Christopher Ward is a partner and labor and employment attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP representing and counseling employers throughout the country, with particular emphases on class action litigation, wage and hour issues, and labor relations matters. His practice additionally focuses on hospitality litigation. He is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice.
Mr. Ward has extensive lead counsel experience in federal and state class action litigation, including multiple matters where the strategies he designed and implemented resulted, at both the trial court and appellate levels, in successful defenses against class certification and on-the-merits judgments for the employer against novel class theories of law. He regularly handles wage and hour matters, including wage and hour class and collective actions under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the provisions of the California Labor Code and Business & Professions Code. Mr. Ward also routinely counsels clients on wage and hour compliance matters, including compliance with municipal wage orders, particularly those governing wage and hour matters at airports throughout the country.
Mr. Ward also has substantial experience in traditional labor matters, with a significant emphasis on labor relations in the commercial aviation industry under the Railway Labor Act. He has litigated multiple “test case” matters on the forefront of the evolving question of Railway Labor Act versus National Labor Relations Act jurisdiction over airline service providers. Mr. Ward's work in the labor relations arena also includes representing employers in administrative matters and litigation before both the National Mediation Board, the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Courts of Appeals.
Mr. Ward represents employers in litigation and administrative matters relating to all aspects of federal, state and local discrimination and harassment laws, including first chair responsibilities in multiple bench and jury trials. He regularly assists clients with family and medical leave issues, both through counseling and litigation, and has further represented employers in whistleblower claims under numerous federal and state laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, in both administrative and court proceedings. Mr. Ward also has experience with federal OSHA and Cal/OSHA investigations and representing employers in OSHA-related litigation.
For many years, some employers have used mandatory arbitration agreements as a tool to protect against uncertainties of civil litigation, access a more efficient mechanism to resolve employment claims, and preserve the confidentiality of matters unde...