March 05, 2007

Jenner & Block’s Labor and Employment Practice was recently featured in an Employment Law 360 profile on the practice’s unique approach and how it draws upon many of the Firm’s practices to serve its corporate clients.

“Our organization doesn’t quite match the way other groups are organized,” Jenner & Block Partner Carla J. Rozycki told Employment Law 360.  “Depending on the demands of a particular case, we can handle a variety of aspects by assigning litigation attorneys whose expertise best fits the demand of the particular case,” she said. Ms. Rozycki serves as Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice along with Partner, David K. Haase.

The article cited Jenner & Block’s representation of General Dynamics in a lawsuit in which the defense contractor was accused by a class of younger workers of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.  At issue in the case was a collective bargaining agreement with a union, which eliminated the company’s obligation to provide retirement health benefits to current workers, except those at least 50 years old. The Firm represented General Dynamics from the district court through later appellate proceeding, leading to an argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004. At each stage, the article noted that the Firm marshaled resources and attorneys from a variety of its practices.

Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of General Dynamics. “In respect to federal age discrimination claims, the Court said there’s no such thing as reverse discrimination,” Ms. Rozycki said about the precedent setting case.  “There’s nothing unlawful about discriminating in favor of an older worker, and therefore against a younger worker, relatively,” she added.

In addition, the Employment Law 360 article also discussed trends the Firm’s Practice sees on the horizon for the labor and employment industry. “One of the trends that we’ve seen and that will continue is the increased early use of alternate dispute resolution, mediation to resolve claims,”  Ms. Rozycki said. For instance, Ms. Rozycki told Employment Law 360 that the firm successfully mediated over 40 race discrimination case settlements over a six-month period for one client, which helped set a precedent for future cases.

Please click here to view the full Employment Law 360 article.