Woody Lay is the managing partner of O’Hagan Meyer’s Charlotte, North Carolina Office. With over 25 years of experience, Mr. Lay focuses his practice on employment, ERISA, non-competition, trade secret, and commercial litigation matters.
Mr. Lay regularly defends employers in court and arbitration against single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class or collective employment claims of all types, including Title VII, FLSA, ADEA, ADA FMLA and state-law wrongful termination claims. He has served as lead attorney in litigation and arbitrations in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Mr. Lay also routinely advises clients on the investigation, discipline and termination of all levels of employees; wage and hour issues; whistleblower allegations; joint employment and independent contractor issues; restructuring, layoffs, and shutdown of facilities, including advice on the WARN act and severance issues; harassment or discrimination complaints; employee attendance or leave issues under FMLA, ADA, state workers’ compensation laws, and ERISA benefit plans; workplace fatalities, OSHA investigations; and employment agreements, including non-competition and confidentiality agreements.
Finally, Mr. Lay has extensive knowledge of ERISA litigation issues. He has advised and defended large employers against ERISA denial of benefit and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of pension and welfare benefit claims, including claims involving executive compensation, pension eligibility and calculation issues, and elimination or modification of retiree health care coverage.
Prior to joining O’Hagan Meyer, Mr. Lay was a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, where he led the Charlotte, NC Labor and Employment Practice.
- Practice Areas
Education and Admissions
In 1988, Mr. Lay received his B.A. from the University of Virginia. He received his J.D., cum laude, in 1991 from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review and elected to Order of the Coif. After law school, Mr. Lay clerked on the Eastern District of Virginia for the Honorable Walter E. Hoffman.
- North Carolina
Professional Organization Memberships
- Member of the American, North Carolina, and Mecklenburg County Bar Associations
- Board Member, Classroom Central, 2016 – Present
- Served on the Winston & Strawn LLP Hiring and Pro Bono Committees
- Served on the Steering Committee for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Honors Gala
- Served on the Christ Episcopal Church Outreach Commission for three-year term, including as chairperson
- Served on the 25th and 30th Reunion Class Committees for the University of Virginia
- Served on the 25th Reunion Class Committee for Washington and Lee University School of Law
News, Honors, Publications & Speeches
- Listed in Chambers USA
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Employment Law – Management; Labor Law -Management
- Speaker, ACI 18th National Forum on ERISA Litigation, November 18-19, 2020
- Speaker, ERISA Litigation: "Navigating Through Complexities,” The Knowledge Group, June 30, 2020
- Speaker, “Fundamentals of Employment Law”- FLSA/NC Wage and Hour Act, North Carolina Bar Association, February 18, 2020
- Speaker, “Fair Labor Standards Act and North Carolina Wage and Hour Overview,” 34th Annual NC/SC Labor & Employment Law Program, October 13, 2018
- Speaker, “Fundamentals of Employment Law”- FLSA/NC Wage and Hour Act, North Carolina Bar Association, February 15,2018
- Speaker, “Attorney-Client Privilege in Email,” NBI, Inc., National Conference Call, March 20, 2017
- Speaker, “Handling Employment Discrimination Claims”, NBI, Inc., Charlotte, N.C., June 8, 2016
- Speaker, “How to Get Your Social Media, Email and Text Evidence Admitted: Applying Hearsay Exceptions and Overcoming Relevancy Objections,” NBI, Inc. Charlotte, NC December 18, 2015
- Speaker, “A Check on Background Checks: Ban the Box Laws, EEOC Suspicion, and FCRA Class Actions,” 30th Annual NC/SC Labor & Employment Law Program, October 24, 2014