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Employment-related disputes may have far-reaching implications for a company’s reputation, business and ability to attract and retain talent. Clients turn to Paul, Weiss for our deft handling of the most sensitive internal investigations, high-stakes employment and executive-related litigations, and business-critical trade secrets, non-competition and restrictive covenant disputes.

Representative Engagements

Workplace Investigations

  • 21st Century Fox in government and internal investigations, including the internal investigation of sexual harassment claims against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and the investigation of claims related to former Fox News TV personality Bill O’Reilly.
  • BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, in an internal review of the company’s processes for investigating employee complaints, including its handling of former employees’ allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination reported in the media.
  • The National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins franchise in conducting an independent review of the team’s signing of Mitchell Miller and providing recommendations on updated player-vetting policies.
  • Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in an independent investigation and audit of policies and procedures regarding safety at the organization’s children’s behavioral health programs nationwide.
  • The National Football League in a number of high-profile matters, including in an investigation regarding workplace conduct within the Miami Dolphins organization.
  • A private equity firm in connection with multiple internal investigations concerning its portfolio companies, including an internal investigation regarding workplace conduct at a restaurant and food service company; and an audit committee investigation into allegations of employee misconduct related to sexual harassment and the misuse of expense reports at a manufacturing and packaging products company.
  • A Fortune 500 energy company in connection with an internal investigation regarding an executive’s discrimination and retaliation claims arising from a corporate merger.
  • A multinational financial technology company in internal investigations regarding internal reporting of sexual harassment complaints and a sexual harassment allegation involving a senior executive.
  • A Fortune 500 national retail chain in internal investigations involving allegations of employee misconduct and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
  • A major tech e-commerce company in connection with sensitive internal investigations of employment-related claims.
  • The independent members of the board of directors of a fintech company in connection with an internal investigation concerning allegations of executive mismanagement, hostile work environment, and gender discrimination.

Employment Litigation

  • 21st Century Fox in litigation involving gender discrimination, sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims.
  • Amazon in a putative class action being litigated in the Eastern District of California by a former employee asserting claims of disability discrimination, failure to provide a reasonable accommodation and retaliation.
  • Barnes & Noble in litigation related to the termination of its CEO, notably securing the dismissal of a $70 million defamation claim and the favorable settlement of all remaining claims.
  • Columbia University in defense of claims brought by current and former students alleging violations of Title IX, Title VII and state and local laws based on gender discrimination, harassment and hostile work environment.
  • Citigroup in the successful resolution of a putative nationwide class action alleging discrimination against female brokers in the distribution of client accounts, administrative support, and partnership opportunities.
  • The National Football League in defense of a putative class action brought by a former NFL head coach alleging racial discrimination in the hiring of head coaches, coordinators and general managers.
  • NBCUniversal in the favorable settlement of Rule 23 class and FLSA collective actions brought by Parking Production Assistants who worked on NBC Universal-produced films and television shows alleging violations of the FLSA and New York Labor Law.
  • Pfizer in securing the denial of a preliminary injunction and dismissal of a high-profile “reverse discrimination” suit brought by a newly created non-profit advocacy group, Do No Harm, alleging that Pfizer’s Breakthrough Fellowship Program to create a pipeline for diverse talent in the company’s leadership ranks violates Section 1981, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act, and various New York State and New York City human rights laws.
  • Prudential in achieving favorable settlements or dismissals of claims brought by over 200 current and former employees alleging a conspiracy related to the prior resolution of their employment-related claims in an alternative dispute resolution process.
  • Numerous litigations and actions regarding the implementation of workplace policies, including representations of:
    • New York Presbyterian Hospital in the complete dismissal of a complaint challenging the New York state regulation that requires healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 absent a valid medical exemption;
    • the New York Unified Court System in successfully defending multiple challenges seeking to block its implementation of a vaccine mandate under labor law and on Constitutional grounds; and
    • Santa Clara University (SCU) and two SCU employees, in securing the dismissal at the demurrer stage of a complaint brought by two students and an anti-vaccine organization challenging SCU’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The Paul, Weiss team previously defeated two attempts by the plaintiffs to secure temporary injunctive relief against the university’s policy.
  • SS&C Technologies in:
    • the settlement of a collective and class action under the FLSA and New Jersey state wage and hour laws; and
    • a putative class action alleging violations of New York state wage and hour laws.
  • Wafra, an international investment firm, in securing the dismissal in New York State Supreme Court, affirmed on appeal by the Appellate Division, First Department, of a multimillion-dollar age discrimination suit brought by a former executive following his termination from the company. The executive alleged that Wafra used a sexual harassment complaint and a subsequent investigation as pretext to improperly terminate him on the basis of his age and also asserted claims for unjust enrichment, defamation, negligence and tortious interference with prospective business relations.

Trade Secrets, Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation & Restrictive Covenants

  • BASF in a theft of trade secrets action against Honeywell International in which Paul, Weiss obtained a preliminary injunction that prohibited BASF’s former chief technology officer from joining Honeywell until the expiration of his two-year non-compete period. Honeywell was also required to return and not use certain trade secret information.
  • CircusTrix Holdings in an action obtaining injunctive relief to prevent a former business partner from violating non-competition and non-solicitation obligations.
  • Citigroup in the dismissal of a putative class action brought by current and former employees alleging that the non-compete provisions of their employment agreements violated California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL).
  • Comtech Telecommunications in securing the favorable settlement prior to trial of two consolidated actions in federal district court involving claims against a former employee and her new employer, Motorola Solutions Inc., for breach of her employment agreement’s non-compete, non-solicit, and confidentiality provisions and tortious interference, as well as defending claims of breach of contract, wage withholding, gender discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful discharge brought by the former employee.
  • Genentech, Inc. in connection with allegations of theft of trade secrets, unfair trade practice and unjust enrichment brought by an ophthalmologist who claimed to have helped Genentech develop the eye disease drug Lucentis. Plaintiff sought $1.16 billion in damages before a federal district jury in Pennsylvania rejected the claims in their entirety.
  • IBM in actual and threatened litigations concerning enforcement of employee restrictive covenants, non-competition agreements and equity clawback contracts, including in:
    • winning an injunction at trial, affirmed on appeal by the Second Circuit, prohibiting a former senior executive from accepting a competing leadership position at Microsoft in breach of his non-competition agreement. Paul, Weiss previously secured a TRO to prevent the executive from accepting the offer and at trial proved that the former executive was privy to some of IBM’s most competitively sensitive trade secrets, and, absent an injunction, IBM would suffer irreparable injury; and
    • a successful non-competition suit brought against the company’s former CIO who sought to take a competing position at a major technology firm alleging that the employee had leaked trade secrets about IBM’s next-generation cloud computing system. Paul, Weiss secured a TRO and following a trial, the parties agreed to a settlement whereby the CIO no longer works in the tech industry.
  • Frederic Fekkai in litigations and investigations concerning employment discrimination and enforcement of employee restrictive covenants.
  • SAP in a longstanding dispute brought by business analytics provider Teradata, seeking more than $1 billion in damages in an action involving high-stakes trade secret misappropriation claims concerning SAP’s flagship product HANA. Following extensive discovery, SAP defeated Teradata’s trade secret misappropriation claims on summary judgment. Teradata is appealing the ruling while staying or dismissing without prejudice the remaining claims.
  • XPO Logistics, Inc. in an action for misappropriation of trade secrets brought by a competitor. With the assistance of experts, Paul, Weiss conducted a forensic investigation to locate, isolate, and remove from XPO’s vast computer systems certain information contained in spreadsheets brought without XPO’s knowledge by a competitor’s former employee. Our team prepared an extensive remediation report, helped to monitor ongoing compliance, and ultimately persuaded the court not to extend or increase the preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs.
  • A Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm in a trade secrets dispute with its former general counsel who, following her termination from the company, brought allegations to the SEC alleging that the VC firm had defrauded investors. On behalf of the VC firm, Paul, Weiss made a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California based on evidence that the former employee had misappropriated trade secrets and had made false statements to the FBI.

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