Greg Wiggins - A Family Affair
Wiggins Childs is proud to be a firm of attorneys and staff who not only support one another like family in and out of the office, but a firm that prides itself in being a career home for many actual family members. When a father, a sister, or a brother does great work, inspiration can help other perceptive family members to create new goals for themselves, only to find a niche in the very office of those they had been watching. This is the case for Greg Wiggins, younger brother to Wiggins Childs’s very own founding partner, Bob Wiggins. By setting an admirable example both in work ethic and moral character, Bob paved the way for his brother Greg to join the WC team, making the legal work they provide a family affair.
After graduating Auburn University and working for four years for Roadway Express – a company that moved Greg all over the Southeast during his short stay – Greg ultimately decided he would like to come back home to Birmingham, for good. After brainstorming with his brother, Bob, the two agreed that Greg would enroll at The Birmingham School of Law and come to work at the firm then known as Gordon Silberman Wiggins and Childs, LLC. Greg started working on employment discrimination law, something he was drawn to because he saw the unjust ways in which minorities all across the board were being treated at their jobs. “My dad was a working man,” recalls Greg fondly of his South Carolinian machinist father, “so I fell on the side of the working man.” A simple family pattern of moral character instilled by the Wiggins father had unknowingly paved a path, which would support, protect, and defend so many other working men and women across the nation.
“My first ten years of work was doing strictly employment discrimination work. I enjoyed it tremendously. All the facts were different. Each case was different,” Greg reminiscences. But in 2001 after a decade of work, he found himself growing interested in FLSA employee compensation cases. “FLSA was being severely violated across the board, especially in the retail industry when it came to exempt or nonexempt titles. They were giving employees titles of Manager but they had no management duties – no hiring, firing, scheduling,” Wiggins remembers. “They would give these employees a salary and a title, which was extremely important to these workers, but we soon found out under FLSA, these workers were not allowed the full spectrum of duties required to be a non-exempt employee, thus violating FLSA.” On top of this type of falsely-titled promoting within these companies, Wiggins discovered one retail chain with nearly 5,000 stores was asking their managers to work 60-80 hours a week doing un-managerial duties – another clear violation of FLSA guidelines. With a defense hinging on that retailer’s business matrix and pay scale, the case went on for ten years – going to trial twice after four failed attempts to settle. Ultimately, the two-week long trial provided tremendous amounts of documents, exhibits, and witnesses, all supporting the prosecution. “The jury was out about 30 minutes, and fines ultimately exceeded 50 million dollars,” Wiggins confirms. “This ten years of work made me aware of the inequities about how employers were treating employees when it came to pay. All we wanted was a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. We thought, if they are cheating all the employees out of their pay, what are they doing to the women’s pay?” From the initial case sprang a discrimination case, this time fighting on behalf of the retailer’s female staff. “We had studies done, and the results were clear: they were paying women grossly less than the male employees for doing the same job.” Another suit against the same company was filed, earning victims lost wages. Greg Wiggins and the Wiggins Childs team were now an enormous force in publicly exposing greedy corporations using unethical and illegal business tactics.
Over the last 20 years, Greg Wiggins has worked on nearly 30 FLSA cases, notorious for being a case type that takes a long time. “We’ve been very fortunate with them – winning 90-95% of the cases in this area,” he confirms. “The violations are so willful. Corporations don’t try to hide anything. That has been the focus of my practice since about 2001, although I do a lot of employment discrimination cases too. The only difference about employment discrimination is companies hide it better now.” When asked about his role at Wiggins Childs, Greg is thankful. “I’m fortunate for working for a firm that supports the working man. [My brother] Bob was a big influence in the area of choosing the type of work I do. I watched what he went through and how passionate he was. My brother got me into it – taught me a whole lot as far as what you need to look for, taught me that all the “fake news” that there is no discrimination going on in companies is simply not true. It goes on everyday. We’re very passionate about our work – we are one of the few firms that do this nationwide.”
When Greg Wiggins isn’t working on one of his many ongoing FLSA or employment discrimination cases, he enjoys spending time with his four grandchildren, four daughters, and his wife, Traci, who he admits wears many hats in his life. Having played all sports growing up, Greg enjoys golfing when time permits, indulging in his biggest passion: his love of Auburn University (War Eagle!) and spending time at the lake or at the beach, surrounded by family.