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Edward Phillips

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment Litigation Attorney in Knoxville, TN

Kramer Rayson LLP
800 South Gay Street, Suite 2500
Knoxville, TN 37901-0629
Phone: 865-525-5134
Fax: 865-522-5723
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2010, 2012 - 2022
Licensed in Tennessee Since: 1978
Practice Areas: Employment Litigation: Defense, Civil Litigation: Plaintiff, Constitutional Law, Employment & Labor: Employer
Attorney Profile

An accomplished attorney with over four decades of experience, Edward “Ward” G. Phillips is a managing partner at the law firm of Kramer Rayson LLP. He assists clients in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area with cases pertaining to:

·       Employment and labor law 

·       Litigation and dispute avoidance

·       Civil service rights

·       Administrative proceedings

·       Constitutional law and issues

Qualified to practice in all the state courts of Tennessee since 1978, Mr. Phillips is also licensed to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th, 6th and 7th Circuits.

Mr. Phillips obtained his Bachelor of Arts and graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University. In 1978, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville. He served as a law clerk for Judge Houston Goddard at the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Unafraid of trials, Mr. Phillips has litigated hundreds of employment law cases in state and federal courts and before the EEOC, OFCCP, DOL that are related to employee discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair competition claims, whistleblower retaliation, and wage and hour issues.

An eloquent speaker, Mr. Phillips has presented and lectured at several seminars and conferences across Tennessee. He has also published a number of articles in professional journals such as the Tennessee Bar Journal.

Several legal associations have honored Mr. Phillips with memberships and leadership positions. He is a former chair of the Tennessee Bar Association and a member of the labor and employment law sections of the American Bar Association. He served as a board member of Helen Ross McNabb Center and is a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation and the Knoxville Bar Foundation.

For his high professional standards and successful track record, Martindale-Hubbell awarded Ms. Phillips an AV Preeminent* Peer Review Rating. He was also listed in The Best Lawyers in America and America's Leading Lawyers for Business by Chambers USA. He was named “Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law” by Best Lawyers.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 40%Employment Litigation: Defense
  • 20%Civil Litigation: Plaintiff
  • 20%Constitutional Law
  • 20%Employment & Labor: Employer
Focus Areas

Employment Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Retaliation, Employment Law - Employee, Sexual Harassment, Labor Law

Selections

16 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2010, 2012 - 2022

About Edward Phillips

First Admitted: 1978, Tennessee

Professional Webpage: https://www.kramer-rayson.com/attorney/edward-g-phillips/

Representative Clients

  • Summary judgment for employer in retaliatory discharge case under Tennessee law.

Honors/Awards

  • Identified as leading employment lawyer in Tennessee Chambers and Partners USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law, 1995-2019
  • AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law - Management, Knoxville
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers, Labor and Employment
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • “New Statute: Anti-Bullying Policy Creates Immunity for Workplace Emotional Distress Claims”, Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2019, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “Managing the Employee Who is Absent” Kramer Rayson Employment Law Conference, 09/20/2007 to 09/20/2007 
  • “Developments in Employment Law,” Kramer Rayson Employment Law Conference, 09/20/2007 to 09/20/2007
  • “Employment Law Update,” Knoxville Bar Association, Lunch and Learn, 09/13/2007 to 09/13/2007
  • “Ten Tips on Conducting Reductions in Force,” DOECAA 2007 Fall Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, 09/26/2007 to 09/26/2007
  • “Employment Law and Regulatory Administration Update,” Management Labor-Employer Roundtable, San Diego, California, 02/15/2008 to 02/15/2008
  • “The Effect of Bankruptcy on Employment Law,” Tennessee Bar Association Employment Law Section, Nashville, Tennessee., 04/03/2008 to 04/03/2008
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association, Lunch and Learn, 09/11/2008 to 09/11/2008
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 10/08/2009 to 10/08/2009
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 09/09/2010 to 09/09/2010
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 09/08/2011 to 09/08/2011
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 09/13/2012 to 09/13/2012
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 10/10/2013 to 10/10/2013
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 09/11/2014 to 09/11/2014
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 10/08/2014 to 10/08/2014
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 10/20/2016 to 10/20/2016
  • "Employment Law Update", Knoxville Bar Association Lunch and Learn, 10/19/2017 to 10/19/2017
  • "Reporting for Duty", Tennessee Bar Journal, May 2006, a feature article on USERRA
  • "Prickly Pay Issues", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2007
  • "Tennessee Supreme Court Speaks On Supervisory Harassment And Retaliation", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2008
  • "Strategies for Reducing Legal Risk in Reductions in Force", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2009
  • "Where There's Smoke but No Fire, Ricci v. Destefano", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2009
  • "Non-Compete Agreements: It's Not All About You, Employers", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2010
  • "What Not to Do When Separating Employment", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2010
  • "Ministerial Exception Meets It's Match: Primary Duties of Secular Employees", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2010
  • "Staub v. Proctor Hospital: The Cat's Paw Theory Gets Its Claws Sharpened", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2011
  • "New NLRB 'Quickie Election' Procedures", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2012
  • "Disability-Related Inquiries in Uncertain Times", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2012
  • "Variation in State and Federal Pleading Standards: Webb and Veasy", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2013
  • "Guns in Trunks: An Erosion of Tennessee's Employment-At-Will Rule?", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2013, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "General Assembly Passes a Host of Employment Law Amendments", Tennessee Bar Journal, October, 2014, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Wage and Hour Issues in the High Court: Mandatory But Not Compensable", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Sixth Circuit En Banc: Regular On-Site Job Attendance Remains an Essential Function", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Yardley v Hospital Housekeeping Systems LLC: A Win for the Employment-at-Will Doctrine", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2015, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Subjective Beliefs: Sufficient to Establish Pretext?", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2016, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Blowing the Whistle on Yourself: When Protected Activity Provides a Legitimate, Non-Discriminatory Reason for Termination", Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2017, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Tipped Off: No Private Right of Action Under Tennessee Tip Statute", Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2017, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • "Public Chapter 467: Public Employers and the Battle Over Gun Rights", Tennessee Bar Journal, October 2017, By Edward G Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “The Faragher-Ellerth Framework in the #METOO Era”, Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2018, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “Title VII in Transition”, Tennessee Bar Journal, June 2018, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “A Gentle Reminder on TRHA Claims: No Right to a Jury Trial in a Circuit Court”, Tennessee Bar Journal October 2018, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • “The Public Employee Political Freedom Act”, Tennessee Bar Journal, February 2019, by Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow
  • Regular column in the Tennessee Bar Journal on "Law at Work" focusing on the recent decision of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Principal author, "Blowing the Whistle on Yourself: When Protected Activity Provides a Legitimate, Nondiscriminatory Reason for Terminating", Tennessee Bar Journal
  • Part of a regular column in Tennessee Bar Journal titled "The Law at Work." This article analyzes recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decisions arguable changing the standard of evidence necessary to defeat summary judgment in ae discrimination cases, Principal author, "Subjective Beliefs: Sufficient To Establish Pretext?", Tennessee Bar Journal
  • Part of a regular column in Tennessee Bar Journal titled "The Law at Work." This article focuses on the recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision where the plaintiff's tape recording of the employer came back to haunt the plaintiff, Principal author, "O, That Mine Enemy Would Record Me With Her Smart Phone", Tennessee Bar Journal
  • Part of a regular column in the Tennessee Bar Journal titled "The Law at work. This article focuses on recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decisions in whistleblower cases, Principal author, "Badges and Blown Whistles: Recent Retaliatory Discharge Actions in Tennessee", Tennessee Bar Journal

Educational Background

  • East Tennessee State University, Honors: Graduated with Honors, B.A.

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Tennessee, 1978
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, Diocesan Counsel, 2010 to Present
  • ABA Labor and Employment Law Sections
  • American Bar Association
  • Knoxville Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2004 to 2004
  • Tennessee Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2004 to 2004
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center, Board Chair, 2008 to 2009
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center, Board of Directors, 2004 to 2010
  • Standing Committee on Admissions, 2000 to Present
  • Labor and Employment Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, Former Chairman, 1997 to 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 2018
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 2016
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee, 1978
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1980

Verdicts/Settlements

  • Jury verdict for defendant public utility in race harassment and retaliation case under the state human rights act after a 4-day trial.
  • Wade v. Knoxville Utilities Board, 259 F.3d 452 (6th Cir.), 2001
  • Shroyer v Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126522 (E.D. Tenn.), 2011
  • Shapira v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 201 F.3d 441 (6th Cir.) (1999)
  • Rowan v. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 360 F. 3d 544 (6th Cir.), 2004
  • O’Neal v. Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34634 (E.D. Tenn.), 2006
  • Mynatt v. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 6002, 2008 Fed. App. 153N (6th Cir. Tenn.), 2008
  • Messner v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys., Inc., 126 F.Supp 2d 502 (E.D. Tenn.), 2000
  • McKinney v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc., 179 F. Supp. 3d 609; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 403049, 2016
  • McKinney v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc. No 16-1498, 2017 US Appeals LEXIS 20473 (4th Cir.) (2017), 2017
  • Leadbetter v. Gilley, 385 F.3d 683 (6th Cir.), 2004
  • Escher v BWXT Y-12, LLC 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66070 (E.D. Tenn.), 2009
  • Escher v BWXT Y-12 LLC, 627 F.3d 1020 (6th Cir.), 2010
  • Davidson v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30757 (E.D. Tenn.), 2007
  • Cunningham v. Tennessee Cancer Specialists, PLLC 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97297 (E.D. Tenn.), 2013
  • Copeland v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 221 F.3d 1334, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 24132 (6th Cir.) 1999
  • Clark v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50692 (E.D. Tenn.), 2007
  • Clark v. G4S Government Solutions, Inc. d/b/a WSI Oak Ridge, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37832 (E.D. Tenn.), 2014
  • Campbell v. Lockheed Martin Energy Sys. and Wackenhut Services, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57871 (E.D. Tenn.), 2007
  • Rule 12(b)(6) FRCP motion to dismiss granted for client/employer in sex discrimination, national origin discrimination, and disability discrimination case under Title VII and the ADA for failure to state a claim
  • Summary judgment granted for client/employer in race discrimination and retaliation case under Title VII.
  • Successfully defended and settled FLSA collective action for unpaid pre-shift and post-shift activities involving 74 security guards
  • Summary judgment granted for defendant in race harassment and retaliation case under Title VII based on Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense.
  • Successfully defended and settled FLSA collective action for unpaid pre-shift and post-shift activities involving 58 security guards.

Industry Groups

  • Colleges And Universities
  • Construction Contractors
  • Insurance Companies
  • Manufacturing
  • Nuclear Weapons Contractors
  • Public Utilities
  • Savings And Loan
  • Security Firms
  • Service Organizations
  • Staffing Companies
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Office Location for Edward Phillips

800 South Gay Street
Suite 2500
Knoxville, TN 37901-0629

Phone: 865-525-5134

Fax: 865-522-5723

Last Updated: 7/9/2022

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