Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fox, Henhouse.... again

Sam, proprietor of Disability Law, notes that the Bush administration has nominated a corporate anti-EEO lawyer as general counsel of the EEOC. He cites from Ronald Cooper's bio but doesn't really note the completely one-sided nature of Cooper's career. I'm going to quote the whole thing here, because it's really striking:
Litigation Defense
Mr. Cooper has defended employers in federal courts throughout the country in employment discrimination actions brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These cases include major class actions under Title VII, as well as large government enforcement actions and private group actions under the ADEA. He has also represented employers in employment contract disputes and wrongful termination cases brought under state law. Mr. Cooper has represented defendants at the trial (including bench and jury trials) and appellate level and participated in a number of significant US Supreme Court cases.

Administrative Investigations
Mr. Cooper also defends employers who are subject to administrative investigations and proceedings including Commissioner Charge investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Compliance Reviews by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). These proceedings have included "Glass Ceiling Investigations" of the utilization of women in senior management positions.

Congressional Representations
Mr. Cooper was a leader of the employers' lobbying efforts that resulted in the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) amendments to the ADEA. These amendments preserved the right of employers to use voluntary early retirement incentives as part of force reduction programs.

Mr. Cooper testified on behalf of employers in the US House of Representatives in opposition to the retroactivity features of the Civil Rights Act of 1990. The Civil Rights Act of 1991, as finally enacted, did not include these provisions.

Employee Benefits
A particular focus of Mr. Cooper's practice has involved the application of employment discrimination laws to employee benefits in various forms. He litigated some of the principal cases involving challenges under Title VII and the ADEA to the design and administration of employee health, disability and retirement plans.

Recently he has defended employers and insurers against claims that limitations on benefits for mental/nervous conditions in long-term disability plans violated Title I (employment) and Title III (public accommodations) of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He successfully represented defendants in district court litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He also represented either a party or an amicus curiae in the DC, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits and in opposition to petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

Executive Compensation
Mr. Cooper has represented employers in litigation concerning the compensation of highly paid employees. Included are claims for unvested stock options by terminated employees based in countries where the local employment laws defer the effective date of termination for otherwise at-will employees. In a recent case, he obtained a declaratory judgment, affirmed on appeal, that a foreign employee ceased to be eligible for stock option vesting under the applicable plan when he ceased performing services for the employer. The courts concluded that the compensation committee, in making a vesting eligibility determination, was not obliged to give effect to local law restrictions on termination. Oracle v. Falotti, 319 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir.),cert. denied, 540 US 875 (2003). He supervised successful parallel litigation in Europe brought by the same former employee. Mr. Cooper expands upon this case in the paper, "Foreign Law Complications for US Stock Option Plans," presented at the Fourth Annual International Labor and Employment Law Conference, October 1, 2003, in Dallas, Texas, sponsored by the Center for American and International Law and the ABA’s Sections of Labor and Employment Law and International Law and Practice.

Trade Secret/Non-Competition Agreements
Mr. Cooper has represented employers in both defending and prosecuting claims of trade secret misappropriation and breach of contractual restrictions on competitive employment. Recently, he successfully concluded the defense of such claims brought against employees of our client by a former employer in the US District Court for the District of Maryland.

Force Reductions
Mr. Cooper has defended employers in major force reduction cases brought by private parties and the government. He regularly advises clients in the design and implementation of such programs, including early retirement incentive programs, to minimize the prospect of successful challenge.

He recently supervised an international force reduction for a US-based employer which involved the retention and supervision of local employment counsel in 20 foreign jurisdictions.

Labor Standards
Mr. Cooper directs the firm's practice in the area of labor standards. He has defended both private and public employers in government and private actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In 1995, he was appointed Special Master in a complex FLSA case by the US District Court for the District of Maryland.
In other words, he has done everything within his power as a lawyer to ensure that employers are not encumbered by either domestic or foreign law. He has participated in mass firings, broken contracts, stripped pensions, rolled back worker protections, lobbied Congress and otherwise done his clients great service.

I know, I know: he was a lawyer working for his clients and it doesn't mean that he's biased, blah, blah, blah. Really? His entire career, as near as I can tell, has been on one side of an issue: do we really believe that he's being appointed because of his ability to "see both sides?" No, I don't.

1 comment:

Pooh said...

It's almost like they aren't even trying...