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John R. Richards

John manages relationships with global companies— including well-known retailers, manufacturers, and financial institutions to ensure their legal needs are proactively met. John counsels in the design of employment policies— and their implementation into practice—through proactive audits and industry tailored workplace training. John trains to employer audiences ranging from highest level officers and boards of directors to entry level rank and file on a host of relevant topics. He also conducts internal investigations including in response to highly sensitive harassment complaints.

John also regularly advises employers on how to prevent and defend discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation complaints;mitigate wage and hour risk; effectively manage performance and conduct; as well navigate LGBT+ workplace concerns and the interplay among the ADA, FMLA, and paid-leave laws.

John defends employers in high profile class and/or collective actions arising under the FLSA and related state wage and hour laws; as well in response to single-plaintiff claims of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, brought in state and federal courts and administrative agencies.

Concentrations

  • Wage and hour litigation and compliance
  • Single plaintiff employment litigation
  • Employment counseling and management training
  • Employment audits and risk mitigation
  • LGBTQ-related counseling and litigation

Expertise

Erfahrung

  • Designed and conducted respectful workforce training, LGBT+ awareness and risk mitigation training, wage and hour training, workplace investigation training, and other programs for upper- and mid-level management for employers ranging from global retailers and financial institutions to numerous small employers operating at a single site.
  • Acted as counsel to many employers, including global retail providers, to investigate and resolve claimed harassment of employees by high-level executives, supervisors, coworkers, residents, clients, and customers.
  • Conducted sexual and racial harassment investigations, prepared or counseled employers on the preparation of investigation reports, and counseled on both specific and systemic measures to minimize the risk of lawsuits or liability.
  • Worked closely with employers to design and implement improved, preventive human resources systems, including development of new employee-facing policies and HR/supervisor manuals, development and redevelopment of job descriptions, performance review systems, and disciplinary procedures and training of managers on all of the above; substantially diminishing cycles of administrative charges and/or employment litigation against these clients.
  • Provided Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classification status and job description recommendations to a health insurance company in the United States for approximately 1, 500 employees in 268 job positions in 55 locations.
  • Provided FLSA classification status and job description recommendations, and analyzed timekeeping practices to a nationwide residential and commercial carpet cleaner for approximately 300 employees in 20 job positions nationwide.
  • Provided FLSA classification status and job description recommendations to a nationwide shoe manufacturer and retailer for 130 positions nationwide.
  • Seven-day bench trial in retiree medical class action; judgment in favor of defendant as to one subclass of retirees; judgment against defendant as to other subclasses pending SCOTUS decision.°
  • Two-week bench trial in retiree medical class action; judgment in favor of defendants on all counts.°
  • Two-day preliminary injunction hearing before U.S. District Court judge; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction denied.°
  • Obtained a creatively structured multi-step, claims made only, revisionary settlement of California and nationwide class and collective action on behalf of global retailer family of companies resulting in an extraordinarily low opt-in rate and pay out per class member that was pennies on the dollar and unprecedented in both the retail industry and for uniform reimbursement cases.
  • Obtained favorable settlement of California class and nationwide collective action on behalf of global retailer family of companies seeking unpaid wages under California law and the FLSA premised on the core contention that employees were not properly compensated for pre-shift activities involving determining whether the employee should report for work or for finding shift replacements; the settlement is the lowest known per capita settlement of such a case when compared recent industry settlements.
  • Trimmed putative class and nationwide collective action alleging failure properly compensate for off-the-clock work, in violation of FLSA and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, to only the branch in which the named Plaintiff worked
  • Took over as counsel in putative California class action of global retailer alleging failure properly compensate for off-the-clock work, meal and rest break violations, failure to pay wages at termination, and failure to issue compliant wage statements and maintain accurate records under California law; as well as individual state law claim for race discrimination and harassment.
  • Obtained favorable settlements of putative class and collective action claims under the FLSA and state laws alleging that loan officers were misclassified as exempt from overtime and were subject to unlawful deductions from their wages.°
  • Obtained favorable settlement of Fortune 50 company in nationwide and state class action alleging violations of Title VII and Equal Pay Act for past denial of same-sex spousal benefits.
  • Obtained favorable settlement of individual claim alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation and age for for-profit corporation that provides quality control and research for interest group.
  • Favorably represented clients in numerous single-plaintiff cases alleging various forms of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate and/or retaliation under federal and state law.
  • Secured dismissal in 2015 Title VII action alleging harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on race and state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against law firm.
  • Obtained favorable settlement of alleged violation of Colorado’s Nursing Mother Act and separate EEOC charge for sex discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge.
  • Defended whistleblower action alleging retaliation in violation of the anti-retaliation provision of SOX).°
  • Secured Special Immigrant Juvenile Status on behalf of minor from Honduras; defeated motion to dismiss filed by state; obtained judgment from court ordering the State of Illinois to prosecute dependency petition.°
  • Obtained favorable settlement in ERISA class action alleging that fiduciaries failed to warn plan participants of risk that credit crisis posed for First Horizon stock; such risk made it imprudent for fiduciaries to continue to offer First Horizon stock as an investment option; and fiduciaries imprudently offered proprietary funds as investment offerings made under 401(k) plan solely because of their fees.°
  • Post-trial decision in ERISA class action rejecting plaintiffs’ challenge to changes to Deere's retiree medical benefits program and effort to require Deere to reinstitute benefit plans that were in force through 2007; rejecting contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims, court relied on reservation of rights language in plan documents and summary plan descriptions, credited Deere witnesses and discredited testimony of plaintiffs that they were allegedly promised lifetime benefits by former members of management). Decision denying plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. 2008 WL 5751964 (Dec. 8, 2008).°
  • ERISA and LMRA Section 301 purported class action alleging violations of ERISA and breach of collective bargaining agreement in connection with retiree health insurance benefits.°
  • Obtained favorable settlement of ERISA class action alleging that defendants breached their ERISA fiduciary duties by continuing to offer company stock as a retirement savings investment option when it was no longer prudent to do so because defendants knew of adverse business conditions causing massive delays in processing claims from a new business initiative.°

°The above representations were handled by Mr. Richards prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

  • Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, 2005-2006
  • The White House, Office of Political Affairs, Summer 2002
  • Ohio Attorney General's Office
    • Capital Crimes, Summer 2001
    • Policy/Constituent Services, Summer 2000

Anerkennung durch den Markt

  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Georgia Super Lawyers, "Rising Star," 2017-2019
  • Listed, Benchmark Litigation, "Labor & Employment Star," 2019 
  • Listed,The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and Employment: Labor and Employment Disputes: Defense, 2016 and 2018
    • Labor and Employment: Workplace and Employment Counseling, 2016 and 2018
  • Team Member, The American Lawyer’s “Regional Litigation Department of the Year - Georgia,” 2018
  • Listed, ABA "On the Rise: Top 40 Young Lawyers," 2017
  • Team Member, The Daily Report’s "Georgia Labor & Employment Litigation Department of the Year," 2017
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, "Rising Stars," 2013-2016
  • Listed, "40 Under 40," Atlanta Business Chronicle, 2016
  • Team Member, The National Law Journal, "Litigation Department of the Year," Labor and Employment, 2014
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Illinois Super Lawyers, "Rising Star," 2009-2012
  • Listed, "40 Best LGBT Attorneys Under 40," National LGBT Bar Association, 2010
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Firm Representative, Out Leadership Council, 2015-Present
  • National Board Member, Lambda Legal, 2012-2018
    • Member, National Leadership Council, 2009-2012
  • National Council Member, Out Leadership, 2014-Present
  • Member, National LGBT Bar Association, 2010-Present

Ausbildung

Akademische Ausbildung
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2006
  • B.S., summa cum laude, Vanderbilt University, 2003
Referendariat / Praktika
  • Hon. Gregory L. Frost, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, 2006-2007
Zulassung
  • Georgia
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
Sprache