John Richard Carrigan

Shareholder Birmingham

Richard Carrigan is an enthusiastic litigator in state and federal courts as well as before administrative agencies. He tries jury and bench trials in federal districts throughout Alabama, and in the Northern District of Florida as well as state courts from Mobile to Huntsville, from Fayette to Dothan, and many other venues. Richard has tried matters before administrative law judges of the NLRB and the US Department of Labor, and has argued federal appeals to the Fifth Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit. Matters defended include a range of disputes from simple misunderstandings, to sharply contradictory versions of an event, to disparate impact or “pattern and practice” claims affecting thousands of employees, to malicious and fraudulent attacks.

Richard has presented and cross-examined experts including economists, statisticians, psychologists, psychiatrists, Harvard historians, accountants, industrial hygienists, safety specialists, and medical professionals.  On one memorable occasion, Richard deposed Clarence Thomas, then head of the EEOC, now a Justice of the United States Supreme Court; about a complaint that Justice Thomas had authorized against universities in Alabama; the complaint was subsequently dismissed by the Eleventh Circuit.

Richard’s experience is particularly valuable in giving practical advice to avoid litigation and to prepare to succeed if litigation ensues. Richard advises employers in matters across the labor and employment law spectrum. That representation includes construction contractors, utilities, retailers, manufacturers, information technology companies, educational institutions, health care providers, nuclear plant operators and rocket scientists.

Assessing settlement realistically depends upon knowing the law, the courts, opposing counsel, and the client’s business and its people. Intense and varied litigation experience enables Richard to analyze lawsuits strategically, and to direct resources to reach efficient resolutions, whether prompt disposition or fierce defense of the client’s interest.

Active in bar association activities, Richard served as Chair of the Alabama State Bar Labor and Employment Law Section, Chair of the State Labor and Employment Law Developments Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the ABA, and Vice Chair of the Employer-Employee Relations Committee of the ABA Tort and Insurance Practice Section. Richard regularly speaks on labor and employment law issues, and testified before the Alabama legislature to oppose changes in the state’s Right to Work Law.


  • First chair jury trials in Alabama and Florida, including alleged discrimination based on race, age, religion, disability, retaliatory discharge, and employment-related torts
  • Litigation of class actions and “pattern and practice” claims, including class certification issues, adverse impact, testing issues,  settlement, fairness hearings, consent decree approval, consent decree compliance, and dissolution of consent decrees. One bench trial that lasted more than forty days resulted in approval of an employment selection procedure for a large utility.
  • Injunction practice, including Boys Markets injunctions, anti-violence injunctions, and trade secret and noncompetition matters
  • Pay equity issues, including internal analysis, corrective action, and defense of litigation. Prospective collective action treatment or class certification for gender-based pay equity claims was defeated for a computer manufacturer; and class certification for alleged race discrimination in pay was defeated for an engineering services company
  • Litigation of workplace exposure to toxic substances. Class certification was avoided and summary judgment granted on claims by more than 400 employees of an auto parts manufacturer.
  • Advice to employers concerning whistleblower issues, and litigation of whistleblower claims
  • Expert witness identification, preparation, and use; cross-examination and exclusion of opposing experts
  • Labor arbitrations of contract interpretation, discipline and discharge; arbitration of issues for employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements. Employers successfully defended in arbitration include construction companies, manufacturers, utilities, government contractors, and retailers.
  • NLRB matters including representation election campaigns, picketing and secondary boycott issues, unfair labor practice charges against employers and against unions
  • Development and implementation of Affirmative Action Plans
  • Fair Labor Standards Act compliance advice, representation in Department of Labor proceedings, and defense of FLSA litigation

Advice to employers concerning:

  • Selection procedures, hiring processes, drug testing, background investigations, and compliance with Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures
  • Discipline and discharge, reductions in force, adverse impact analysis, planning for reductions in force, and development of severance policies an plans
  • Assessment of workplace violence risks
  • Safety issues, including OSHA compliance and OSHA investigations
  • Antitrust issues arising from employment matters
  • Internal investigations, including suspected theft, discrimination, and harassment
  • Employment issues related to regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for licensees and contractors

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • Alabama State Bar (Labor and Employment Section)
  • The Florida Bar (Labor and Employment Section)
  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section; former Chair of the State Labor and Employment Law Developments Committee)
  • Birmingham Business Alliance (Board of Trustees)


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Drowning in Documentation? Staying Compliant and Current With Handbooks, Investigations, and Other Employment Documentation'' - Phoenix - May 09, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''From Hello to Goodbye—Does Your Toolbox Measure Up?'' - San Diego - May 03, 2017
  • CLE Alabama Employment Law Seminar - ''Recent Updates To The ADA – Dealing with Disability When Everyone Has A Disability'' - Birmingham - December 03, 2010

Published Works


Our Insights

Play for Pay Won’t Go Away: The NCAA Is Again Defending Antitrust Litigation Over Limits on Payments to Student Athletes

September 28, 2018

Still No NCAA Pay for Play—Supreme Court Denies Cert. in O’Bannon v. NCAA

October 03, 2016

NLRB Holds That Grad and Undergrad Teaching Assistants at Columbia University Are “Employees”

August 23, 2016

NCAA Sacks Sackos Suit: Why NCAA Student-Athletes Are Not Employees Under the FLSA

February 22, 2016

NLRB to Consider Whether Students at Private Universities Are “Employees” Covered by the NLRA

January 14, 2016

Still No NCAA Pay for Play–9th Circuit Denies O’Bannon v. NCAA Rehearing En Banc

December 16, 2015

NCAA Play for Pay? Ninth Circuit Rules Antitrust Rule of Reason Does Not Require Payments for ‘Name, Image, or Likeness’

September 30, 2015

The NLRB Goes Back to Church (Schools), Gets Entangled

September 01, 2015

Play for Pay? Not Today, Says the Ninth Circuit in the Latest NCAA Ruling

August 12, 2015

NLRB Moves to Assert Jurisdiction Over Religious Educational Institutions

June 29, 2015

Will the Star Quarterback Be Sacked by the Taxman?

May 06, 2014

Are We There Yet?: Do Northwestern Players Have a Union or not?

April 23, 2014

NLRB Regional Director Rules College Football Players Can Unionize

March 27, 2014

Alabama’s New “Guns in the Parking Lot” Law Takes Effect on August 1, 2013

July 01, 2013

Reactions to Fisher: Grutter Survives, for now—But What About Title VI?

June 28, 2013

Supreme Court Approves Affirmative Action in College Admissions, but Remands for Additional Analysis of Admissions Process

June 28, 2013

Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Several Provisions of the Alabama Immigration Law

September 29, 2011

New Alabama Law Regarding Illegal Immigration Signed by Governor

June 15, 2011


Media Quotes

November 07, 2016 - SHRM Online - "Right-to-Work Ballot Measures Won’t Change Much in Alabama and Virginia"