Phillip B. Russell

Shareholder Tampa

Phillip Russell is a practical labor and employment lawyer who represents businesses in a wide range of labor and employment law matters, including workplace safety and health (OSHA), traditional labor relations (staying union-free), unfair competition and trade secrets litigation, employment litigation defense, and advising and counseling employers on workplace legal compliance issues.  Phillip represents clients in the construction, staffing, technology, manufacturing, banking, and other industries.  He is also a nationally recognized speaker and author on labor and employment law issues.  

Phillip’s first job was bagging groceries and stocking shelves in his family’s grocery store. As a teenager, he learned the value of hard work and business. His grandfather took him to business meetings and Phillip saw first-hand the challenges of managing a business and employees. But he also saw the true value in positive employee relations. Now, Phillip represents and protects each of his clients, large or small, as if they were his family’s grocery business – with enthusiasm, dedication, and a strong belief that lawsuits, government investigations, and unions are not good for business or employees.

In 2015, Phillip is celebrating his 20th year of practicing law. He is a peer-review AV-Preeminent® Rated Attorney (by Martindale-Hubbell), rated among the top 5% of lawyers by Florida Super Lawyers (Thompson Reuters), and is listed in Best Lawyers® by U.S. News and World Report. He earned his law degree from Stetson University and has B.S. Management and M.S. Economics degrees from Georgia Tech.

Phillip is a Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech who bleeds White and Gold! He is also an avid spear gun hunter and SCUBA diver who enjoys any time on or under the Gulf of Mexico or any place he can dive. Phillip loves living Floridays in the sunshine and saltwater where he boats, fishes, and plays. He is a CrossFit athlete who enjoys adventure and obstacle course races despite the constant nagging of middle-aged muscles and joints. Phillip is a ridiculous Parrothead who is only growing older, but not up!


Experience

Through 20 years of practice, Phillip has developed extensive experience across a broad range of labor and employment law matters representing businesses in many industries.  He has become a trusted advisor to large and small clients that need comprehensive practical solutions to workplace legal needs.

Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA and State Agency Investigations)

Phillip has extensive experience representing construction companies and contractors and other employers in handling OSHA fatality, catastrophic, and other injury or illness investigations. Some recent cases include fatalities or catastrophic injuries involving falls, trenches, confined spaces, electrocutions, elevator shafts, heavy construction equipment rollovers, and heavy equipment failures. In most cases, OSHA or the state agency decided not to issue citations or issued citations with substantially lower penalties or citations than initially expected.

Traditional Labor Relations (Staying Union-free)

Phillip helps clients stay union-free through election campaigns, advice and counseling, and supervisor and manager training. He has helped clients win multiple hard-fought union representation campaigns and elections in the nursing home / assisted living, poultry processing, retail, and manufacturing industries.

Congressional Testimony (Oct. 12, 2011) – By special invitation, Phillip testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and The Workforce in support of the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, H.R. 3094 (introduced by Rep. John Kline, R-MN), which would roll back the NLRB's Specialty Healthcare decision (allowing micro-unions) and its proposed rule-making on election procedures (allowing quickie elections). Mr. Russell testified that the WDFA would protect employees' rights to vote on unionization and to obtain adequate information before voting.

Litigation - Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets (Protecting Clients’ Business Investments)

Phillip helps businesses protect investments in their people, trade secrets, and confidential information through employment agreements and litigation. He has obtained multiple injunctions enforcing non-solicitation, non-disclosure, and non-compete restrictive covenants in former key employees’ employment agreements, including obtaining an injunction for a national technology company against its top competitor and a group of former sales executives and an injunction for a national staffing company against a former employee and her new employer.

Litigation – Employment Law (Defending Businesses)

Phillip has defended hundreds of lawsuits filed by former or current employees, including federal and state court lawsuits claiming discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to pay minimum wage or overtime compensation, and violations of the FMLA or other leave laws. He has obtained summary judgment for clients in numerous cases had several cases go to bench or jury trials. 

Advice and Counseling – Employment Law (Protecting Businesses)

Phillip helps clients protect their businesses through pro-active preventive maintenance advice and counseling. To help them address workplace legal and human resources issues when they arise, he provides advice and counseling through an annual flat-rate Hotline service. Phillip strongly believes in the extensive benefits of training supervisors and managers in understanding their legal roles and responsibilities. He also reviews and revises employee handbooks, policies, and agreements. To help clients best protect their businesses, he also provides audit services to check for compliance issues with policies and practices.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • HR Florida State Council (Outside Counsel)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) – West Central Florida Chapter
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and numerous SHRM Chapters, including HR Tampa, Sarasota-Manatee Human Resources Association (SHRA), Big Bend Society for Human Resource Management (BBSHRM), Keys SHRM, Lake Sumter SHRM, HR Association of Broward County (HRABC), and others
  • Florida Transportation Builders Association (Labor & Employment Counsel; Safety Committee Member)
  • Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), Florida West Coast Chapter (Outside Counsel)
  • IEC National, and numerous IEC Chapters nationwide, including the Florida West Coast, Atlanta, Georgia, and Austin chapters
  • American Bar Association (Labor & Employment and Litigation Sections)
  • Florida Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section Co-Chair, 2008-2009)
  • Georgia Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)
  • Early Leaning Coalition of Pinellas County, Inc., Board Member (Governor Appointed) (May 2016-present)

Speeches:

  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Anatomy of an OSHA Serious Injury/Fatality Investigation: Are You Prepared?'' - San Diego - May 03, 2017
  • IEC National Policy Conference - ''Labor Law Update'' - Washington, D.C. - April 25, 2016
  • IEC CON 2015: Conduit for Profit - ''How to Navigate Your Way through an OSHA Investigation'' - Tampa - October 22, 2015
  • Lorman Webinar - ''Recognize and Reduce the Top 5 Safety Violations in Construction'' - August 18, 2015
  • Florida Transportation Builders Association, Construction Conference 2015 - ''OSHA Legal Update and Handling Inspections'' - Orlando - February 17, 2015
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association - ''How To Handle Your Client’s OSHA Inspection'' - Tampa - February 13, 2015
  • OD Works! Advanced Program by Ogletree’s Tampa Office - ''What HR Needs to Know about OSHA'' - Tampa - February 10, 2015
  • Sarasota SHRA - ''HR Oddities, Advice from an Attorney on Workplace Kooks!'' - Sarasota - September 19, 2014
  • HR Florida Conference & Expo - ''The Obama NLRB's Second Term Attach on Union-free Workplaces'' - Orlando - August 20, 2014
  • FL Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - ''Handling OSHA Investigations'' - Tampa - July 18, 2014
  • IEC FWCC - ''How IEC Members Can Avoid OT Lawsuits'' - Clearwater - June 11, 2014
  • Lake Sumter SHRM - ''HR Gone Wild! Roles, Responsibilities and Risks of HR'' - Leesburg - May 19, 2014
  • HR Association of Broward County - ''Top 10 W&H Mistakes Made by Good Employers (and How to Avoid Them)'' - Ft. Lauderdale - April 25, 2014
  • IEC FWCC - ''Prevailing Wages for Electrical Contractors - The Davis-Bacon Act'' - Clearwater - April 24, 2014
  • SW FL HR Executive Group - ''NLRB and Related Labor Issues on the Horizon'' - Bonita Springs - April 24, 2014
  • IEC Atlanta - ''Employment Law Compliance: Hot Topics for Electrical Contractors'' - Atlanta - January 16, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins/HR Tampa - ''How Social Media Changed Workplace Laws'' - Tampa - October 29, 2013
  • The HR Specialist/Business Management Daily Webinar - ''Employment Law 101 for Supervisors: Avoiding the Mistakes that Lead to Litigation'' - September 13, 2013
  • HR Florida Conference & Expo - ''HR Gone Wild! Roles, Responsibilities and Risks of HR'' - Orlando - August 20, 2013
  • FL Keys SHRM - ''Sink or Swim, Surviving the Flood of W&H Lawsuits'' - Key West - September 12, 2012
  • IEC National Convention & Electric Expo 2010 - ''Davis-Bacon Act: Prevailing Wage Requirements for Electrical Contractors'' - Phoenix - October 29, 2010
  • International Foodservice Distributors Association (IDFA) - 2010 Distribution Solutions Conference - ''Developing a Game Plan for Prevailing in Organizing Campaigns'' - Tampa - October 27, 2010
  • IDFA 2010 Distribution Solutions Conference - ''Social Media from an HR Perspective'' - Tampa - October 25, 2010
  • WorkComp Advisory Group (WCAG) - Educational Emporium - Knowledge & Networking 2010 - ''FMLA: The Second Wave of Litigation'' - Chicago - September 16, 2010
  • HR Florida 2010 Annual State Conference & Expo - ''Staying Union-Free in a Pro-Union World'' - Orlando - August 31, 2010
  • Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) - 2010 Annual Conference & Trade Show 2010 - ''When the Volcano Blows: What to Do If a Union or OSHA Shows Up'' - Orlando - July 06, 2010

Published Works

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Media

Media Quotes

August 09, 2017 - XpertHR - "Florida Workplace Trends 2017: The One Question Employers Should Be Asking"
April 27, 2017 - Tampa Bay Business Journal - "EEOC sues South Tampa massage franchise for alleged discrimination over African trip"
April 03, 2017 - Business Insurance - "Personal injury suits could rise if OSHA's wings are clipped"

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