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labor & employment


Our department’s attorneys spend their time as full-service management-side employment counsel, providing both traditional labor law and employment law services. Our comprehensive knowledge of the extensively regulated employment relationship fosters practical advice in planning, compliance, and human resources problem solving.

In addition to representing clients in state and federal courts, in collective bargaining, and before a wide variety of administrative agencies, our labor and employment attorneys assist clients in anticipating and resolving issues arising in mergers and acquisitions and related business transactions.

labor law

union avoidance

Hearings before the NLRB on union elections and guidance throughout the entire election process.

managing union relations

Advice on corporate structures to promote corporate labor strategies, responding to and defending NLRB unfair labor practice charges, handling labor grievances and conducting labor arbitrations.

collective bargaining

Serving as chief spokesperson in collective bargaining negotiations and/or providing advice regarding the negotiation process.

labor litigation

Defend actions arising under the Labor Management Relations Act and other federal labor laws.

managing labor disputes

Guiding clients through strikes and other labor disputes, including seeking injunctions in court.

managing corporate change

Advice on labor law issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring in union-represented workplaces. 

employment law


Represent employers in single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff and class action lawsuits, in both state and federal court, including employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, leave of absence, wage and hour (including misclassification, meal and rest period, recordkeeping and related claims), wrongful termination, breach of contract, trade secret, unfair competition, tort and other employment claims.

advice, drafting and training

Advise employers regarding legal compliance, reorganizations, discipline and discharge, workplace safety and other difficult human resource issues. Conduct training on all areas of employment law, including sexual harassment avoidance, discrimination law, legal compliance, leave of absence administration and best practices. Draft executive employment agreements, personnel policies and procedures, arbitration, confidentiality and on-disclosure agreements and other employment documents.

alternative dispute resolution

Guidance and counsel, both at the prelitigation stage and as a method of resolving pending litigation when such methods are in the client’s best interest.


Among the many things that keep employers up at night, labor and employment matters are ranked very high on that list. FLSA, Title VII, ADEA, ADA, EEOC, HIPAA, FMLA, FEHA, CFRA, WARN, OSHA, FCRA, NLRA, LMRA . . . it is impossible to avoid the current alphabet soup of labor and employment laws when running a business of any size. Enforceability of non-competes, the influence and impact of social media on labor relations, the far-reaching implications of the National Labor Relations Act, the effects of equal pay legislation, the legalization of medical marijuana, the application of uncertain reasonable accommodation standards, the threat of cybersecurity risks . . . navigating the labyrinth and complexity of the ever-changing rules in the face of an increasingly litigious atmosphere unwittingly exposes your enterprise to civil fines, criminal penalties, costly lawsuits, and reputational damage.

With a long-standing reputation for unparalleled counsel and with attorneys in our Los Angeles and New York offices who specialize in this extensively-regulated area (including on matters involving traditional labor, class actions and immigration), MSK shares its comprehensive knowledge with the nation’s largest and most recognizable companies. From successfully defending against high-stakes labor and employment litigation in court and arbitration, to providing practical advice to Human Resources personnel, to reaching favorable settlements in class action litigation, to handling organizing campaigns, collective bargaining and the relationships between employers, unions and employees, MSK works diligently, thoroughly, and efficiently as a trusted Labor and Employment advisor so that companies and their executives can successfully navigate the legal and regulatory spectrum facing employers and can remain focused on other strategic imperatives for their businesses.



labor law matters

  • Regularly represent the entertainment industry collectively through the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) in high profile and high stakes arbitrations under the various Guild and union contracts. For example, we successfully represented two motion picture studios in an arbitration establishing the right to use clips from pre-1960 motion pictures without first bargaining with the performers appearing in the clips. The Screen Actors Guild had claimed that under the SAG theatrical and television agreements, such clips could not be used without first bargaining with the performers.

  • In an arbitration handled on behalf of the entertainment industry through the AMPTP, we successfully represented three major studios in an arbitration in which SAG, the WGA and the DGA asserted that the method by which those companies paid residuals on videocassettes and DVD’s sold in foreign markets through unaffiliated subdistributors understated the residuals due by a very significant amount. After prevailing in the arbitration, we were able to negotiate a settlement on behalf of the remaining studios which had over-reported by paying in the manner which the Guilds contended was correct so that they were able to recoup significant portions of their overpayments.

  • Represented Public Broadcasting Service, several public television stations, and producers in national labor negotiations with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Writers Guild of America, and the American Federation of Musicians.

  • Represented a major cable television network in an extensive high profile government investigation involving alleged child labor law violations committed during the filming of a hit reality TV show.  The case raised questions regarding how child "stars" on reality shows are compensated and whether, and how much, they are subject to direction and control during filming.  We were able to successfully resolve the case, which could have resulted in criminal prosecution, with no such action taken.

  • Successfully represented all of the major studios and networks in a closely watched arbitration against WGA in which it was determined that a portion of the 2008 New Media deal is not retroactive.

  • Represented major motion picture and television producer in several industry-wide arbitrations with Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild, and IATSE.

  • Successfully argued before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to set aside a recent election at a major medical center due to a Union’s election misconduct. In the face of anonymous phone threats to a medical center employee, we argued that anonymous threats were more menacing than if the callers could be identified. The NLRB, in a unanimous panel decision, agreed and in a rare occurrence set aside the election.

  • Represented Intermountain Power Service Corporation, one of the country's largest coal burning power plants, in collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations and NLRB proceedings.

  • Represented a large national garment retailer in fending off a major corporate campaign instituted by UNITE, including defending numerous unfair labor practices claims, ultimately resulting in the union abandoning its campaign.

  • Represented a major U.S. beer manufacturer in negotiations with the Teamsters Union.

  • Guided several medical centers through union organizing campaigns.

  • Consulted with a number of local governments and agencies, including the Department of Water and Power, to help resolve union-driven conflicts.

  • Represented the producer of "America's Next Top Model" in a series of NLRB proceedings against the Writers Guild, successfully preventing the Guild from organizing employees in the reality television field.

  • Successfully represented NBC Universal in a major Writers Guild arbitration to establish the right to establish terms and conditions of employment for writers of "webisodes" for the internet by dealing directly with writers instead of negotiating with the Writers Guild.

  • Represented the major motion picture and television industry's alcohol and controlled substance testing program, including advice and claims defense.

  • Regularly represent clients in labor arbitrations over discharge, discipline, and contract interpretation issues among others.

employment law matters

  • Successfully represented Warner Bros. Television Production, an independent production company and several individual writers in a high-profile, wrongful termination and harassment suit brought by a former writer’s assistant for the hit TV show "Friends." After obtaining summary judgment and an award of $415,000 in attorneys’ fees for our clients, argued the case of Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Production before the California Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark, unanimous decision in favor of our clients.
    • Defended multiple major television production studios and networks in, and successfully resolved, a series of precedent-setting nationwide class actions alleging age discrimination in the hiring of television writers.

    • Defended multiple major television networks and production companies, and successfully resolved, two class actions filed by writers and producers on more than a dozen reality television shows alleging misclassification as exempt employees.

    • Successfully represented 10 major motion picture studios and TV networks in class actions alleging that hundreds of thousands of workers were not timely paid wages. Includes claims for waiting time penalties and claims under California Business & Professions Code § 17200.

    • Recently obtained dismissal of a class action suit against a major motion picture studio that alleged race and national origin discrimination.

    • Recently removed to federal court and obtained dismissal of wrongful termination action brought against producers of a hit television program.

    • Recently represented one of the world’s largest beer manufacturers, Anheuser-Busch, in a wage and hour class action.

    • Provided litigation/mediation counsel to Tidewater Marine Western, Inc., in a wage and hour class action, efficiently closing a matter for our client that had been in litigation for ten years with prior counsel.

    • Recently represented a large, national garment retailer in two wage and hour class actions in California.

    • Recently represented the world's largest bottling company in five wage and hour class actions.

    • Regularly represent clients in single plaintiff employment discrimination, retaliation, and harassment cases in arbitration or in court.






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