My Toughest Case: Employee vs. Employer

1100 Poydras St. | Suite 2300 | 585-7007

Although her father was a lawyer and then a federal judge, New Orleans native Julie Livaudais made her mind up in college that she was going to be a clinical psychologist. Just before leaving the Crescent City to pursue a Ph.D. at Cal Berkeley, however, Livaudais made a change, instead opting to attend law school close to home at Tulane University.

“As an employment lawyer, I get to be both a litigator and a counselor,” Livaudais says. “It’s the perfect mix of both. About 40 to 50 percent of what I do is litigation, and the rest is counseling businesses on things like hiring, firing, discipline and employee training.”

Livaudais says she see a lot of harassment, retaliation and disability discrimination claims these days.

“Disability is definitely an evolving area of the law,” she says. “Back in the day you used to lose your job if you became disabled; now companies work to accommodate disabilities.”
Retaliation lawsuits can result from an employee asserting a complaint and then finding him transferred or demoted.

“These cases are difficult; just because someone makes a complaint, they can’t use that as a way to avoid doing their job properly,” she says. “The challenge here sometimes can be handling the situation fairly without bringing another lawsuit.”

Livaudais’ clients include New Orleans businesses, along with local schools and colleges. She says she is particularly proud that her work helped establish the fact that employee handbooks are not contracts in Louisiana.

Livaudais says her most difficult cases are those brought against an employer by a current employee. “The employer is legally obligated to not retaliate against that employee during the case, but what if they’re making claims against their co-worker or supervisor? The employer must be fair to all of them. Employment law is actually second to divorce and family law in terms of the level of intense emotions.”

Whatever the emotions, Livaudais says she enjoys handling issues. “Whatever happens in the world will find its way into employment law,” she says. “From AIDS in the workplace to swine flu, to now transgender cases. Whatever comes up we’re dealing with it.”

34 years in practice
B.A. – Stanford University, 1976
J.D. – Tulane University School of Law, 1982
Native of New Orleans