Michael Oliver Eckard

Shareholder Charleston | Atlanta

Michael Oliver Eckard is a shareholder in the Charleston and Atlanta offices and has been an employment lawyer at Ogletree his entire legal career. Michael represents companies in labor, employment, restrictive covenant, and wage and hour matters in the health care, manufacturing, chemicals, hospitality, transportation and logistics, and retail industries, among others. He regularly advises companies on human resources and labor policy issues. Michael represents his clients in many types of employment litigation matters, including wrongful termination claims, sexual harassment claims, employment discrimination claims, employment contracts, wage and hour claims, trade secrets, and non-compete agreements. He also represents management in union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice and representation proceedings.

Michael's nationwide litigation and advice practice focuses on protecting corporate clients against claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; claims involving restrictive covenants, unfair competition, and trade secret claims; federal and state wage and hour laws; and claims of defamation, breach of contract, and intentional torts. He has litigated labor and employment-related matters in federal and state courts throughout the United States, including appeals before the Georgia Court of Appeals, Georgia Supreme Court, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. His litigation matters include single-plaintiff, multiple-plaintiff, and collective action cases, as well as labor and employment arbitrations and administrative proceedings.

Michael serves as a trusted advisor to his clients, regularly providing counsel to corporate executive, legal, and human resources leaders on matters such as risk management; labor relations; workforce planning (including workforce growth and reductions in force); labor and employment matters pertaining to corporate mergers, divestitures, and other transactions; employee recruiting and hiring practices; employee discipline and termination; wage and hour law compliance; and strategies for preventing and investigating harassment and discrimination claims.

Prior to his legal career, Michael served in the U.S. Army, specializing in Military Intelligence. Michael served in multiple duty stations, including operational tours in Kuwait. Michael is also a licensed pilot and enjoys flying airplanes for recreation.

Michael is a former law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice – Civil Division, Washington D.C. Michael is also the 2005 recipient of the University of South Carolina Law School’s coveted Knox L. Haynsworth Labor Law Scholarship Award.


Experience

Michael focuses on all aspects of labor and employment law. He advises companies on labor and employment policy matters, including serving as primary outside labor and employment counsel to multiple private and publicly traded companies. He regularly defends companies and management against discrimination (race, gender, national origin, disability, and religion), sexual harassment, and retaliation claims before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and before state and federal courts. He has experience representing employers in wage and hour collective actions, multi-party discrimination claims, and administrative actions. He also represents management in union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations, and unfair labor practice and representation hearings. In addition, Michael has significant experience representing companies and individuals in complex restrictive covenant (non-solicitation, non-competition, etc.) and trade secret actions, including seeking emergency injunctive relief to protect his clients' interests.

In addition to cases in which he has negotiated favorable confidential settlement agreements or other favorable resolutions to employment and labor disputes on behalf of his clients, the following are some examples of Michael's representative matters:

  • He regularly advises national, regional, and local clients on labor policies and disputes, as well as contract negotiations and grievance arbitrations.
  • He has represented national and regional clients in labor contract negotiations with various unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Steel Workers.
  • He has represented national and regional clients on workforce restructuring and assisted with strategies for a company-wide reductions-in-force.
  • He has obtained summary judgment on numerous occasions in favor of regional and national companies in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment lawsuits.
  • He has obtained temporary restraining orders and injunctions on behalf of multiple regional and national companies in both state and federal courts in non-competition, non-solicitation, non-disclosure, trade secret, and unfair competition cases. The cases have included suits to enforce restrictive covenant obligations. He has also represented high-level managers and employers who are defending against restrictive covenant claims.
  • He has obtained emergency temporary restraining orders and injunctions on behalf of multiple clients for workplace violence.
  • He has successfully represented multiple clients in discrimination and harassment claims on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • He has represented multiple national, regional, and local clients claims involving restrictive covenant disputes, misappropriation of trade secrets and computer fraud, along with other tortious conduct.

Michael is also a graduate of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) trial training program in Boulder, Colorado.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section)
  • State Bar of South Carolina
  • State Bar of North Carolina
  • Charleston Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Georgia Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section; Young Lawyers Division)
  • Atlanta Bar Association (Member of the Board of Directors, Atlanta Council of Younger Lawyers, 2006-07)
  • Military Intelligence Corps Association
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3142 (Life Member)
  • Care and Counseling Centers of Georgia (Member of the Board of Directors, 2010-Present)
  • Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club

Speeches:

  • Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce - ''Employment Law Update'' - Summerville - January 2017
  • ACC Annual Tri-City Employment Law Briefing - ''Trade Secrets Protection With Teeth: The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016'' - Charleston - December 08, 2016
  • ACC Annual Tri-City Employment Law Briefing - ''Damned If You Do or If You Don't? The Latest on Background Checks'' - Charleston - December 08, 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, South Carolina Chapter – CLE Presentation - ''Reel Ethics'' - Charleston - June 08, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''The Buzz on Zika Virus: Navigating the Labor and Employment Issues'' - Chicago - May 05, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - ''Executive Webinar: 5 Things Employers Need to Know About Zika Virus'' - March 03, 2016
  • Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce - ''Employment Law Developments from 2015'' - Summerville - January 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, South Carolina Chapter - CLE Presentation - ''Confidentiality and Non-Disparagement Clauses Under Attack'' - Charleston - December 2015
  • Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce - ''Employment Law Developments from 2014'' - Summerville - January 07, 2015
  • Society for Human Resource Management, 2014 South Carolina State Convention - ''Guns in the Workplace: Managing Risky Behavior Without Creating Liability'' - Myrtle Beach - September 25, 2014
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce - 2014 Greenwood Labor Forum - ''Mechanics of a Union Election and New Challenges to Elections and Campaigns'' - Greenwood - April 01, 2014
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, South Carolina Chapter - CLE Presentation - ''Who's Business Is It: Protecting Proprietary Information'' - Charleston - February 27, 2014
  • Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce - ''Labor Law Update: It Isn't Pretty'' - Summerville - January 03, 2014

Published Works

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Media Quotes

August 05, 2016 - SHRM Online - "Zika Fears Keep Workers Away from Olympics"
August 03, 2016 - Law.com - "As Zika Infections Rise, Law Firms Follow Ebola Playbook"
April 27, 2016 - SHRM Online - "Summer, Mosquitoes—and the Zika Virus"

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