Edward G. Phillips

Edward G. Phillips

Partner, Managing Partner 2004-2006
Location:
Knoxville, Tennessee
Phone:
865-525-5134
Fax:
865-522-5723
Email:

Edward G. Phillips has a wealth of knowledge and trial experience in his practice areas of Litigation and Employment and Labor and heads the Employment and Labor group.  Mr. Phillips has over 38 years of experience representing management in all areas of employment and labor law.  He is a forceful, effective litigator.  Mr. Phillips has been described by Chambers and Partners USA as, "one of the most talented lawyers in the state with a varied practice of litigation avoidance and successful litigation."  Employment law is his passion, and he gives his clients prompt and lawful prospective advice (i.e., how to deal with problem employees and structure policies).

For his Employment and Labor law practice, the prestigious peer-review publication, Best Lawyers in America, selected Mr. Phillips for inclusion to its list each and every year since 1995, and also selected him as Lawyer of the Year in Labor Law - Management, Knoxville for 2016.  Mid-South Super Lawyers, another highly respected publication which uses a multi-phased selection process, including independent research and peer nominations and evaluations, selected him to its list for the years 2004-2017 for his Employment Litigation Defense.

Edward G. Phillips Decisions, Articles and Presentations

Mr. Phillips focuses his practice on:

  • Litigation avoidance/prospective advice
  • Litigation in all types of employment law cases in state and federal courts
  • Representation of local government and public utilities with unique constitutional issues and civil service rights

He also represents his clients in administrative proceedings before the following:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • United States Department of Labor (including the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs)
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC)
  • Tennessee Department of Labor

Mr. Phillips has also been instrumental in developing training programs in many areas of employment relations.  He has presented the Knoxville Bar Association's Annual Employment Law Update for over two decades.

Representative Matters

Mr. Phillips was lead counsel on a defense team that successfully defended a putative class action with 17 named plaintiffs who were alleging race discrimination in termination, racial harassment, racial failure to promote or transfer, and retaliation for complaining about race discrimination. All 17 plaintiffs' claims were either dismissed on summary judgment or were voluntarily dismissed with prejudice in exchange for waiver of court costs after summary judgment was filed.

In another instance, Mr. Phillips was also lead counsel in defense of a putative class action involving over 300 putative members alleging race discrimination in failure to hire. The motion to certify the class was denied. One named plaintiff was dismissed on summary judgment, and the second plaintiff's case was tried to a jury and resulted in a defense verdict.

Mr. Phillips has defended a number of FLSA collective actions involving pre-shift and post-shift activities, with the number of opt-in plaintiffs ranging from 50 to 350.  He is currently defending six such lawsuits.

Mr. Phillips has defended a municipality in a Fair Labor Standards Act case involving over 70 firefighter plaintiffs. He is currently lead counsel in a 330 plaintiff collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act involving pre-shift and post-shift activities.

He has recently reported Sixth Circuit affirmations of summary judgment in age discrimination and race discrimination and retaliation, USERRA retaliation, racial harassment, and age, gender and race discrimination claims involving reductions in force.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation Avoidance/Prospective Advice
  • Employment Law Cases
  • Constitutional Issues
  • Civil Service Rights
  • Administrative Proceedings

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1978
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1980
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee, 1978
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 2016

Education

  • University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, Tennessee
    • J.D. - 1978
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Honors: Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Houston Goddard, Law Clerk
  • East Tennessee State University
    • B.A.
    • Honors: Graduated with Honors

Published Works

  • "Blowing the Whistle on Yourself: When Protected Activity Provides a Legitimate, Non-Discriminitory Reason for Termination", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2017, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Subjective Beliefs: Sufficient to Establish Pretext?", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2016, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "O, That Mine Enemy Would Record Me With Her Smart Phone", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2016 by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Badges and Blown Whistles: Recent Retaliatory Discharge Actions in Tennessee", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2016, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Yardley v Hospital Housekeeping Systems LLC: A Win for the Employment-at-Will Doctrine", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Sixth Circuit En Banc: Regular On-Site Job Attendance Remains an Essential Function", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Wage and Hour Issues in the High Court: Mandatory But not Compensable", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "General Assembly Passes a Host of Employment Law Amendments", Tennessee Bar Journal, October, 2014, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Guns in Trunks: An Erosion of Tennessee's Employment-At-Will Rule?", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2013
  • "Variation in State and Federal Pleading Standards: Webb and Veasy," Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2013
  • "Disability-Related Inquiries in Uncertain Times," Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2012
  • "New NLRB 'Quickie Election' Procedures," Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2012
  • "Staub v. Proctor Hospital: The Cat's Paw Theory Gets Its Claws Sharpened," Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2011
  • "Ministerial Exception Meets It's Match: Primary Duties of Secular Employees," Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2010
  • "What Not to Do When Separating Employment," Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2010
  • "Non-Compete Agreements: It's Not All About You, Employers," Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2010
  • "Where There's Smoke but No Fire, Ricci v. Destefano", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2009
  • "Strategies for Reducing Legal Risk in Reductions in Force," Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2009
  • "Tennessee Supreme Court Speaks On Supervisory Harassment And Retaliation," Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2008
  • "What Employers Need to Know About the New No-Smoking Law," Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2007
  • "Prickly Pay Issues," Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2007
  • "Reporting for Duty," Tennessee Bar Journal, May 2006, a feature article on USERRA

Representative Cases

  • Campbell v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57871 (E.D. Tenn.) (2007)
  • Clark v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc. d/b/a WSI Oak Ridge, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37832 (E.D. Tenn.) (2014)
  • Clark v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50692 (E.D. Tenn.) (2007)
  • Copeland v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 221 F.3d 1334, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 24132 (6th Cir.) (1999)
  • Cunningham v. Tennessee Cancer Specialists, PLLC 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97297 (E.D. Tenn.) (2013)
  • Davidson v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30757 (E.D. Tenn.) (2007)
  • Escher v BWXT Y-12 LLC, 627 F.3d 1020 (6th Cir.) (2010)
  • Escher v BWXT Y-12, LLC 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66070 (E.D. Tenn.) (2009)
  • Leadbetter v. Gilley, 385 F.3d 683 (6th Cir.) (2004)
  • McKinney v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc., 179 F. Supp. 3d 609; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 403049 (2016)
  • Messner v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys., Inc., 126 F.Supp 2d 502 (E.D. Tenn.) (2000)
  • Mynatt v. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 6002, 2008 Fed. App. 153N (6th Cir. Tenn.) (2008)
  • O’Neal v. Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34634 (E.D. Tenn.) (2006)
  • Rowan v. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 360 F. 3d 544 (6th Cir.) (2004)
  • Shapira v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 201 F.3d 441 (6th Cir.)
  • Shroyer v Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126522 (E.D. Tenn.) (2011)
  • Wade v. Knoxville Utilities Board, 259 F.3d 452 (6th Cir.) (2001)

Classes/Seminars

  • "Employment Law Update" Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (September 2012), September 13, 2012
  • "Employment Law Update" Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (September 2011), September 8, 2011
  • "Employment Law Update," Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (September 2010), September 9, 2010
  • "Employment Law Update, " Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (September 2009), October 8, 2009
  • “Employment Law Update,” Knoxville Bar Association, Lunch and Learn (September 2008), September 11, 2008
  • “The Effect of Bankruptcy on Employment Law,” Tennessee Bar Association Employment Law Section, Nashville, Tennessee. (April 2008), April 3, 2008
  • “Employment Law and Regulatory Administration Update,” Management Labor Employer Roundtable, San Diego, California (February 2008), February 15, 2008
  • “Ten Tips on Conducting Reductions in Force,” DOECAA 2007 Fall Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio (October 2007), September 26, 2007
  • “Employment Law Update,” Knoxville Bar Association, Lunch and Learn (September 2007), September 13, 2007
  • “Developments in Employment Law,” Kramer Rayson Employment Law Conference (September 2007), September 20, 2007
  • “Managing the Employee Who is Absent” Kramer Rayson Employment Law Conference (September 2007), September 20, 2007
  • "Employment Law Update" Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (October 2013), October 10, 2013
  • "Employment Law Update" Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (September 2014), September 11, 2014
  • "Employment Law Update" Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn (October 2015), October 8, 2014

Honors and Awards

  • Identified as leading employment lawyer in Tennessee Chambers and Partners USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers, 2004 - 2017
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law, 1995 - 2017
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers, Labor and Employment, 2006 - 2017
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law - Management, Knoxville, 2016

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Labor and Employment Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, Former Chairman, 1997
  • Standing Committee on Admissions, 2000 - Present
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center, Board of Directors, 2004 - 2010
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center, Board Chair, 2008 - 2009
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2004
  • Knoxville Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2004
  • American Bar Association
  • ABA Labor and Employment Law Sections
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, Diocesan Counsel, 2010 - Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Kramer Rayson LLP, Managing Partner, 2004 - 2006
  • Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Houston Goddard, Law Clerk