William M. Lawson

Shareholder || St. Louis

Mr. Lawson represents management interests in all aspects of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on litigating all types of employment claims in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, including claims involving discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour, wrongful/retaliatory discharge and breach of contract. Mr. Lawson also has significant experience litigating disputes resulting from claims based on restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and tortious interference.

Mr. Lawson’s practice is also devoted to traditional labor law with an emphasis on union avoidance and representation of management in the arbitration of grievances brought under collective bargaining agreements.

Mr. Lawson advises clients on employment-related matters such as personnel policies, reductions in force, affirmative action, daily human resource issues, employment contracts, drafting of restrictive covenants, severance agreements and employee handbooks.

Learn more about William M. Lawson

Trial Experience:

Mr. Lawson has tried jury cases in both federal and state court and in the arbitration setting, before individual arbitrators as well as arbitration panels.

Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets and Related Claims:

Mr. Lawson drafts, and provides day to day advice on the enforceability of, restrictive covenants. In addition, Mr. Lawson routinely initiates litigation to enforce restrictive covenants through injunctive relief and represents clients in litigation involving claims for breach of restrictive covenants and tortious interference. Some recent examples include:

  • On behalf of a title insurance company, despite hiring a sales employee in violation of the terms of a non-compete agreement, and despite the employee’s use of pricing information from his prior employer, defeated a motion for injunctive relief and obtained favorable result based on former employer’s (the employer seeking to enforce its agreement) prior material breach of its obligations to employee.
  • On behalf of expense management company that hired employee in violation of the specific terms of a non-compete agreement, successfully defeated motion for both temporary and preliminary injunction based on the lack of a valid protectable interest.
  • On behalf of printing press manufacturer, obtained restraining order and financial settlement based on former employee’s violation of non-compete and confidentiality obligations.
  • On behalf of HVAC equipment manufacturer, obtained restraining order and favorable settlement based on former employee’s theft of confidential information and computer tampering.

Wage and Hour:

Mr. Lawson routinely advise employers with respect to wage and hour issues including, among other things, proper payment of wages and exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law. In addition, Mr. Lawson represents employers in litigation, including class and collective actions, based on alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and/or state wage and hour laws. Some recent examples include:

  • On behalf of a retailer, defeated conditional certification of a collective action in which the plaintiff, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated employees, alleged the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay employees for all hours worked and by failing to pay time and one half for hours worked in excess of forty hours in a given work week.
  • On behalf of a wireless service and product provider with operations in multiple states, including multiple locations in the state of Missouri, limited certification of a class to employees at a single location in St. Louis, Missouri, resulting in a very favorable settlement for the employer.

Employment:

Mr. Lawson advises employers on a daily basis to avoid litigation and ensure compliance with, various federal, state and local laws, including whistleblower/public policy laws, the FLSA, FMLA, ADA, Title VII, ADEA, OWBPA, WARN Act, MHRA and workers’ compensation retaliation laws.

Mr. Lawson defends employers against employment related claims in both federal and state court and before both federal and state administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board.

Labor Arbitration:

Mr. Lawson routinely represents employers in the arbitration of claims alleging violations of collective bargaining agreements. Mr. Lawson has arbitrated in excess of 50 cases involving disciplinary and contract interpretation issues and has represented companies in numerous industries, including, among others, the electric utility, airline, baking and food distribution industries.

Education

  • J.D., St. Louis University School of Law, 1992
  • B.S., B.A., Finance, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1989

Admittance to Practice

  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Buddy Fund Board Member
  • Humane Society of Missouri Development Board (former)

Speeches

  • Gateway Association of Payroll Professionals - "Employment Law Legal Update – Where are we Headed" - St. Louis - January 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Advanced FMLA and ADA Workshop" - St. Louis - October 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Class Warfare – Avoiding Wage and Hour Litigation" - St. Louis - September 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "FMLA, ADA or Both?" - St. Louis - September 2014
  • Ultimate Software Human Resource Conference - "Current Trends, Risks and Emerging Areas of Liability" - St. Louis - September 2014
  • Lorman Education Services - "Expanded Theories of Protected Concerted Activity" - St. Louis - August 2014
  • St. Louis University Mini Law School for the Public - "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964" - St. Louis - April 2014
  • National Human Resources Association - "Whistleblowing and Retaliation Claims" - St. Louis - March 2014
  • Lorman Education Services - "Internal Investigations" - St. Louis - February 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "When Employees’ Use of Social Media, Smartphones, and Tablets Impacts the Workplace" - St. Louis - January 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Lift Off! Staying on Top of Employment Law Developments and Expectations" - St. Louis - September 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "When Employees Snap" - St. Louis - March 2013
  • Lowenbaum Partnership Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Stump the Chump – Drafting and Litigating Restrictive Covenants" - St. Louis - September 2012
  • Lowenbaum University - "Employment Law and the Attorney Client Privilege for In House Counsel" - St. Louis - September 2011
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Best Lawyers in America (2018-present)
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Insights by William M. Lawson