Rick is a trusted adviser and experienced litigator and trial attorney who brings a creative, practical, business-minded approach to employment litigation and pre-litigation compliance. He represents clients of all sizes in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, higher education, manufacturing, medical technology, oil and gas, and transportation and logistics.
As a litigator, Rick represents clients in all manner of employment litigation matters. In particular, Rick has extensive experience litigating collective and class action wage and hour lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage and hour laws; disputes involving restrictive covenants or injunctive relief; and single and multi-plaintiff actions under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX).
He also regularly represents employers in matters before the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), and state fair employment practices agencies.
As an adviser, Rick works collaboratively with in-house counsel, human resources professionals, and company executives to ensure clients remain in compliance with the ever-changing and increasingly complex framework of federal, state, and local laws governing the workplace. Clients frequently retain Rick to assist with FLSA and state wage and hour law compliance (including exempt/non-exempt classification, use of independent contractors and remote workers, joint employment, and off-the-clock issues); ADA/FMLA compliance (including the interactive process, reasonable accommodations, and leave management); developing and implementing effective personnel policies and procedures; making hiring, discipline, and discharge decisions (including FCRA compliance, reductions in force, and WARN Act compliance); negotiating, drafting, and enforcing employment, independent contractor, confidentiality, and non-compete agreements; conducting workplace training (including sexual harassment prevention, manager best practices, and employment law trends and emerging issues); investigating internal and external complaints (including harassment and retaliation); and performing human resources and wage and hour compliance audits.
Rick is a contributing author of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s wage and hour treatise, The Fair Labor Standards Act; and is frequently called upon to speak at industry and trade groups and human resources associations on wage and hour topics, including best practices for FLSA compliance, state wage payment law trends, emerging pay equity and equal pay issues, and the risks of using independent contractors and remote workers.
Wage and Hour Collective and Class Action Matters
Rick served as lead counsel in the following representative wage and hour collective and class action matters:
- Secured summary judgment for a financial services company in a nationwide collective/class action alleging the company violated the FLSA and the wage and hour laws of 10 states (including Pennsylvania and Ohio) by applying offsets and chargebacks when calculating the commissions earned by non-exempt sales employees.
- Secured summary judgment for a transportation and logistics company in a putative collective/class action alleging that the company violated the FLSA, the Truth-in-Leasing Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (a/k/a the Forced Labor Law), and Pennsylvania common law by misclassifying owner/operator truck drivers as independent contractors, forcing them to perform services for defendants by using threats of serious financial harm, and failing to pay them minimum wage for all hours worked.
- Obtained denial of Rule 23 class certification for a financial services company in a collective/class action involving over 1,000 putative class members alleging the company violated the FLSA and the wage and hour laws of 10 states (including Pennsylvania and Ohio) because its “policy-to-violate-the-policy” (an unofficial off-the-clock policy that ran contrary to its official written policy) required loan officers to work in excess of 40 hours per week while discouraging them from recording overtime hours worked.
- Secured denial of conditional certification for a health care company in a putative FLSA collective action alleging that the company’s policies (including its automatic meal break deduction policy) caused non-exempt employees to work off the clock.
- Successfully limited settlement to the named plaintiff in a putative collective/class action alleging that a national health insurer violated the FLSA and Pennsylvania state law by misclassifying call center and customer service supervisors as exempt and failing to pay them overtime.
- Achieved favorable settlement (less than 10% of the alleged damages as calculated by plaintiff’s expert) for a financial services company in two consolidated nationwide collective/class actions (involving over 1,100 opt-in plaintiffs and over 3,000 class members) alleging that the company violated the FLSA and the wage and hour laws of 12 states (including Pennsylvania and Ohio) by failing to compensate non-exempt sales employees pursuant to the terms of their offer letters, making deductions from their earned commissions, and requiring them to work off the clock.
- Successfully defended an oil and gas services company in a DOL investigation of the company’s wage and hour practices, including whether landmen and various categories of remote workers were properly classified as independent contractors
Restrictive Covenant and Single-Plaintiff Matters
Rick served as lead counsel in the following representative restrictive covenant and single-plaintiff matters:
- Secured a defense verdict on all claims for a university following a federal court jury trial on a former Ph.D. student’s claims that the university breached her contract, failed to adequately address her allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and discriminated, harassed, and retaliated against her in violation of Title VI and Title IX.
- Secured a defense verdict on all claims (affirmed by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania) for a manufacturing company following a state court jury trial on a former field sales manager’s claims that the company owed him $1.3 million for breaching his employment agreement and wrongfully terminating his employment while he was on an expatriate assignment in Singapore with his pregnant wife.
- Defeated a health care network’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent a breast surgeon from working for a rival health care network, and obtained dismissal with prejudice of all claims that the surgeon violated the confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicitation provisions of her employment agreement.
- Achieved summary judgment (affirmed by the Third Circuit) for a manufacturing company on a former production line employee’s claims of disability discrimination, FMLA retaliation, and failure to accommodate.
- Obtained summary judgment for a health care company on a former employee’s claims that she was harassed because of her sex, race, and age; and then terminated in retaliation for reporting the alleged harassment.
- Secured summary judgment for a medical technology company on a former sales representative’s claims that the company failed to accommodate her depression and mood disorder and terminated her employment because of her sex and disability.
- Achieved summary judgment for university and university president on a former associate professor’s claims of age, race, and religious discrimination; intentional infliction of emotional distress; breach of contract; and defamation stemming from the university’s decision to deny her tenure.
Before Fox Rothschild
Prior to joining Fox, Rick was a partner with Frost Brown Todd, LLC and Reed Smith, LLP. He was also an associate at McNees Wallace & Nurick, LLC.
Beyond Fox Rothschild
Rick is a member of the Bridges Society of the United Way of Allegheny County, and has served as President of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area and as a Member of the Board of the Fredricksen Library. He has also served as an Officer of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association. In a recent pro bono Eighth Amendment prisoner rights case, Rick secured the client’s release to general population after more than 21 consecutive years in solitary confinement.
Wage & Hour – Developments & Highlights Blog
Fox Rothschild's Wage & Hour – Developments & Highlights blog provides the latest information on developments in wage and hour law, including class actions, exemption/misclassification and working time issues.
The HR Workplace Audit
A workplace audit is the first step in improving a company’s human resources department. It allows a company to evaluate its current policies and practices to identify weaknesses or areas out of compliance. This eBook provides a guide to systematically review a company’s pre-employment, employment, post-employment, and other miscellaneous processes.
Successful Employment Termination Strategies: How to Get Rid of the Troublesome Employee
While litigation is often unavoidable and ultimate success can never by guaranteed, the simple truth is that practices and decisions that make sound, practical business sense are the most defensible in litigation. An employment termination decision is, simply, a business decision with potentially significant legal consequences that should be considered, made and implemented with the same degree of care that attends any other comparable decision.
Honors & Awards
- Named among The Legal Intelligencer's “2017 Lawyers on the Fast Track”
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyers®, Rising Star in Labor and Employment, 2011-2018