After more than 25 years of practicing labor and employment law, David Walston has developed a formula for building successful client relationships. He believes that all good engagements begin with a face-to-face meeting to perform an assessment of the current policies and practices of the client’s human resources operations. David’s assessment is designed to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and agency and court interpretations. David then offers day-to-day employment advice on workplace issues and suggests possible courses of action available to the client – suggestions to aid the avoidance of administrative charges and lawsuits. He provides these services through the client’s election of a flat-fee retainer arrangement or on an hourly-rate basis.
If an issue evolves into administrative proceedings or a lawsuit, before any response or pleading is filed David conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the underlying facts, and the claims and applicable defenses. He then has an extremely candid conversation with the client regarding the risks the matter presents so the client can make a fully informed decision regarding how to address the matter. With the client’s goals developed, David maps out a strategic case management plan. David keeps in constant contact with the client regarding all significant developments so he and the client modify the model as the defense of the matter proceeds.
This approach has served David well, whether he is planning the defense of employment discrimination, hostile work environment or retaliation claims, FLSA individual and collective actions, defending unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB, directing the opposition to a union organizational campaign, or negotiating with governmental agencies in audits or charges of violations of employment laws or regulations.
- Employment Civil Rights Claims – Represented businesses in administrative charges, lawsuits and arbitrations involving claims of unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation and interference with protected rights, including:
- Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Family-Medical Leave Act
- Code § 25-5-11.1
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Defended manufacturers, hospitals, restaurants, landscapers and event staffing businesses in FLSA collective actions with possible classes ranging from 50 to 2,500 members. Settled each case in its entirety before or immediately following certification and the close of opt-in period for between $10,000 to $25,000.
- Represented three hospitals in separate FLSA collective actions with possible classes from 600 to in excess of 2,000 members. Settled the case for $10,000, as a whole, with most of the last-standing claimants receiving $50. Each matter settled for under $10,000.
- Recent defense of putative FLSA collective action with a possible class of 5,000 current and former employees. Settled with the three named plaintiffs for $15,000 without the class being certified.
- Defense of ten other collective actions for settlements of less than $12,500 and without class being certified.
- National Labor Relations Act – Advised manufacturers in defeating organizational efforts by trade unions and successfully defending unfair labor practices asserted under the National Labor Relations Act arising from the union organizational campaigns.
- Represented general contractor managing construction of an electrical power steam plant under a specially-negotiated collective bargaining agreement with 13 trade unions. Representation included enjoining of wildcat strikes and defense of union jurisdictional issues, unfair labor practice charges and grievances and arbitrations.
- Federal contractors – Represented national manufacturer in negotiating a proposed multimillion dollar back-pay award and fine by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance for affirmative action violations to a back-pay award of $90,000.
Professional and Community Involvement
- American Bar Association (ABA): Member, Labor and Employment Section
- Alabama State Bar: Member, Labor and Employment Section
- Birmingham Bar Association: Member
- Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council: Pro Bono Legal Counsel
- King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes: Pro Bono Legal Counsel
Awards and Recognition
- AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell*
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2011-2018 in the field of Labor & Employment Litigation; Employment Law – Management
- Selected by The Best Lawyers in America® in 2018 as “Lawyer of the Year” for Labor & Employment Litigation
Publications and presentations
- Presenter, Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation – The New Battleground for Title VII Claims?, Alabama Self-Insured Association Summer Conference, Sandestin, Fla. (August 2015)
- Author, Alternative Dispute Resolution of Employment Claims, Christian & Small Nonstop Insights Blog (April 2015)
- Author, Social Media and the Workplace, Christian & Small Nonstop Insights Blog (July 2014)
- Presenter at the 2014 Primerus Business Law Institute Symposium in New York City, NY: Social Media in the Workplace (May 15, 2014)
- Panelist at The Primerus Business Law Institute: Creation and Evolution, The Explosion of Social Media in the Workplace (June 2012).
- Presenter at Alabama Association of Nonprofits: Standards of Excellence: Employment Policies and Practices (November 2011).
- Presenter at Greater Birmingham Apartment Association and the Greater Birmingham Association of Landscape Professionals: The Alabama Immigration Act – Its Current Impact on Your Business (December 2011).
- Presenter at the Alabama Association of Municipal Attorneys/Alabama Municipal Association: Employment Issues for Public Employers – The New, the Revised and the Old, Spring Law Conference (March 2011).
- Panelist at Primerus webinar: The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 – Will You Be Part of the 10% Increase in Claims? (2010).
- Presenter at Chief Executive Officers and Human Resources Directors of regional medical centers in Alabama: Fair Labor Standards Act Collective Actions – The New Wave of Litigation (2010).