Heather Fox Vickles

Member

Denver, Colorado

Phone: 303.299.8194

Fax: 303.298.0940

hvickles@shermanhoward.com

Education

  • Juris Doctor, University of Colorado School of Law, 1992
    • Pi Sigma Alpha
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Minor in French, Colorado State University, 1988
    • summa cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Phi Kappa Phi

Heather Fox Vickles is a proactive and tactical trial lawyer who draws on her decades-long experience to advocate effectively and efficiently for employers in federal, state, and appellate courts and before government agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

A Chambers USA-recognized practitioner, Heather is a standout labor and employment litigator known for her extensive trial experience and her skill in leading trial teams. Heather has handled more than 100 employment cases in federal courts, trying 12 cases to verdict, with an 85 percent win rate. She has successfully litigated employment disputes ranging from bet-the-company multijurisdictional systemic pattern or practice cases pursued by the EEOC to single-plaintiff discrimination, harassment, and retaliation cases. Heather represents employers across the nation — she has defended clients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Practical and strategic, Heather identifies and implements creative, cost-effective solutions outside of the litigation process when a quick or discreet resolution best serves her clients’ interests.

Heather recently served as the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group leader. She is also a member of the Faculty of Federal Advocates and the Denver chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization, and she is a regular commentator and speaker on employment-related legal issues.

Experience

  • Secured judgment against the EEOC and in favor of a global food production company following a four-week bench trial in Colorado federal court on pattern or practice claims alleging systemic religious, race, and national origin discrimination and retaliation against hundreds of Muslim employees.
  • During a bench trial in Nebraska federal court, won halftime motion for judgment against the EEOC and in favor of a global food production company on pattern or practice claims alleging systemic religious, race, and national origin discrimination and retaliation against hundreds of Muslim employees. Subsequently won summary judgment on all related individual employee claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Negotiated favorable and early resolution of EEOC pattern or practice lawsuit against interstate trucking carrier alleging nationwide disability discrimination based on hiring practices, including use of post-offer, pre-employment physical examination process administered by third-party company.
  • Argued and won appeals on behalf of a multistate delivery logistics company before the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals concerning alleged misclassification of workers as independent contractors, establishing new law under Colorado’s independent contractor statute favorable to businesses and their contractors.
  • Investigated sensitive and complex allegations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation levied against high-level executive and management employees.
  • Won defense jury verdict in favor of northern Colorado hospital in Larimer County District Court trial alleging wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
  • On behalf of a leading brewing company, obtained dismissal of a lawsuit filed by two former employees pursuing claims of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. The employees alleged they were fired for fulfilling their public duty to report a suspected crime following an altercation with a customer who reportedly threatened one of them with a gun. The court agreed with our argument that the employees failed to state a viable claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and dismissed the case.
  • Defended a healthcare system based in Colorado against allegations of same-sex harassment and assault levied by one senior executive against another and a claim of retaliatory discharge of the reporting party after investigation of his complaints led to the conclusion that his allegations were false. Ultimately, the team’s work was instrumental in criminal charges of false reporting being brought against the reporting party.
  • Defended multistate delivery logistics company against claims brought by the United States DOL alleging that the company misclassified thousands of delivery drivers as independent contractors.
  • Won defense jury verdicts in numerous federal court trials involving claims such as sex, disability, race, national origin, religious and age discrimination, harassment/hostile work environment, retaliation, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violations, and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Publications & Presentations

PRESS

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

PRESENTATIONS

  • Colorado’s Pay Equity Law – Is your Company Prepared?
    Sherman & Howard x Equity Methods Webinar | November 12, 2020
  • Is Your Handbook Up to Date?
    Annual Colorado Labor & Employment Law Conference | October 15, 2020
  • Employer Obligations Under the FFCRA
    Women’s Presidents’ Organization, Denver Chapters I and II | April 2020
  • Developments in Accommodation Law: Disability and Religion
    Annual Colorado Labor & Employment Law Conference | May 2019
  • EEOC Systemic Enforcement Update
    Annual Colorado Labor & Employment Law Conference | May 2018
  • Oh Baby! Accommodating Pregnant and Lactating Employees
    Annual Colorado Labor & Employment Law Conference | May 2017
  • Oh, Baby! Accommodating Pregnant and Lactating Employees
    Annual Arizona Labor & Employment Law Conference | April 2017
  • EEOC’S Plans To Collect Pay Data
    Annual Colorado Labor & Employment Law Conference Agenda | May 2016
  • EEOC’s Enforcement and Litigation Agenda: Pushing the Envelope and How to Push Back
    Annual Colorado Labor & Employment Conference | April 2015

Professional Activities

  • Faculty of Federal Advocates
  • Colorado Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
  • American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section
  • Women Presidents’ Organization

Highlights

  • Chambers USA, Recognized Practitioner – Labor & Employment, Colorado (2018-2019)
  • Colorado Bar Association Litigation Section, Civil Litigator Article Award (1994)