Norvell, Hanna Fister

Hanna Norvell


Partner

 

Overview

Board Certified in Labor and Employment law, Hanna Norvell represents employers in all matters regarding employees and represents business owners and operators in matters regarding accessibility for persons with disabilities, including the accessibility of buildings, public areas, parking lots, services, residential facilities, websites and more.

She has represented employers since 1996 in matters related to:

  • Employment decisions
  • Employee and management training
  • Internal or external investigations or audits
  • Employee and independent contractor classification as well as joint employer (co-employer) or integrated employer issues involving staffing companies or affiliated companies
  • Allegations made by employees or independent contractors under various federal or state laws, including claims concerning compensation, hiring, promotion, termination, retaliation, harassment, discrimination (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Section 1981), Sabine Pilot and whistleblower claims regarding reporting of or refusal to perform alleged illegal conduct, wages and hours (Fair Labor Standards Act and other overtime and minimum wage laws) as well as public policy or contract-based claims
  • Disability accommodation (ADA and the interactive process), military leaves (USERRA), other leaves of absence, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), drug testing, medical exams
  • Layoffs, furloughs, voluntary separation or retirement programs or other staff reductions (including WARN Act)
  • Workplace violence or misconduct
  • Background checks, applicant testing, and other hiring screens and processes
  • Multi-state employer handbooks and policies and agreements
  • Due diligence and representations or warranties regarding employment issues involved in mergers and acquisitions

Hanna has extensive experience in drafting, enforcing, and litigating executive and other employment agreements, separation or severance agreements, executive compensation and benefits agreements, incentive, retention and severance plans, non-disclosure, non-disparagement, non-competition, non-solicitation and non-hire agreements, and in litigating claims of tortious interference, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, alleged violations of uniform trade secrets act statutes, breach of contract, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Fair Housing Act (FHA) Accessibility Issues & ADA Accessibility for Public Accommodations

Hanna defends owners and operators of public accommodations (retailers, hotels, financial service providers, restaurants, stadiums, theaters, medical providers, website providers, and other businesses and commercial entities) in claims regarding equal access to facilities, services, products, reservations, tickets, websites, information, policy modifications, eligibility criteria and providing effective means of communication, including relay calls, interpreters and other methods, brought under Titles II and III of the ADA and comparable state laws. Hanna also advises owners and operators of public accommodations regarding planning and designing for compliance with the ADA, including the 1991 ADAAG (ADA Accessibility Guidelines) and 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, comparable state and local guidelines as well as the impact of accessibility issues on potential sales or purchases of public accommodations.

Hanna advises owners and managers, sellers and purchasers, of multi-family housing developments regarding FHA compliance and issues, including design and construction, discrimination, policy or practice reasonable accommodations, reasonable property modifications, and defends claims of FHA violations, as well as assists with agency requirements, inspections, corrective actions, policy and form drafting, ADA and other accessibility requirements under state and federal laws.

COVID-19 Response

Hanna is well versed in the numerous issues stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), stay-at-home and related orders, and all of their impacts on employers, employees and independent contractors, including critical infrastructure and essential services determinations, paid and unpaid leave, layoffs, pay reductions, reduced hours, furloughs, downsizings, expanded unemployment, and their interaction with numerous local, state and federal laws and regulations. Many of these issues have significant interactions with employee benefits, tax, Small Business Administration, and other issues, where we collaborate closely with our colleagues experienced in those practice areas.

Hanna's experience includes working with entities of various sizes and in every stage of development, from tiny startups to well-established global companies, in industries ranging from manufacturing and biotechnology to financial services, hospitality, retail and energy.

Professional History

  • Partner, Locke Lord LLP
  • Co-Chair, Locke Lord Labor & Employment Practice Group
  • Member, Locke Lord Board of Directors
  • Former Member, Locke Lord Leadership Succession Committee
  • Former Co-Chair, Locke Lord Women's Initiative
  • Former Co-Chair, Locke Lord Consumer Products, Retail & Franchise Industry Group
  • Former Co-Hiring Partner, Locke Lord Houston office
  • Former Member, Locke Lord Alternative Billing Arrangement Committee
  • Former Member, Locke Lord Lateral Hire Committee
  • Former Member, Locke Lord Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Member, State Bar of Texas
  • Member, Houston Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section
  • Council Member (2008-2010)
  • Member, Houston Bar Association Gender Initiative Task Force (2008-2010)
  • Member, Women's Energy Network (2008-2011)
  • Named, The Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law-Management and Litigation-Labor and Employment (2013-2021)
  • Named, Super Lawyers® Texas Rising Star, Employment & Labor and Employment Litigation: Defense (2004-2009, 2011)

Community Leadership

  • Former Board Member, Avondale House, a nonprofit institution assisting individuals and families affected by autism
  • Former Board Member, Lighthouse of Houston, a nonprofit institution assisting visually impaired and low vision individuals
  • Former Member, Junior League of Houston
  • Middle School Sunday School Small Group Leader, First Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas, former elementary and pre-school small group leader
  • Wife and mother of three active children involved in school and church activities, volleyball, football, lacrosse, dance, hunting, fishing, spending time in the Texas Hill country and more

Board Certifications

  • Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (2001-Present)