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 and 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, among other important issues.

(See Journal of Economic Literature Classification)

Our labor economists’ training and experience in carefully organizing complex databases and identifying and thoroughly examining the key issues in the matter mean 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 are expertise in Employment Discrimination and Wage and Hour claims, estimating Economic Damages in single plaintiff or class-action cases, and assisting with Agency Investigations brought by OFCCP, EEOC or other government agencies.  Each of these service areas are described in detail in our Services area.

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 are ideally suited to responding to claims of alleged damages arising from COVID-19, including challenges to a company’s policies and practices in response to its appearance.  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 are treated unfairly (including being paid unfairly) compared with other employees.  Welch Consulting has provided consulting and testimony in cases claiming discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, among others, in hiring, promotions, terminations, compensation, benefits, family leave. In short, we provide analysis capabilities to determine what claims can be supported statistically, and which cannot, based on our economic knowledge and experience as economic experts.

We can assist with any matter involving allegations for which data can be informative.  Typically, these involve allegations of gender, race, or age discrimination in employment outcomes such as pay, hiring, promotions, and terminations, but may also involve other outcomes such as testing and performance review scores, and even matters outside of employment such as fair housing and lending.  We assist with single-plaintiff and class action cases, brought under state, local, and federal laws.  We bring our expertise on these matters as both testifying and consulting experts.

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 to put the firm in a much more 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 are not hired have a valid disposition reason that can be used 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 an extremely beneficial way to find and correct any potential problems prior to litigation, and often quite cost-effective as the data work and analysis is performed with less time pressure.

We began working with attorneys in 1978, when Finis Welch began acting as a testifying expert.  By the early 1980s, Welch Consulting was providing consulting and testifying expertise 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, DC area to be handled by our DC office (and similarly, Texas-based cases in our College Station office while cases brought under California State laws in our Los Angeles office).

Welch Consulting’s economists routinely work on cases through 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 as well as analyze data from the company and data 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.

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