W. Stephen Cockerham

I've been a labor and employment attorney for more than 25 years. I enjoy developing long-term relationships with clients, which helps me understand their business, their goals, and their people so that I can provide the best advice for preventing employee issues and maximizing workforce productivity. The human element involved in advising employers on their employee issues has always held an interest for me, whether it is anticipating the impact an action may have on employees, or identifying the factors motivating an employee in bringing a claim against a client. These insights, combined with an understanding of the client’s business, enable me to tailor my advice. Outside of the office, I spend time with my wife and three daughters and volunteer on several charitable boards.

Latest Articles

Earlier we wrote that two Fifth Circuit cases seemed to reach inconsistent determinations about the availability of punitive and pain and suffering damages under the FLSA and ADEA. The Fifth Circuit previously expressed its intent to interpret the remedies provision under the FLSA and ADEA consistently with each other. Please see our discussion at via our January 13 blog post. One of those opinions has been withdrawn and a new opinion substituted, but the inconsistency…
The Fifth Circuit has long held that pain and suffering damages and punitive damages are not recoverable under the ADEA. The Fifth Circuit has also expressed its intent to interpret remedies under the ADEA and FLSA consistently with each other since the ADEA incorporates the FLSA’s remedies provision. Thus, you would think that pain and suffering and punitive damages would not be recoverable in a FLSA retaliation case. Not so fast. In a decision issued…
Recently, Husch Blackwell partners Stephen Cockerham and Kevin Koronka presented a webinar to Texas employers concerning the impact legislation concerning gun rights may have on employers. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Texas federal district courts, recently released a decision concerning employee gun rights of which employers, particularly those with Mississippi employees, should take note.…
Needlesticks and Sharps Injuries Congress passed the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (the NSPA) in 2001.  The NSPA directed OSHA to revise its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to require employers to provide safety-engineered devices to workers who are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, to review the control plans describing employee protection measures at least annually, and to maintain a sharps injury log. On February 16, 2012, a study reported that prior to the NSPA’s…
Senate Bill 192 Protects Texas Nurses from Retaliation For Engaging in Patient Advocacy Activities Effective September 1, 2011, SB 192 expands Section 301.52 of the Texas Occupations Code to protect nurses who engage in patient advocacy activities from retaliation by any person.  Acts of retaliation include discipline, discrimination, or enforcing criminal liability.  Protected patient advocacy activities include making good faith reports of another health care provider’s wrong doing to:  (i) the applicable licensing board; (ii)…
As flu season approaches, health care employers need to ensure that all their employees get their flu vaccinations.  If this has not happened in the past, employers should look at how to achieve this goal.  Many employers may be able to do it through a voluntary program, including employee education, reminders, paying the cost of vaccinations, and/or providing the vaccinations at or near their facility.  Alternatively, health care employers can assess whether they want to…