Labor economists study how the actions of individuals, firms, and the government impact the structure and operation of labor markets.  Labor economists combine economic principles and statistical techniques to examine a wide range of issues related to the supply and demand of labor services. For example, labor economists study:

  • educational choice
  • human capital accumulation
  • occupational choice
  • measuring and rewarding employee productivity
  • wage levels
  • compensation methods and structure
  • promotional ladders
  • labor contracts
  • unemployment
  • employee turnover
  • labor market discrimination
  • market-specific contractual arrangement
  • the impact of government regulations on wages and employment

(See Journal of Economic Literature Classification)

Our labor economists have extensive training and experience in organizing complex databases and identifying key employment and compensation issues. When we examine your data, you can rest assured that you will receive accurate and actionable advice, whether you are proactively reviewing your employment practices or facing litigation or a government audit.

 

Our primary areas of service include analyzing Employment Discrimination and Wage and Hour claims, estimating Economic Damages in single plaintiff and class action suits, and assisting with Agency Investigations brought by OFCCP, EEOC, and other government agencies. Each of these service areas is described in detail in our Services drop-down menu.

The appearance of COVID-19 has caused, and continues to cause, substantial negative effects on many labor markets; in turn, these negative outcomes (layoffs, terminations, increased requests for sick benefits, additional workplace time spent in testing or quarantining, etc.) will undoubtedly raise issues that need to be litigated.

These include issues such as:

  • Is time taking company-mandated tests compensated correctly?
  • Are my sick time benefits adequate if I contract COVID-19?
  • Was my selection for layoff (due to COVID reductions) non-discriminatory if the only other employees laid off were minority employees?

Welch Consulting’s data-based approach to labor market issues is ideally suited to responding to claims of alleged damages arising from COVID-19, including challenges to a company’s policies and practices. In particular, proactive analyses of a firm’s data can provide valuable information when anticipating litigation or challenges arising from labor market decisions driven by COVID-19.  This is a relatively new area, but Welch Consulting economists are experts in advising about, and potentially defending, employment-related claims arising from labor market disruptions.

Discrimination claims in employment can arise whenever one or more employees believe they have been treated unfairly (or paid unfairly) in comparison with other employees. Welch Consulting has provided consulting and testimony in cases wherein employees claimed discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, and ethnicity, among other protected attributes; these cases have focused on perceived disparities employment outcomes such as hiring, promotions, terminations, compensation, benefits, and accrual of family leave. In short, we provide economic and statistical analysis to help determine which claims can be supported statistically, and which cannot, based on our industry knowledge and economic expertise.

Welch Consulting experts are valuable whenever a client needs assistance in collecting, organizing, and analyzing complex data. 

This is especially true of firms that have not participated in a preemptive audit and may be facing agency investigations and/or private litigation for allegations of discriminatory policies and practices. In these situations, company data will typically be demanded and may be analyzed by the opposing attorney’s expert.

A preemptive audit is a study of company source data, often including payroll and human resources records, that can point to areas of potentially adverse outcomes for women, minority employees, or any other group of interest. Such deficiencies may appear in hiring, termination, and/or promotion rates, or when investigating pay equity concerns. Becoming aware of potential adverse outcomes allows correction; this is not only a best practice for day-to-day operations, but also for putting the firm in a favorable position to defend company employment practices if need be.

Clients call about preemptive audits for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps a competitor got sued for gender discrimination in pay and they want to know what would happen if someone looked at their data in a similar manner.  Or perhaps they just switched to a new payroll vendor and want to be sure that their overtime payments are being made at the correct regular rate.  We can assist with preemptive audits that look at race, gender, and age differences in employment outcomes such as pay, hiring, promotions, and terminations.

We can also audit systems, for example, to check whether all applicants who were not hired have a valid disposition that can be indicated later if hiring decisions need to be explained.  We can also assist with preemptive audits looking at key wage and hour practices, such as making sure that overtime is being paid correctly, that meal breaks are recorded and compliant, and that final wages are paid on time. Preemptive audits are a beneficial way to find and correct any potential problems prior to litigation, and often quite cost-effective as the data work and analysis are performed under less time pressure.

We began working with attorneys in 1980, when Finis Welch began testifying in court cases as an economic expert. By the early 1980s, Welch Consulting was providing consulting and expert testimony to many of the largest legal firms involved in employment discrimination matters. Since the mid-1990s we have also worked extensively with attorneys on State and Federal matters addressing wage and hour claims; and more recently, providing advice on pay equity concerns, often with attorneys acting as outside counsel to companies.

Yes. Some clients prefer to have local testifying experts, so it is not unusual for cases arising in Eastern states and the Washington, D.C., area to be handled by our DC office (and similarly, for Texas-based cases to be handled in our College Station office while cases brought under California State laws are handled in our Los Angeles office).

Welch Consulting’s economists routinely work on cases throughout the United States and are knowledgeable about all Federal and State employment laws, regardless of the state the case arises from.

As every case is different, it is best to set up a call with a labor economist and discuss your case.  The cost of cases can be expected to vary depending upon the ease (or difficulty) of collecting, analyzing, and reporting the results of data and statistical analyses.  Costs can be expected to rise if a case requires deposition and/or testimony at trial.

The steps to be undertaken are largely dependent upon what needs a company has, be it to undertake a preemptive audit (where data collection and analysis are central) or if litigation or an agency investigation is already underway.

In that case, Welch Consulting might be asked to provide expert testimony and analyze data both from the company and those produced by an opposing expert.

After we are engaged in a matter, the first step is normally to have a meeting or call to discuss the matter, the questions at issue, and the data that might be available. We work with outside and inside counsel as well as subject matter experts in HR and other parts of the organization, to obtain the documents and data necessary for our analysis.

We will then work iteratively with the client to review, check, and understand the data, and build the analysis. Typical consulting engagements end with delivery of analyses and written and/or oral reports describing the findings. Typical expert engagements will end with providing the requested combination of written reports and declarations, and deposition and trial testimony.

You can reach us at info@welchcon.com, or by calling the office closest to you. You may also submit your inquiry here.

Los Angeles, CA
12424 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310.393.5530

Bryan, TX
1716 Briarcrest Dr., Suite 700
Bryan, TX 77802
979.846.0303

Washington, DC
1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
202.435.0200