Fred W. Suggs

Of Counsel || Greenville

Fred Suggs is a certified specialist in labor and employment law by the South Carolina Supreme Court.  He is also a certified civil court mediator. 

Mr. Suggs is a founding lawyer of Ogletree Deakins, having been with the firm since its inception.  Mr. Suggs helps companies avoid work-related legal exposure by giving preventive advice and providing training for managers at client locations.  Mr. Suggs speaks regularly at employment law conferences, Bar Programs for other lawyers, Association of Corporate Council Meetings, SHRM Conferences for Human Resources Professionals, and at workshops and seminars sponsored by the firm.

Mr. Suggs has wide experience in labor and employment law.  He began defending across-the-board class actions in 1976, and has since handled a number of class complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color, sex, and age.  Mr. Suggs has defended countless individual claims of discrimination before government agencies and state and federal courts.  He has also litigated claims arising under restrictive covenants, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the FMLA, and common law torts and contracts.

Mr. Suggs’ experience in union campaigns began with the ACTWU’s assault on J.P. Stevens in the late 1970s.  He has advised many companies on the rights and responsibilities of management during card signing activity, and after petitions for elections have been filed.

Mr. Suggs has served the South Carolina Bar in many positions, including President, from 2009 to 2010.  He has been Chairman of the Labor and Employment Section, Chairman of the Professional Responsibility Committee, Chairman of the House of Delegates, and Chairman of the Bar’s Pro Bono Board.

Mr. Suggs has served his community by Chairing the Board of the Metropolitan YMCA, being General Counsel of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and Counsel to the Staff Parish Relations Committee at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church.

Learn more about Fred W. Suggs

Mr. Suggs helps companies avoid work-related legal exposure by giving preventive advice in his office, and by telephone, e-mail, and written correspondence, as well as on the Company’s premises.  He regularly provides training for clients at their facilities.  The training centers on the employer’s rights and responsibilities under the National Labor Relations Act, and the discrimination laws, including Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Mr. Suggs has defended claims of class-wide discrimination. Examples include:

  • Race and Sex Discrimination class claims against a single factory of a textile company;
  • Race, Sex, and Age Discrimination class claims against several plants of an automotive Tier 1 supplier; and
  • Race Discrimination class claims against an apparel maker and distributor.

Mr. Suggs has defended countless individual employment claims in both state and federal courts.  Although Mr. Suggs’ objective is to obtain summary judgment for the employer based on pre-trial discovery and motions, some of these matters have been settled (many favorably), and some have been tried to a verdict.  Of those tried to a verdict or disposed of on summary judgment, there have been a number of appeals to various courts of appeal and state supreme courts.

Mr. Suggs has had campaigns with fewer than ten employees in the Upper Midwest and with several thousand employees for a large manufacturer in the Lower Midwest.  He has handled elections in the boroughs of New York City and in small rural communities.  Mr. Suggs has experience in presenting Representation cases at the regional level and defending unfair labor practice cases before administrative law judges, the NLRB, and the Courts of Appeal.

Mr. Suggs’ office work includes preparing employment contracts, including restrictive covenants, reviewing employee handbooks for legal sufficiency, and preparing collective bargaining proposals.

Mr. Suggs works with clients in a number of industries, including apparel, automotive, banking, chemicals, communications, construction, education, finance, food service, grocery, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail, sales, technology, textiles, and transportation.

Education

  • J.D., University of Alabama, 1975
  • B.S., Kansas State University, 1970

Admittance to Practice

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court of Alabama
  • Supreme Court of Florida
  • Supreme Court of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court, District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth and Sixth Circuits

Professional Activities

  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (Since 2000)
  • Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law by the SC Supreme Court (8/18/1987)
  • Judicial Conference, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit – Permanent Member
  • South Carolina Bar (President, 2009-2010; State Bar ABA Delegate, 2014-2017; Board of Governors, 2001-2011; Chairman of House of Delegates, 2004-2006; Chairman of the Labor and Employment Section, 1996-1998; Chairman of the Professional Responsibility Committee, 1995-1996; Chairman Pro Bono Committee, 2016-)
  • Alabama Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Florida Bar Association
  • SHRM
  • GSHRM
  • Greenville Chamber of Commerce (Member Manufacturer’s Council)
  • Donaldson Commission (1988 to 2001)
  • Leadership Greenville (Class Eleven (11))
  • Diversity Leadership Academy (Class Two (2))

Speeches

  • 2014 Human Resources Law Update - "2013 In Review" - Greenville - February 25, 2014
  • NC/SC Labor & Employment Law Conference - "National Labor Relations Board Update" - Charleston - October 24 - 26, 2013
  • NLRB Region Eleven and ABA Committee on NLRA Practice and Procedure - "The Management Perspective" - Winston-Salem - November 19, 2010
  • Oconee Development Commission - "NLRA" - Anderson - October 2010
  • Association of Corporate Counsel/SC Chapter - "The Employee Free Choice Act, Ethical Issues in Employment Law" - Columbia - 2010
  • Wake Forest University School of Law - "Concerted Activity" - Winston-Salem - 2008
  • Furman University - "NLRA Rights" - Greenville - 2006
  • Sterling Education Services - "Recent Changes in Employment Law" - Greenville - 2002
  • Certificate in Employee Relations Law Series - "Rights and Responsibilities Under the NLRA, Overview of Discrimination Laws" - Greenville - 2002 - 2013
  • Human Resources Law Update - "The Year In Review" - Greenville - 1997 - 2013
  • May 21, 2009 - The Greenville News - "Preserve State Justice System’s Ability to Function"
  • February 1992 - The G-Bar News - "Sexual Harassment (The Employer’s Perspective)"
  • 1992 - Institute of Business Law - "Employer Liability for Age Discrimination or Sex Discrimination/Harassment, Sexual Discrimination Issues: Women in the Workplace"
  • January 1992 - Greenville Chamber of Commerce's Resource - "‘Fun and games’ on the job pose serious employer liabilities"
  • July 1985 - The Alabama Lawyer - "Advising Your Corporate Client on Avoiding Charges of Sexual Harassment"
  • 1975 - 27 Ala. L. Rev. 649 - "Note, Labor Law – National Labor Relations Act – State Court Jurisdiction To Enjoin Picketing Of A Foreign-Flag Vessel By American Unions Is Not Preempted By The National Labor Relations Act Even Though The Injunctive Relief Was Sought By An American Employer Whose Employees Honored The Picket Lines"
  • BTI Client Service All Star 2017
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
  • Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers Logo
  • Best Lawyers Greenville Labor Law – Management Lawyer of the Year, 2016
  • Best Lawyers in America (1997 to date)
  • Chambers Band One (2005 to 2017)
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (2000 to date)
  • Client Service All-Star, BTI Consulting Group
  • 2013 Distinguished Lawyer Award, South Carolina Bar Employment & Labor Law Section
  • South Carolina Super Lawyer (2008 to date)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent (1983 to date)
  • The International Who’s Who of Management Labor & Employment Lawyers
  • 2016 Alan R. Willis Society of Service Award
  • 2016 Michelin Invaluable Counsel Award
  • BTI Client Service All-Star (2013, 2017)
  • Leadership in Law Award presented by South Carolina Lawyers Weekly (2017)
  • Greenville Society of Human Resources, Dedication Award (2016)
  • Civil Court Mediation Certification Training Program (Completed 2018)