Michelle Mahony  »  Partner
Michelle is Board-certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is licensed to practice in Texas and Arkansas. She regularly represents management in employment litigation matters at the pre-trial, trial and appellate levels. She has tried cases to jury verdict and has served as lead counsel in state and federal court actions, before various administrative agencies, and in numerous labor and employment arbitrations. Michelle also regularly counsels employers in making decisions affecting the workplace, with special emphasis on discrimination, wage and hour, I-9 compliance, affirmative action, and layoff and leave-related questions. She also advises both management and executives on employment and independent contractor agreements as well as complex non-compete, compensation, and severance matters.

Representative Experience

Employment Litigation and Arbitration

  • Defended employers in litigation resulting in favorable jury verdicts, dismissals and summary judgments involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, breach of contract, wrongful discharge, worker's compensation retaliation, defamation, and other workplace torts.
  • Successfully represented employers as both lead counsel and as part of litigation team in state and federal appeals in Texas and before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented, as part of litigation team, through trial and appeal a large manufacturing client in a class-action employment discrimination lawsuit involving issues of disparate treatment and disparate impact.
  • Successfully defended single-plaintiff and class action employment discrimination, harassment, and breach of contract arbitrations administered by AAA and JAMS.
  • Drafted and obtained enforcement of employment arbitration agreements.

Results depend on facts of each case.

Representation Before Government Agencies

  • Successfully represented both small and large employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission throughout the United States in obtaining dismissal of dozens of employee charges of discrimination.
  • Represented clients in numerous audits by the Department of Labor and the Texas Workforce Commission involving claims of worker misclassification with favorable results.
  • Represented employers in investigations and audits by the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division involving potential claims of minimum wage and overtime violations resulting in no adverse findings.
  • Represented federal contractors and subcontractors in the manufacturing, service and health care industries in audits of their affirmative action plans by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with successful outcomes.
  • Represented employers in ICE I-9 audits and civil penalty proceedings.
  • Represented employers in state WARN Act investigations resulting in a finding of no violation of state law.

Results depend on facts of each case.

Counseling, Training, and Workplace Investigations

  • Extensive experience drafting and advising employers on employment and independent contractor agreements, severance agreements, arbitration agreements, voluntary retirement plans, confidentiality agreements, and non-competes.
  • Handled numerous workplace investigations involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, employee theft, wage and hour violations and other workplace conduct.
  • Advised and assisted multiple employers on office closures and mass layoffs in Texas and other states, including drafting WARN notices and severance agreements and bargaining with any affected unions.
  • Drafted materials and conducted employee and management training on all aspects of labor and employment law and assisted employers in developing sound in-house training programs.
  • Assisted employers in developing comprehensive leave and reasonable accommodation policies and procedures.
  • Conducted I-9 audits and regularly counseled employers on various I-9 compliance issues.
  • Regularly counseled both large and small employers on employee handbooks, policies, and procedures.
  • Advised clients in the course of mergers and acquisitions and the due diligence process.
  • Acted in outside "general counsel" role for smaller clients, handling and/or overseeing all litigation matters.

Affirmative Action

  • Advised employers on affirmative action and federal contractor obligations and responsibilities, development of affirmative action plans, compensation analysis, management training, and recordkeeping.
  • Assisted employers in OFCCP compliance reviews and audits.
  • Assisted employers in complying with E-Verify requirements.

Education and Professional Background

  • Partner and Co-Founder, Muskat, Martinez & Mahony, LLP, May 2006 to Present.
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Ewing Werlein, Jr., United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 1997-1999.
  • J.D., With Honors, University of Texas School of Law, 1997 (Honors: Order of the Coif).
  • M.A., Economics, Northwestern University, 1992 (Honors: University Fellowship Recipient).
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Economics/Mathematics, Vanderbilt University, 1988 (Honors: Phi Beta Kappa).

Professional Activities

  • Board-Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
  • Author/Contributor: 2014 Cumulative Supplement, The Family and Medical Leave Act, American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law; 2012-2014 Mid-Winter FMLA Report, American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law; Age Discrimination Section of 4th Edition of Lindemann and Grossman’s Employment Discrimination,American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law; “The Future Viability of Batson v. Kentucky and the Practical Implications of Purkett v. Elem,” THE REVIEW OF LITIGATION, Vol. 16, No. 1, Winter Issue 1997; "The First Sherman Act Case: Jellico Mountain Coal, 1891,” THE ANTITRUST BULLETIN, Winter Issue 1990 (with John J. Siegfried).
  • Speaker: 2014 Labor and Employment Law Update: What Employers Need to Know Right Now to Maintain Compliance, MMDM Client Seminar, November 2014; "Arbitration Clauses and the Use of DRP," State Bar of Texas 12th Annual Advanced In-House Counsel Course, August 2013; "FMLA: Retaliation and Interference, Know the Difference and Why It Matters," South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2012; "A Case Study on Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA," South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2011; "The ADAAA, GINA, and Managing Disabled, Ill, or Injured Employees in Compliance With the Law," May 2011; “Independent Contract Analysis,” October 2010; “FMLA Intermittent Leave:  Understand It; Manage It,” South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2010; “The 2009 FMLA Regs: New Employer Rights,” South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2009;  “The FMLA and Military Leave Under the New Regs,” South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2009; “The Hiring Process:  A Best Practices Approach to Avoiding Legal Roadblocks,” Lorman, March 2009; Full Day Quarterly Update Seminar on ADA FMLA, FLSA, and Union Avoidance, Masters Class Series, Lorman, 2008-09; “A Comparison of the Current and Proposed FMLA Regulations,” South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2008; “WBEA Meet the Pros Forum – Human Resources Panel,” Women's Business Enterprise Alliance, March 2008; “FMLA: Handling the Tough Issues,” South Texas College of Law Symposium, July 2007; “Advanced Topics in the Family And Medical Leave Act In Arkansas,” Lorman, June 2006; “Disciplining Public Employees,” State Bar of Arkansas, July 2005.
  • Member/Professional Recognition: Texas Super Lawyer" in Labor & Employment Law, Texas Monthly, 2015; American Employment Law Council (AELC); Leadership Development Program Participant, American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section), Class of 2014-15; American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section); Texas Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section); Houston Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section).
  • Former Board Member: Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, Houston, Texas, January 2007 – December 2011.

Court Admissions

  • Texas (1997); Arkansas (1999); United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; United States District Courts, Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas; United States District Courts, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas; United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Tennessee.