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Thomas H. Wilson
Thomas H. Wilson
Partner — Labor & Employment
Partner — Labor & Employment

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson
Houston

1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002

start quote symbolOur clients’ workplaces have changed a lot over the decades, and I have stayed ahead of these changes in my knowledge of employment, labor and safety matters. As clients have gone international, I have gone with them. I look to the future of the workplace, so I am ready with thoughtful guidance when our clients arrive in that future.end quote symbol
Thomas H. Wilson

Tom Wilson has more than 30 years of experience counseling clients on labor and employment matters that impact their business processes and objectives. He is sought after by clients around the world for insight on their U.S. operations and direction on matters related to managing a global workforce. In the U.S., Tom has represented clients before the United States Supreme Court, as well as state and federal courts and agencies. Globally, his representative reach spans Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

Tom is sought after by businesses when they have questions about the social element of environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. Tom also counsels employers regarding union relations and assists them with collective bargaining negotiations, responding to charges of unfair labor practices, and arbitrating union grievances. He has assisted clients in supply chain due diligence and advised them on how to eradicate forced labor when discovered. He has also worked with clients to establish good relations with indigenous people impacted by international projects. Many of Tom’s clients have worked with him for decades and, as one reviewer told Chambers USA, they appreciate the “innovative and creative ways” he approaches problems and his “great judgment and instincts” (2019).

Tom advocated for and was the first chair of the Texas Bar’s International Human Rights Committee. He has also served as the chair of the International Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and as the Communications Director of the Human Rights Law Committee of the International Bar Association.

Experience Highlights

  • Represented national sales company in suit against two sales representatives for breach of non-compete agreements 

  • Defended pipeline company against claim of fraud and retaliation under Sarbanes-Oxley 

  • Defended international oil company against discrimination and retaliation claims under Sarbanes-Oxley and Title VII

  • Conducted investigation for international organization and negotiated exit of chief executive

  • Represented a property management company with agreements and work visas related to the placement of employees in Russia to establish and operate a university campus

  • Assisted an oil and gas exploration and production company in the UAE with retention of UK-based executives to work in Dubai

  • Represented a technology and social networking company in negotiating agreements related to employment in Europe and the Middle East

  • Assisting a U.S. gas producer with union negotiations involving a new workforce in West Virginia

  • Assisted an oilfield services client in negotiations and strategy related to union relationships in Singapore

  • Advised an energy client in its initial negotiations with several unions resulting from the purchase of gas terminals in New York and New Jersey

  • Assisted an offshore oil and gas exploration and production client with relocating operations from Houston, Texas, to Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Representing a steel manufacturing client in multiple proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, arbitrations under collective bargaining agreements, and union negotiations

  • Represented a Belgian company sued in Texas state court by a Belgian employee alleging various contract and tort claims relating to stock options in the Belgian company’s U.S. parent; the Texas Supreme Court reversed lower court rulings that the case could proceed in Texas state court and dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction

  • Advised an international oil company on employment matters involved in disposition of a refinery in Aruba

  • Advised  a U.S. communications company on employment matters in the establishment and reorganization of businesses in India, Austria, and France

  • Advised a publicly traded offshore drilling company in all aspects of its executive compensation and employee benefit matters

  • Advised a large hospital system and other clients regarding the legal issues raised by potential corporate campaigns by unions

  • Represented a port warehouse and short-haul trucking company on union matters in ports in California, New Jersey, and Ohio 

  • Represented a large supermarket portfolio in litigation related to the unfunded liability of union sponsored, multi-employer pension plans claiming damages of $64 million

  • Defended a large international cruise line against claims of denial of access by disabled passengers in cases in state and federal court; obtained the dismissal of the class certification petition in state court and eventually won summary judgment for the client in the state court litigation; in federal court, obtained a grant of motion to dismiss; and on appeal, the Court of Appeals chose an alternative reason for granting the motion to dismiss, which was then appealed by the plaintiffs to the United States Supreme Court; the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, but effectively greatly limited the claims in the case to exclude any structural changes to the client’s ships

  • Represented a large petrochemical client on OSHA issues throughout the U.S. following catastrophic explosions at the client’s plants; currently handling litigation that contests OSHA citations, assisting client with compliance with a settlement agreement, and advising client concerning ongoing OSHA investigations

  • Recently tried several cases for a large meat packing company for OSHA citations, ranging from machine guarding to lockout requirements in Colorado, Minnesota, and California; obtained OSHA’s withdrawal of all citations before trial following a near fatal stabbing accident, obtained dismissal after trial of fall protection and personal protection equipment citations and citations concerning the availability of bathrooms

  • Trican Well Service in its definitive agreement with Keane Group, a privately-held, U.S. based well completion services company, for the sale of Trican’s United States pressure pumping fracking business

  • Sunoco in the $3.3 billion sale of a majority of its convenience stores to 7-Eleven

  • SemGroup Corporation in its $2.1 billion acquisition of Houston Fuel Oil Terminal Company, one of the largest oil terminals in the U.S., from Alinda Capital Partners

  • Energy XXI in its $2.3 billion acquisition of EPL Oil & Gas Inc., creating the largest publicly traded independent oil and gas producer on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf

  • Blackstone in the $2 billion acquisition of Eagle Claw Midstream Ventures from EnCap Flatrock Midstream

  • Pioneer Natural Resources in the $155 million sale of its Barnett Shale assets

  • Arc Logistics Partners and Lightfoot Capital Partners in the $422 million sale of the general partner of, and all of the outstanding common units in, Arc Logistics to Zenith Energy Management

  • Rockpile Energy Holdings, a portfolio company of White Deer Energy, in the $284.5 million sale of RockPile Energy Services to Keane Group

  • Representing Continental Airlines in the $3.2 billion all-stock merger with United Airlines, creating the world’s largest airline

  • Advised and negotiated on Labor and employment matters for Plains Pipeline Company in its purchase of pipeline assets in the U.S. and Canada

  • Advised Duke Energy on employment matters in purchase of Canadian company with assets in the U.S.

Credentials

  • University of Tennessee, J.D. with high honors, 1985
  • Drake University, B.A. Journalism cum laude, 1982
  • Chambers USA, Labor and Employment (Texas), 2006–2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), Labor and Employment law, 2003–2006, 2008–2020
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2003–2004, 2006–2019
  • Who’s Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.), Labor, Employment & Benefits, 2016
  • Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Labor and Employment Law
  • Chairman of the International Human Rights Committee of the International Section of the State Bar of Texas
  • Secretary of the Executive Council of the International Law Section for the State Bar of Texas
  • Co-chair of the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) Employment Committee
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Practical Law Company
  • Member: American Bar Association, Committees on International Labor and Employment Law and OSHA, Labor Relations Advisory Committee; American Health Lawyers Association; Interamerican Bar Association
  • Elected to the National Executive Board of the U.S. Branch of the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law, 2009
  • Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Western, and Southern Districts of Texas
  • “ESG Matters – Texas-size Challenges in Managing Supply Chains,” Texas Bar Journal, December 2019 (co-author)
  • “International Human Rights Legal Issues: Impact on Texas Lawyers and Their Clients,” The State Bar of Texas International Law Section & International Human Rights Committee, December 10, 2019 (panelist)
  • “The Gatekeepers’ Course: Navigating Evolving Trends in Corporate Governance and Compliance,” V&E Houston Office, June 12, 2019 (speaker)
  • “The Gatekeepers’ Course: Navigating Evolving Trends in Corporate Governance and Compliance,” V&E Dallas Office, June 5, 2019 (speaker)
  • “The Gatekeepers’ Course: Navigating Evolving Trends in Corporate Governance and Compliance,” V&E Austin Office, May 28, 2019 (speaker)
  • “The New Governance: Navigating the Rising ESG Tide,” V&E Houston Office, December 12, 2018 (speaker)
  • “Seventh Annual Hydraulic Fracturing Symposium,” V&E Houston Office, October 4, 2017 (speaker)
  • “The Rule of Labour Law and Conflict with International Human Rights Guidelines,” International Bar Association’s Human Rights Law Committee Newsletter, September 2017 (author)
  • “Seventh Annual Hydraulic Fracturing Symposium,” V&E Houston Office, October 4, 2017 (speaker)
  • “V&E and ERM Roundtable: How Best to Deliver Business Outcomes in a Safe and Sustainable Manner,” July 20, 2017 (speaker)
  • “International Human Rights and Ethical Obligations For Texas Lawyers,” Texas Bar Journal, July 2017 (author)
  • “7-Eleven Asset Acquisition,” Corporate Counsel Magazine, July 2017 (co-author)
  • “24 Hours: How to Plan for the Day After a Major Workplace Incident,” 30th Annual Environmental, Health & Safety Seminar, June 5-8, 2017 (speaker)
  • “ABA 2017 Midyear Meeting of the International Labor & Employment Law Committee,” May 7-11, 2017 (speaker)
  • “Society for Corporate Governance: Houston Chapter One-day Conference,” The Houstonian Hotel, January 11, 2017 (speaker)
  • “Legal Considerations for U.S. Media Employers Who Send Employees “Into Harm’s Way,” Media Law Resource Center Employment Committee Report, June 2016 (co-author)
  • “Modern Slavery Act 2015 – The Impact on Multinational Businesses,” PLC Magazine, April 2016 (co-author)
  • “How an Employer Is Organized Can Determine How Vulnerable It Is to Union Organizing,” V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, August 6, 2014 (co-author)
  • “Functional Approaches to Obtaining Non-Compete Protections,” V&E International Labor and Employment Law Update, July 8, 2014 (co-author)
  • “Expert Q&A: Executive Actions Affecting Federal Contractors,” Practical Law, May 20, 2014 (co-author)
  • “Federal Contractors Impacted By Recent Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum on Equal Pay,” V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, April 30, 2014 (co-author)
  • “Non-Competes in the Broadcast Industry,” MLRC Employment Committee, January 2014 (co-author)
  • “Recent and Future Developments in the Energy Work Place,” V&E Employment, Labor and OSHA Update E-communication, March 6, 2013 (co-author)
  • “Avoiding the Accidental Employee – how to make sure someone is an independent contractor or supervisor and why it is important,” Texas Labor and Employee Relations Consortium Meeting, February 7, 2013 (presenter)
  • “Best Practices for Transferring U.S. Employees Overseas,” Practical Law The Journal, February 12, 2010
  • A chapter on Norwegian labor and employment law for the ABA’s International Labor Law Treatise (co-author)
  • A chapter on Nigerian labor and employment law for the ABA’s International Labor Law Treatise (co-author)
  • ABA OSHA Committee treatise, chapter on specific OSHA standards
  • Speaker at the 17th World Congress on Labor and Social Security Law in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Speaker on the future of U.S. Labor Law and on numerous programs, including the American Bar Association Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, American Corporate Counsel Association, International Association of Drilling Contractors, Human Resource Management Association, Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce, and American Dental Association
  • Speaker at the American Bar Association Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee meeting on how refineries should prepare for inspections by OSHA under the Agency’s Refinery National Emphasis Program