Rachel B. Cowen

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Rachel B. Cowen focuses her practice in various employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases in federal and state courts. Rachel’s experience includes prosecuting and defending employee mobility and trade secret litigation on an emergency injunctive basis. She also counsels employers facing union organizing activity and picketing, and has successfully tried numerous cases before the National Labor Relations Board. She also handles collective bargaining and labor arbitrations. Additionally, Rachel represents financial services companies and professional engineering firms in unfair competition cases. Read Rachel Cowen's full bio.

FTC Issues Rule Banning Worker Noncompete Agreements


By , , , , and on Apr 30, 2024
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment, Executive Compensation, Labor

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3-2 along party lines to ban all new noncompete agreements nationwide and render existing noncompete agreements binding most workers unenforceable. The Final Rule, slated for publication in the Federal Register, provides that employers’ use of noncompete agreements amounts to an “unfair method of competition” that runs afoul...

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Employers Seek Clarity on Reproductive Healthcare Benefits Litigation Following EEOC Commissioner Filing


By and on Nov 28, 2022
Posted In Benefit Controversies, Employee Benefits, Health and Welfare Plans

Following the US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, many employers extended travel benefits to women residing in states where abortion or reproductive health procedures may now be unlawful. Recently, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Commissioner Andrea Lucas filed a Commissioner’s Charge against at least three companies alleging that doing so...

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Four Trump-Era Bias Policies Stymied by Biden in 2021


By on Jan 5, 2022
Posted In Employment, Labor

Throughout US President Joe Biden’s first year in office, the Biden administration reversed numerous Trump-era policies, including those concerning the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal contractors, wage data and LGBTQ bias. In this Law360 article, McDermott Partner Rachel Cowen offers insight into how the friction between religious and LGBTQ rights will continue to play...

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Tenth Circuit Compels Arbitration in Overtime, Joint Employer Case


By on Dec 28, 2021
Posted In Employment, Labor

A recent US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruling determined that a pipeline inspector’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit against an energy company could not be adjudicated without involving the subcontractor that paid his wages. According to this Law360 article, the Tenth Circuit ruled that the inspector was trying to play “fast...

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President Releases Executive Order Prohibiting Training for Contractors and Federal Grant Recipients


By , and on Oct 7, 2020
Posted In Employment, Labor

On September 22, 2020, US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order, which prohibits federal contractors and recipients of federal grants from conducting certain workplace training on race and sex stereotyping. This Executive Order is likely to be challenged on various grounds, including First Amendment grounds, but all employers may wish to review their workplace...

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How to Build COVID-19 Employment Litigation Defenses Now


By , and on Aug 20, 2020
Posted In Employment, Privacy and Data Security

The employment and business decisions made by employers under the specter of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic are now being tested by plaintiffs’ lawyers. Employers of all sizes should expect a flood of employment litigation alongside ever-changing conditions, constantly updated guidance and, at times, conflicting state and local guidance. Litigation avoidance will require a team effort and proactive communication – both internally and externally. This article outlines the types...

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Ninth Circuit En Banc Ruling Deepens Rift Over Gender-Based Pay Gaps


By on May 12, 2020
Posted In Employment

The Ninth Circuit’s recent en banc ruling that employers can’t excuse sex-based pay gaps by pointing to workers’ past salaries deepened a circuit split over the federal Equal Pay Act, a development that could push the issue up to the US Supreme Court. The majority’s opinion puts the Ninth Circuit directly at odds with the...

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CARES Act Payroll Tax Forum: IRS Weighs in on High-Profile Employee Retention Tax Credits


By , , , and on May 4, 2020
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment

Decisions aimed at preserving your workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can have a long-term impact on your business. As you prepare to emerge from government shutdown orders, recall that your workforce is your single most valuable asset. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides employee retention tax credits to help...

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Responses to Gender Pay Inequity: A Quick World Tour


By and on Oct 29, 2019
Posted In Employment

Most major jurisdictions have pay equity laws, but their approach is far from uniform. Global companies need to evaluate compliance with these laws on a country-by-country basis whilst simultaneously addressing their compensation policies globally. A sample of the rules across several countries helps to identify trends that can drive effective global policies. Australia The Australian...

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Fridays With Benefits Webinar | Terminating Employees: How to Minimize Liabilities


By and on Feb 5, 2019
Posted In Employee Benefits, Employment

Join us this Friday, February 8, for an interactive discussion on minimizing liabilities when terminating employees. Rachel Cowen and Brian Mead will talk about workplace investigations, releases and severance agreements. Our lively 45-minute discussion will tackle the following topics: 5 Best Practices for Termination Tips for Preparing Releases Dos and Don’ts With Benefits Friday, February...

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