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Edward G. Phillips - Knoxville, TN

800 South Gay StreetSuite 2500 Knoxville, TN 37929 - 9702

Super Lawyers®

1

Updated: 02/21/2024

Knoxville Litigation Avoidance/Prospective Advice Lawyer

Overview

Edward (“Ward”) Phillips has a wealth of knowledge and trial experience in his practice areas of Labor and Employment Law. Ward represents management exclusively in all areas of employment and labor relations, including state and federal employment litigation and in administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. He is a forceful, effective litigator...

Edward (“Ward”) Phillips has a wealth of knowledge and trial experience in his practice areas of Labor and Employment Law. Ward represents management exclusively in all areas of employment and labor relations, including state and federal employment litigation and in administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. He is a forceful, effective litigator. Ward has been described by Chambers and Partners USA as, "one of the most talented lawyers in the state with a varied practice of litigation avoidance and successful litigation." Employment law is his passion, and he gives his clients timely prospective advice (i.e., how to deal with problem employees and structure policies).

For his Employment and Labor law practice, the prestigious peer-review publication, The Best Lawyers in America, selected Ward for inclusion to its list from 1995 through 2024, and also selected him as Lawyer of the Year Litigation - Labor and Employment, Knoxville for 2024. Mid-South Super Lawyers, another highly respected publication which uses a multi-phased selection process, including independent research and peer nominations and evaluations, selected him to its list for the years 2006-2010, 2012-2024 for his Employment Litigation Defense.

Ward co-authors an Employment Law column, The Law at Work in the Tennessee Bar Journal. This column has been cited by federal and state courts on the topic of Employment Law. See Sadlar v. Tyson Foods, Inc. (W.D. Tenn. May 27, 2022); Hardy v. TPC Southwind (Tenn. Ct. App. July 2, 2015); Lindsey v. Shelby Co. Bd of Educ. (W.D. Tenn. Feb. 19, 2019)

Edward G. Phillips Decisions, Articles and Presentations

Ward focuses his practice on:

· Litigation avoidance/prospective advice

· Litigation in all types of employment law cases in state and federal courts

· FLSA – collective actions

· Discrimination, retaliation, harassment and whistleblower

· Unfair competition and trade secrets

· Religious institutions (Diocesan counsel for the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville)

· Education

Ward has also been instrumental in developing training programs in many areas of employment relations. Ward has presented the Knoxville Bar Association’s Annual Employment Law Update for over two decades.

Representative Matters

Ward has recently obtained summary judgment in two lawsuits filed by a former student of a Knoxville-based college which were affirmed in the Sixth Circuit and Seventh Circuit, respectively. He also obtained summary judgment for a security contractor in a racial harassment case at a government-owned munitions facility that was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit.

In another instance, Ward was lead counsel in defense of a putative class action involving over 300 putative members alleging race discrimination in failure to hire. The motion to certify the class was denied. One named plaintiff was dismissed on summary judgment, and the second plaintiff’s case was tried to a jury resulting in a defense verdict.

Ward has defended a number of FLSA collective actions involving pre-shift and post-shift activities, with the number of opt-in plaintiffs ranging from 50 to 720.

Ward has reported Sixth Circuit affirmations of summary judgment in age and race discrimination and retaliation, USERRA retaliation, racial harassment, and age, gender and race discrimination claims involving reductions in force.

About Edward G. Phillips

Practice Areas

  • Litigation Avoidance/Prospective Advice
  • Employment Law Cases
  • Constitutional Issues
  • Civil Service Rights
  • Administrative Proceedings

Current Employment Position(s)

  • Partner, Managing Partner 2004-2006

Qualifications

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1978
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1980
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee, 1978
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 2016
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 2018
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Tennessee, 1985

Other Affiliations

  • Labor and Employment Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, 1997 (Former Chairman)
  • Standing Committee on Admissions, 2000 - Present
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center, 2004 - 2010 (Board of Directors)
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center, 2008 - 2009 (Board Chair)
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation, 2004 (Fellow)
  • Knoxville Bar Foundation, 2004 (Fellow)
  • American Bar Association
  • ABA Labor and Employment Law Sections
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, 2010 - Present (Diocesan Counsel)

Education

  • University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1978
    J.D.
    Honors: With Honors
    Honors: Order of the Coif
    Honors: Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Houston Goddard, Law Clerk
  • East Tennessee State University
    B.A.
    Honors: Graduated with Honors

Past Positions

  • Kramer Rayson LLP, Managing Partner, 2004 - 2006
  • Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Houston Goddard, Law Clerk

Classes and Seminars

  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, October 19, 2017
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, October 20, 2016
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn , October 8, 2014
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, September 11, 2014
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn , October 10, 2013
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, September 13, 2012
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, September 8, 2011
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, September 9, 2010
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, October 8, 2009
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association, Lunch and Learn , September 11, 2008
  • “The Effect of Bankruptcy on Employment Law,” Tennessee Bar Association Employment Law Section, Nashville, Tennessee., April 3, 2008
  • “Employment Law and Regulatory Administration Update,” Management Labor Employer Roundtable, San Diego, California , February 15, 2008
  • “Ten Tips on Conducting Reductions in Force,” DOECAA 2007 Fall Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio , September 26, 2007
  • “Employment Law Update,” Knoxville Bar Association, Lunch and Learn, September 13, 2007
  • “Developments in Employment Law,” Kramer Rayson Employment Law Conference , September 20, 2007
  • “Managing the Employee Who is Absent” Kramer Rayson Employment Law Conference , September 20, 2007

Achievements

Other Sources of Feedback About Edward G. Phillips

Included on the 2023 Mid-South list


Past Lists

  • 2022 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2021 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2020 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2019 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2018 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2017 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2016 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2015 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2014 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2013 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2012 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2010 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2009 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2008 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2007 Mid-South Super Lawyers list
  • 2006 Mid-South Super Lawyers list

View the profile for Edward G. Phillips on Super Lawyers

Honors

  • Identified as leading employment lawyer in Tennessee Chambers and Partners USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers, 2004 - 2018
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law, 1995 - 2018
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers, Labor and Employment, 2006 - 2018
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law - Management, Knoxville, 2016 - Present
  • AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law 1995-2019

Photo

Office Information

Address

800 South Gay StreetSuite 2500 Knoxville, TN 37929 - 9702

Fax

  • 865-522-5723

Publication

Articles

  • “New Statute: Anti-Bullying Policy Creates Immunity for Workplace Emotional Distress Claims”, Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2019, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “The Public Employee Political Freedom Act”, Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2019, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “A Gentle Reminder on TRHA Claims: No Right to a Jury Trial in a Circuit Court”, Tennessee Bar Journal October 2018, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “Title VII in Transition”, Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2018, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “The Faragher-Ellerth Framework in the #METOO Era”, Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2018, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Public Chapter 467: Public Employers and the Battle Over Gun Rights", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2017, By Edward G Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Tipped Off: No Private Right of Action Under Tennessee Tip Statute", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2017, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Blowing the Whistle on Yourself: When Protected Activity Provides a Legitimate, Non-Discriminitory Reason for Termination", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2017, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Subjective Beliefs: Sufficient to Establish Pretext?", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2016, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "O, That Mine Enemy Would Record Me With Her Smart Phone", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2016 by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Badges and Blown Whistles: Recent Retaliatory Discharge Actions in Tennessee", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2016, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Yardley v Hospital Housekeeping Systems LLC: A Win for the Employment-at-Will Doctrine", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Sixth Circuit En Banc: Regular On-Site Job Attendance Remains an Essential Function", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Wage and Hour Issues in the High Court: Mandatory But Not Compensable", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "General Assembly Passes a Host of Employment Law Amendments", Tennessee Bar Journal, October, 2014, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Guns in Trunks: An Erosion of Tennessee's Employment-At-Will Rule?", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2013, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Variation in State and Federal Pleading Standards: Webb and Veasy", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2013
  • "Disability-Related Inquiries in Uncertain Times", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2012
  • "New NLRB 'Quickie Election' Procedures", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2012
  • "Staub v. Proctor Hospital: The Cat's Paw Theory Gets Its Claws Sharpened", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2011
  • "Ministerial Exception Meets It's Match: Primary Duties of Secular Employees", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2010
  • "What Not to Do When Separating Employment", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2010
  • "Non-Compete Agreements: It's Not All About You, Employers", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2010
  • "Where There's Smoke but No Fire, Ricci v. Destefano", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2009
  • "Strategies for Reducing Legal Risk in Reductions in Force", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2009
  • "Tennessee Supreme Court Speaks On Supervisory Harassment And Retaliation", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2008
  • "Prickly Pay Issues", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2007
  • "Reporting for Duty", Tennessee Bar Journal, May 2006, a feature article on USERRA

Representative Cases

  • Campbell v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57871 (E.D. Tenn.) (2007)
  • Clark v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc. d/b/a WSI Oak Ridge, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37832 (E.D. Tenn.) (2014)
  • Clark v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50692 (E.D. Tenn.) (2007)
  • Copeland v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 221 F.3d 1334, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 24132 (6th Cir.) (1999)
  • Cunningham v. Tennessee Cancer Specialists, PLLC 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97297 (E.D. Tenn.) (2013)
  • Davidson v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30757 (E.D. Tenn.) (2007)
  • Escher v BWXT Y-12 LLC, 627 F.3d 1020 (6th Cir.) (2010)
  • Escher v BWXT Y-12, LLC 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66070 (E.D. Tenn.) (2009)
  • Leadbetter v. Gilley, 385 F.3d 683 (6th Cir.) (2004)
  • McKinney v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc. No 16-1498, 2017 US Appeals LEXIS 20473 (4th Cir.) (2017) (2017)
  • McKinney v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc., 179 F. Supp. 3d 609; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 403049 (2016)
  • Messner v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys., Inc., 126 F.Supp 2d 502 (E.D. Tenn.) (2000)
  • Mynatt v. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 6002, 2008 Fed. App. 153N (6th Cir. Tenn.) (2008)
  • O’Neal v. Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34634 (E.D. Tenn.) (2006)
  • Rowan v. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 360 F. 3d 544 (6th Cir.) (2004)
  • Shapira v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 201 F.3d 441 (6th Cir.)(1999)
  • Shroyer v Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126522 (E.D. Tenn.) (2011)
  • Wade v. Knoxville Utilities Board, 259 F.3d 452 (6th Cir.) (2001)

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Firm Address

Fax:
865-522-5723
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800 South Gay StreetSuite 2500 Knoxville, TN 37929 - 9702

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