Kelly Hughes has spent her career advising and supporting employers across multiple industries and in various forums. Ms. Hughes assists executives and management at all levels in crafting employment policies and agreements that not only comply with federal, state, and local laws but also complement the unique needs of the particular client and promote its financial and business objectives.
Ms. Hughes is a nationally recognized authority on workplace flexibility and guides clients in creating and/or enhancing workplace flexibility tools in a manner that balances the business needs of the client with the various employment laws that may be implicated. She authored the legal chapters of the recently published book Workflex: The Essential Guide to Effective and Flexible Workplaces and travels around the country delivering presentations on this cutting-edge topic.
Ms. Hughes is also an experienced advocate in both administrative and court settings in the full range of employment law, such as:
- Discrimination and retaliation charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state agencies, including both individual discrimination charges and threatened systemic actions
- Handling wage and hour, discrimination, and retaliation complaints before the North Carolina Department of Labor
- Litigating claims arising under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act, and other federal statutes and state laws
- Representing employers, fiduciaries, insurers, and third-party administrators in employee welfare benefit plan litigation in federal and state courts
- Advising employers on all human resource issues, including hiring, incentivizing, evaluating, disciplining, and terminating employees; managing difficult leaves of absence; planning and executing reductions in force; navigating gender transitions; complying with disability accommodation, religious accommodation, and nursing mother obligations; and guiding employers through internal investigations
- Drafting, negotiating, and enforcing severance agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-competition agreements
- Conducting management training, including EEO and anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training
Within Ogletree, Ms. Hughes is the co-chair of the Retail Practice Group, a member of the EEOC Litigation Practice Group and the Hospitality Industry Group, the co-chair of the Flexibility/Awareness Subcommittee of Ogletree Deakins Women’s Initiative (ODWIN), a reduced hours advisor, and an ambassador to the Professional Development Committee.