Stephen R. Woods

Shareholder || Greenville

Stephen Woods represents and counsels companies on a wide range of labor and employment law issues—though a significant focus of his practice is on background checks (counseling and litigation) and RIFs (including the ADEA/OWBPA, WARN, and state mini-WARNs). He assists national, regional, and local clients on preventive analysis and advice, class and single-plaintiff employment litigation, and EEOC and state agency charges. He is the chair of both the firm’s O-D Comply compliance solutions group and the Background Checks Practice Group and the shareholder-author of the O-D Comply: Background Checks subscription and the O-D Comply: E-Signatures materials.

Stephen lives by a client-centric mantra that combines prevention and practicality to create innovative, business-centered, legally-compliant solutions. Making national clients happy takes a unique skill set, which Stephen has developed and honed during his 20+ years with the firm.

Before becoming a lawyer, Stephen served as the Manager of Administrative Services at The Greenville News (Greenville, SC), where he managed the HR function of this 500-employee newspaper publishing company.

Learn more about Stephen R. Woods

Stephen is a practical, plain-English counselor on a variety of subjects, including the following:

  • The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and related state and local background check law (including employee background check contracts, forms, processes, and issues); and
  • The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and state mini-WARN Acts (including, in response to corporate right-sizing and downsizing, assistance to hundreds of employer-clients in conducting lawful reductions in force); and
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (including enforceable, compliant severance agreements and the creation of successful voluntary retirement programs).

On the litigation front, Stephen represents employers on a variety of labor & employment issues, including national background check class actions.  Recently, he successfully settled a background check class action with one of the largest classes and lowest per-member payouts in history.  He also has successfully opposed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s attempts to enforce an overly broad subpoena seeking national information from a client with operations in all 50 states.

Stephen is a top-rated, repeat speaker to groups and companies throughout the country on labor & employment topics.  He can make even the driest legal topic (think: the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FMLA, etc.) relatable and relevant to an employer’s current workplace and employment situations.

Education

  • J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, 1996
  • B.S., summa cum laude, Presbyterian College, 1990

Admittance to Practice

  • South Carolina

Professional Activities

  • South Carolina Bar Association (Labor & Employment section)
  • Greenville (SC) Bar Association
  • National LGBT Bar Association
  • National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS)

Speeches

  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Talent Management in a Volatile Economy - From Recruitment to RIFs" - Las Vegas - May 2, 2019
  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Hiring Hurdles and Hiccups - The Latest Developments" - La Quinta - November 8, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Skeletons in the Closet and Second Chances: Background Check Update" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "The Dizzying Array of State and Local Employment Laws: Round 4— Background Checks and Guns in the Workplace" - Boca Raton - November 10, 2017
  • Performance Driven Forum - "Making The Tough Call: Real World Ethical Dilemmas For In-House Counsel" - Greer - June 22, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Ban the Box, Ban the Background Check? Dos and Don’ts for Employers" - May 4, 2017
  • Human Technologies, Inc. (HTI) webcast - "How the Trump Presidency Will Affect HR in 2017" - February 3, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Damned If You Do or If You Don't? The Latest on Background Checks" - Colorado Springs - September 29, 2016
  • Greenville Society for Human Resources Management - "How the Fair Credit Report Act Impacts HR" - Greenville - June 7, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Background Checks Spawn a New Wave of Class Action Lawsuits" - Chicago - May 5, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "To Background Check, or Not to Background Check? That Is the Question!" - San Antonio - May 14, 2015
  • Human Resources Law Update 2015 - "Top Legal Issues Facing HR Department Head" - Greenville - March 3, 2015
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - "The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today’s Employment Landscape" - November 18, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor & Employment Counsel Exclusive - "The FCRA: Labor and Employment's Newest Four-Letter Word" - Dana Point - September 18 - 20, 2014
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - "The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today's Employment Landscape" - July 30, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Background Checks: How to Avoid Hiring an Ax Murderer Without Buying a Lawsuit" - Las Vegas - May 9, 2014
  • Human Resources Law Update 2014 - "Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Termination Do's and Don'ts" - Greenville - February 25, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor & Employment Counsel Exclusive - "The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today’s Employment Landscape" - Charleston - November 7 - 9, 2013
  • Denver Client Office Seminar - "Background Checks: How to Keep the EEOC Happy and Avoid Hiring an Ax Murderer" - Englewood - October 25, 2013
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - "Background Checks in 2013: How to Strike the Right Balance Between Not Hiring an Axe Murderer, Not Becoming Big Brother, and Not Running Afoul of the EEOC" - August 15, 2013
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - "The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today's Employment Landscape" - August 15, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "How to Keep the EEOC Happy and Avoid Hiring an Ax Murderer: Best Practices for Background Checks" - New Orleans - May 10, 2013
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - "Background Checks in 2013: How to Strike the Right Balance Between Not Hiring an Axe Murderer, Not Becoming Big Brother, and Not Running Afoul of the EEOC" - March 12, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "Background Checks in 2012: The New EEOC Guidance" - Phoenix - May 11, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - "The Four-Headed Hydra: Adding GINA to the ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Compensation Triangle" - Chicago - May 2011
  • Human Resources Law Update - "From "Just Say No" to "Here's My Medical Marijuana Card": Substance Abuse and Drug Testing in the 2010's" - Greenville - March 8, 2011
  • American Foundry Society - "Labor Relations & HR Conference - Annual Update on Significant Cases, Statutes, and Regulations" - Naples - February 11, 2011
  • Spartanburg Development Association - "FMLA Comprehensive Review" - Greenville - January 25, 2011
  • BLR National Employment Law Update - "Annual Update of Significant Cases, Statutes, and Regulations" - Las Vegas - October 28, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - "Risky Business: The Legal Risks of a Workplace Romance" - Las Vegas - May 2010
  • Spartanburg Development Association - "Everything You Need to Know About the FMLA, But Don't" - Greenville - March 17, 2010
  • Human Resources Law Update - "How to Avoid Becoming a Target for Plaintiff's Attorneys and Regulators" - Greenville - February 23, 2010
  • BLR National Employment Law Update - "Terminations: Handling Layoffs and RIFs the Smart Way in a Troubled Economy" - Las Vegas - October 2009
  • Spartanburg Development Association - "Pandemic Planning: Are You Prepared?" - Greenville - October 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - "Pandemic Planning" - Miami - May 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - "Workforce Reduction Techniques That Lessen Your Litigation Risks" - Miami - May 2009
  • November 12, 2018 - SHRM Online - "Ban-the-Box Turns 20: What Employers Need to Know"
  • August 13, 2018 - Corporate Counsel - "Ban-the-Box Enforcement Gains Steam. What Employers Need to Know."
  • July 30, 2018 - HR Dive - "As ban-the-box turns 20, compliance challenges grow"
  • September 4, 2017 - Business Insurance - "Conviction inquiry laws stymie firms"
  • December 20, 2016 - People Matter - "Top 3 Labor and Employment Law Trends for 2017"
  • May 16, 2016 - Ogletree Deakins Blog Post - "How Much Harm Is Enough? SCOTUS Tackles Standing to Sue"
  • May 16, 2016 - Law360 - "Attorneys React to Supreme Court's Spokeo Ruling"
  • May 16, 2016 - Employment Law Daily - "Standing Requires 'concrete' injury from FCRA violation, though risk of harm may be enough"
  • May 16, 2013 - SHRM.org - "Using Credit and Criminal Background Checks"
  • April 5, 2013 - Law360 - "Retail-Theft Databases May Put Employers At Legal Risk"
  • August 2, 2012 - We Know Next - "Warning Employees About The Fiscal Cliff"
  • April 27, 2012 - Law360 - "EEOC Hints Case-By-Case Criminal Checks A Better Bet"
  • October 22, 2009 - HR.BLR.com - "Layoffs: 10 Steps for Handling One of HR's Most Difficult Tasks"
  • October 1, 2009 - Inside Counsel - "Fair Warning; Congress Contemplates Major Changes to the WARN Act"
  • May 11, 2009 - SHRM.org - "Most Frequent Swine Flu Legal Questions Answered"
  • May 12, 2008 - SHRM.org - "Most Frequent Swine Flu Legal Questions Answered"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • BTI Client Service All Star 2018
  • The Legal 500 United States 2018 – Labor and Employment – Workplace and Employment Counseling
  • Best Lawyers in America – since 2010
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Green Belt certified in Legal Lean Sigma
  • Bronze Compleat Lawyer Award – 1996 (highest award given to a student by the USC School of Law)
  • BTI Client Service All Star (2018)

Insights by Stephen R. Woods