Advising & Defending Business Owners
Advice from an experienced business lawyer can save you thousands of dollars in damages and legal expenses. Nancy Townsend at Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP can advise you in drafting airtight non-competes and other employment contracts, crafting solid employment policies, responding to EEOC charges, and, if necessary, resolving shareholder disputes and other intercompany disagreements, and defending you and your business in litigation.
Drafting and Reviewing Executive Compensation Agreements, Employment Contracts, Non-Competes, Non-Solicitation, Non-Disclosure, and Confidentiality Agreements. Agreements that restrain employees and competitors are heavily scrutinized by Indiana and Illinois courts. Employers need to protect their trade secrets, customer lists, and other proprietary materials that they’ve worked long and hard to develop. Input from an experienced attorney can maximize that protection without the overstepping that might cause a court to reject your executive contracts, employment contracts, non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and severance agreements. Employees need to preserve the right to earn a living elsewhere if needed. Consult with an employment attorney at BCC to understand fully the pitfalls and benefits of restrictive agreements before signing away your employment rights.
Drafting and Enforcing Contracts, Resolving Disputes Among Business Owners, and Dissolving a Business. Business success depends on clear written agreements that define relationships and expectations. Skillful drafting can avoid costly and damaging disputes and thereby preserve value for the company. We can prepare formation documents for any business — articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws, partner agreements, LLC operating agreements, LLP agreements, and professional corporation articles and bylaws. Trust the business lawyers at BCC to fortify your contracts with your customers and fellow business owners, including buy-sell agreements, leases, purchase agreements, financing arrangements, vendor agreements, customer contracts, or any other business contract. And when business takes an unexpected turn, BCC attorneys can assist to enforce your contracts and navigate disputes with customers and among the business co-owners.
Avoiding Charges of Discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. An employer that complies with its guidelines and follows consistent written policies may avert or abbreviate claims of workplace discrimination.
Addressing EEOC Charges. No company is immune. Business owners who follow EEOC standards for hiring, promoting, disciplining, and paying their employees are often stunned to receive EEOC discrimination charges. Their good intentions do not prevent disgruntled employees (or applicants) from complaining of unfair treatment, harassment, and lack of accommodation for their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. And nearly half of all EEOC charges filed in 2017 included a charge of retaliation, alleging that the employer behaved inappropriately toward the employee who complained about or helped in an investigation. Employers must tread carefully after receiving notice of an EEOC charge —- retaliation claims can cost the employer even when no other unlawful discrimination occurred.
Prompt notice to your insurer and a careful, complete, and thoughtful response to the EEOC can short-circuit the complaint and can save you thousands of dollars. Resist the urge to “clear the air” or “talk things through” with the employee, which can seem like coercion or harassment. Instead, review your insurance policies to determine whether you might have EPLI (Employment Practices Liability Insurance) coverage and discuss the EEOC complaint with an experienced employment attorney before discussing it with the employee or responding to the EEOC. EPLI may pay damage claims as well as attorney expenses to respond to the EEOC charges.
Nancy J. Townsend began her law practice as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. She has over 20 years’ business and commercial experience in Chicago and its suburbs, including northwest Indiana. She previously represented large corporate clients and government agencies in banking litigation, in practice with the national firm of Hopkins & Sutter (now merged with Foley & Lardner). She is admitted to practice in Indiana, Illinois, and Texas and nearly all federal and state courts in those jurisdictions. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Indiana State Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, and the Notre Dame Clubs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
Notre Dame Law School, 1985
Marian University, Indianapolis, 1982
B.A. Business Administration and
- Indiana Bar
- Illinois Bar
- Texas Bar
- Northern District of Indiana
- Southern District of Indiana
- Northern District of Illinois
- Central District of Illinois
- Northern District of Texas
- Eastern District of Texas
- Northern District of Oklahoma
- Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- United States Court of Federal Claims
- Northern District of Indiana Bankruptcy
- Central District of Illinois Bankruptcy
Nancy J. Townsend News & Articles
EEOC Issues New Guidance To Clarify The Interface Between Employee Leave And The Americans With Disabilities Act
By NANCYJ. TOWNSEND and SAMUEL C. BLINK The EEOC has recently released guidance to inform employers when and how leaves of absence must be granted to accommodate employees’ disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Equal Access to Leave...read more
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law 25 years ago, on July 26, 1990. Besides the gratification of promoting equal opportunity, the ADA and other laws offer tangible benefits to employers who hire workers with disabilities. Title I of the ADA...read more
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA)[i] expanded the definition of sex discrimination under Title VII to include pregnancy discrimination, requiring that employers treat “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions…the...read more