Karl Nelson is co-partner-in-charge of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Dallas office and a member of the firm's Labor and Employment, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and Class Action Litigation Practice Groups. He is also a founding member of the firm's Information Technology and Data Privacy Practice Group.
Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America® for Labor & Employment Litigation, Mr. Nelson counsels and represents clients in all aspects of federal and state employment regulation, labor relations, and compensation and benefits law. He has extensive experience defending complex labor and benefit matters, including class and collective actions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. He has successfully defended clients against claims of age, race, disability and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, "whistle-blower" retaliation, and wrongful discharge under state common law, and he regularly advises and represents clients in connection with trade secret, competition, and employee-raiding issues.
Mr. Nelson also has extensive experience representing clients before federal and state administrative agencies. He has successfully represented employers before the Department of Labor in complex wage and hour and pension benefits investigations and in Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation cases, as well as before the EEOC in connection with charges of individual and class-wide discrimination. Mr. Nelson also frequently assists clients in conducting internal investigations of high-risk and high-profile matters such as those involving potential misconduct by senior executives and corporate officers and allegations of whistle-blowing under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and similar laws. Given the sensitive and high-profile nature of the matters he regularly handles, Mr. Nelson frequently works closely with in-house and outside resources to coordinate legal, investor relations, and media strategies and messaging.
As a founding member of the firm's Information Technology and Data Privacy Practice Group, Mr. Nelson also regularly assists clients in anticipating and responding to privacy issues in a broad range of contexts. He has counseled and represented major companies in the retail, energy, data processing and storage, and hospitality businesses in connection with potential breaches of electronic systems and the loss of sensitive employment, consumer, and third-party data. He also regularly advises clients in connection with the use of sensitive and private information in the employment context, including monitoring and use of employee communications via company-provided electronic systems, use of background investigations and other investigative tools in hiring decisions and investigations of job misconduct, compliance with international privacy and data protection standards, the design of data breach response programs, and implementation of comprehensive records management plans that integrate the retention, secure storage, and destruction of sensitive employment and other data.
Mr. Nelson regularly writes and speaks on employment, benefits, litigation, and data security topics. He has served as an adjunct instructor in Human Resource Law and co-authored a software package for human resource professionals. He is an active member of the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law and the American Employment Law Council. Mr. Nelson is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the First, Fifth, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals and numerous federal district courts.
Mr. Nelson received his law degree from Duke University School of Law in 1991, graduating with high honors, and his B.B.A. in economics and business administration from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, graduating summa cum laude from the University Honors Program.