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Employment Discrimination Law & Litigation 2020


Speaker(s): Dana Sussman, Daniel B. Kohrman, Darrell S. Gay, Elizabeth S. Saylor, Evandro C. Gigante, Hon. James C. Francis IV (Ret.), James D. Esseks, James E. McGrath, James L. Hallman, Jeanne Goldberg, Jeremiah Iadevaia, Kimberly A. Cruz, Louis P. DiLorenzo, Miriam F. Clark, Molly Smithsimon, Monica C. Barrett, Paula T. Edgar, Stephen Bergstein, Susan Ritz, Tanya K. Hernández, Tracy Richelle High, Vicki R. Walcott-Edim
Recorded on: Jun. 15, 2020
PLI Program #: 279008

Daniel B. Kohrman is a Senior Attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL), a public interest legal advocacy unit within the AARP Foundation, AARP’s 501(c)(3) affiliate. Dan focuses on trial and appellate litigation for older workers, mostly age and/or disability discrimination cases under federal and/or state law. Dan is currently working on two major group actions in federal district court: Raymond v. Spirit AeroSystems (D. Kan.), an ADEA and ADA case on behalf of older aerospace workers terminated in a 2013 RIF and thereafter subject to discriminatory hiring practices; and Rabin v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (N.D. Ca.), an ADEA and state age discrimination law case challenging hiring discrimination. Dan and his AFL colleagues have participated in successful ADEA litigation in past years against various other major private and public employers, such as Ford Motor Co., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Sprint Corporation, and The Ohio State University. Dan also has filed numerous amicus briefs urging vigorous enforcement of the ADEA, the OWBPA, the ADA and the GINA. Such cases include Babb v. Wilkie, No. 18-882 (U.S.) (pending) (causation standard under ADEA’s federal sector provision); and Mt. Lemmon Fire Dist. v. Guido, 139 S. Ct. 22 (2018) (recognizing ADEA coverage of small state and local public employers). AFL also represented Dale Kleber in Kleber v. CareFusion Corp., 140 S. Ct. (2019), in which the Supreme Court denied certiorari, declining to consider if a disparate impact claim under § 4(a)(2) of the ADEA may be brought by outside – and not just inside – job applicants. Dan previously worked for the U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Dan also spent ten years at the firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) in DC. Dan has served on the executive boards of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) (2007-19) and the American Diabetes Association (2003-06). He has three children ages 24-29 and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Milo. 


Darrell represents for-profit, not-for-profit, and government clients with respect to their employee-related issues. Key to his work is the objective of assisting his clients in enhancing the performance of their employees and averting negative employee relations.

On behalf of management, Darrell handles employee-related issues, including hiring/discharge, discrimination matters, traditional labor/management relations, diversity, internal investigations, workplace training, privacy, restrictive covenants, wage and hour, and issues related to international labor and employment concerns.

Darrell focuses his practice on assisting his clients with compliance with national and local labor/employment laws, and the institution of management best practices to proactively avoid operational problems. Darrell has developed and provided training to the management teams of his clients on issues ranging from “Management Techniques – Enhancing Employee Performance,” “Conducting Internal Investigations,” “Navigating Leave Laws,” and “Sexual Harassment Training.”

Darrell’s extensive work for clients with regard to traditional labor matters includes union negotiations, assistance with union organizing, including the development and management of neutrality agreements and elections, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice charges. In addition, he serves as chief negotiator for his clients during collective-bargaining sessions and has negotiated several agreements spanning a host of industries.

Darrell has also led several internal investigations of senior level executives, including several C-Suite level matters, on behalf of his corporate clients, frequently being retained by the entities' Corporate Board of Directors. Darrell uses his experience working with the City, State and Federal Governments and his role as a New York State Commissioner in helping his clients navigate claims before governmental agencies. 

With respect to non-traditional work, Darrell has handled and managed significant cases involving single and multiple plaintiffs, single and multiple defendants, cases with allegations of serious continuing violations and high profile media cases. He not only has experience before administrative agencies as well as Federal and State courts, but has also handled investigations conducted by the New York State Attorney General's office.


Elizabeth S. Saylor, a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, has litigated civil rights and commercial matters since 2001.  Ms. Saylor represents clients in sexual harassment and assault; police misconduct; prisoners’ rights; election law; wage and hour litigation; and employment and housing discrimination cases.  Ms. Saylor has litigated numerous class actions, resulting in settlements totaling $100 million and extensive injunctive reform helping approximately 500,000 persons.  Her commercial practice includes contract and tort disputes, as well as constitutional challenges to government regulations.

While Ms. Saylor primarily represents plaintiffs in employment matters, she also conducts internal investigations and advises employers on a wide array of workplace issues.  She frequently lectures on sexual harassment and other employment rights, including at Harvard Law School and the New York City Bar Association.  She currently is working with other advocates to address the effect of COVID-19 on low-income individuals, including by chairing National Employment Lawyers Association/New York’s COVID-19 Advocacy Taskforce.

She is co-chair of the board of A Better Balance (www.abetterbalance.org), the leading non-profit legal organization fighting for workers’ rights for paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, and stronger workplace protections for women and families nationwide.  ABB’s mission is to promote equity so that workers can care for their families without sacrificing economic security.  ABB is leading the nation’s response to COVID-19 by advocating for and drafting paid leave laws on the national and local level so that workers can care for themselves and their families without losing their paycheck or risking their health.

Ms. Saylor is working closely with ABB and others to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on low-income individuals, including by chairing the National Employment Lawyers Association/New York’s COVID-19 Advocacy Taskforce. She is also organizing a panel with the NYC Bar’s Sex and Law Committee to address the effects of COVID-19 on women.

Prior to joining ECBA in 2006, Ms. Saylor worked as a Skadden fellow at The Legal Aid Society and clerked for the Hon. Robert D. Sack of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  Ms. Saylor graduated magna cum laude in 2001 from Harvard Law School, where she received the Sears Prize (awarded to two second-year students with highest GPAs). 

She was recently profiled in City and State as one of 30 women in the public sector who've made notable contributions to society.  She has also named a Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist in 2017, as well as one of the Top Attorneys In The New York Metro Area and a Super Lawyer.


Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of sexual harassment, race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force, employee relations issues and other sensitive employment matters.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment claims, Evandro has extensive experience defending clients before federal and state courts. He tries cases in court and before arbitrators and routinely represents clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and local human rights commissions. Evandro often draws on his extensive litigation experience to help clients avoid the courtroom by effectuating positive change in the workplace through impactful anti-discrimination and harassment training, as well as robust employment policies.

Working in a wide range of industries, Evandro has experience representing clients in financial services (including hedge funds and private equity firms), professional sports, media, retail, law firms, higher education, social service providers and others. Evandro also advises charter schools and other not-for-profit organizations on labor and employment matters on a pro bono basis.


James D. Esseks is Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. He oversees litigation, legislative lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education around the country that seeks to ensure equal treatment of LGBT people and people living with HIV. James is counsel in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens, and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, in which the United States Supreme Court is considering whether anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII. 

Previously, James was counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won the freedom to marry nationwide; in United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act; in Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, about whether a Virginia school board can bar a boy from the common restrooms because he is transgender; in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, about whether a business open to the public can turn away LGBT customers based on its religious or artistic objections; and in successful challenges to bans on adoption and foster parenting by lesbians and gay men in Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri. James and the ACLU have also worked extensively to fight the recent spate of anti-LGBT and specifically anti-transgender bills in the states and to fight the use of religion as an excuse to harm LGBT people.

Prior to joining the ACLU in 2001, James was a partner at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, PC. He graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. James clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and the Honorable James R. Browning, United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.


James E. McGrath, III devotes his practice to the representation of management in all aspects of labor relations, employment law and related litigation. He regularly represents management in state and federal court, before arbitration tribunals and before administrative agencies including the National Labor Relations Board, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New York State Division of Human Rights. In addition to litigating all aspects of labor and employment law, Mr. McGrath provides frequent counseling to clients on the full range of state and federal labor and employment statutes including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1870, 1964 and 1991, the Equal Pay Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.


James L. Hallman joined the New York City Department of Transportation in August 2016, serving in the dual role of Chief Diversity Officer and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer. He was appointed Assistant Commissioner of EEO, Diversity and Inclusion in May 2018. In this role, Mr. Hallman is responsible for ensuring that all prospective and current employees are provided working environments free of discrimination, retaliation and harassment. He leads DOT’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in conducting internal investigations concerning violations of DOT and Citywide EEO policy, and that which also violates federal, state and city human rights laws.

In addition to reporting directly to the Commissioner, Mr. Hallman frequently partners with DOT’s General Counsel, Human Resources Division, and other Executive Staff in addressing labor and employment-related legal issues. He also partners with external stakeholders, such as NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Equal Employment Practices Commission (EEPC), to create policies and implement best practices that promote development of a diverse and inclusive workforce and workplace.

Prior to joining DOT, Mr. Hallman served as the inaugural Chief Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer (CDEEO) for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He began his tenure with the City in the NYC Law Department’s Labor and Employment Law Division as Assistant Corporation Counsel (ACC), where his work focused on civil rights, labor, and employment cases. As an ACC, he routinely defended the City of New York, its entities and employees, in claims arising under the various federal, state, and local laws. Mr. Hallman was responsible for handling all aspects of the litigation process for each of his cases, from commencement through trial.

Mr. Hallman graduated from Hofstra University in New York, where he triple majored in Political Science, Sociology and Africana Studies. He went on to earn a law degree from Rutgers Law School in Newark.


Jeanne Goldberg is a Senior Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) headquarters in Washington, D.C., and has served as Acting Assistant Legal Counsel since November 2019.  She advises the Commission on the interpretation of Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Equal Pay Act, and assists in drafting regulations and policy guidance.  She has delivered hundreds of training presentations throughout the country for private and public sector attorneys, managers, employees, and human resources staff on a wide range of EEO issues and is a frequent speaker at national conferences.  She is also a past Public Co-Chair of the National Programs Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law, and a past government fellow on the Section’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.  Prior to joining the EEOC, Ms. Goldberg was in private law practice from 1990-99, specializing in civil rights litigation, and argued EEO cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and D.C. Circuits.  She also served as an adjunct law professor at the College of William and Mary from 1996-98.  Before entering private practice, she worked as a staff attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1988-90.  She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her J.D. from George Washington University.  


Jeremiah Iadevaia is a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., where he practices employment law.  Jeremiah has advised and litigated on behalf of employees in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims, disputes related to breach of contract and restrictive covenants, and wage and hour violations.  Before joining the Vladeck firm, Jeremiah clerked for the Honorable Debra Freeman in the Southern District of New York.  Jeremiah is a 2006 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.  He was a member of the New York City Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Committee between 2013 and 2018, has lectured on employment matters for a variety of organizations, and has been named a New York Metro Rising Stars honoree (2017-2019).   


Kim has been a Supervisory Trial Attorney with the EEOC, working out of the Miami and New York District Offices, since 2010. Prior to her selection, Kim worked in a private plaintiff’s-side civil rights practice for more than ten years before joining the FIU law faculty in the fall of 2006 as an assistant professor of law. In 2008, while continuing to teach as an adjunct professor at FIU law, Kim joined the City of Miami Beach City Attorney’s Office as a Senior Assistant City Attorney where she handled employment, civil rights and labor matters.

Kim has lectured in the area of equal employment opportunity and worker rights and has been a member of the Florida Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association and the Florida Bar Association’s Labor & Employment, Individual Rights and Responsibilities and State and Local Government Sections.

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1998, was an Articles and Comments editor for the University of Miami Law Review and interned for the Honorable Edward B. Davis of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.


Louis has practiced labor and employment law for more than 35 years and is managing member of the firm's New York City office.

Louis represents employers and management in all aspects of labor and employment law. His areas of experience include collective bargaining, workplace investigations, NLRB proceedings, labor audits, supervisory training, wage and hour issues, arbitration, jury trials in both state and federal courts, wage incentive plans, OFCCP audits and proceedings, employment litigation before the EEOC and the Human Rights Division and alternative dispute resolution techniques. Louis also serves several insurance companies as panel counsel (e.g., AIG and Chubb) with respect to employment litigation matters. From 2002-2004, he served as General Counsel and Secretary to Agway, Inc., a Fortune 500 Company.

Louis co-authored the FDCC Quarterly article entitled Employers' Settlement Agreements with Departing Employees Under Attack, Vol. 57, No. 3, Spring 2007. He also co-authored a complete guide for business managers and HR professionals written in plain English entitled, What Every Business Manager and HR Professional Should Know About ... Federal Labor and Employment Laws and a two volume treatise entitled Corporate Counseling (1988) and was a contributing author to Public Sector Labor Law (1988). Louis is also on the editorial board of the two volume treatise entitled New York Civil Practice Before Trial (2001). He has authored and co-authored numerous articles on various labor and employment law topics. Louis' published articles include: "Enforcing Employer-Employee Arbitration Agreements After Circuit City", 18 Fordham University Law Journal 27 (2001); "Forging a Strategy to Combat Sympathy Strikes", 29 Syracuse Law Review 847 (1978); "Mid Term Bargaining Over Unit Work Transfers", 45 CCH Labor Law Journal No. 7 (1994); "The Growing Menace: Violence in the Workplace", 67 New York State Bar Journal  1 (Jan. 1995); "Civility and Professionalism", 68 New York State Bar Journal No. 1 (Jan. 1996); "Workers' Compensation Discrimination in New York: Is It Really LoDolce Vita?", 32 New York State Bar Journal 220 (June 1982); "Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment After Ellerth and Faragher", 6 Duke University of Gender Law & Policy No. 1 (1999); two articles on Title IX and Intercollegiate Athletics, 6 Journal of College and University Law 61 (1980); "Screening Applicants for a Safer Workplace", HR Magazine, p. 55 (March 1995); "After-Acquired Evidence in Employment Discrimination Cases", 19 New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Newsletter No. 2 (1994); and "Employer's Responsibilities Under 1986 Immigration Act and COBRA", The CPA Journal p. 32 (May 1988). In May of 1996 Louis was interviewed extensively in a Forbes Magazine cover story on Sexual Harassment. In their January 2003 issue, the Corporate Legal Times described him as the "Great Negotiator". He was also featured in the United Educator's video entitled "Sexual Harassment in Academia, No Real Winners", and has been quoted in several publications including Business Week.

Louis has been a key speaker at numerous seminars throughout the United States and other countries on a wide variety of Labor and Employment Law topics. In addition, he has lectured to: various university groups, including the College and University Personnel Association; local, state and national SHRM Conferences; and a number of national and regional business association.


Molly Smithsimon is an experienced trial attorney who has tried employment discrimination cases before juries in federal court. Her diverse practice includes representing individuals, classes, and collectives in matters including employment discrimination; wage claims; and tort and contract disputes. She regularly handles disability, pregnancy, race, national origin, gender, and age discrimination claims. In a recent disability discrimination case against the City of New York, she and her co-counsel, Bradford Conover, won a jury award of $257,762.00 in back pay for an NYPD applicant with a seizure condition well-controlled by medication, in addition to hiring as NYPD police officer and attorneys’ fees.

She has briefed appeals in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the First Department Appellate Division. She also represents executives and employees in negotiating employment contracts, severance pay, and separation agreements.

Ms. Smithsimon is a certified mediator and supports resolving litigation through alternative dispute resolution when appropriate. Previously, Ms. Smithsimon was Director of the Tenant Advocacy Project at Community Service Society. During law school, Ms. Smithsimon worked with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco, California and at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia, PA.


Monica C. Barrett joined Bond Schoeneck & King as a member in 2016 after having served as Interim General Counsel at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  She provides legal advice and counsel to colleges and universities, public school districts, and independent schools in all aspects of education law, including student affairs, faculty tenure and promotion, governance issues, athletics, and academic affairs. 

Monica advises on staff and student employment, grievances, student conduct and discipline, Title IX policies and investigations, threat assessment and behavior intervention, FERPA, public-records, accreditation, regulatory and nonprofit compliance, bylaws, and policy handbooks. She counsels clients on a variety of employment law issues, such as executive contracts and compensation, severance agreements, disability accommodations, FMLA and other leave issues, and misconduct investigations.  Monica partners with other attorneys at the firm to conduct investigations at all levels of client institutions.  She also defends institutions before state and federal agencies and courts.

Monica’s responsibilities at Rutgers encompassed the full range of legal and compliance issues facing a state-wide research university with major professional schools and 29 labor unions, 20,000 employees, and a student body of approximately 65,000. As a key member on the President's Cabinet she was responsible for advising the President and members of the Boards on all legal issues, and supervising a staff of 18 lawyers. 

Monica is a frequent presenter at National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) national conferences and she has been widely published on a variety of higher education topics. Previously, she was employed as Executive Deputy General Counsel at the State University of New York; Associate General Counsel at Cornell University; and Assistant General Counsel at Barnard College.

 


Paula T. Edgar, Esq., is an attorney and Partner of Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC, a consulting firm that provides innovative and strategic solutions on organizational diversity efforts, intercultural competence initiatives, sexual harassment prevention and EEO compliance. Paula has worked and consulted in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion for more than 10 years. Paula speaks and consults on these topics by advising, facilitating workshops, professional development training, and providing keynote speeches. Paula has worked extensively with clients to develop and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across sectors. Paula is also an expert in inclusive executive/leadership development, professional and personal branding, networking, social media, and career strategies. Paula has demonstrated leadership in numerous civic organizations and she is the immediate past President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), New York State’s largest black bar association.

Paula’s professional experiences include serving as the founder and CEO of PGE LLC (a speaking, consulting and executive coaching firm), the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at New York Law School and as an attorney in the Law Enforcement Division of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Paula received her B.A. in Anthropology from the California State University (Fullerton) and her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. She was recognized by The Network Journal Magazine as a “40 Under Forty” Achievement Awardee, a Ms. JD “Woman of Inspiration” and a “Rising Star” by A Better Chance.

Keep up to date with Paula at inclusionstrategy.com,  Linkedin and Twitter (@PaulaEdgar) and via email at Paula@PaulaEdgar.com


Stephen Bergstein is a civil rights lawyer in New Paltz, New York. He graduated from CUNY Law School in 1993. Mr. Bergstein speaks and writes regularly on developments in civil rights law, particularly in the Second Circuit.  He has published in the New York Law Journal, the NYSBA Labor and Employment Journal and Z Magazine. 

Maintaining an active trial and appellate practice, Mr. Bergstein has briefed and/or argued more than 100 civil rights appeals in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and has lectured on civil rights and employment matters before the Practicing Law Institute, the National Employment Lawyers Association (New York Chapter), the Orange County (NY) Bar Association, the Westchester County (NY) Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the National Business Institute and Lawline.com.

Many of Mr. Bergstein's cases have become notable precedents, including Zarda v. Altitude Express, 883 F.3d 100 (2d Cir. 2018) (en banc) (holding that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of gender discrimination in violation of Title VII); Chauca v. Abraham, 885 F.3d 122 (2d Cir. 2018) (holding that punitive damages test under New York City Human Rights Law is not coterminous with federal standard); Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17 (2d Cir. 2017) (vacating summary judgment in case alleging pretrial detainees were subjected to unconstitutional jail conditions); Legg v. County of Ulster, 820 F.3d 67 (2d Cir. 2016) (vacating judgment as a matter of law in pregnancy discrimination case); Zeno v. Pine Plains Cent. Sch. Dist., 702 F.3d 655 (2d Cir. 2012) (sustaining $1 million jury award and liability finding that school district was deliberately indifferent to racial bullying); Jackler v. Byrne, 658 F.3d 225 (2d Cir. 2011) (holding that police officer had a First Amendment right to refuse to file a false police report).

Mr. Bergstein blogs on the Second Circuit's civil rights decisions at www.secondcircuitcivilrights.blogspot.com


Tanya Katerí Hernández, is the Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where she teaches Anti-Discrimination Law, Comparative Employment Discrimination, Critical Race Theory, The Science of Implicit Bias and the Law: New Pathways to Social Justice, and Trusts & Wills. She received her A.B. from Brown University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as Note Topics Editor of the Yale Law Journal. 

Professor Hernández, is an internationally recognized comparative race law expert and Fulbright Scholar who has visited at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, in Paris and the University of the West Indies Law School, in Trinidad.  She has previously served as a Law and Public Policy Affairs Fellow at Princeton University, a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers University; a Faculty Fellow at the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, and as a Scholar in Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Professor Hernández is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the American Law Institute, and the Academia Puertorriqueña de Jurisprudencia y Legislación.  Hispanic Business Magazine selected her as one of its annual 100 Most Influential Hispanics. Professor Hernández serves on the editorial boards of the Revista Brasileira de Direito e Justiça/Brazilian Journal of Law and Justice, and the Latino Studies Journal published by Palgrave-Macmillian Press. 

Professor Hernández’s scholarly interest is in the study of comparative race relations and anti-discrimination law, and her work in that area has been published in numerous university law reviews like Cornell, Harvard, N.Y.U., U.C. Berkeley, Yale and in news outlets like the New York Times, among other publications including her books Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law and the New Civil Rights Response (including Spanish and Portuguese translation editions) and Brill Research Perspectives in Comparative Discrimination Law: Racial Discrimination.  Her most recent publication is the book Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination   https://multiracialsandcivilrights.wordpress.com/


Vicki Walcott-Edim is Vice President and Senior Managing Counsel, Global Employment Law for Mastercard. She provides strategic direction on the company’s global employment law function and strategic advice and day-to-day guidance on an array of matters to help Mastercard attract and retain top talent. She advises on company initiatives, policies and procedures; compliance with employment laws and regulations; OFCCP requirements; restrictive covenants; diversity and inclusion practices; employee compensation and benefits; corporate restructuring; and immigration. She also manages outside counsel’s representation of Mastercard in litigation and agency proceedings, serves as a resource for Regional Counsel on global employment law issues, and negotiates complex commercial agreements for services, technology, and products Mastercard needs to maintain its competitive edge.

Before joining Mastercard, Vicki served as Senior Counsel, Employment Law with Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. She advised on a variety of employment issues and claims concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, immigration, business reorganizations, leaves of absence, reasonable accommodations, wage-hour issues, and workplace violence. She defended the company in arbitration claims, government investigations, and other proceedings before federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. She regularly conducted training on a variety of employment law topics for Human Resources and other executives.

Vicki began her legal career at Jones Day where she worked as an attorney in the firm’s Labor and Employment practice group. Her experience included individual employment disputes filed in court and subject to arbitration as well as complex class, collective, and multi-plaintiff actions, including pattern or practice cases brought by private plaintiffs and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

She graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, where she was an Executive Board Member and Production Editor for the Catholic University Law Review. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from The College of William & Mary.


The Honorable James C. Francis IV (Ret.) is a Mediator, Arbitrator, and Special Master affiliated with JAMS. From 1985-2017, he served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York, including a two-year term as chief magistrate judge. During his tenure, Judge Francis was responsible for conducting pretrial proceedings, mediating settlements, and presiding over trial in thousands of cases. The matters he handled include financial markets claims, employment discrimination class actions, wage and hour collective actions, multidistrict product liability litigation, civil rights class actions, mass torts, securities class actions, admiralty cases, copyright and trademark claims, patent infringement cases, and a wide array of complex commercial litigation. Judge Francis is nationally recognized as an expert in electronic discovery.

After stepping down from the bench in 2017, Judge Francis served as distinguished lecturer at the CUNY School of Law, where he taught Civil Procedure, Evidence, Electronic Discovery, Constitutional Torts, and Federal Courts.  Judge Francis has been an active member of several bar groups and currently serves on the Labor and Employment Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

Judge Francis graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  He received his juris doctor degree from the Yale Law School and a masters degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  Following graduation from law school, Judge Francis clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York.  After his clerkship, Judge Francis served an attorney with the impact litigation unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York. There, he litigated class actions and test cases in the areas of housing and education. He also established the Disability Rights Unit to provide legal services for persons with physical and mental disabilities. 


Tracy’s practice focuses on representing financial institutions and other corporations in complex civil litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings, corporate internal investigations, and labor and employment matters.

She has also represented clients before a wide variety of regulatory and prosecutorial agencies, both at the state
and federal levels, as well as congressional committees and independent examiners appointed by court order.

Tracy is co-chair of the Firm’s Diversity Committee, co-chair of the Women’s Initiative Committee and a hiring partner. She also oversees the Firm’s active networks for minority associates: the Asian Associates Network, the Network of Black and Latino Lawyers and the LGBT Network. She is co-chairwoman of the YWCA-NYC, a vice-chairwoman of the Legal Aid Society, and a member of the board of directors of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, New York City Bar Justice Center and Partnership for After School Education. She is a member of the Association of Black Women Attorneys and Metropolitan Black Bar Association.


Dana Sussman is Deputy Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs and Policy at the NYC Commission on Human Rights, where she coordinates the Commission’s policy, regulatory, adjudicatory, and legislative work. Dana has testified over a dozen times before the NYC Council and the New York State legislature, and has overseen the development and publication of all of the Commission’s legal enforcement guidance documents in the past five years, including enforcement guidance on disability discrimination and accommodations, which was published in July 2016.

Prior to joining the Commission in March 2015, Dana was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon, where she represented victims of trafficking in civil litigation, criminal justice advocacy, and immigration relief. Dana was formerly an Associate at Outten & Golden LLP representing employees in wage and hour cases and gender, pregnancy, disability, and LGBTQ discrimination matters. After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law, Dana clerked for Magistrate Judge Orenstein in the Eastern District of New York and served as a Legal Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Dana holds a B.A. and MPH from Tufts University.


Miriam F. Clark has practiced labor and employment law for more than 25 years, and has handled dozens of employment-related cases in federal and state courts, arbitration agencies and before federal and state administrative agencies.  She negotiates severance agreements and employment contracts, and counsels employees on a variety of employment-related legal issues.  She also provides independent investigation and mediation services in connection with complaints of discrimination and/or harassment and serves as a voluntary, court-appointed mediator for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  She advises non-profit organizations on employment-related issues.

Since 2005 she has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.  She has received an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell, a “superb” (10 out of 10) rating from Avvo, and is a member of the Bar Registry of Preeminent Women Lawyers.  She is immediate Past President of the National Employment Lawyers Association- New York Chapter and Chair of the Legislative Committee.

Ms. Clark has lectured widely on employment law and related topics at ALI-CLE, Georgetown University Law Center, the American Bar Association Section on Labor and Employment Law, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, Practising Law Institute and to classes at the New York University School of Law. She serves as a pro bono mediator for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Since 2006, she has served as Chapter Editor for the Annual Supplement to Family and Medical Leave Act (ABA Section on Labor and Employment Law/BNA Books)

Ms. Clark is a 1984 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar.  From 1984-1985, she served as law clerk for Hon. Max Rosenn, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.   She is a 1980 cum laude graduate of Harvard College.


Susan Ritz has practiced employment law since 1985.  She is a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP.  Ms. Ritz handles all forms of employment-related matters, including advising employees and partners regarding their rights, duties and entitlement to benefits; handling contract, severance agreement and partnership dispute negotiations; and representing employees and partners in negotiations, mediations, administrative proceedings, arbitrations and lawsuits encompassing a full panoply of employment-related issues, with special emphasis on claims of unlawful harassment, retaliation and employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, national origin, age, disability, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and other protected classes.  

Ms. Ritz provides neutral mediation services, and conducts impartial internal investigations on behalf of employers into alleged discriminatory conduct.  She also advises non-profits and small employers on employment-related issues, reviews and revises Staff Manuals for employers, and represents employers in contract and severance negotiations.  She offers harassment and discrimination prevention training to management and employees, as well.

Ms. Ritz is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (20+ years), Super Lawyers (14 years) and Law Dragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers. She is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and was selected for its 2011 Inaugural Edition of the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.  AVVO gives her a rating of 10 out of 10.  She is also a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Litigation Counsel of America. Ms. Ritz has published articles and lectured widely, including for the National Employment Lawyers Association/NY, ALI-CLE, American Bar Association, Practising Law Institute, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and at CUNY School of Law.  She serves as a pro bono mediator for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.