Editor’s note: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher was named the winner of the Labor and Employment Litigation Department of the Year award at The American Lawyer’s annual Industry Awards in New York on Dec. 2.

In the second half of 2020, when much of the country was still under lockdown, essential workers at restaurants, meatpacking plants and delivery companies began challenging their employers using a long-established legal tool: public nuisance lawsuits.