Christopher R. Fontan
Christopher R. Fontan
Chris Fontan joined Brunini in 2006 in one of the Firm’s Litigation Departments. He received his Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude in Business Administration from Mississippi College in 2001. Chris received his J.D., summa cum laude from the Mississippi College School of Law in 2006, where he served as the Managing Editor on the Board of the Mississippi College School of Law Review.
Chris has extensive labor and employment litigation experience including workers compensation defense. In addition and, as part of his employment practice, Chris does training for employers on such topics as sexual harassment, Title VII, Family and Medical Leave Act, EEOC Compliance, Wage & Hour Compliance. Chris also advises employers on corporate employment compliance, including internal policy audits and employee handbook review.
- B.S.B.A., Mississippi College, 2001 Summa Cum Laude (Wall Street Journal Award – Outstanding Senior in Mississippi College School of Business, Perry Academic Medalist, Alpha Lamda Delta Book Award)
- J.D., Mississippi College School of Law, 2006 Summa Cum Laude (Managing Editor – Mississippi College School of Law Review; American Jurisprudence Awards for sectional best paper in Property, Civil Procedure I, Civil Procedure II, Legal Research & Writing, Employment Law, Evidence, Law & Medicine, and Law Office Management)
- Mississippi (2006)
- United States District Courts of Mississippi (2006)
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2006)
Community & Professional Activities
- Mississippi Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Jackson Young Lawyers Association
- Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson; Advisory Board Member (2011-present)
- Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- Mississippi Chapter of SHRM
- Capital Area Human Resource Association (CAHRA)
- Represented Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. in a civil rights racial discrimination case involving a minority subcontractor. District Court granted Motion to Dismiss the individual plaintiffs, based on their lack of standing in the litigation, as their claims against TEMA were purely derivative of the company’s claims. The District Court also denied the motion for reconsideration. The Plaintiffs appealed both decisions. In its opinion, the Fifth Circuit held that the individual Plaintiffs’ notice of appeal was untimely, based on the improper filing of the motion for reconsideration by their counsel. Additionally, the Fifth Circuit held that the Plaintiffs’ waived their objections to this argument, as they failed to raise them in rebuttal to Toyota’s response to their motion for reconsideration. Accordingly, the only issue over which the Fifth Circuit had jurisdiction to review was the denial of the motion for reconsideration, which the Fifth Circuit held was proper. Opinion
- In a convoluted discrimination complaint, obtained summary judgment on the non-confessed claims of gender and age discrimination. United States District Court Judge Lee found, in part, that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence to support a “finding that Tyson’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its challenged employment decision was a pretext for age or gender discrimination.” Prideaux v. Tyson Foods, Inc.
- Obtained summary judgment along with Scott Singley from U.S. District Court for Southern District of Mississippi on behalf of Georgia Gulf Chemicals & Vinyls, LLC. Employee sued Georgia Gulf wrongful termination asserting he had been fired after he reported that another employee had assaulted him. The District Court held that since there was no evidence that the employer authorized or ratified the assault or that it occurred in the scope of employment then the termination was not wrongful as no exception to Mississippi’s employment-at-will doctrine had been demonstrated. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the United States District Court of Southern Mississippi’s dismissal.Hall v. Georgia Gulf Chemicals & Vinyls, LLC, 2010 WL 5333690 (S.D. Miss. Dec. 21, 2010), aff’d 2011 WL 2078597 (5th Cir. May 25, 2011)
- Obtained summary judgment along with Trey Jones on behalf of a major lending institution in a lawsuit in which two plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages based on the bank’s alleged breach of a loan agreement and other wrongful acts in connection with a residential construction project. Following discovery, Jones and Fontan were successful in obtaining dismissal of all claims in favor of the bank. Rushing v. Trustmark National Bank, 2011 WL 287447 (Miss. Ct. App. 2011)
- Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. in employment retaliation case. In the case, the plaintiff alleged that the company had terminated his employment in retaliation for reporting alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The two day jury trial was in United States District Court before Judge Tom Lee. Prideaux v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 387 Fed. Appx. 474 (5th Cir. 2010)
- Omnova Solutions, Inc. v. Lipa, 44 So.3d 935 (Miss. 2010)
- Price v. Omnova Solutions, Inc., 17 So.2d 104 (Miss.Ct.App. 2009)
- Rentrop v. Trustmark National Bank, 2008 WL 3992649 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 22, 2008)
- Daniels v. Peco Foods of Mississippi, Inc., 980 So.2d 360 (Miss.Ct.App. 2008)
- DeJean v. DeJean, 982 So.2d 443 (Miss. Ct. App. 2007)
Speeches & Publications
- Workers’ Compensation Hearings: “Techniques and Strategies for Success”, NBI Seminar 2010.
- “Considerations Regarding the Effect of Social Media in the Workplace”, Crossroads Human Resource Association, 2012 Fall Conference
- Presenter for Rankin County Chamber of Commerce – Lunch & Learn: “General Personnel Information: The ABCs & 123s of Employment Law”. February 7, 2013
- “Gun Laws in Mississippi: An overview of Mississippi’s current gun laws and their impact on Mississippi employers” Capital Area Human Resources Association meeting Presentation.
- “Guns & Employees – An Overview of the Impact of Mississippi’s Gun Laws on Human Resources” presentation at the 19th Annual Mississippi Society of Human Resource Managers Conference & Expo.
- “Employers’ Ever-Changing Responsibilities in Immigration Compliance” presentation at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s 2015 Human Resources Seminar in Destin, FL.
- “Back to Basics: Employer Mandate 101” presentation at the 28th annual MSU IDAY held April 14-15, 2015.
- “Workplace Violence and Mississippi Employers” presentation at the 20th Annual Mississippi Human Resource Conference and Expo.
- “Important Topics in 2016 Employment and HR Law in MS” presentation to the Mississippi Corporate Counsel Association on August 24, 2016.
Honors & Awards
- “Top 40 Under 40 Business Leaders for 2013”, Mississippi Business Journal
- PORTICO – Top 10 Attorneys in Jackson Metropolitan area for 2012.
- Benchmark© Labor & Employment South Star
- Brunini Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers
- Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 4 Brunini Attorneys on its 40 & Under Hot List
- Employment and HR Law Brunch & Learn Presented by Chris Fontan and Lauren Lawhorn
- New Overtime Rule Proposal from Department of Labor Slated for Spring 2019
- U.S. Court of Appeals Reverses Course Concerning Title VII Protection of LGBTQ+ Rights
- Recent Federal Court Ruling Indicates Coverage for LGBTQ-Related Conditions Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Chris Fontan Presents to the Golden Triangle Human Resources Association
- Contradictory Federal Court Opinions LGBT Rights in the Workplace Sets Stage for Landmark Supreme Court Showdown
- BREAKING – U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE ISSUES NATIONWIDE ORDER TEMPORARILY BLOCKING DEPARTMENT OF LABOR’S PROPOSED OVERTIME RULE CHANGE
- “Paid Sick Leave” for Employees of Certain Federal Contractors & Subcontractors
- Get Ready – Changes to Mandatory EEO-1 Coming in 2017
- 2016 Mid-South Super Lawyers
- Chris Fontan Presents to Rankin County Chamber
- Chris Fontan Presents to Headmasters for the Jackson Area Association of Independent Schools (JAAIS)
- New Version of Form I-9 Announced
- Over 20 States and 50 Business Groups File Suit Seeking to Block Enforcement of New Overtime Rule
- 84 Days and Counting – Is Your Company Prepared for the New Overtime Rule?
- Chris Fontan Presents to Mississippi Corporate Counsel Association
- OSHA Delays Proposed Injury and Illness Reporting Rule
- Department of Labor Announces Increase in Wage & Hour Penalties for Employers
- EEOC Final Rules on Title I of the ADA and Title II of the GINA in relation to Employee Wellness Programs
- Are You Ready?-(For Expanded Employee Overtime Eligibility)
- Chris Fontan presents at the 21st Annual Mississippi Human Resource Conference and Expo.
- OSHA Releases Final/Updated Workplace Injury Reporting Rule
- U.S. EEOC Alters Key Investigation Procedures
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Final Overtime Rule Not Expected in 2nd Half of 2016
- Chris Fontan speaks on Violence in the Workplace
- New NLRB Ruling Expands “Joint Employer” Standard
- New Legislation Proposes Sweeping Civil Rights Protections for LGBT Individuals
- U.S. EEOC Rules Workplace Discrimination Based on “Sexual Orientation” Already Illegal Under Federal Law
- Mississippi’s Newest Gun Law – and Its Impact on Businesses and Employers
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on “Employee vs. Independent Contractor” Misclassification
- UPDATE: U.S. Department of Labor Releases Proposed Rule to Expand Employee Overtime Eligibility
- U.S. Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision & Its Potential Impact on Employers
- Brunini’s 2014 Super Lawyers
- U.S. EEOC To Take Aim At Corporate Wellness Programs
- United States Department of Labor’s OFCCP Final Rule Protecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination
- NLRB Issues Final Rule Altering Union Election Process
- Chris Fontan, Reed Nunnelee and Sam Kelly Present to the Mississippi Road Builders Association
- Chris Fontan speaks on Mississippi’s Open-Carry Law
- U.S. Supreme Court Narrows the Definition of “Supervisor” Under Federal Discrimination Statutes
- U.S. Supreme Court Tightens Employees’ Retaliation Rights Under Federal Discrimination Statutes