John Richard Carrigan

Of Counsel  || 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.

Learn more about John Richard Carrigan
  • 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


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1974
  • M.B.A., Florida State University, 1971
  • B.A., Florida State University, 1970

Admittance to Practice

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama

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 9, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "From Hello to Goodbye—Does Your Toolbox Measure Up?" - San Diego - May 3, 2017
  • CLE Alabama Employment Law Seminar - "Recent Updates To The ADA – Dealing with Disability When Everyone Has A Disability" - Birmingham - December 3, 2010
  • 2013 - The Practitioner's Guide to Defense of EPL Claims, 3rd Ed. - "The Use and Misuse of Statistics in Employment Litigation"
  • April 14, 2011 - Law360 - "How to Save Compliance Programs After Dodd-Frank"
  • December 1, 2004 - The Practitioner’s Guide to Defense of EPL Claims - "The Use and Misuse of Statistics in Employment Litigation"
  • April 5, 2018 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Lawyers talk Birmingham’s biggest workplace issues"
  • November 7, 2016 - SHRM Online - "Right-to-Work Ballot Measures Won’t Change Much in Alabama and Virginia"
  • May 20, 2014 - Law360 - Guest Column - "Will The Taxman Go After The Star Quarterback?"
  • April 1, 2011 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Having an Official Policy for Cell Phone Use Can Limit Your Company's Liability"
  • April 19, 2004 - USA Today - "With Interns, You Get What You Pay For"
  • June 5, 2002 - - "Before you hire that teen, know the rules"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Best Lawyers in America (Labor and Employment Law)
  • Alabama Super Lawyer  (2008 – present)
  • “Top 50 Super Lawyers” in Alabama in the first issue of Alabama Super Lawyers and included in all subsequent issues
  • AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Alabama State Bar (former Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section)