Employment Law Advice
Catapult membership includes employment law advice, so you make the best decisions for your people and business without the costly legal fees.
EMPLOYMENT LAW ADVICE FROM EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS*
Complying with employment law can be challenging. Regulations continuously change and evolve, and there’s no such thing as a simple legal question.
We know legal issues can be a headache. You want quick answers, but high fees make you think twice about calling your attorney.
We understand compliance can be a time-consuming HR function that takes attention away from managing people. That’s why we supplement our HR advice with employment law advice from our esteemed partners. These dedicated employment law attorneys help our members make sound decisions.
- High-risk compliance matters
- DES, DOL, and OSHA guidance
- Gray-area decision-making
- Wage and hour exemptions
- Legal risks and viable options
- EEOC response advice/review
- Review of demand letters and subpoenas
- Non-compete agreements
- Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure agreements
- Separation and Release agreements
- Independent Contractor Agreements
- Legal review of employee handbooks (NC, SC and federal)
- Sample Employment Agreements
- Legal guides
- Employer’s Compliance Desk Manual
- DIY tools and templates
Frequently Asked Questions About The Catapult Legal Advice Plan
It is a method authorized by the NC State Bar to provide Catapult member organizations with pre-paid legal services on foundational employment law questions and needs. Legal services are provided by a third-party law firm not related to Catapult, but paid for by Catapult through this Plan. The Plan is registered with the NC State Bar.*
Jennifer M. Vuillermet
Jennifer works to reduce liability, lessen risk, and solve problems before they occur by advising business owners and HR managers in labor and employment law. Read more.
PAM J. BUTLER
Pam brings a wealth of employment law knowledge and experience to the Firm from her previous work as inhouse counsel and as an employment attorney with both large and small law firms. Read more.
NC law prohibits most corporations (including a nonprofit association like Catapult) from providing such services directly.
Catapult already provides members consultation with our HR professionals. These Plan attorneys will provide telephone-based employment law advice in a very similar way. They will also review legal templates to help you resolve employment law matters such as separation and release agreements. They will help you understand employment claims and charges filed against you, and your options. They will give opinions on employee handbook provisions. Their advice is limited to North Carolina, South Carolina, and federal employment law matters. See Catapult’s Employment Law Advice Plan Terms below for full details. Plan attorneys generally are available Monday through Friday from 8:00amET to 5:00pmET.
Matters that require extended custom work, such as representing your business in an EEOC charge, drafting original agreements or substantive revisions to existing documents, resolving an NLRB or USDOL investigation, or handling litigation. Other time-intensive work, immigration visa matters, workers’ compensation defense matters, ERISA matters, labor union elections, and unfair labor practice charges are not included. The Plan also excludes non-employment-related advice and review, including business contracts, leases, master services agreements, purchasing contracts, etc.
For most Catapult members, the first time you contact a Plan attorney, you will be referred to the Plan by a member of Catapult’s HR Advice team. For this first conversation, Plan attorneys will need to go through a short client onboarding process – this may take 24-48 hours. During this process, a Plan attorney will contact you to schedule a consultation and will confirm that Soule Employment Law Firm does not have any conflict working with you. The Plan attorney will send you an email explaining the Firm’s relationship with Catapult and seeking your permission and agreement to engage the Firm to provide legal services to you. The Plan attorney must have your written response to this email before moving forward with a consultation. After this initial onboarding process, you will not need to go through this process again. For subsequent consultations, you can access Plan attorneys through the HR Advice team or you may contact them directly.
Yes. An advantage of this Plan is support for corporate attorneys who have an employment law matter in-house and need to advise their client without incurring outside fees.
Yes! Catapult’s aim is to provide the regular support you need to resolve everyday workplace issues and confusion. The Plan’s prepaid benefit does not provide case-specific work such as handling the investigation of an EEOC charge and drafting the position letter. The Plan does not provide counsel for sub-topics in employment law such as ERISA and benefits law, tax matters, workers’ compensation defense or visas and immigration. Plan attorneys will not litigate cases in court or agencies for you.
Yes, they will provide additional employment law services at a reduced hourly rate as a benefit of your Catapult membership. You must request the work directly from a Plan attorney and the Firm must agree and be able to provide the specific work requested. Plan attorneys also will provide you with an estimate of the legal hours that your project may require before performing any work for you. Catapult is not involved in billing for the work and will not share in any part of the revenue. Catapult’s role is to set the maximum hourly rate for the work to an agreed, member-friendly, below-market rate.
Yes, like any lawyer-client conversation, if the conversation meets the standard for that privilege and the client maintains its confidentiality. If you, however, request that a Catapult HR Advice team member or third-party contractor, like a contract HR professional, engage in communications with you and/or a Plan attorney on your behalf, then the communications may not be protected. A Plan attorney will advise you when this may occur to allow you to determine who you want to be involved in the communications.
Yes. In order to monitor effectiveness, Plan attorneys will report how much time they spent with each member and a broad category for the topic involved, such as “Wage and Hour.” No details or specifics will be shared with Catapult. Plan attorneys will obtain your consent to this limited reporting before providing legal services; this consent is obtained as part of the initial onboarding process.
All legal questions and answers are recorded separately from Catapult’s member database by Plan attorneys on a system they provide through the Firm. Plan attorneys will have private, lockable offices at Catapult where they may provide services from time-to-time. Also, Plan attorneys will not share confidential communications between themselves and a member client with any third party, including Catapult, without obtaining the member’s express, written permission. Only authorized representatives of active Catapult members and those who are designated as member contacts can request legal advice through the Plan on behalf of their Company. Note that Plan attorneys cannot provide advice to an individual employee of a Catapult member about a personal matter. The Plan member is the Firm client and the Firm would have a conflict with providing legal advice to an employee of a client.
We believe most calls to learn about the rules, understand the regulations, and discuss a course of action will still be resolved by the HR Advice team. The Plan attorneys are here to help you take the next step or provide sensitive, confidential legal advice when an issue requires it. This need occurs in most workplaces at some point in time.
- Catapult’s Employment Law Advice Plan provides all eligible Plan Members the following Plan Services as part of the membership dues fee in Catapult (“Covered Plan Services”):
- Telephone, email and other forms of consultations on foundational federal, NC and SC employment law questions affecting the Plan Member. Limited reading and research to augment or confirm an effective response. Education of the Plan Member in the laws, rules and options relative to their question.
- Initial review and discussion of workplace-related challenges, charges, claims, subpoenas, agency letters, lawyer demand letters and similar issues to assist the Plan Member in understanding the context and to guide them in selecting counsel or a course of action.
- Reviewing employment agreements, issue spotting for enforcement concerns and high-risk issues, and spending reasonable time to make any minor revisions.
- Explanation of Catapult templates and spending reasonable time to complete minor revisions required to finalize and execute those templates for use in a specific situation.
- Review of portions of an employee handbook where legal advice is sought by the Plan Member.
- In person meetings at a Catapult office location with Plan Members who travel to the office for limited consultation on any Covered Plan Service in lieu of extended phone conversations, as mutually agreed to in advance.
- Catapult’s Employment Law Advice Plan has the right to prospectively limit a Plan Member’s free use of the Plan where their use is deemed excessive by the Plan Administrator after a review of usage statistics from Plan Attorneys. The Plan Administrator will not do so in a manner that the involved Participating Plan Attorney believes violates an existing professional obligation to that Plan Member.
- Catapult’s Employment Law Advice Plan may prospectively adjust the scope of Plan services for all Plan Members based on actual experience of the Plan.
- Plan Services do not include advising on employment issues impacting Plan Members and their employees located outside of NC and SC; performing substantive revisions to an existing employment agreement or Catapult template; drafting original employment agreements, documents and workplace policies; ERISA and employee benefit matters; tax matters; obtaining or advising on obtaining immigration visas; tribal law; conducting or defending union representation campaigns; conducting or defending R (Elections) and C (Unfair Labor Practice) cases before the NLRB; court-based litigation and appeals; reviewing lengthy files and documents; Plan member on-site visits and travel; administrative hearings; workers’ compensation defense matters; representation in any specific case, matter or conflict; or privileged investigations of workplace conduct and events.
- Participating Plan attorneys serving Plan Members may use their discretion to accept for-fee projects in workplace law matters requested by Plan members at a discounted rate (Discounted Plan Services). The agreed Plan member billing rate for this work is not to exceed $300 per hour for current Plan Members. Travel outside the normal business day will be billed at ½ rate or less. All billing for legal services will be handled directly between the Plan member and the Participating Plan attorney and no portion of that fee will be shared with Catapult. Participating Plan attorneys will provide a quarterly report to Catapult on Discounted Legal Services performed for Plan members including the broad type of service, and the billing calculation of hours- times- rate (without any client identification or matter information).
- Plan attorneys will carry malpractice insurance coverage.
- Participating Plan attorneys and law firms who serve Plan Members through the Plan are not employees of Catapult. These attorneys must use their own independent professional judgment in serving Plan Members and may not (without express written permission from that Plan Member) reveal a privileged communication with that member to any member of the Catapult staff.
- Prior to providing legal services to a Plan Member, Plan attorneys will reasonably confirm that there are no actual or potential conflicts of interest with other clients of their Firm, including but not limited to other Plan Members, that would prevent the Plan attorneys from representing the Plan Member. In the event the Plan attorneys determine, in their sole discretion, that a conflict of interest or other professional obligation exists that prevents the Plan attorneys from providing services to the Plan Member, the Plan Member will be responsible for engaging other legal counsel at the Plan Member’s own expense.
- At all times it is the intention of the parties to remain in compliance with North Carolina statutes and rules of the North Carolina State Bar and South Carolina Bar. Any concern about compliance with laws or professional standards is welcomed by Catapult and Plan attorneys for prompt resolution.
- This Plan is not intended to establish a plan of insurance.
- The Plan provides advice on behalf of Catapult member organizations, not on behalf of individuals employed by these organizations.
- Catapult will periodically monitor Plan member usage statistics, service reports, general topic areas, and other indicators of services provided (such as Plan Member surveys) to ensure quality, future resource needs and effective/efficient service. No information about a specific matter will be shared with Catapult by any lawyer without the Plan Member’s prior written consent.
* Legal advice is provided to active Catapult member organizations under a pre-paid legal services plan. See Catapult’s Employment Law Advice Plan Terms for full details. Participating plan attorneys are licensed to provide guidance under federal and NC law, are employed by Soule Law Firm, PLLC and are not employees of Catapult. For Catapult members in SC, the Firm has an of counsel relationship with attorney John Cole, or John Cole Law PLLC, who is licensed to practice in SC. This Plan is registered with the NC State Bar. Registration does not constitute approval of the Plan by the NC State Bar.
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