Robert O. Sands

Shareholder Atlanta

Robert Sands has spent his entire career at Ogletree representing the interests of management in all aspects of labor and employment law. Robert has been widely recognized for providing superior client service to firm clients, making him the primary shareholder contact for a number of national, regional and Georgia clients. 

Because of his broad depth of employment law and management experience, Robert can identify key issues and assist the client in developing an effective strategy with respect to almost any workplace issue, regardless of complexity. He has extensive experience representing retail, manufacturing, healthcare, public sector and non-profit clients. Robert continues to handle regularly employment litigation in federal and state courts as well as investigations and hearings before federal and state administrative agencies. Robert has particular expertise in traditional labor law, including the successful handling of numerous union avoidance campaigns over the past 30 plus years. Additionally, for organized employers, Robert has served as the chief spokesperson for the negotiation of many collective bargaining agreements and has handled scores of arbitrations.


Robert’s broad range of labor and employment experience includes:

  • Lead counsel in numerous federal court employment discrimination cases, including successful representation through trial
  • Lead counsel in FLSA federal court suits and USDOL investigations involving misclassification and off-the-clock claims
  • Representation in state courts through trial and appeals, including wrongful discharge, defamation, invasion of privacy, restrictive covenant and trade secret cases
  • Oversee and conduct wage and hour compliance audits and provide counsel on FLSA compliance
  • Oversee and conduct comprehensive audits of employment policies and practices
  • Counseling on workplace restructuring and closings, with particular expertise in avoiding discrimination claims and achieving WARN Act and OWBPA compliance
  • Chief spokesperson in numerous collective bargaining negotiations, including many where concessions were achieved
  • Advisor to businesses with union contracts, including downsizing, outsourcing, workplace restructuring, and successorship issues
  • Lead counsel in countless NLRB investigations, including ALJ hearings, exceptions to the NLRB and petitions for review before the Court of Appeals
  • Cases argued in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits on multiple occasions
  • Extensive involvement in union representation campaigns and decertifications, both as lead counsel in legal proceedings and as part of team to provide legal advice to management
  • Lead counsel for scores of labor arbitrations from just cause discharge cases to complex industrial restructuring
  • Advise employers on site selection and facility start-up issues

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association (Litigation and Labor & Employment Sections; Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee; ADR in Labor and Employment Law Committee; Committee on Practice and Procedure Under the National Relations Act)
  • Georgia State Bar Association (Labor & Employment Law Section; Communications Committee, 1999-2002)
  • Atlanta Bar Association (Labor & Employment Law and Litigation Sections)
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce
  • Georgia Association of Manufacturers


  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - ''The NLRB: What’s In and What’s Out for Non-Union Employers'' - Atlanta - October 26, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - ''Are You Smarter Than a Labor Lawyer?'' - Atlanta - October 13, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Update - ''First 60 days of the New Administration'' - Tifton - March 22, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - ''Employment Discrimination and Joint Employer Update'' - Tifton - October 15, 2015
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Georgia Chapter - ''The National Labor Relations Board's Enforcement Initiatives: Making Sure Your Company is Prepared'' - Atlanta - February 10, 2015
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Avoiding Wage and Hour Liabilities'' - Albany - April 11, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Briefing - ''Non-Union Employers: Preparing for the Latest in NLRB Developments'' - Duluth - February 27, 2014
  • SHRM Albany - ''NLRB Update: It's a Topsy-Turvy World'' - Albany - October 02, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Union Organizing: Dangerous Trends and Trip Wires'' - New Orleans - May 10, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - ''The New NLRB'' - Atlanta - March 28, 2012
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Employment Law Update on Wage and Hour Compliance, NLRB Traps for Non-union Employers and Georgia Law Developments'' - Albany - February 23, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar (moderator of program and presenter) - ''Seven NLRB Rulings Concerning Non-Union Employers'' - Tifton - November 10, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - ''NLRB Notice Posting Requirements'' - Atlanta - October 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar (moderator) - ''A New Day for Whistleblowers'' - Chicago - May 13, 2011
  • Human Resources Forum - ''HR Legal Trends'' - Indianapolis - March 29, 2011
  • National Human Resources Forum for Non-Profits - ''Human Resources Workshop'' - Indianapolis - March 28, 2011
  • Lorman Webinar - ''Georgia Employment Legislation Update'' - February 2011
  • City Commissioners Workshop - ''New Developments in Employment Law'' - Cordele - May 2010
  • Leadership Conference - ''Labor and Employment Law Update'' - Nashville - March 2010
  • Leadership Conference - ''Employment Law Update'' - Duluth - March 2010
  • National Advocacy Program for Non-Profits - ''Labor Relations and Unions Workshop'' - Washington, D.C. - March 2010
  • Webinar for Non-Profits - ''Why the National Labor Relations Act Deserves Your Attention'' - November 2009
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Employment Law From A to Z'' - Albany - October 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''NLRA Issues for Non-Union Employers-What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You'' - Miami - May 2009
  • Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce - ''Labor and Employment Law Update'' - Sandy Springs - March 2009
  • Conference for Hospital Human Resources Leaders - ''Employee Free Choice Act Update'' - Albany - November 2008
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Employment Law from A to Z'' - Albany - October 2008
  • Institute for Applied Management - ''Labor Law in the Union and Non-Union Workplace'' - Atlanta - October 2008
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Employee Handbooks–Everything You Need to Know to Keep You Out of Trouble'' - Albany - February 2007
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Assessing Your HR Policies and Practices'' - Albany - September 2006
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Employee Discharge and Documentation in Georgia'' - Albany - July 2006
  • Lorman Seminar - ''Employee Handbooks–Everything You Need to Know to Keep You Out of Trouble'' - Albany - February 2006
  • The Seminar Group - ''Labor Law Update'' - Atlanta - October 2004

Published Works


Our Insights


Media Quotes

February 07, 2014 - Daily Report - "Lawyers Say Lawsuit Protection May Not Spur Hiring of Ex-Offenders"
January 30, 2014 - Law360 - "5 Tips For Employers Facing An EEOC Investigation"