Overview

Randy Avram is Team Leader of the firm's Labor & Employment practice. Mr. Avram acts as national and regional employment litigation and labor counsel for several Fortune 100 companies. He has successfully defended numerous high profile class actions. Mr. Avram has also acted as first chair in more than 300 state and federal employment litigation cases. Mr. Avram has represented companies of all sizes in more than 50 union avoidance campaigns with a greater than 95 percent win rate. He has also acted as first chair in more than 100 NLRB cases and labor arbitrations. He represents management in all aspects of labor and employment and traditional labor law.

In addition, Mr. Avram often handles high profile workplace violence/workplace catastrophe cases including those involving fatalities and OSHA investigations. Mr. Avram regularly negotiates labor contracts for a variety of companies – large and small. He routinely works with companies to establish litigation avoidance programs, having trained more than 5,000 supervisors and managers.

Mr. Avram is listed in the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Labor & Employment Law and each previous edition since 2006. He was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Labor and Employment Law in 2018 and the 11 years immediately preceding. Mr. Avram was also recognized as a 2016 and 2018 "Raleigh Lawyer of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America®. He has been recognized as a North Carolina “Super Lawyer” for Employment & Labor and Employment Litigation: Defense by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2006 and in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018, he was named a North Carolina "Top 100 Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers magazine. In addition, Mr. Avram was honored as a "Legal Elite" by Business North Carolina magazine in 2005, 2013 and 2014 as one of North Carolina’s top employment attorneys and as a Triangle area "Mover & Shaker" by Business Leader Magazine. He is a recipient of the 2014 Client Choice Award USA & Canada in the Employment & Labor category for North Carolina from Lexology and the International Law Office (ILO). Mr. Avram is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*

*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.

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Experience

Successfully represented a global fast food chain in class action wage and hour litigation in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina. Obtained summary judgment.

Represented prominent retailer in employment litigation lawsuit brought by a former employee alleging violations of Title VII, wrongful discharge, and negligent retention/supervision. Plaintiff's claims were dismissed. Client won counterclaim for conversion and unjust enrichment and was awarded litigation costs. Plaintiff's appeal to the Fourth Circuit was dismissed.

Represented an information technology services provider against claims of wrongful termination in retaliation for the employee having filed workers’ compensation claims, as well as state law claims for both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The employer prevailed on its summary judgment motion and was awarded costs against the plaintiff.

Successfully defended a Fortune 100 pharmacy retailer against a lawsuit brought by a former employee alleging race discrimination, retaliation and constructive discharge. Case ended with award of summary judgment for client on all claims and award of litigation costs against plaintiff.

Represented a Fortune 500 retail company in a former employee's discrimination lawsuit, which alleged hostile work environment, retaliation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent retention. These claims, which stemmed from a supervisor's allegedly racial comment to the plaintiff, were all dismissed on summary judgment, and the client was awarded litigation costs.

Advised various companies on more than 50 union organizing campaigns with a greater than 95 percent win rate. Clients have included manufacturers and retailers as well as energy and telecommunications companies.

Represented a major third-party Benefits Administrator in a purported class action suit by a class of plaintiffs alleging improper recording of phone conversations. The case was filed in the Central District of California. The plaintiffs alleged a violation of privacy claim as well as violations of the California Invasion of Privacy Act. Defendants filed necessary documents challenging the appropriateness of the class, took various depositions and vigorously defended the case. The case settled on terms favorable to the defendant on the eve of motion hearing.

Represented express delivery services company in connection with a putative class action brought in New York Federal court under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York wage and labor law. After initial exchange of information and negotiation we resolved the matter with the named plaintiff on favorable terms for the client, thereby limiting additional potential exposure.

Successfully represented a fiber optic cable company in a landmark workplace violence case featured on 60 Minutes.

Represented a fully integrated environmental services organization in investigations by the Chemical Safety Board, OSHA, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, federal and state EPA officials, and town officials following a series of explosions and resulting fire at a hazardous-waste disposal plant in a well-populated area that led to the evacuation of thousands. The firm successfully defended the company against two OSHA citations and advised the company on media strategies.

Represented the second largest franchisee of Pizza Hut, Inc. in a union organizing campaign where the Virgin Islands Workers Union (VIWU) sought to organize all Pizza Hut workers in St. Thomas and St. Croix. We ran the campaign, which resulted in a resounding victory for the company when the employees voted two to one against unionization.

Advised one of the largest U.S. forest products manufacturers regarding strategy in a union organizing campaign in Bowling Green, Kentucky by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The company won the election by a greater than 2 to 1 margin.

Defended a non-profit health care provider in a class and collective action alleging overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and North Carolina state law involving “sleep time” while on the employer’s premises. Case was very favorably resolved prior to the certification decision.

Successfully defended one of the largest U.S. forest products manufacturers in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Successfully defended a Fortune 500 retailer in a lawsuit filed by former employee alleging retaliation and wrongful termination arising out of sexual harassment allegations.

Represented a large energy company in a workplace violence case in which a nonemployee fatally shot the company's security guard and an employee at the company's facility.

Obtained summary judgment and a dismissal of all claims of corporate defamation and unfair and deceptive trade practices for AT&T Corporation. The plaintiff also alleged violations of the Lanham Act and a claim for negligence. We succeeded in getting the Lanham Act and negligence claims dismissed early in the litigation. Boykin Anchor Co., Inc. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. 10-00591 (E.D.N.C. filed Dec. 29, 2010).

Successfully defended a global fast food chain in litigation brought by a former employee alleging that she was discharged in violation of public policy.

Successfully represented major national retail client in Teamster organized campaign at company's distribution centers at Freemont, California and Seattle, Washington. We provided strategic advice to management and created communication strategies to allow the company to remain union free. The union withdrew its representation prior to vote.

Represented a national fast food restaurant chain in several workplace violence cases where patrons, along with the restaurant employees who came to assist, were attacked by gang members. The restaurant employees and patrons brought suit against the restaurant alleging that because the business was operating in a "high crime area" (due to prior incidents), it did not maintain the necessary, additional safeguards. The employees also brought suit outside of workers compensation. The firm ultimately had five of the cases dismissed at summary judgment and the others were settled for nominal amounts.

Successfully represented one of the largest U.S. forest products manufacturers in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). We won summary judgment and recovered litigation costs for our client.

Represented one of the largest U.S. forest products manufacturers in a suit brought against our client in Alabama Federal court by the EEOC on behalf of a class of African-Americans alleging race discrimination. After an initial round of discovery, including the depositions of the charging parties, the case was settled on very favorable terms at mediation.

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Education

Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D. (1985) with highest honors

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A. (1981)

Admissions

North Carolina (1986)

Professional & Community Activities

American Bar Association, Committee on the Development of the Law under the National Labor Relations Act, Member

North Carolina Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section Governing Council, Member

Triangle Area Red Cross, Board of Directors, Member

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