The retail industry is uniquely informed by its interaction with customers. Much of the legal and regulatory framework governing the industry is aimed at protecting those customers, as well as the employees who engage them.
As retailing moves inexorably into e-commerce (often while maintaining its "brick and mortar" facilities)—and e-commerce retailers expand to physical stores—customer expectations increase, and the attendant legal needs grow more complex.
At Epstein Becker Green, we represent retailers of all types and sizes—big-box stores, grocery chains, pharmacy chains, restaurants, luxury stores, and much more—both on- and offline. We advise them on their myriad issues of labor, employment, and workforce management. We also bring a special focus to health care retail, a rapidly expanding field with its own particular compliance challenges.
Employment, Labor, and Workforce Management Services
In a field characterized by high employee turnover, attendance issues, and a wide range of staffing problems, our attorneys handle all aspects of the employment relationship as applied to retailers. This includes defending clients in litigation, particularly in wage and hour disputes; claims of wrongful discharge, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination; and Americans with Disabilities Act (discrimination and accommodation) disputes.
Our lawyers advise retail clients on constantly changing regulatory and compliance issues, which vary widely by state and by locality. We help clients draft their employment agreements and employment policies, train their workforces in proper procedures, and provide day-to-day advice on employment matters. Retail clients also seek our guidance on employee benefits and executive compensation, immigration, and worksite enforcement matters and on the protection of their trade secrets and other proprietary information. We are also highly experienced in more traditional labor issues—collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, unfair labor practices, etc.—and we help retailers avoid or counter unionization efforts. Finally, our attorneys are squarely at the intersection of technology and the workplace, and they counsel our retail clients on potential legal risks to implementing technologies that leverage artificial intelligence, biometrics, and other similar workplace innovations.
Health Care Retail Services
As the health care industry continues to grow exponentially, it has given rise to a substantial retail component. We represent clients across the entire spectrum of health care retail, including pharmacies, clinics, and every type of ambulatory care facility. We help them address the myriad compliance obligations they face, including those pertaining to distribution, marketing, prescription drugs, reimbursement issues, and data privacy and security. We facilitate their transactions, including hospital-physician joint ventures, contract pharmacy arrangements, and in-store clinics.
We also represent health care retailers in disputes. Our skilled litigators regularly defend them in administrative charges—federal, state, and local—as well as in mediations, arbitrations, and commercial litigation matters. We also handle bankruptcies and out-of-court restructurings.
- ADA and Public Accommodations
- Affirmative Action/OFCCP Compliance
- Business Torts, Competition & Trade Secrets
- Class Actions
- Commercial and Contract Litigation
- Construction Law
- Corporate & Transactional
- Corporate Financing
- Corporate Governance
- Corporate Reorganization
- Cross-Border Data Transfers
- Cross-Border Transactions
- Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
- Data Asset Management
- Data Breach and Incident Response
- Data Breach/Cybersecurity Investigations & Litigation
- Data Protection
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Counseling
- Employee Benefits and ERISA
- Employment Compliance Counseling
- Employment Litigation
- Employment Training
- Employment, Labor & Workforce Management
- ERISA – Retirement and Benefit Plan Litigation
- Executive Compensation
- Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy
- Foreign Multinational Counseling and Litigation
- Insider Threats
- Intellectual Property
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Labor and Employment Due Diligence
- Labor Management Relations
- Litigation & Business Disputes
- Mergers, Acquisitions & Divestitures
- Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)
- Pandemic Workforce Issues
- Pay Equity
- Privacy Compliance Strategies
- Privacy, Cybersecurity & Data Asset Management
- Real Estate
- Remote and Hybrid Work
- Social Media and the Workplace
- State Privacy Law Compliance
- Tax and Tax-Exempt Counseling
- Trade Secrets & Employee Mobility
- Wage and Hour
- Whistleblowing and Compliance
- Workforce Government Relations
- Workforce Restructuring and Other Cost-Saving Mechanisms
- Workplace Investigations
- Defeated a class action lawsuit alleging that a global retailers’ failure to provide Braille gift cards violated federal, state, and local accessibility laws. Our attorneys got the cases completely dismissed, and established not only that the claims had no basis in the law/regulations but that the clients also sufficiently provided access in other ways.
- Defended a large independent shoe retailer against attempts to certify a nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act collective action involving the exempt status of store managers. We challenged the plaintiff’s contention of common practices by proving the plaintiff had limited knowledge of payment practices at other store locations.
- Mitigated potential total exposure in a novel wage and hour class action that affected thousands of a national retailer’s workforce located in New York State. Upon investigating and confirming that the client had inadvertently violated the statute at issue and faced approximately $25 million in exposure, we strategically focused on mitigation by pursing mediation. Through creative arguments, we successfully resolved the matter for less than $2 million.
- Represented a luxury retailer in successfully managing its nationwide restructuring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We helped the client implement layoffs and furloughs by providing strategic advice to successfully avoid litigation and comply with an ever-changing legal landscape. We also provided advice on how to restructure the organization effectively to be able to compete in the current and post-pandemic environment.
- Negotiated the terms of, and drafted contracts to implement, numerous 340B contract pharmacy arrangements among retail pharmacy chains, hospitals, and 340B technology services vendors.
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