Photo of Thomas  J. Woodford
  • PRACTICE FOCUS
  • INDUSTRIES+
  • EDUCATION+
    • Washington and Lee University School of Law
      J.D., cum laude, 1987; W. Baker Hall Scholar
    • Duke University
      B.A., cum laude, 1983; Trinity Scholar
  • ADMISSIONS+
    • Alabama
    • District of Columbia
    • Florida
    • Virginia
    • Pennsylvania
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama
    • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama
    • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas
  • CLERKSHIP+

Thomas J. Woodford, with over 30 years of management-side labor and employment experience, focuses his employment practice on representing employers in litigation, arbitration and mediation in federal and state courts and in proceedings before federal enforcement and regulatory agencies including the EEOC and the Department of Labor (Wage Hour Division, OFCCP, OSHA, and ETA), as well as similar state agencies.

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Thomas J. Woodford, with over 30 years of management-side labor and employment experience, focuses his employment practice on representing employers in litigation, arbitration and mediation in federal and state courts and in proceedings before federal enforcement and regulatory agencies including the EEOC and the Department of Labor (Wage Hour Division, OFCCP, OSHA, and ETA), as well as similar state agencies.

Tom’s traditional labor experience centers on representing employers in union-management relations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Railway Labor Act (RLA). He provides union-avoidance training and counseling during salting and election campaigns, collective bargaining, grievance arbitrations, unfair labor practice actions, withdrawal/decertification petitions and compliance proceedings.

Through individualized counseling, regular education and hands-on training of human resource professionals, attorneys and trade groups, Tom assists employers with employee recruiting, hiring, onboarding, retention, discipline and termination of employment. Additionally, he routinely works with clients to draft preventative employment policies and procedures, employee handbooks, employment contracts, non-compete agreements, trade secret agreements, affirmative action programs, and drug testing programs.

Tom moved to Mobile in 1996. Prior to joining Phelps, he previously practiced at a regional employment law boutique on the Gulf Coast and a large multi-national firm in Washington, D.C.

Experience

  • Defended numerous clients in single-and multi-plaintiff lawsuits involving Title VII, §1981, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA and whistleblower claims in Alabama, Florida and other states.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of a large national construction company in two cases in Florida federal and state courts involving direct evidence of discrimination under the ADA and Title VII.
  • Represented heavy-industries and staffing companies in DOL overtime investigations and litigation involving per-diem travel expense reimbursement policies and practices.
  • Represented a large regional construction and engineering firm in two collective actions for non-payment of overtime wages that resulted in voluntary dismissals without prejudice after expiration of the statute of limitations.
  • Represented a large energy-exploration and extraction-services company in a decertification/withdrawal proceeding before the NLRB on blocking charges and Section 10(j) injunctive relief proceedings before the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. After Gissel order issued, Union ultimately served disclaimer of representation.
  • Represented a large construction and industrial maintenance company in compliance proceeding before the NLRB involving three national craft unions (Pipefitters, Boilermakers, and IBEW). NLRB filed compliance specification in 2013 seeking over $55 million in backpay and interest. Compliance case settled on appeal to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016 for approximately $1.2 million, including interest.
  • Defended several clients in class and collective actions involving minimum wage, overtime and misclassification claims in Alabama and other states.
  • Represented large construction and industrial maintenance company in ULP proceeding involving challenge to mandatory arbitration agreement for resolution of employment disputes.
  • Conducted union-avoidance and awareness training to heavy-industry employers.
  • Conducted withdrawal/decertification training to employers with unionized segments of their workforces.
  • Represented manufacturers and service-industry companies during organizing and election campaigns and contemporaneous ULP proceedings before the NLRB.
  • Represented short-line rail carrier in collective bargaining under the RLA with right-of-way and maintenance employee representatives.
  • Represented state-owned port authority and intra-port rail carrier in grievance arbitrations involving disciplinary and contract-interpretation issues.
  • Represented U.S. air carrier before D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court in a 1994 challenge to flight-attendant duty-time regulations issued by the FAA.
  • Participated in a grass-roots campaign to organize U.S. Fortune 100 companies to pressure President George H.W. Bush to issue an Executive Order to end a national Class-I rail strike by appointing a Presidential Emergency Board under the Railway Labor Act.

Insights

Publications
  • "Avoiding Union Organizing of Micro-Units Following Specialty Healthcare – A Management Perspective," Labor Law Journal, 66(4)
  • "The Fair Labor Standards Act: The HR Liability Issue of 2013,” Birmingham, AL: HR Alabama/SHRM Alabama State Council (May 2013 ed., vol. 3, pp. 48-55)
  • "Complete Preemption Under the Railway Labor Act: Protecting Congressionally Created Grievance Arbitration Procedures," Transportation Law Journal, 36(3), 261-311
  • “The Duty To Accommodate A Person Who Is Perceived As Disabled: Say It Isn't So,” Labor Law Journal, 57(2), 71-82 (2006)
  • “Sudden-Onset Harassment: Negligence or Strict Liability,” Labor Law Journal, 56(2), 93-105 (2005)
Speaking Engagements
  • American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, “Preparing A Defense Against Micro-Units,” New Orleans, LA (April 2015)
  • Gulf Coast Human Resources Conference, "Employment Law Update," Mobile Society for Human Resource Management, Mobile, AL (November 2007-2017)
  • Alabama Association of Public Personnel Administrators, "FLSA & Other Laws Administered by the DOL," Auburn University Center for Governmental Studies, Mobile, AL (September 2006)
  • Southern Academy of Legal Studies in Business, "The Duty To Accommodate A Person Who Is Perceived As Disabled: Say It Isn't So." San Antonio, TX (March 2006)
News
Other
  • Adjunct Professor, Business Law, Department of Management, Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama (Fall 2005-2010)
  • Adjunct Professor, Constitutional Law, Department of Political Science, Spring Hill College (Fall 2006)

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Mobile and Baldwin County Chapters, Society for Human Resource Management (President 2012)

Recognition

  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Education

  • Washington and Lee University School of Law
    J.D., cum laude, 1987; W. Baker Hall Scholar
  • Duke University
    B.A., cum laude, 1983; Trinity Scholar

Admissions

  • Alabama
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas
  • Defended numerous clients in single-and multi-plaintiff lawsuits involving Title VII, §1981, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA and whistleblower claims in Alabama, Florida and other states.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of a large national construction company in two cases in Florida federal and state courts involving direct evidence of discrimination under the ADA and Title VII.
  • Represented heavy-industries and staffing companies in DOL overtime investigations and litigation involving per-diem travel expense reimbursement policies and practices.
  • Represented a large regional construction and engineering firm in two collective actions for non-payment of overtime wages that resulted in voluntary dismissals without prejudice after expiration of the statute of limitations.
  • Represented a large energy-exploration and extraction-services company in a decertification/withdrawal proceeding before the NLRB on blocking charges and Section 10(j) injunctive relief proceedings before the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. After Gissel order issued, Union ultimately served disclaimer of representation.
  • Represented a large construction and industrial maintenance company in compliance proceeding before the NLRB involving three national craft unions (Pipefitters, Boilermakers, and IBEW). NLRB filed compliance specification in 2013 seeking over $55 million in backpay and interest. Compliance case settled on appeal to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016 for approximately $1.2 million, including interest.
  • Defended several clients in class and collective actions involving minimum wage, overtime and misclassification claims in Alabama and other states.
  • Represented large construction and industrial maintenance company in ULP proceeding involving challenge to mandatory arbitration agreement for resolution of employment disputes.
  • Conducted union-avoidance and awareness training to heavy-industry employers.
  • Conducted withdrawal/decertification training to employers with unionized segments of their workforces.
  • Represented manufacturers and service-industry companies during organizing and election campaigns and contemporaneous ULP proceedings before the NLRB.
  • Represented short-line rail carrier in collective bargaining under the RLA with right-of-way and maintenance employee representatives.
  • Represented state-owned port authority and intra-port rail carrier in grievance arbitrations involving disciplinary and contract-interpretation issues.
  • Represented U.S. air carrier before D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court in a 1994 challenge to flight-attendant duty-time regulations issued by the FAA.
  • Participated in a grass-roots campaign to organize U.S. Fortune 100 companies to pressure President George H.W. Bush to issue an Executive Order to end a national Class-I rail strike by appointing a Presidential Emergency Board under the Railway Labor Act.
Publications
  • "Avoiding Union Organizing of Micro-Units Following Specialty Healthcare – A Management Perspective," Labor Law Journal, 66(4)
  • "The Fair Labor Standards Act: The HR Liability Issue of 2013,” Birmingham, AL: HR Alabama/SHRM Alabama State Council (May 2013 ed., vol. 3, pp. 48-55)
  • "Complete Preemption Under the Railway Labor Act: Protecting Congressionally Created Grievance Arbitration Procedures," Transportation Law Journal, 36(3), 261-311
  • “The Duty To Accommodate A Person Who Is Perceived As Disabled: Say It Isn't So,” Labor Law Journal, 57(2), 71-82 (2006)
  • “Sudden-Onset Harassment: Negligence or Strict Liability,” Labor Law Journal, 56(2), 93-105 (2005)
Speaking Engagements
  • American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, “Preparing A Defense Against Micro-Units,” New Orleans, LA (April 2015)
  • Gulf Coast Human Resources Conference, "Employment Law Update," Mobile Society for Human Resource Management, Mobile, AL (November 2007-2017)
  • Alabama Association of Public Personnel Administrators, "FLSA & Other Laws Administered by the DOL," Auburn University Center for Governmental Studies, Mobile, AL (September 2006)
  • Southern Academy of Legal Studies in Business, "The Duty To Accommodate A Person Who Is Perceived As Disabled: Say It Isn't So." San Antonio, TX (March 2006)
News
Other
  • Adjunct Professor, Business Law, Department of Management, Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama (Fall 2005-2010)
  • Adjunct Professor, Constitutional Law, Department of Political Science, Spring Hill College (Fall 2006)
  • Mobile and Baldwin County Chapters, Society for Human Resource Management (President 2012)
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell