Sara C. Longtain
Partner at Locke Lord
Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Sara Longtain has counseled clients and handled
litigation addressing a broad range of employment-related issues, including, on-boarding procedures and practices, performance management, executive compensation, wage and hour compliance, terminations and disciplinary actions, reductions in force/layoffs, furloughs, voluntary early retirement programs (VERPs), compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), leaves of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), interactive process and reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA), employee claims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation under both state and federal law.
Sara has extensive experience drafting, negotiating and enforcing executive and other employment agreements, separation and release agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, including, non-disclosure, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, as well as conducting due diligence and drafting representations and warranties associated with employment matters in both equity and asset transactions. Sara likewise has represented clients in both state and federal court and before various administrative bodies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor (DOL) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Sara has both first and second chair experience in every stage of litigation in a variety of employment-related disputes, including, but not limited to, claims of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate (both religion and disability) and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), wage and hour disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (both single plaintiff and collective actions), defense and enforcement of
covenants not to compete and non-solicitation agreements, and workers’ compensation retaliation claims.
Sara also assists companies in developing employment policies and procedures, including reviewing and revising an existing employment handbook, creating an entire employment handbook appropriately tailored to the company’s business, and drafting piecemeal employment policies related to workplace violence or misconduct, leaves of absence, vacation/sick leave, employee privacy, internet/social media use, drug testing, use of company property, the protection of confidential and trade secret information and so forth.
Sara defends owners and operators of public accommodations in claims of inequitable access to facilities or services brought under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and comparable state laws. She also advises owners and operators of public accommodations regarding compliance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). In the same vein, Sara advises owners and managers of multi-family housing developments regarding Fair Housing Act (FHA) compliance and defends against claims under the FHA. Sara serves as a member of the Recruiting Committee in the Houston Office, and is an active volunteer with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program (HVLP) and C-Bar for which she has assisted pro bono clients in a variety of matters, including divorce, counseling on employmentrelated issues and revision of employment policies, and preparation of an offer in compromise to the IRS.
• J.D., cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, 2007 Member, Order of the Barons Notes and Comments Editor, Houston Law Review
• B.A., with honors, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004
Assisted materials company in wind down and relocation of corporate office, including, preparation of employee notices, separation and release agreements, retention agreements and relocation expense reimbursement agreements, and advice and counsel regarding WARN compliance.
Conducted and supervised internal investigations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims made by current employees.
Represented national oilfield services client in wage and hour collective action brought by current and former mud engineers.
Defended national oilfield services client against wage and hour collective action brought by current and former employees claiming improper calculation of overtime on bonus payments.
Represented oilfield services client in multiple wage and hour collective action lawsuit filed by former and current wireline and torque and test operators.
Negotiated and drafted numerous executive employment agreements, executive compensation plans, and executive separation/severance agreements for companies involved in various industries, including energy, oilfield services, manufacturing, real estate, restaurant and hospitality.
Represented national audio-video equipment and service company and obtained a judgment notwithstanding the verdict on allegedly unpaid wage claim barred by res judicata (First Chair).
Represented national retailer and obtained 12(b)(6) dismissal of with prejudice of Title VII claims of race discrimination and sexual harassment and claim for disability discrimination under the ADA in the Southern District of Texas (Lead Associate).
Obtained trial verdict on behalf of biodiesel manufacturing company seeking to enforce covenant not to compete (Second Chair).
Represented national accounting firm in defense of race, religious and national origin discrimination and retaliation claims in federal district court in Houston (Lead Associate).
Obtained partial summary judgment on liability for breach of contract for national retailer seeking to enforce its rights under a prior settlement agreement (First Chair).
Represented corporate securities firm in defense against FMLA claims and ultimately convinced the plaintiff to dismiss the lawsuit based on the threshold issue of statutory coverage (Lead Associate).
Reviewed, analyzed, and summarized pertinent aspects of thousands of employment agreements as part of due diligence for acquisitions of companies.
Investigate and prepare position statements in response to numerous charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC and equivalent state agencies, resulting in the EEOC or equivalent state agency issuing a dismissal and notice of rights.
Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Professional Affiliations and Recognitions
Named, Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine (2014-2017)
Member, State Bar of Texas
Member, Houston Bar Association
LegalLine Committee Co-Chair (2008 to 2014)
IDEA Committee Member (2012-2013)
IDEA Committee Co-Chair (2013-2014)
Publications and Presentations
Speaker, “Many or Few?: Potential Changes Coming to the EEOC,” What Employers Need to Know in 2017: Legal Issues Employers Face in the New Year, February 16, 2017
Presenter, “The FLSA – Coverage, Exemption and the DOL’s New Rule,” Lunch and Learn Client Presentation, September 21, 2016
Speaker, “Manager and Supervisor Training on Selected Employment Law Topics,” Client Presentation, March 30, 2016
Speaker, “Considerations for Implementing Voluntary and Involuntary Reductions in Force,” 2016 Locke Lord Employer Update Breakfast Briefing, February 4, 2016
Presenter, “WARN Act Identification and Compliance Issues and Reduction-In-Force Issues and Alternatives,” Institute for Energy Law Oilfield Services Committee-Spring CLE and Networking Series, June 18, 2015
Presenter, “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: Managing the Risks of Workplace Romance,” Locke Lord LLP 2015 Employer Update Breakfast Briefing , February 4, 2015
Co-Author, “Understanding Houston’s New Equal Rights Ordinance,” June 19, 2014
Presenter, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Employee Separations,” Locke Lord LLP 2014 Employer Update Lunch Briefing, February 20, 2014
Presenter, “Employee Classification: Why it Matters in the Age of the Affordable Care Act,” Locke Lord LLP 2014 Employer Update Breakfast Briefing, January 22, 2014
Presenter, “Quality Over Quantity: A Peek Inside The EEOC’s 2013 Strategic Enforcement Plan,” 2013 Employer Update Breakfast Briefing, Houston, January 30, 2013
Presenter, “Employment Law 101,” presented to Chinese delegation visiting U.S., August 23, 2012
Co-Author, “Locke Lord QuickStudy: Texas Employees Allowed to Keep Guns Locked in Vehicles on Company Property,” June 29, 2011
Co-Author with Scott K. Davidson, “Reemployment Rights for Military Service Members and New Federal Leave Provisions for Their Families,” The Houston Lawyer, September/October 2008
Presenter, “Employment Law Update, July 2008,” Client Presentation, July 2008
Comment, “The Twilight of Competency and Mental Illness: A Conciliatory Conception of Competency and Insanity,” 43 Houston Law Review 1563, Spring 2007