Richard solves employment law problems. The unfortunate reality is that clients with employees will inevitably have employment law issues. When that day comes, clients count on Richard to provide a timely and cost efficient solution. Sometimes that solution may be in the form of providing sage counsel to his clients to prevent or minimize a problem. Other times, it may be advocating for his client in court or before an administrative agency. Whatever form the solution may need to take, Richard’s experience and capabilities put his clients in a position to succeed.

Richard enjoys working with a wide range of clients, including large manufacturers, healthcare providers, local governments, educational institutions and technology companies. He advises these clients on hiring, firing, layoffs, employee discipline, employee defections, FMLA compliance, wage and hour classifications and other employment issues in order to avoid claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, unpaid overtime, whistleblowing and unsafe working environments. In addition, he helps his clients with employee training, handbooks, affirmative action plans, OFCCP compliance, and workplace investigations and audits. Richard’s clients also turn to him for the crafting of employment agreements, non-competes and other restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements, commission agreements and plans, and separation agreements.

Presentations and Publications


  • Editor, North Carolina Employment Law Letter, M. Lee Smith Publishers 1993 - current
  • Contributor, 50 Employment Laws in 50 States, Employer Counsel Network, M. Lee Smith Publishers (2005)
  • Contributor, American with Disability Act Compliance Guidebook, M. Lee Smith Publishers (1992)
  • Contributor, State OSHA Special Report, Government Institutes
  • Older Worker's Benefit Protection Act, North Carolina Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section Newsletter (1991)
  • Fetal Protection Policies Unprotected, North Carolina Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section Newsletter (1991)


  • Presenter, “How to Manage Your Workforce in a Pandemic”, SHRM 2020 Legal Update, June 2020
  • Employment Law Updates, sponsored by North Carolina College & University Professional Association – Human Resources (2015 Spring Professional Development Workshop), Raleigh, NC, April 10, 2015
  • FLMA Master Class, sponsored by M. Lee Smith Publishers, LLC, Charlotte, NC, November 9, 2011
  • Your First Line of Defense: Training Supervisors to Ward Off Employment Law Claims, co-presenter, sponsored by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC Annual Meeting); Denver, CO, October 25, 2011
  • The New Regulations: GINA and ADAAA – The Dawning of a New Day, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Society for Human Resource Management, Winston-Salem, NC, June 24, 2011
  • Performance Appraisals: Benefit or Liability?, sponsored by the Employer’s Association, Charlotte, NC, January 10, 2011 and November 5, 2009
  • What Banks Need to Know Now: New Employment Requirements Under the SAFE Act, co-presenter, Womble Carlyle Webinar, December 17, 2010
  • FMLA Master Class, co-presenter, sponsored by the North Carolina Employment Law Letter, Durham, NC, April 17, 2008
  • FMLA Master Class,’ co-presenter, sponsored by the North Carolina Employment Law Letter, Charlotte, NC, April 15, 2008
  • Wage & Hour Master Class, co-presenter, sponsored by the North Carolina Employment Law Letter, Charlotte, NC, October 9, 2007
  • Intersection of Psychiatric Disabilities and the ADA:  A Roadmap to Compliance, a Womble Carlyle Breakfast Briefing co-presented by Richard L. Rainey and Stuart A. Brock in Charlotte, North Carolina, June 14, 2007
  • FMLA Master Class - The Advanced Interactive Workshop for North Carolina Employers, North Carolina Employment Law Letter, co-presented by Richard Rainey, Stuart Brock and Sheri Roberson in Charlotte, NC, November 8, 2006
  • Identity Theft:  What employers need to know to protect themselves and their employees, a Womble Carlyle Breakfast Briefing co-presented by Richard L. Rainey and Stuart A. Brock in Charlotte, North Carolina, July 12, 2006
  • Recent Developments in Wage and Hour Law, a Womble Carlyle Breakfast Briefing co-presented by Richard L. Rainey and Stuart A. Brock in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 12, 2006
  • Legal Update, (IPMA – Southern Region Conference, April 2005)
  • Conducting a Legal Internal Investigation:  Employee Rights, (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Charlotte Chapter meeting, October 7, 2004)
  • Immigration and Employment Issues in the Workplace: A 2003 Update, (September 30, 2004)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution, (Human Resources Law Update, Sterling Education Series, September 21, 2004)
  • The White Collar Exemptions Under The Fair Labor Standards Act:  An Analysis of the Regulatory Revisions, (DataMax Seminars, July 21, 2004)
  • Update On The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), (North Carolina Hospital Human Resource Association Spring Conference, March 26, 2004)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Update, (Labor And Employment Law Update, Sterling Education Series, March 9, 2004)
  • Employment Law Crystal Ball: Things To Look For In The Coming Years, (MICA Legal Clinic, Miami, Florida, November 2, 2001)
  • Legal Update, (Charlotte Area Personnel Association Monthly Meeting, September 10, 2001)
  • Basic Equal Employment Opportunity Law (American Bar Association, April 28, 2000)
  • Labor and Employment Benefit Issues in Corporate Transaction (North Carolina Bar Foundation, February 25, 2000)
  • Recruiting and Retaining Skilled Employees (Council on Education in Management, October 6, 1998)
  • NCOSHA Ergonomics Initiative (The Employers Association, September 24, 1998)
  • Union Avoidance (Davidson County Human Resource Association, September 21, 1998)
  • Benefit Issues Under the FMLA, ABA and ADEA (Cambridge Institute, April 30, 1998)
  • Labor and Employment Issues in Buying and Selling a Business (Cambridge Institute, June 10, 1997)
  • Mergers and Acquisitions of Private Companies (Cambridge Institute, 1995)
  • ADA (Carolina Human Resources and Employee Benefits Update, December 1995)
  • The Lawyer and the Troubled Business, ABTV CLE Seminar (November 9, 1995)
  • School Law in North Carolina (National Business Institute, Inc., October 12, 1995)
  • Workplace Violence (Davidson Community College, September 21, 1995)
  • North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act (September 14, 1994)
  • Documentation of Disciplinary Action, (Society for Human Resource Management, Raleigh-Wake and Triangle Chapters, February 25, 1994)
  • Negligent Retention (Public School Administrators, Raleigh Area Technical Assistance Center, February 18, 1994)
  • OSHA Compliance (Davidson Community College, January 31, 1994)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (June 24, 1993)
  • ADA (North Carolina Library Association Annual Meeting, June 1, 1993)
  • Employment Torts in North Carolina (Institute of Business Law May 11, 1993)
  • ADA (Davidson Community College, February 10, 1993)
  • ADA (Surry Community College September 17, 1992)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Southern Taxicab Conference, August 11, 1992)
  • Drugs in the Workplace (October 18, 1990)

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association; North Carolina Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Treasurer, 1995 and Council Member 1997-2000
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association

Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA Ranked Lawyer, Labor & Employment, North Carolina (2002-Present)
  • Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thompson Reuters) (2006-2024)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Employment Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2006 – Present
  • Received the Best Lawyers™ Labor and Employment "Lawyer of the Year" award in Charlotte, North Carolina, 2019, 2021


Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Serves as a trusted adviser to numerous clients to provide practical real-world navigation around legal pitfalls.
  • Obtained a no-liability jury verdict as lead counsel representing electronics manufacturer in race discrimination case brought by demoted employee in federal district court.
  • Represented home manufacturer in pattern and practice case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of electric utility company in case involving claims of age discrimination and interference with Family and Medical Leave Act rights.
  • Obtained administrative law judge decisions in favor of client in high-stakes OSHA citations and has successfully resolved numerous OSHA matters involving workplace fatalities and serious injuries.