Board Certified in Labor and Employment law, Hanna Fister Norvell has represented employers since 1996 in matters related to:
- employee and independent contractor classification, as well as joint employer (co-employer) or integrated employer issues;
- disability accommodation (ADA and the interactive process), military leaves (USERRA), other leaves of absence, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), drug testing, medical exams;
- layoffs, furloughs, voluntary separation or retirement programs or other staff reductions (including WARN Act),
- unemployment compensation claims, workers’ compensation retaliation,
- background checks, applicant testing, and other hiring screens and processes,
- due diligence and representations or warranties regarding employment issues involved in mergers and acquisitions.
Hanna has extensive experience in drafting, enforcing, and litigating executive and other employment agreements, executive and other employee separation or severance agreements, executive compensation and benefits agreements, incentive, retention and severance plans, non-disclosure, non-disparagement, non-competition, non-solicitation and non-hire agreements, and in litigating claims of tortious interference, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, alleged violations of the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA), and other uniform trade secrets act statutes, breach of contract, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Hanna defends owners and operators of public accommodations (retailers, hotels, financial service providers, restaurants, stadiums, theaters, medical providers, website providers, and other businesses and commercial entities) in claims regarding equal access to facilities, services, products, reservations, tickets, websites, information, policy modifications, eligibility criteria, and providing effective means of communication including relay calls, interpreters, and other methods, brought under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and comparable state laws.
Hanna also advises owners and operators of public accommodations regarding planning and designing for compliance with the ADA, including the 1991 and 2010 versions of the ADAAG (ADA Accessibility Guidelines) and Standards for Accessible Design, comparable state and local guidelines, as well as the impact of accessibility issues on potential sales or purchases of public accommodations.
Hanna advises owners and managers, sellers and purchasers, of multi-family housing developments regarding Fair Housing Act (FHA) compliance and issues, including design and construction, discrimination, accommodations, and background check issues, defends claims of Fair Housing Act violations, as well as assists with agency requirements, inspections, corrective actions, ADA and other accessibility requirements under state and federal laws.
Hanna’s experience includes working with entities of various sizes and in every stage of development, from tiny start-ups to well-established global companies, in industries ranging from manufacturing to bio-technology to financial services to hospitality, retail and energy.
Hanna is Co-Chair of the Firm’s global Labor & Employment Practice Group, a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors, and former Co-Chair of the Firm’s global Consumer Product Retail and Franchise Industry Group. She has also served as a member on the Firm’s Leadership Succession Committee, co-chair of the Firm’s Women’s Initiative, Co-Hiring Partner for the Houston Office, member of the Firm’s Alternative Fee Arrangement Committee, and on the Houston office Hiring and Diversity Committees. She is a frequent speaker and writer on employment-related topics.
- Defeated class certification and obtained dismissal of 25-plaintiff race discrimination lawsuit against manufacturing company.
- Obtained numerous summary judgment dismissals in federal and state courts of race, age, and gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims filed against various clients in several industries, including energy, manufacturing, and technology.
- Resolved class-wide disparate impact race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Conducted or supervised internal investigations of numerous harassment, discrimination, whistleblower, and retaliation claims, including those based on sex, race, age, nationality, religion, FMLA leave, disability, and other protected categories.
- Advised regarding the internal handling of responses to employee complaints and charges of discrimination.
- Drafted agreements for, and counseled clients in several states regarding, enforceability of non-compete, non-solicit, and non-disclosure covenants in several industries, including energy, oilfield services, computer software, retail, medical, manufacturing, and more.
- Defended and counseled public accommodations regarding equal access issues involving relay calls, websites, customer presentations, policies, eligibility criteria, and effective means of communication for retailers, medical providers, financial services companies, government entities and more.
- Counseled clients regarding ADA and FHA obligations in agreements for sale or lease or management services and as a part of due diligence involved in acquisitions and sales of multi-family housing facilities, joint venture agreements, and other day to day operational issues.
- Reviewed, analyzed, and summarized pertinent aspects of thousands of employment agreements as part of due diligence for an acquisition of certain healthcare companies.
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal of former executive’s financial “whistleblower” (Sabine Pilot) claim against energy company which involved the interpretation of his executive compensation terms.
- Defended employers in several FMLA lawsuits and Department of Labor investigations regarding both FMLA interference and retaliation claims.
- Obtained judgment as a matter of law in FMLA lawsuit and defended appeal to Fifth Circuit. Judgment we obtained later became part of revised FMLA regulations.
Professional Affiliations :
- Member, State Bar of Texas
- Member, Houston Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section
- Council Member (2008-2010)
- Member, Houston Bar Association Gender Initiative Task Force (2008-2010)
- Member, Women’s Energy Network (2008-2011)
- J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School, 1996
- B.A., magna cum laude, Transylvania University, 1993
Admissions : Texas
Rate : $$$