Rebecca (Becky) Baker chairs the firm's labor & employment practice group. She counsels and represents employers in all aspects of the employment relationship. She represents employers involved in federal and state court litigation and advises and represents them with respect to administrative claims. Becky’s experience includes matters involving wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower protection, wage and hour issues, employment and non-competition agreements, and matters involving occupational safety and health violations. She has successfully resolved hundreds of demand letters, EEOC charges of discrimination, and lawsuits alleging various forms of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other employment claims.
In addition to litigation, Becky works with employers to draft employee handbooks and employer policies, including development and maintenance of comprehensive record retention policies. She provides day-to-day advice and counsel to help employers address issues related to the hiring, management, retention and termination of employees and negotiates and drafts executive employment and restrictive covenant agreements. In addition, she has experience in assisting businesses with responding to electronic data breaches and complying with multi-state and federal data breach notification requirements related to employees.
Becky also has experience managing the labor and employment aspects of complex business sales, acquisitions and other transactions.
Recent Notable Matters
Various employers — successfully managed defense of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other employment claims
Exploration and production company traded on London and Australian stock exchanges — following three-day arbitration, obtained complete award in response to $6 million breach of contract claim brought by former consultant
Multinational publicly traded energy corporation — obtained summary judgment in U.S. Federal Court, Southern District of Texas on Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation claim filed by former employee
Houston area industrial facility — successfully negotiated settlement with OSHA regarding safety citations
The Robert A. Welch Foundation — creation and funding of The Welch Institute, a $100 million joint venture with Rice University that will combine fundamental chemistry and materials science with the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery, design and manufacture of the next generation of materials with applications to new energy systems, sustainable water, space systems, telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, security and more
Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners — acquisition of Tidewater Transportation & Terminals, a multi-commodity transportation, terminal, and marine construction and repair company serving the Pacific Northwest, from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners was the lead investor of a group consisting of Ullico, funds and accounts under management by BlackRock, Silverfern and certain other co-investors; managed labor and employment aspects.
Eni Petroleum US LLC — acquisition of 30 percent interest and a follow-on deal for remaining 70 percent and operatorship of the Oooguruk oil field in Alaska from Caelus Natural Resources Alaska, LLC; managed labor and employment aspects, including transition services and retention matters
PreCheck, Inc. — sale to Cisive, a global provider of compliance-driven human capital management and risk management solutions
Pioneer Natural Resources Company — agreement with undisclosed buyer to sell all of its assets in the West Panhandle field in Texas for $201 million (2018)
Pioneer Natural Resources Company — sale of its assets in the Raton Basin in southeastern Colorado to Evergreen Natural Resources LLC; advised on employment aspects
Alinda Capital Partners — sale of NorTex Midstream Partners, LLC, a company owned by funds managed by Alinda that own Texas gas storage facilities, to a subsidiary of Castleton Commodities International LLC; advised on employment aspects
Phillips 66 Partners LP — joint venture construction and operating agreements with Andeavor and an equity option with Canadian midstream company Enbridge Inc. in relation to the Gray Oak Pipeline, LLC joint venture, and in a joint venture with Buckeye Partners LP to develop the new South Texas Gateway Terminal at the mouth of Corpus Christi Bay
NRG Retail LLC — agreement to acquire 100 percent of the membership interests in XOOM Energy Global Holdings, LLC; advised on employment aspects
Hydro One Limited — $5.3 billion proposed acquisition of Avista Corporation in an all-cash transaction (now terminated)
Global Infrastructure Partners — $250 million preferred equity investment in Caprock Midstream to fund the expansion of Caprock’s natural gas gathering and processing assets in the Permian Basin; advised on employment aspects
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. — $70 million sale of St. Lawrence Gas Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries to Liberty Utilities Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.; advised on employment aspects
Post Oak Bancshares — managed employment aspects of acquisition of The State Bank of Texas
Pilot Chemical Company — managed employment aspects of acquisition of the assets and business of Liquid Minerals Group
Kinder Morgan, Inc. — employment matters with respect to sale of 50 percent interest in Utopia Pipeline Project to Riverstone Investment Group LLC
Pioneer Natural Resources Company — managed employment aspects of acquisition of 28,000 acres in the Midland Basin from Devon Energy Corporation for $435 million
Venoco, Inc. — managed employment aspects of Chapter 11 filing and restructuring
Alinda Capital Partners — managed employment aspects of $1.89 billion sale of SourceGas Holdings LLC to Black Hills Corp.
Veritex Holdings, Inc. — managed employment aspects of acquisition of IBT Bancorp, Inc.
Allegiance Bancshares Inc. — managed employment aspects of acquisition of Famers and Merchants Bancshares and Enterprise Bank
Apache Corporation — employment aspects with respect to $1.4 billion sale of approximately 90,000 net acres in southern Louisiana and 115,000 net acres in the Anadarko Basin to Tapstone Energy
Publications and Speeches
“Cos. Should Brace For Workers’ Vaccine Safety Concerns,” Law360, September 2020.
Texas Association of Business Texas Employment Law Handbook, contributing author 2006-2016.
"Workforce Q&A: What should employers take away from recent settlements of SEC whistleblower enforcement actions?" Texas Business Report, 2016.
"Producers Can Use CVS Case as Guidance When Engaging in Workforce Reductions," Oil & Gas Journal, 2015.
"I Know My Employee Rights: Myths vs. Realties," HR Houston Luncheon, 2015.
"Human Resources Consideration for Non-Profits," Houston Pro Bono Joint Initiative, 2014.
"Human Resources Considerations," Houston Young Lawyers Association Non-Profit Law Institute, 2013.
Board Certified, Labor and Employment Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization