David B. Walston, Esq.
Leadership: Immediate Past Chair of Labor and Employment Practice Group
After more than 25 years of practicing labor and employment law, David Walston has developed a formula for building successful client relationships. He believes that all good engagements begin with a face-to-face meeting to perform a thorough assessment of the current policies and practices related to the client’s human resources operations. This assessment is designed to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations. David’s proactive approach continues as he provides day-to-day employment advice on workplace issues and suggests different courses of action available to the client – suggestions to aid charge and lawsuit avoidance. He provides these services through the client’s election of a flat-fee retainer arrangement or on an hourly-basis.
David’s approach remains proactive if the issue evolves into administrative proceedings or a lawsuit. He believes that the defense of legal proceedings begins with a thorough initial assessment and absolute candor with the client regarding that assessment – before any response or pleading is filed. He learns the facts of the case, analyzes every issue presented and defenses available and provides a strategic case management model to the client. This includes issues related to e-discovery – an increasingly important and sometimes costly aspect of case management. David keeps in constant contact with the client regarding all significant developments and modifies the model as the defense of the matter proceeds.
This approach has served David well, whether he is planning defense of FLSA collective actions, directing the opposition to a union organizational campaign or helping to defend unfair labor practice charges and arbitrations with trade unions. He has learned to step back and respond professionally to unreasonable or aggressive posturing – an approach appreciated and encouraged by the courts.
- Vanderbilt University, 1984, B.A.
- Vanderbilt University of Law School, 1987, J.D. (Am Jur Award, Labor Standards)
- Alabama, 1987
- United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
- United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama
- United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama
- United States District Court, Southern District of Alabama
Areas of Practice:
- Electronic Discovery
- Labor and Employment
Publications and Presentations:
- “Employment Issues for Public Employers – The New, the Revised and the Old,” – Spring Law Conference – Alabama Association of Municipal Attorneys/Alabama Municipal Association, March 2011.
- “The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 – Will You Be Part of the 10% Increase in Claims?” – Primerus webinar panelist, 2010.
- “Fair Labor Standards Act Collective Actions – The New Wave of Litigation,” – Chief Executive Officers and Human Resources Directors of regional medical centers in Alabama, 2010.
Professional and Community Involvement:
- American Bar Association (ABA): Member, Labor and Employment Section
- Alabama State Bar: Member, Labor and Employment Section
- Birmingham Bar Association: Member
- Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council: Pro Bono Legal Counsel
- King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes: Pro Bono Legal Counsel
Awards and Recognition:
- AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell*
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2011-2013 in the field of labor and employment litigation and employment law
- AAMA Employment Law
- Immigration Law – The Current Impact on Your Business
- The ADA Amendments Act of 2008
Attorney News & Announcements:
- 16 Christian & Small Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
- 16 Christian & Small Attorneys Recognized as 2014 Best Lawyers in America
- Christian & Small Attorneys Included in 2013 Best Lawyers
- Represented businesses in well over 100 matters involving charges and lawsuits alleging unlawful discrimination, retaliation and interference with protected rights.
- Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Family-Medical Leave Act
- Represented three hospitals in separate FLSA collective actions with possible classes from 600 to in excess of 2,000 members. One case receiving initial certification and involving 60 opt-ins was pared down to fewer than 25 members. Settled the case for $10,000, as a whole, with most of the last-standing claimants receiving $50. Other two matters each settled before initial certification for under $10,000.
- Defense of other collective actions resulted in no motion conditional certification filed and settlements of less than $12,500.
- Served as Alabama counsel for a national trucking company fighting a nationwide Teamsters strike.
- Advised manufacturers in defeating organizational efforts by trade unions and successfully defending unfair labor practices asserted under the National Labor Relations Act arising from the union organizational campaigns.
- Represented general contractor managing construction of an electrical power steam plant under a specially-negotiated collective bargaining agreement with 13 trade unions. Representation included enjoining of wildcat strikes and defense of union jurisdictional issues, unfair labor practice charges and grievances and arbitrations.
- Represented national manufacturer in negotiating a proposed multimillion dollar back-pay award and fine by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance for affirmative action violations to a back-pay award of $90,000.
- Represented insurance agent in promissory fraud claim in which the Eleventh Circuit clarified the preemptive application of ERISA to employee-agents of insurance companies issuing employee welfare benefits plans. Englehardt v. Paul Revere Insurance Co., 139 F.3d 1346 (11th Cir. 1998). Handled over 25 lawsuits involving this same issue with respect to independent and captured agents.