Stephen R. Woods

Shareholder Greenville

Stephen Woods represents and counsels companies on a wide range of labor and employment law issues—though a significant focus of his practice is on background checks (counseling and litigation) and RIFs (including the ADEA/OWBPA, WARN, and state mini-WARNs). He assists national, regional, and local clients on preventive analysis and advice, class and single-plaintiff employment litigation, and EEOC and state agency charges. He is the chair of both the firm's O-D Comply compliance solutions group and the Background Checks Practice Group and the shareholder-author of the O-D Comply: Background Checks subscription and the O-D Comply: E-Signatures materials.

Stephen lives by a client-centric mantra that combines prevention and practicality to create innovative, business-centered, legally-compliant solutions. Making national clients happy takes a unique skill set, which Stephen has developed and honed during his 20+ years with the firm.

Before becoming a lawyer, Stephen served as the Manager of Administrative Services at The Greenville News (Greenville, SC), where he managed the HR function of this 500-employee newspaper publishing company.


Experience

Stephen is a practical, plain-English counselor on a variety of subjects, including the following:

  • The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and related state and local background check law (including employee background check contracts, forms, processes, and issues); and
  • The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and state mini-WARN Acts (including, in response to corporate right-sizing and downsizing, assistance to hundreds of employer-clients in conducting lawful reductions in force); and
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (including enforceable, compliant severance agreements and the creation of successful voluntary retirement programs).

On the litigation front, Stephen represents employers on a variety of labor & employment issues, including national background check class actions.  Recently, he successfully settled a background check class action with one of the largest classes and lowest per-member payouts in history.  He also has successfully opposed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's attempts to enforce an overly broad subpoena seeking national information from a client with operations in all 50 states.

Stephen is a top-rated, repeat speaker to groups and companies throughout the country on labor & employment topics.  He can make even the driest legal topic (think: the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FMLA, etc.) relatable and relevant to an employer’s current workplace and employment situations.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • South Carolina Bar Association (Labor & Employment section)
  • Greenville (SC) Bar Association
  • National LGBT Bar Association
  • National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS)

Speeches:

  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Skeletons in the Closet and Second Chances: Background Check Update'' - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - ''The Dizzying Array of State and Local Employment Laws: Round 4— Background Checks and Guns in the Workplace'' - Boca Raton - November 10, 2017
  • Performance Driven Forum - ''Making The Tough Call: Real World Ethical Dilemmas For In-House Counsel'' - Greer - June 22, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Ban the Box, Ban the Background Check? Dos and Don’ts for Employers'' - May 04, 2017
  • Human Technologies, Inc. (HTI) webcast - ''How the Trump Presidency Will Affect HR in 2017'' - February 03, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - ''Damned If You Do or If You Don't? The Latest on Background Checks'' - Colorado Springs - September 29, 2016
  • Greenville Society for Human Resources Management - ''How the Fair Credit Report Act Impacts HR'' - Greenville - June 07, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Background Checks Spawn a New Wave of Class Action Lawsuits'' - Chicago - May 05, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - ''To Background Check, or Not to Background Check? That Is the Question!'' - San Antonio - May 14, 2015
  • Human Resources Law Update 2015 - ''Top Legal Issues Facing HR Department Head'' - Greenville - March 03, 2015
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - ''The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today’s Employment Landscape'' - November 18, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor & Employment Counsel Exclusive - ''The FCRA: Labor and Employment's Newest Four-Letter Word'' - Dana Point - September 18 - September 20, 2014
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - ''The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today's Employment Landscape'' - July 30, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Background Checks: How to Avoid Hiring an Ax Murderer Without Buying a Lawsuit'' - Las Vegas - May 09, 2014
  • Human Resources Law Update 2014 - ''Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Termination Do's and Don'ts'' - Greenville - February 25, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor & Employment Counsel Exclusive - ''The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today’s Employment Landscape'' - Charleston - November 7 - November 9, 2013
  • Denver Client Office Seminar - ''Background Checks: How to Keep the EEOC Happy and Avoid Hiring an Ax Murderer'' - Englewood - October 25, 2013
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - ''The Role of Criminal Background Checks in Today's Employment Landscape'' - August 15, 2013
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - ''Background Checks in 2013: How to Strike the Right Balance Between Not Hiring an Axe Murderer, Not Becoming Big Brother, and Not Running Afoul of the EEOC'' - August 15, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - ''How to Keep the EEOC Happy and Avoid Hiring an Ax Murderer: Best Practices for Background Checks'' - New Orleans - May 10, 2013
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - ''Background Checks in 2013: How to Strike the Right Balance Between Not Hiring an Axe Murderer, Not Becoming Big Brother, and Not Running Afoul of the EEOC'' - March 12, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - ''Background Checks in 2012: The New EEOC Guidance'' - Phoenix - May 11, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - ''The Four-Headed Hydra: Adding GINA to the ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Compensation Triangle'' - Chicago - May 2011
  • Human Resources Law Update - ''From "Just Say No" to "Here's My Medical Marijuana Card": Substance Abuse and Drug Testing in the 2010's'' - Greenville - March 08, 2011
  • American Foundry Society - ''Labor Relations & HR Conference - Annual Update on Significant Cases, Statutes, and Regulations'' - Naples - February 11, 2011
  • Spartanburg Development Association - ''FMLA Comprehensive Review'' - Greenville - January 25, 2011
  • BLR National Employment Law Update - ''Annual Update of Significant Cases, Statutes, and Regulations'' - Las Vegas - October 28, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - ''Risky Business: The Legal Risks of a Workplace Romance'' - Las Vegas - May 2010
  • Spartanburg Development Association - ''Everything You Need to Know About the FMLA, But Don't'' - Greenville - March 17, 2010
  • Human Resources Law Update - ''How to Avoid Becoming a Target for Plaintiff's Attorneys and Regulators'' - Greenville - February 23, 2010
  • Spartanburg Development Association - ''Pandemic Planning: Are You Prepared?'' - Greenville - October 2009
  • BLR National Employment Law Update - ''Terminations: Handling Layoffs and RIFs the Smart Way in a Troubled Economy'' - Las Vegas - October 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - ''Workforce Reduction Techniques That Lessen Your Litigation Risks'' - Miami - May 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Conference - ''Pandemic Planning'' - Miami - May 2009

Published Works

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Our Insights

Media

Media Quotes

August 13, 2018 - Corporate Counsel - "Ban-the-Box Enforcement Gains Steam. What Employers Need to Know."
July 30, 2018 - HR Dive - "As ban-the-box turns 20, compliance challenges grow"

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