Laura O'Donnell is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Laura specializes in FLSA collective actions and state wage and hour class actions as well as class discrimination, particularly EEOC claims of systemic discrimination. Laura leads the firm's Wage and Hour Litigation group. In addition to collective and class actions, Laura regularly handles claims involving sexual harassment, employee competition and fiduciary duty breaches. Laura also has experience handling matters involving executive contracts, Title VII and related state causes of action, FMLA, ERISA and most other employment-based claims. Laura has handled several appeals of employment decisions to Texas Courts of Appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Selected Client Representations
- Defense of clients in wage and hour collective and class actions, involving claims of exempt misclassification, independent contractor misclassification, failure to pay overtime, "off-the-clock" work, tip pools, overtime on bonuses, joint employment and related wage and hour claims.
- Defense of clients against EEOC charges of systemic discrimination in hiring practices.
- Austin Court of Appeals decision reversing a jury verdict and holding that there was insufficient evidence of hostile work environment sexual harassment to submit claim to jury. Twigland Fashions, Ltd. v. Miller, S.W.3d, 2010 WL 850170 (Tex. App.-Austin March 11, 2010, no pet.).
- Summary judgment for national retailer on claims of hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment and retaliation in Comal County, Texas (2012).
- Defense award in a hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment claim against a regional restaurant chain, arbitrated in El Paso, Texas (December 2010).
- Defense awards in two arbitrations challenging stock forfeiture provisions in national financial institution's employee incentive compensation plan, both arbitrated in Harris County, Texas (2009 and 2006).
- Defense verdict on a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim against a national retail chain, tried to a jury in Travis County, Texas district court (2007).
- Temporary Injunction after a six-day hearing in a case alleging breach of fiduciary duty, brought by a Texas construction company against a former employee and his new employer, in Bexar County, Texas district court (2007).
- Decision denying Motion for Conditional Certification and notice and ruling FLSA in favor of regional restaurant chain Badgett v. TexasTaco Cabana, L.P., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74350 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 12, 2006).
- Ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding summary judgment on ERISA denial of benefits claim and U.S. Supreme Court denial of certiorari (2006).
- Defense verdict in a workers' compensation retaliation case against a national trucking company, tried to a jury in El Paso County, Texas district court (2001).
- Defense verdict in a sexual harassment, sex discrimination and assault case against a national bank, tried to a jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (1999).
- Ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that an employer-initiated arbitration agreement is enforceable and Order from the United States Supreme Court denying certiorari in the appeal of the Fifth Circuit's opinion (1998).
- Summary Judgments in cases alleging violations of the FLSA, Title VII, the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, the ADEA, the ADA, the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, the Texas Unemployment Act, COBRA, ERISA, the DOD Whistleblower Statute and various common law claims.