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Psychological Issues in the Workplace 2020

Speaker(s): Allan S. Bloom, Andrew W. Meisler, Ph.D., Cara E. Greene, Carol R. Miaskoff, Diane G. Knox, George Woods, Jr., M.D., L.F.A.P.A., Katherine A. Greenberg, Loren Gesinsky, Nina T. Pirrotti, Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D., Terri M. Solomon, Valdi Licul, Vivien B. Shelanski, Wendy C. Butler
Recorded on: Sep. 22, 2020
PLI Program #: 278978

Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D. is a psychiatrist specializing in Forensic Psychiatry and Traumatic Stress. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry, and serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and as an Adjunct Professor of Law, at Brooklyn Law School.

Dr. Kleinman has extensive experience assessing and treating the consequences of a wide array of trauma, including Asian piracy, Middle Eastern terrorism, urban sexual assault, and workplace harassment.  He helped found the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Asylum Program, was the first Medical Director of the Crime Victims Center, a mental health clinic which treats solely the psychological consequences of (violent) crime, and consulted for the New York State Crime Victims Compensation Board. After the 911 terrorist attacks, he assisted employees of companies perceived as particularly likely targets of additional attacks, including via anthrax and other biological agents.

Dr. Kleinman has written widely about posttraumatic stress, especially its intersection with civil and criminal legal issues, and vigorously worked to better mental health professionals’ understanding of such. He founded, and served as chairperson, of the Committee on Trauma and Stress, of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, and teaches about PTSD, and assessing emotional distress damages, to fellows training in Forensic Psychiatry in the Columbia-Weill Cornell Forensic Psychiatry fellowship program.

Dr. Kleinman’s experience working with those who have suffered serious assaults and threats provides him with a deep, nuanced appreciation of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the use and misuse of this diagnosis.

As a board certified forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Kleinman consults in a broad spectrum of criminal and civil matters, including regarding workplace harassment/discrimination, the ‘mindset’ of perpetrators of violent and non-violent acts, e.g., ‘white collar crime’, and workplace violence. He worked for over ten years at the Bellevue Hospital Forensic Psychiatry Clinic, examining individuals for the Court regarding competency to stand trial, and pre- and post-sentencing issues, consulted to the Special Victims Bureau of the Queens District Attorney’s Office regarding child victims’ psychological ability to confront their alleged abusers in courtroom proceedings, and consults for prosecutors and defense attorneys in criminal matters, and defense and plaintiff attorneys in civil matters.

Dr. Kleinman received his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. He subsequently trained in Psychiatry, at the Pennsylvania Hospital, Psychiatry and Law, at the Center for Social-Legal Studies, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Forensic Psychiatry at New York University/Bellevue Hospital.

Allan Bloom is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and advisor who represents management in a broad range of employment and labor law matters. As a litigator, Allan has successfully defended a number of the world’s leading companies against claims for unpaid wages, employment discrimination, breach of contract and wrongful discharge, both at the trial and appellate court levels as well as in arbitration. He has secured complete defense verdicts for clients in front of juries, as well as injunctions to protect clients’ confidential information and assets.

As the leader of Proskauer’s Wage and Hour Practice Group, Allan has been a strategic partner to a number of Fortune 500 companies to help them avoid, minimize and manage exposure to wage and hour-related risk. Allan’s views on wage and hour issues have been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Reuters, Bloomberg and Fortune, among other leading publications. His class-action defense work for clients has saved hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages.

Allan is regularly called on to advise boards of directors and senior leadership on highly sensitive matters including executive transitions, internal investigations and strategic workforce planning. He also has particular expertise in the financial services industry, where he has litigated and arbitrated cases, including at FINRA and its predecessors, for 25 years.

A prolific author and speaker, Allan was the Editor of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Journal from 2012 to 2017. He is a member of the NYSBA's House of Delegates, sits on the Executive Committee of the NYSBA's Labor and Employment Law Section, and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Allan has been recognized in Chambers USA since 2011 and in Best Lawyers in America since 2010.  He is a past recipient of a Cornerstone Award from Lawyers Alliance for New York, for providing outstanding pro bono legal services.

Cara E. Greene is a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York, where she represents employees and partners in litigation and negotiation in all areas of employment law, including executive and professional contracts and compensation; lawyers as clients; discrimination class actions; whistleblowing and retaliation; discrimination based on gender, race, disability, pregnancy, and family responsibilities; and restrictive covenants.

In addition to reviewing and negotiating employment contracts and compensation guarantees, as well as severance agreements and other exit arrangements, Ms. Greene has litigated both individual and class action cases – including cases involving sex harassment, pay inequality, discrimination, retaliation, and unpaid compensation – on behalf of a variety of employees including highly compensated professionals, low-wage hourly workers, and employees in the financial services industry.

She is former Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section (Employment Rights and Ethics and Professional Responsibilities Committees); the National Employment Lawyers Association and its New York affiliate, and the New York City Bar Association. Ms. Greene is a frequent speaker on employment law issues.

Ms. Greene received her B.A. in political studies from Gordon College, where she was an A.J. Gordon Scholar. She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Carol R. Miaskoff is the Associate Legal Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As director of the Office of Legal Counsel, she provides legal advice to the Commission on a wide range of matters, and oversees defense of the Chair and the Commission in litigation when stakeholders challenge Commission rules, guidance, and actions in court.  She also is responsible for managing development of the Commission regulations and guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Ms. Miaskoff graduated from Harvard University and the George Washington University Law School, with high honors.  Ms. Miaskoff guest lectures at a Georgetown University undergraduate class on Women and the Law, and in 2020 will serve on the advisory board for a Georgetown University Law Center project on Algorithmic Fairness and People with Disabilities.

Diane Knox went in-house in 2007 after ten years as a big-firm litigator.  After fourteen years with the company in Legal and Compliance, she has recently become the Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Facilities Management at Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), though she also hold the title of Legal Advisor. Her team advises Mitsubishi Corporation Group companies throughout North America with respect to a breadth of employment-related and infrastructure matters.

Dr. Andrew Meisler is a clinical and forensic psychologist in practice in Hartford, CT.  He has also worked for 28 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he served as Clinical Director of an outpatient PTSD treatment clinic and where his primary responsibility for the past 21 years has been conducting psychiatric disability evaluations related to military service. 

Through his VA position Dr. Meisler holds clinical faculty appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, where he is involved in the training of Psychiatry residents and Psychology interns.  He has been the recipient of federal research grants related to PTSD, served as a site investigator on a large-scale PTSD treatment study, and has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics including PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Forensic Psychological Evaluation, and Psychiatric Disability Evaluation.  He and a colleague at the VA are leading a program of research examining psychiatric disability evaluations for PTSD claims with the VA system, with preliminary data presented in August 2021 at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Meisler has taught previous training seminars for attorneys, claims adjusters, and others, including: (1) Psychiatric Disability under the ADA, FMLA, and CFEPA: The psychiatric perspective, Connecticut Bar Institute, 2004; (2) Mental illness and disability: Understanding the clinical and legal minefield, CT Worker’s Compensation Commission and Office of the Attorney General, 2007; (3) If it’s not PTSD, is it still emotional injury? Issues of diagnosis and causation in personal injury, 1st Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychological Injury and Law, Toronto, Canada, 2009; (4) Emotional Damages in Employment Litigation:  A View from the Bench and the Jury Box (panel discussant), Connecticut Bar Association, 2010; and (5) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Primer for Attorneys, Claims Resolution Managers, and Others in the Field.  Office of the Attorney General & Workers’ Compensation Commission (State of CT), and Gallagher Bassett Insurance Co., 2017; and (6) he served as panel discussant at PLI’s 2020 “Psychological Issues in the Workplace” seminar.    A quick-reference guide, “ten red flags” in work-related psych assessments, was published online in 2010 at the AMAXX site:

Dr. Meisler's forensic psychology practice involves mental health evaluation spanning a wide range of legal cases in which there is a possible mental/behavioral element, and includes both civil and criminal cases.  He routinely conducts RMEs for the State of CT insurer and the Office of the Attorney General in workers’ compensation claims.  He also conducts evaluations for attorneys (both plaintiff and defense), employers, and insurance companies in a range of employment matters – including harassment, wrongful termination, and fitness for duty – as well as personal injury and disability cases. He has been deposed numerous times and has had extensive experience testifying in both state and federal court as well as at Connecticut’s Worker’s Compensation Commission and Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.  He is licensed in CT and has served as an expert in cases in CT, RI, MA, VT, and NY.


Dr. George Woods is a licensed physician specializing in neuropsychiatry. His private practice focuses on neurodevelopmental disorders, acquired neurocognitive disorders, cognitive impairments secondary to neuropsychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injury, ethnopsychopharmacology and workplace safety. In addition to his clinical practice, George consults with legal teams dealing with complex criminal and civil litigation.

He has worked with Vulcan Industries, Microsoft, Walmart and other companies to develop employment practices, ADA compliance, Artificial Intelligence, and security measures. Dr. Woods is Chief Scientific Officer for Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc., a major provider of Behavioral Health services. Dr. Woods was appointed to the Governing Board of the Stanford University Medicare Shared Services Program (MSSP) University Health Alliance Accountable Care Organization, LLC.

Dr. Woods is President of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH).  This is his second term in 6 years.  He is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah Medical Center, the first psychiatrist to receive this honor. George also received the Historical Prixe from the University of Milan in July 2019.

Dr. Woods is a lecturer at Berkeley Law at University of California, and has taught at the University of Washington-Bothell, the University of California-Davis, and Morehouse School of Medicine. George has taught at PLI for 8 years.

Katherine Greenberg is an Assistant Commissioner in the Law Enforcement Bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, where she oversees the Bureau's investigation and prosecution of employment cases. Katherine came to the Commission in 2015 as a Supervising Attorney. Prior to joining at the Commission, Katherine worked as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society, where she represented individuals and groups in discrimination, wage theft, and FMLA claims. Katherine clerked for the Honorable James C. Francis IV of the Southern District of New York. She earned her JD from NYU School of Law and holds an MA from Kings College London and a BA from Vassar College. Katherine is the current Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

Loren is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department in Seyfarth’s New York office. He represents employers before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, arbitrators, mediators, and other tribunals regarding all legal issues relating to the workplace, including wage and hour collective and class actions, discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, non-compete, other restrictive covenants and trade secrets. He also counsels employers and negotiates agreements regarding these issues, with particular attention on strategies to avoid litigation. Additionally, he participated actively in the United States Chamber of Commerce task force that developed comments on the United States Department of Labor’s proposed regulatory changes to the FLSA’s white-collar exemptions.

Loren has more than 25 years of experience working as a labor and employment attorney. He developed an especially broad foundation for his representation of employers by previously practicing plaintiff's employment law and commercial litigation. Loren has successfully tried, arbitrated, mediated, and otherwise advocated in numerous matters involving multiple and single plaintiffs. His advocacy abilities in the courtroom, as well as his negotiating and public speaking abilities, have been enriched by his considerable training and experience as an actor.

Recognition of Loren’s professional accomplishments includes his election as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Attorneys, listing in  Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers, appointments to the Executive Committee and to Co-Chair the EEO Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section, appointments to Chair the Committee on Legal Issues Affecting People With Disabilities and the State Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and selection for mayoral appointment to the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Among many other activities focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, he is the founding and continuing Chair of Seyfarth’s All Abilities Affinity Group and the Co-Leader of the New York Office Diversity and Inclusion Action Team. He is a frequent author and presenter on employment law issues.

J.D., New York University School of Law

B.A., Northwestern University

Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Scholar

Nina Pirrotti is a partner with the law firm of Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti P.C. which was honored by the Connecticut Law Tribune in 2015 as the Best Litigation Department of the Year for Employment Law.

Nina represents individuals in employment and civil rights litigation and negotiation.  A past president of the Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) for approximately a decade and a member of the National Employment Association’s Executive Board, Nina is well versed in all aspects of employment law.  Nina has also litigated on behalf of students and faculty seeking to discharge their rights under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination and harassment in educational institutions receiving federal funds. 

Nina has received many honors for her advocacy on behalf of employees.  She was named by Best Lawyers of America as its 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law- Individuals in New Haven, Connecticut.  While Nina has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers of America in previous years, her selection as “Lawyer of the Year” for 2020 is due to the extremely high feedback Best Lawyers received from her peers.  Nina was also selected as a 2014 Top 50 Connecticut Super Lawyer, placing her among the Top 50 lawyers in the state. She was also selected as a Top 25 Connecticut Woman Super Lawyer and a Top 50 New England Woman Super Lawyer.

In 2015, Nina was appointed by the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to serve as a member of the Local Civil Rules Advisory Committee and served in that capacity for four years.  In addition to her service on NELA’s Executive Board, Nina is a member of CT-NELA, NY-NELA and NC-NELA.  Nina received her law degree from Yale Law School.  She publishes and routinely lectures nationally on civil rights and employment related topics.

Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Esq. has deep experience in understanding and resolving complex labor and employment disputes. Mr. Sonnenberg’s unique background, which allows him to understand both plaintiff and defendant concerns, comes from the practice of law, experience as a mediator, and prior experience as a psychotherapist. Mr. Sonnenberg is known for his attention to detail, thoughtful approach to emotion-laden disputes, and demeanor conducive to settlement.

Mr. Sonnenberg practiced labor and employment law at the highest levels for 25 years at Paul Hastings, and achieved a prestigious ranking from Chambers USA, within the Labor & Employment band. Leadership roles at the firm included a term as Chair of the New York Employment Law Practice (2014-2017), Vice Chair of the Employment Law Department (International) (2003-2014) and Co-Chair of the Employment Law Department’s national wage and hour law practice (2005-2014). Resident for an equal amount of time in the firm’s Los Angeles and New York offices, Mr. Sonnenberg represented and advised clients in a wide range of employment disputes, including wage and hour class and collective actions, retaliation, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenant, discrimination and harassment lawsuits. He has also overseen and conducted privileged internal investigations in response to complaints of misconduct.

Before practicing law, Mr. Sonnenberg devoted himself to a 15-year career as a clinical social worker in Michigan and California. Mr. Sonnenberg worked in diverse psychiatric settings and community organizations, assisting individuals with a wide range of emotional, vocational and financial challenges, including facilitating the resolution of disputes with family members, employers and other third parties.  Settings included psychiatric hospitals, a community mental health center, and the private practice of psychotherapy working with individuals, couples and families.

Mr. Sonnenberg has mediated numerous matters not only at JAMS but as a member of the Mediation Panels of the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He has taught employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center, has provided employment law training and advice in a variety of settings, and is an adjunct faculty member at Cardozo Law School.

Terri M. Solomon has 40 years of experience practicing employment and labor law and regularly handles compliance with federal and state employment laws; discrimination and other employment-related litigation and administrative proceedings; complex reductions-in-force and business restructurings; employment contracts and separation agreements; workplace violence prevention; Family and Medical Leave Act and other leaves of absence; disability accommodation; collective bargaining; labor arbitration; compliance with the National Labor Relations Act; mediation and other alternative dispute resolution; training in a wide variety of topics including workplace violence prevention, harassment avoidance, FMLA and ADA compliance, conducting investigations, performance management and supervisory skills, and social media; employment policies and employee handbooks; and labor and employment issues arising in corporate mergers, acquisitions and other transactions.

Terri is the co-founder of Littler Mendelson's New York office.  She is Co-Chair of the Workplace Violence Prevention Practice Group and is a core member of four of the firm’s other practice groups: Business Restructuring; Leaves of Absence and Disability Accommodation; Alternative Dispute Resolution; and Corporate Compliance and Ethics. She is also a member of the firm's Women's Leadership Initiative and the Associates Committee. She serves as a Volunteer Mediator for the Southern District of New York and Mediator, Eastern District of New York Mediation Panel.  Terri is a member of the Law Alumni Society Board of Managers, University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Dean’s Council for Penn Law Women. She received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, summa cum laude.


Named, The Best Lawyers in America©, 2012-2020; Named, Who's Who in American Law, 2008-2020; Named, International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers - Who's Who Legal, 2013-2020; Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; Named, Super Lawyers - Metro, New York, 2006-2020; Awarded, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rating.

Valdi Licul is a Partner at Wigdor LLP.  Mr. Licul is a highly accomplished civil rights attorney who has devoted his 25-year career to the representation of plaintiffs in employment and anti-discrimination cases.  He has represented numerous plaintiffs in legal matters involving sexual harassment, discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, race, age, national origin, disability, religion and/or sexual orientation, whistleblower retaliation, executive compensation, breach of contract, restrictive covenants, trade secrets, defamation, wage and hour violations and other employment-related disputes. 

A stalwart disability rights advocate, Mr. Licul has represented numerous individuals with disabilities in employment discrimination and civil rights cases in federal and state court, and he has spoken at numerous legal conferences and seminars on disability rights in the workplace and access to justice for people with mental and physical disabilities.  He represents clients from a wide range of industries, including financial services, private equity, accounting, law, healthcare, sports and leisure, media and entertainment, education, real estate, architecture, transportation, telecommunications, fashion and many others. 

Mr. Licul is the Co-chair of the Federal Bar Council’s Employment Litigation Committee and has served on the New York City Bar Association’s Disability Law Committee.  He is also an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, is a member of the Second Circuit’s Pro Bono Panel and has been invited to serve as pro bono counsel in employment mediation matters by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Licul is a frequent lecturer and speaker on employment-related legal issues.  He is regularly invited to speak at the New York City Bar Association and other leading educational forums on a variety of legal topics, including disability rights in the workplace, reasonable accommodations for employees with mental health disabilities, legal issues in the hiring process, alternative dispute resolution, drafting and negotiating employment agreements and settlement agreements, and other key employment topics. 

Early in his career, Mr. Licul was a member of the Special Litigation and Appeals Unit of the Mental Hygiene Legal Service for the Appellate Division, Second Department, and previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lois Bloom, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Licul has been honored as a leading plaintiffs’ employment litigator by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell and Lawdragon.  He received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and his M.A. cum laude from the New York Institute of Technology, where he also received his B.A. with honors.

Vivien B. Shelanski has been an arbitrator and mediator with JAMS since 1998. She is a fellow of both the College of Commercial Arbitrators and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and was an editor of the CCA’s Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration (3rd Ed.). Her practice focuses on complex business, employment, real estate, and intellectual property matters. She comes to the law with a background in science, technology, and government and the ethical considerations at the interfaces between them. She has served on the faculties of Harvard University and the NYU School of Law School and in executive positions in science policy at the National Science Foundation and the Directorate of Scientific Affairs of the OECD in Paris. She received her AB from Bryn Mawr College, a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, and the JD from NYU. She served a law clerk to the late Hon. Milton Pollack in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Wendy Butler has over 20 years of experience defending employment-related litigation and advising employers on legal compliance. She focuses on the defense of class and collective claims under various federal and state employment laws. In these high exposure and often high profile cases, she has had repeated success defeating class and/or collective action certification and obtaining favorable decisions on the merits. She also has extensive experience defending individual and multiplaintiff cases under the ADA, ADEA, FMLA, Title VII, ERISA, and numerous state laws. Her practice includes counseling on a variety of employment issues, including Human Resources policies, litigation avoidance, employment agreements, restrictive covenants, reductions in force, wage hour audits and compliance, pay equity audits, and internal investigations.

Wendy has written and spoken on a variety of topics, including wage and hour laws, whistleblower and discrimination litigation, and the defense and settlement of class actions. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association Labor & Employment Section, where she has served on the Wage and Hour Committee.