Employment litigation has grown tremendously throughout the country during the past decade, and Lightfoot’s employment practice has tracked this growth. We regularly represent defendants in employment-related suits and disputes before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in state and federal courts. The attorneys at Lightfoot have handled all types of employment-related matters, including wrongful termination, retaliatory discharge, race, age, disability and gender discrimination claims, claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and non-compete claims. We also have extensive experience in conducting internal investigations of employee complaints and disputes. Our attorneys advise clients on how to avoid such disputes and litigation and provide guidance in drafting employment contracts.

Our attorneys are cognizant of the fact that employment disputes often involve more important considerations than simply which party wins and which party loses. We work closely with our clients in the early stages of litigation to assess the facts and economic realities of each matter and to determine the client’s ultimate goals for the case. Our clients’ goals dictate our course of action from start to finish.

Lightfoot, Franklin & White’s employment lawyers represent a diverse group of businesses in almost every industry. From leading product and textile manufacturers, retail clothing companies, chemical companies and insurance companies to medical practice groups and an intercollegiate athletic department, our lawyers are experienced in the courtroom and understand how to effectively represent clients before juries, judges and arbitrators. Recent examples of our experience in employment litigation include:

  • Winning a defense verdict in a “failure to promote” race-discrimination trial in federal court on behalf of a textile manufacturer.
  • Successfully defending a class action against a large retail department store chain in which the employee class claimed our client had wrongfully withheld commissions on certain transactions. After an evidentiary hearing on class certification, the trial court refused to certify the class.
  • Obtaining summary judgment for a chemical manufacturer in a reduction-in-force ADEA and gender-discrimination suit. Plaintiff had worked for our client for nearly 20 years and complained that several younger male employees who were less qualified and had been employed a shorter time were retained as part of the downsizing. The summary judgment was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Obtaining summary judgment on an ADEA suit brought by a laborer who suffered a back injury that prevented him from performing his job. The summary judgment was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Winning summary judgment in a hostile-environment suit against an insurance company where the plaintiff agent claimed that he had been subjected to racial slurs and inappropriate comments during his employment. The judgment was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Winning summary judgment in a sexual harassment/wrongful termination case against a law firm and in numerous discrimination and worker’s compensation retaliatory discharge cases throughout the state.
  • Winning summary judgment in a race discrimination/hostile environment suit brought by multiple plaintiffs against a national industrial coating company and its regional subsidiary.

Representative Matters

James Braswell v. Glovis America, Inc., CV-00822-WKW-WC, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama: This is an employment discrimination lawsuit featuring allegations of racial discrimination and retaliation under Title VII, age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Glovis America, the defendant in this action, elected to change counsel during the pendency of this suit when two of its outside counsel left their law firm to accept in-house counsel positions for existing clients of the firm. Glovis America then hired our law firm to represent it in this lawsuit based on a strong referral from one of the lawyers who accepted an in-house position. Although the case is still in the early stages of discovery, our firm has already made such an impression on the General Counsel for Glovis America that he has retained our firm for all employment matters arising out of the company’s facilities in Alabama.

Lizzie Weaver v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, CV-00-0991-BH-S, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama: This was an employment discrimination lawsuit featuring allegations of sex discrimination under Title VII and age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The plaintiff’s claims arose out of a reduction in force at DuPont’s facility in Axis, Alabama. After extensive discovery, our firm filed a summary judgment motion on behalf of DuPont. The trial court granted that summary judgment motion in DuPont’s favor. Our firm then handled the plaintiff’s appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, where the appellate court affirmed the summary judgment order.

Bobby E. Clemmons v. Red Star Yeast Company, LLC, CV-11-00264-WKW, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama: This was a breach of contract action that was originally filed in an Alabama state court. The plaintiff had seized upon an obvious mistake in the severance paperwork that his employer, Red Star Yeast Company, had provided him upon his termination. As a result of this mistake, the plaintiff claimed that Red Star Yeast Company owed him almost $500,000 in severance pay. As counsel for Red Star Yeast Company, our law firm removed the case to federal court to secure a more favorable forum for our client’s legal arguments. After extensive battles in discovery, including a successful effort to defeat a motion to compel, our office filed a summary judgment motion on our client’s behalf. The court granted the motion in Red Star Yeast Company’s favor and Plaintiff did not appeal the result.

Kristy Johnson v. Methvin Equipment Company, Charge No. 420-2007-03265, EEOC proceeding in the Northern District of Alabama: Kristy Johnson alleged that the owner of Methvin Equipment Company had sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment due to that harassment. Our firm was hired to represent Methvin Equipment Company in responding to Johnson’s EEOC charges. We conducted a full-scale investigation of Johnson’s allegations by reviewing relevant documents and conducting interviews of company personnel, including an emotionally charged interview of the business owner’s wife, who was also an employee of the company. After we submitted a thorough written response to Johnson’s charges, the EEOC eventually issued a right-to-sue letter to Johnson. However, Johnson never acted upon that invitation to file a lawsuit. The business owner was pleased, not only with the favorable outcome, but with the delicate and professional manner in which our office handled the investigation of a very sensitive matter.