An Examination of Evolving Employment Challenges and Solutions in M&A

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Over the past four years, the legal landscape—particularly regarding employment matters—has shifted dramatically. From ever-changing standards for employment/contractor classification to the #MeToo movement, buyers and sellers have faced numerous and evolving challenges in structuring their M&A deals. The COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced additional unforeseen employment issues. Because these issues are also tied to the economic impact of the pandemic, we may see the claims continue until the economy rebounds.

Shareholder Rep Insights

As shareholder rep on more than 7,600 deals, the team at SRS Acquiom has had a unique opportunity to observe the impact of these changes on post-closing claims activity and deal terms. We’ve also formed perspectives on how buyers and sellers might adapt their deals going forward to better protect and advance the interest of all deal parties.

M&A Employment Challenges

In this article, we provide an overview of the legal and social changes that have impacted M&A employment challenges matters the most, specifically with regard to employee classification (both in and out of the “gig-economy” sector) and sexual harassment, and explore how both buyers and sellers have attempted to account for these new risks in their M&A deal terms. We also examine how COVID-19 has created yet another host of employment issues and highlight the claim trends we are seeing as a result. Finally, we offer experience-based insight into how both buyers and sellers might respond proactively to minimize risk and maximize outcomes on future deals.

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Michelle Kirkpatrick

Executive Director, Shareholder Advisory tel:720-799-8614

Michelle leads the Shareholder Advisory team of attorneys and accountants handling post-closing issues, including escrow claims, earnouts, working capital, tax, and disputes. She has extensive experience negotiating, mediating, and litigating in various forums.

During her federal clerkship, Michelle participated in over 100 settlement conferences involving a wide variety of claims. Michelle then focused her practice at a leading labor and employment firm, where she specialized in drafting complex employment agreements and advising clients on a broad range of employment issues.

Michelle earned her JD from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and her BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

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