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In workplace health and safety matters, our attorneys help employers in the compliance stage to maintain a safe environment, as well as record keeping and reporting of issues. We counsel clients to be proactive in compliance and safety standards. Additionally, our attorneys coordinate litigation and defense in matters before OSHA, workers’ compensation filings boards, and in courtroom litigation.
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Robinson & McElwee’s attorneys defend employers in discrimination issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), ERISA and COBRA.

Whether a discrimination or harassment claim arises because of gender, age, disability or other protected category, Robinson & McElwee works to protect the rights of employers.

Our Labor & Employment Practice Group counsels with regard to employment contracts, including non-compete agreements, separation, release and waiver agreements, and security of trade secrets.

Robinson & McElwee’s Labor & Employment attorneys draft and review employee handbooks to ensure employers maintain consistent workplace policy and set clear standards. Robinson & McElwee also represents employers in collective bargaining matters.

Accurate and effective management of pension and employee benefit plans is an integral part of a West Virginia employer’s overall labor relations and human resource program. ERISA and related statutes and regulations have converted what once was a simple and effective way to offer employees stability and security into a complicated web of financial, legal and fiduciary duties.

Reflecting to West Virginia’s employer community, Robinson & McElwee’s clientele is diverse. We are routinely involved in handling a wide array of employee benefits issues for West Virginia employers ranging from small shops to multi-national corporations and their insurers.

Our attorneys provide comprehensive legal advice, counseling and representation to employers, plan administrators and fiduciaries, insurers and benefit plans involving the following issues:

  • COBRA violations
  • ERISA discrimination litigation
  • ERISA litigation involving denial of benefits and breach of fiduciary duty
  • Health and welfare benefit plan administration
  • HIPPA and other employee privacy issues
  • Plan operation and compliance
  • Plan terminations
  • Retirement and deferred compensation plans

Robinson & McElwee handles employee benefits litigation of varying degrees of complexity for employee benefit plans, some involving a single individual and others brought by a large class of plan participants. Whatever the size or complexity of a matter, we collaborate with our clients, beginning with an early and ongoing dialogue between the client and the firm’s attorneys, to determine the appropriate strategy to achieve the most efficient and cost-effective resolution. We have the ability to favorably resolve most cases efficiently prior to trial, and at trial to present cases in a clear, persuasive manner.

Please contact David S. Russo at or call 304-347-8350 for more information regarding our employee benefits practice group.

West Virginia is a dual-file state where charges are filed simultaneously at the federal level with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and through the West Virginia Human Rights Commission at the state level.

Robinson & McElwee attorneys handle all aspects of employment-related arbitration and litigation before both the EEOC and WV Human Rights Commission.

Robinson & McElwee represents West Virginia employers and insurers in federal black lung cases. Our federal black lung defense attorneys and non-legal personnel are experienced in providing effective, cost efficient representation. The Robinson & McElwee Federal Black Lung Practice Group provides clients with the advantage of experienced attorney representation while experienced non-legal personnel manage the litigation files and gather evidence. This reduces litigation costs.

Our federal black lung defense group provides a broad spectrum of services, including the defense of claims at the Department of Labor level, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Benefits Review Board, the federal circuit courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court of Appeals.

Robinson & McElwee’s federal black lung attorneys have also been involved in representing employers in negotiations involving the sale or purchase of coal properties with regard to provisions addressing prior and subsequent liability for federal black lung claims. We have also consulted self-insurers regarding their self-administration of claims and addressed insurance coverage issues, and we monitor case law, legislative and regulatory changes.

For more information regarding our federal black lung defense practice, please contact Michael A. Kawash at or call 304-347-8315.

State and federal employment statutes and regulations impose a wide array of obligations and attendant risks on West Virginia employers. Among the top priorities for most employers is the avoidance of litigation surrounding hiring, discipline, promotions and demotions, terminations, and occupational safety and health. Robinson & McElwee routinely provides advice and training to West Virginia employers and human resource professionals regarding cost-effective strategies for preventing potential litigation regarding human resource issues.

Our attorneys, some of whom also possess advanced human resource degrees or instruct post-graduate courses on labor relations and human resources, routinely help clients avoid employment litigation through:

  • Development of up-to-date human resource policies and procedures
  • Preparation of employee handbooks and personnel policy manuals
  • Management training programs relating to:
    • Affirmative action
    • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    • Employment issues for supervisors of bargaining unit employees
    • Employment issues for union free supervisors
    • ERISA
    • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Legal trends, judicial developments, and statutory and regulatory compliance
    • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) procedures
    • OSHA compliance
    • Risk reduction in hiring and discharge cases
    • Sexual harassment avoidance, policies and procedures
    • Whistleblower issues
  • Preparation of separation, release, and waiver agreements
  • Review and development of employment agreements

Litigation can be avoided or reduced and attendant cost savings realized through the combination of management training with ensuring that employment policies and procedures are up-to-date and fully compliant with West Virginia state and federal law.

Please contact Joseph M. Price at or call 304-347-8306 for more information regarding our human resources practice.

Nearly every employment decision by West Virginia employers, from wage structure and work rules to restructuring and downsizing, can have significant impact on a company’s ability to avoid union organization. We have extensive experience in such matters, as well as those related to the grievance and arbitration process and at the negotiating table.

Robinson & McElwee works closely with West Virginia employers in dealing with:

  • Collective bargaining negotiations
  • Grievances and arbitration
  • Labor Management Relations Act litigation
  • Maintaining a union-free workplace
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings
  • Picketing issues
  • Pre- and post-hiring employee relations issues
  • Reductions in force and reorganizations
  • Strategic planning related to “culture change” within unionized businesses
  • Strike planning
  • Unfair labor practices
  • Union elections
  • Work stoppages

Robinson & McElwee’s clientele is diverse, and we are routinely involved in handling a wide array of cases for West Virginia employers ranging from small businesses to large, multi-national corporations. We are careful to get to know each client, its business, and its industry. At the forefront of all we do is a focus on the client’s objectives in a particular matter, and the development of alternative strategies that will provide maximum flexibility and the greatest chance of meeting objectives at the lowest cost.

Please contact Joseph M. Price at or call 304-347-8306 for more information regarding our labor management relations and litigation practice group.

West Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws and administrative procedures have evolved rapidly during the past several years. Compliance and insurance issues, workplace safety, claims handling and defense, and payment of compensation for occupational injuries and diseases, including occupational pneumoconiosis, all create a great burden on West Virginia employers and their insurance companies. In light of the significant costs associated with occupational injuries and diseases, it is in the best interests of every employer, insurance carrier and third-party administrator to ensure compliance and claims handling are a priority.

Robinson & McElwee’s West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Practice Group has tremendous experience in handling and effectively addressing the myriad workers’ compensation issues present in every workplace. For nearly 30 years, we have enjoyed a substantial West Virginia workers’ compensation practice through which we have gained a unique understanding of the complex relationships among employers, insurance carriers, claims administrators, and employees.

We understand the legal and human resource issues that arise with return-to-work complexities associated with occupational injuries and diseases. We routinely develop solutions when workers’ compensation issues collide with state disability discrimination statutes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

We counsel our clients both before and after a claim is filed, and assist employers, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators in the development of creative, efficient solutions, including:

  • Claims defense
  • Claims litigation before the West Virginia Office of Judges, Board of Review, and Supreme Court
  • Cost reduction programs
  • “Deliberate Intent” litigation
  • Discipline or termination issues
  • Employee rehabilitation
  • Insurance coverage issues
  • Medical management and treatment
  • Return-to-work planning and accommodations
  • Self-insurance matters
  • Subrogation
  • Temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability
  • Workers’ compensation discrimination and retaliation
  • Workers’ compensation management training
  • Workplace compliance and safety issues

Robinson & McElwee represents a diverse clientele, and we are routinely involved in handling a wide array of West Virginia workers’ compensation issues for employers, insurance carriers, and third party administrators. Our workers’ compensation attorneys and staff take time to get to know each client and its unique circumstances, including the nuances of each client’s industry and workplace. The Workers’ Compensation Practice Group at Robinson & McElwee provides aggressive representation designed to ensure that each client’s interests are protected to the greatest degree possible.

Please contact Michael A. Kawash at or call 304-347-8315 if you have any questions about our West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Practice Group.