Sue ("Corky") Erwin Harper, a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, leads the firm's labor and employment practice in South Carolina. Certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court as a specialist in employment and labor law, her practice includes representing corporations in the litigation and trial of trade secret claims, bringing and defending cases involving the enforcement of covenants not to compete, and defending individual and class actions alleging wage and hour violations and claims of employment discrimination.
Ms. Harper has litigated cases under the South Carolina Business Opportunity Sales Act, and has defended both franchisors and franchisees in employment-related litigation, including collective actions commenced by the EEOC. She has experience in preventing and litigating sexual harassment claims and in limiting employer liability arising from workplace romances. Ms. Harper prepares and negotiates complex employment contracts, including executive compensation packages and severance agreements, and counsels companies on the independent contractor relationship. She has drafted hundreds of employee handbooks designed to limit or eliminate an employer's contractual liability under South Carolina law based upon claims that its published policies were violated.
In 2004, she received the Jean Galloway Bissell Award, presented by the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association to those who have paved the way to success for women lawyers through distinguished and noteworthy service to the public and the legal profession and achievement of professional excellence. Ms. Harper also has received the Tribute to Women in Industry Award from YWCA of the Midlands and the Compleat Lawyer Award given by the University of South Carolina School of Law. She was the first president of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association.
Ms. Harper has been named as a leader in her field by Chambers USA in its America's Leading Lawyers for Business publication for the past five years. As stated in that publication, "Competitors describe Sue Erwin Harper as "˜very, very bright,' while "˜clients like her a lot and respect her opinion.'" She is also listed in South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008-2009) and The Best Lawyers in America (2003-2009 editions). She is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, and is a member of the Employment Law Alliance, the world's largest network of labor and employment lawyers.
A member of the South Carolina Bar, Ms. Harper is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. She has been practicing continuously since completing a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Robert F. Chapman of South Carolina in 1981. Ms. Harper earned a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she was Notes Editor of the South Carolina Law Review and served as a legal writing instructor. Ms. Harper earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Queens College.