Bonnie Mayfield, Employment Law Chair
Committee Chair Corner – Employment Law Committee
Dykema Gossett PLLC
I am happy to share that the Employment Law Committee’s work this year has explored cutting edge legal issues. For example, our biometric privacy and GDPR Webinar panel (Henry Wehrmann and JT Wilson) gave us the lay of that legal landscape and its evolving, thorny issues. The 2019 Midyear panel (Yasir Billoo, Dominic Campodonico, Mary Haddad, and Terrence Reed) discussion about the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop decision brought front and center employment law issues arising when employees refuse work and/or services to patrons. Another 2019 Midyear panel (Donna Burden and Sean Nash) discussed the challenges of “furry, feathered, and scaly” friends becoming service animals and/or emotional support animals in the workplace. During a monthly conference call, our scheduled discussion (led by Alfred Perkins) focused on the Patterson v. Walgreen case and the potential Supreme Court ranking of religious accommodations on a level comparable to ADA accommodations. Another planned discussion (led by Henry Wehrmann) during our monthly call generated a conversation about the Supreme Court’s then-hot-off-the-press age discrimination decision in the Mount Lemmon Fire District case. Many authors featured in the Employment Law Newsletters shared their timely insights into a variety of timely topics, such as gratuities in the restaurant industry (Glenn Duhl), wage discrimination (Tara Martens Miller; Christina Fout), the social security cost of certain types of shares (Cecilia Lahaye), platform workers (Dr. Gerlind Wisskirchen; Jan Schwindling), enhanced workhour flexibility (Christine Chen), immigration (Michael Gladstone), and employment in Turkey (Döne Yalçın).
So, as you can tell, there are different ways to get involved with the Employment Law Committee and help share your employment law insight and expertise. Thinking of the many ways brings to my mind Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet: How Do I Love Thee? The first stanza is: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Well, applying Elizabeth’s question to the IADC and to the Employment Law Committee and thinking of how you can really get involved and enjoy the IADC and the Employment Law Committee while sharing your employment law expertise, I ask: How can you love getting IADC-involved? Let me count the ways. Hmm…. Newsletters. Committee Meetings. Annual Meetings. Midyear Meetings. Corporate Counsel Colleges. International Corporate Counsel Colleges. (And, I haven’t stopped counting, yet! Just catching my breath!) Webinars. Regional Meetings. The listservs. Featured News column on the IADC website. Defense Counsel Journal. Amicus Briefs. The Trial Academy. (Want me to go on!) Special Projects. Task Forces. Leadership opportunities. Supporting the Foundation. Interviews with journalists arranged by our IADC public relations liaison. Bringing your family (as family involvement makes our organization unique among all bar associations). All of these “ways” present opportunities for you to be — and for you to help the Employment Law Committee to be — IADC-present, IADC-engaged, and IADC-sharing with our IADC colleagues and others.
You can share your employment law expertise with the panelists and attendees during any one — or better yet all — of the following upcoming 2019 Annual Meeting programs that the Employment Law Committee is sponsoring and/or co-sponsoring.
Tuesday, July 9th
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
CLASS ACTION WAIVERS: THE CONTINUING WAVE
The Supreme Court decisions in Concepcion and Epic Systems Corp. have affirmed the enforceability of arbitration agreements containing class action waivers in the employment and consumer contexts. Litigation continues, before both the Supreme Court and in the Circuits, with respect to scope and applicability of those rulings and the enforceability of waivers, both inside and outside the arbitration context. This panel will consider the current cases before the Supreme Court and in the Circuits that are continuing to extend and limit those rulings. The in-house perspective will aid in advising clients about the appropriate use of waivers as a defense technique.
Thursday, July 11th
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
ASSESSING INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS GLOBALLY
The issue of how companies can retain “temporary workers” has become a common legal challenge in employment law around the world. BRG attorneys are likely involved in class and group cases on these issues. In the United States, the landscape in this area is inconsistent across agencies, locations, and courts. Internationally, there have been mixed decisions in various countries (e.g., Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Gary Smith  UKSC 29). These panelists will discuss trends in addressing this issue from a legal perspective through speaker insights (attorneys), and offer an approach with is useful for companies to assess their relationships with workers worldwide.
Thursday, July 11th
8:45 - 10:15 a.m.
#MeToo: THE IMPACT ON YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS
Panel members will discuss how the #MeToo movement and media attention to the reports of psychological and physical harassment in both the private and public sectors impacts your practice, your clients, and your defense strategy for them. Various fact patterns will be presented to highlight how the #MeToo movement has affected the decision making of public and private institutions and businesses from the initial notice of the matter, reporting to insurers, developing the defense strategy, and when to resolve or defend.
I hope to see you there! Meanwhile, please feel free to reach out to the Employment Law Committee leadership. We welcome and need your insight and participation.
Let’s be IADC-present! IADC-engaged! IADC-sharing!