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Ogletree Deakins “centralises” investigations practice amid shifting cultural climate
13/09/2021
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Ogletree Deakins has launched a new workplace investigations and organisational assessments practice to be co-chaired by shareholders Monique Gougisha Doucette in New Orleans and Andre’ Caldwell in Oklahoma City.

The move is in response to client demand, the firm said in a statement, with the practice citing recent shifts in the cultural and political climate, including social developments, such as the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, as well as the covid-19 pandemic, as raising serious reputational issues for clients.

The group aims to assist employers with increasingly complex and nuanced internal complaints alleging discrimination, reverse-discrimination, harassment, cultural inequities, unconscious bias, and executive misconduct.

The practice will also conduct organisational assessments to analyse and address company-wide issues raised in claims of systemic discrimination, institutional and cultural inequities, and ineffective workplace policies.

In addition to offering such assessments, the group’s attorneys will provide a streamlined approach to staffing client investigations and training respective HR personnel on their investigation skills and practices.

“Changes in our global cultural climate over the last few years have significantly increased the demand for counselling and assistance with challenging workplace investigations,” said Doucette, who has almost two decades of experience managing employment litigation and leading internal investigations.

“I look forward to co-chairing this practice group and assisting employers as they navigate through these complex matters.”

“While Ogletree Deakins has always conducted workplace investigations, the formation of this practice group allows the firm to centralise its core group of attorneys who have the experience and knowledge to handle these matters and, in turn, makes these investigators more readily identifiable and accessible to clients,” said Caldwell, who has tried more than 20 cases to jury trial in federal court.

“I am excited to co-chair this practice group and take to the next level our ability to provide practical solutions to clients when these claims arise.”

Ogletree is the latest firm to focus on assisting clients with internal investigations and concerns over workplace culture, amid a wave of claims alleging poor working conditions in some of the US’s largest employers.

In July, Jenner & Block announced the launch of a new transatlantic practice advising on toxic workplaces.