incorporate meetings into their employees’ routine in which employees are encouraged to take a collaborative approach in their operations to solve major problems facing them in their daily operations. It is critical for employees to work in tandem for achieving operational efficiency, regardless of whether they are working remotely, in the office, or in a hybrid model.
While a remote work environment impedes training opportunities, it also limits the opportunities for the employer to observe the workplace to ensure no harassment or discrimination is occurring. A remote work environment also limits the employer’s ability to track productivity. For the past couple of years, we have been fielding questions from employers about whether they can legally track and monitor employee’s actions and productivity.
Additionally, returning employees to an on-site work environment has presented challenges for employers. Over the two years when many employees were working remotely, there has been an increase in “casual” behavior in the workplace, as well as the increased possibility for interpersonal issues because our society has become more divisive. With this division comes an increase in harassment and discrimination claims. We e prepared to help clients navigate these issues.
As a leading law firm founded by a core group of 30 attorneys from many practice areas, we are at the forefront of helping clients work through and mitigate the challenges of a post-pandemic world on employment matters and other wise. We counsel clients on handling employee and personnel issues in a way to avoid litigation. We advise clients on necessary revisions to handbooks and policies. We also defend clients in EEOC matters on a pre- and post-litigation basis. While the firm does its best to help clients “stay out of trouble,” we will take cases to trial where the circumstances warrant. We help clients create a work environment that minimizes labor and employment law risks through insurance strategies, employment policies, and training. Our employment group also excels at counselling clients on exit strategies for employees that can help prevent a situation from escalating into a lawsuit.
Effective Range of Services in Employment Litigation
We represent small and mid-sized companies that may not be large enough to have an internal HR team. The firm is a full-service law firm that works in collaboration to understand the clients’ varying employment problems and deliver services accordingly.
Helping clients adhere to all current regulations and standards is another area where the firm excels. To this end, we assist clients in drafting and reviewing employment policies or handbooks, compensation or employment agreements, confidentiality agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, including non-compete or non-solicitation contracts, severance agreements and other termination documents. Our team follows and tracks changes to Arizona’s labor and employment laws, such as the passage of the law that allows the use of recreational marijuana and Arizona’s earned paid sick time, and we advise and counsel clients accordingly.
We are a full-service law firm that works in collaboration with our clients to understand the varying employment needs and deliver services accordingly
The employment group at The Cavanagh Law Firm also provides training to our clients on preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims. We also assist employers with conducting internal and independent investigations, which may include employee misconduct, including embezzlement, misappropriation of trade secrets, harassment, or discrimination. Our employment group also represents clients before federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Arizona Labor Department, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We defend clients in litigation through to trial in matters involving age discrimination, disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and equal pay and compensation. In addition to these services to Arizona’s employers, our employment team provides other business-related services, including offering successful full-service business solutions. The employment group serves a broad clientele that includes municipalities, counties, auto dealerships, health care providers, property management companies, real estate brokerage firms, golf courses, and restaurants.
Demonstrating Excellence—The Cavanagh Law Firm Way
One example of how we helped a client navigate a difficult situation involved a client asking the the firm to consult about an issue involving a transgender employee. Specifically, the client had an employee who presented as male when hired but started transitioning to female. Other employees raised concerns about the employee’s use of the female restroom. The client considered this employee a valuable member of the team and wanted to ensure the employee felt valued and respected, while addressing the concerns of others relating to bathroom use. The employer brought in the employment law team from The Cavanagh Law Firm to meet with the employee and address the situation. During that meeting, the employee informed our attorney that she would prefer to maintain her male identity in the workplace though she lived as a woman outside the workplace. Through this open dialogue between the lawyer, the employee, and the employer, the employer was able to help make a marginalized employee feel honored and supported in the workplace while addressing the concerns of the other employees.
Delivering Services in a Uniquely Effective Manner
What separates The Cavanagh Law Firm from other laws firms is its ability to litigate a case all the way through to trial, but only if necessary. We do not litigate cases “to settlement,” unless that is the client’s intent. If the client is intent on taking the case to trial, we have that ability, skill, and trial experience. We also have a strong spirit of mentorship and we aim to pass through our experience to our younger lawyers. The result is an excellent group of attorneys who excel at client service at every level. In addition to litigating and trying cases, we also serve “outside counsel” for several of its clients.