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Robert K. Carrol

Rob specializes in California Labor & Employment matters, with an emphasis on several industry sectors.
Robert Carrol, Partner at Arent Fox

Rob Carrol specializes in California Labor & Employment matters, with an emphasis on several industry sectors. His clients include Silicon Valley startups to Fortune 200 companies, many from the food and agriculture, alcohol beverage, manufacturing, solid waste disposal, insurance, and hospitality sectors, with recognized experience in unique California agricultural issues. Rob understands the intersection of his clients’ labor and employment issues as it impacts their business objectives in their respective industries and provides tailored solutions to advance their strategic goals.

Client Work

Rob's focuses his national labor and employment practice on the following types of work:

  • Defense of complex wage-hour class actions, employment discrimination, unlawful harassment, unfair competition and non-competition, ADA Title III access, and trade secret and restrictive covenant matters;
  • Counseling both union and non-union companies on operational issues; and
  • Collective bargaining, arbitration, and defense of charges filed with various federal and state administrative agencies, such as the federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC).

Rob and his team have had notable success defending large-scale wage-hour and other labor-related class actions, recently defeating class certification in several large class actions filed in the US District and California Superior Courts, including two where the plaintiffs sought $176,000,000 and $58,000,000 in unpaid wages/penalties, respectively.

Beverage Alcohol Industry

Rob co-leads Arent Fox's Beverage Alcohol team, where he brings his nearly four decades of experience in this highly-specialized area of the law to assist producers, importers, and distributors, both nationally and globally, in all manner of regulatory and compliance issues arising before the state ABCs, the federal TTB, the EU, and various other international regulatory agencies. He represents wine, craft beer, and spirits producers, importers, and distributors with operational issues, including transactions or sales involving brands, website reviews, supply chain and distribution issues, intellectual property issues, liquor license transfers connected with large transactions, and related litigation.

OSHA Practice

In addition to his labor and employment practice, Rob and his team have defended employers over the past three plus decades facing citations for alleged violations of the general duty clause and OSHA standards, including process safety management (PSM), lockout/tagout (LOT), hazard communication (HAZCOM), emergency response, permit-required confined spaces, personal protective equipment (PPE), recordkeeping, and guarding.  He has also defended citations for alleged fire and fatality incidents. Rob has trained managers regarding their obligations under both the OSHA and Cal-OSHA statutes and regulations, including their rights, duties, and obligations during an OSHA or Cal-OSHA inspection.

Previous Work

Prior to joining Arent Fox, Rob was a partner in the San Francisco office of a global law firm where he led both the Western US Labor and Employment and Global Beverage Alcohol teams.

Professional Activities

  • International Wine Lawyers Association (AIDV), Board Member
  • National Conference of State Liquor Administrators
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • American Bar Association
  • Hellenic Law Society

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

Rob has been recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for his labor and employment work and has earned, annually throughout his career, an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale Hubbell. In 2020, he was also recognized as one of the "Top Labor & Employment Attorneys" in California by the Daily Journal.

  • CLE Pre-Conference Program, 2018 International Wine Law Association (AIDV) Annual Conference; September 30, 2018 (Napa, CA)
  • “Granholm: To Retail or Not to Retail,” National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) Legal Symposium on Alcohol Beverage Law & Regulation; March 20, 2018 (Arlington, VA)
  • 2016 Arent Fox California Employment Law Review; May 19, 2016 (San Francisco, CA)
  • “Wine: Vintners Cautiously Optimistic,” San Francisco Business Times; January 4, 2013
  • “Social Media Giveaways and the California Wine Industry,” Practical Winery & Vineyard Journal; September 22, 2012

Life Beyond the Law

Rob regularly trains and plays golf at the San Francisco Olympic Club’s Downtown and Lakeside facilities. He is also a huge supporter of Real Madrid, the San Francisco Giants and 49ers and attends as many games with his sons, Coulton and Dylan, and daughter, Payton, as his schedule will permit. He is conversational in Spanish, French, and Modern Greek.