Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP offers its clients a full range of services in the areas of labor and employment law, ranging from counsel on daily operations to litigation, from unemployment insurance issues to appellate practice, from sexual harassment to wrongful termination claims.
Counseling, Compliance, Audits, and Investigations
Various businesses nationwide retain Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP on an ongoing basis for preventative counseling in avoiding or handling employee disputes. We advise clients on measures concerning exposure to discrimination, wrongful discharge, and other claims. Often, we consult with our clients concerning everyday workplace issues, such as recruitment and selection, employee morale, absenteeism, and productivity. We find especially crucial how dealing with the role technology, such as the Internet, email, and PDAs, plays in the workplace. We enhance our counseling role by offering clients comprehensive, on-site employment and labor audit of their policies and practices. We are also retained to investigate alleged workplace misconduct, such as harassment and discrimination, and report back to the Executive Suite on our findings and recommendations.
Policy and Agreement Drafting
We review and draft, where necessary, employee handbooks and other workplace policies. These include policies complying with various drug-free workplace laws and family leave acts. In addition, we draft various agreements for our clients, such as employment, confidentiality, restrictive covenant, and separation agreements.
Employment Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
Our aggressive counseling and compliance approach helps reduce the likelihood that a client will be subject to a charge of employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. However, given the cost to a disgruntled employee or applicant for filing a charge (it is free), it does happen. Our attorneys practice routinely before various local and state human rights administrative agencies across the country, addressing such matters as race and sex discrimination, age and disability discrimination, and other claims of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. We also represent employers with respect to discrimination before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), state and local agencies, and before federal and state courts across the nation.
Our attorneys assist clients in determining which employees are exempt and non-exempt under applicable overtime compensation laws. Where necessary, we represent clients before the administrative agencies and courts with respect to audits and wage payment matters.
Plant Closings and Bankruptcies
We assist our clients in adjusting to changing business circumstances. In today’s economic climate, plant shutdowns and workforce reductions are inevitable. We work very closely with companies that are forced to resort to such measures, ensuring that they comply with obligations under state and federal laws. This includes drafting and implementing voluntary and involuntary staff reduction programs. We also endeavor to structure the action in a manner that will reduce the client’s exposure in the event the shutdown or reduction is legally challenged by an adversely affected employee.
Highly Placed Executives, Managers, and Administrators
From time to time, we represent individuals in negotiating their separation from employment. Our expertise allows us to identify interests crucial to the more highly compensated employee, such as pension and profit-sharing plan losses, insurance, and opportunities for reemployment. Given various corporate restructurings, we are frequently involved in such negotiations for chief executives in various publicly and privately traded companies, addressing such sensitive issues as competition and solicitation.
Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP provides a wide array of services to financial institutions, business entities, and individuals in all aspects of federal bankruptcy and state insolvency law throughout the United States.
The firm represents lending institutions, debtors, landlords, tenants, purchasers, and sellers of distressed assets, creditors’ committees, union health, welfare and pension funds, both secured and unsecured creditors, and bankruptcy trustees in all aspects of the reorganization and/or liquidation process, whether it be done out-of-court or in-court.
The firm’s wide-ranging experience in this area includes work in litigating all matters in bankruptcy court, including the prosecution and defense of preference and fraudulent conveyance actions, tax claims, reclamation claims, executory contract disputes, plan of reorganization confirmation issues, and discharge and dischargeability actions.
Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP represents businesses and, in some instances, individuals in both out-of-court and in-court workouts of their financial affairs. This work includes the filing of Chapter 11 cases, obtaining financing and cash collateral orders, negotiating plans of reorganization, and, when necessary, litigating all issues attendant to the reorganization process, including the defense of involuntary bankruptcy proceedings. The firm’s experience in this area includes work in relocating businesses to Mexico to take advantage of that country’s Maquiladora program. In addition, often in smaller or medium-sized cases, the owners, officers, and/or directors may have guaranteed debt or personally incurred tax liability. In these instances, the firm works with these individuals to reduce their personal exposure and, if necessary, institute bankruptcy or out-of-court reorganization proceedings on their behalf.
The firm has extensive experience representing lenders in lien enforcement matters in both state courts and the federal bankruptcy court. This work includes prosecution of adversary proceedings to determine the validity and priority of liens, obtaining modifications of the automatic stay, negotiating cash collateral financing orders, negotiating plans of reorganization, litigating the confirmation of objectionable plans of reorganization, and defense of lender liability, subordination, and fraudulent conveyance litigation. The firm also has extensive experience in replevin and attachment proceedings, foreclosure, and other state court remedies available to lenders.
Unsecured Creditors and Creditors’ Committees
Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP has an active practice in protecting the interests of general unsecured creditors in insolvency proceedings by preparing proofs of claims, defending objections to these claims, and, if necessary, policing the case by objecting to lending arrangements or administrative claims which could reduce the dividend to unsecured creditors. Depending on the circumstances, we may or may not have our clients serve on a creditors’ committee. The firm represents these committees and has developed methods to be cost-effective in this representation.
One area in which Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP has been very active is representing landlords in reorganization/liquidation proceedings. This representation includes protecting a landlord’s interest in the assumption, rejection, or assignment of its lease, compelling compliance with lease terms during “going out of business” sales, and filing rejection damage claims when leases are rejected.
Bankruptcy Trustees and Assignees
The firm is often retained by bankruptcy trustees or assignees in assignments for the benefit of creditors, either as general or special counsel, to litigate a wide variety of actions. These actions include preference, fraudulent conveyance, and lien avoidance actions, fraud claims, veil piercing claims, objections to discharge and defense of trustee election requests in both Chapters 7 and 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In addition, the firm represents assignee companies in assignments for the benefit of creditors.
Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP has an active business and commercial litigation practice. The firm primarily represents businesses and, in some instances, individuals in civil proceedings before both the state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as before various administrative agencies.
Whether plaintiffs or defendants, our clients receive highly personalized representation tailored to the individual client’s needs. Some clients wish to use Rambo-style “in your face” litigation tactics, while others wish to pursue resolutions through alternative legal means such as summary trials, arbitration, mediation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. In either case, the firm can accommodate a client’s wishes.
We attempt to control litigation costs by accessing computer-assisted legal research and computerized litigation database programs, including document organization, storage, and retrieval. The firm prides itself on staying on the cutting edge of litigation support computer services.
Our litigation work is varied but is restricted to business and commercial issues. Matters with which the firm has recently been or is currently involved include:
Scalambrino & Arnoff, LLP is acutely aware that litigation can be time-consuming and expensive. For this reason, we take a preventative approach to keep our clients out of court. We make suggestions to our clients regarding preventative measures they can take to ensure, to the extent possible, that litigation is avoided. In this regard, if a problem arises, we attempt to become involved in matters when they are generally in the “letter writing” stage so that the client has some control over the facts and set the groundwork most beneficial to the client should litigation follow. We have found that if our clients institute these preventative measures, their litigation costs are substantially reduced. In addition to the obvious savings of attorneys’ fees and costs, little, if any, valuable work time and employee productivity are lost when there are no depositions to attend, court documents to review, or other litigation activity, which causes a loss of productivity, and, therefore, profit.
Our employment law practice on behalf of private schools was developed some years ago to encompass education-related claims by students. We address student academic and comportment issues with our client institutions (ranging from pre-school through graduate schools), both in-house and before such agencies as the United States Department of Education, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, as well as in the court system.