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Understanding Employment Law 2013


Speaker(s): Debra L. Raskin, Donald L. Sapir, Hanan B. Kolko, Hon. Katharine H. Parker, Jill L. Rosenberg, John Gaal, Karen M. Mitchell, Laura S. Schnell, Lawrence J. Baer, Martin L. Schmelkin, Matthew W. Lampe, Michele R. Fisher, Peter D. DeChiara, Robert M. Hale, Theodore O. Rogers, Jr., Willis J. Goldsmith, Zachary D. Fasman
Recorded on: Apr. 5, 2013
PLI Program #: 41719

Donald L. Sapir is a partner in the White Plains, N.Y. labor and employment law boutique, Sapir Schragin LLP.  Widely respected for the breadth and depth of his knowledge and 36 years of experience representing employees and area businesses in employment and labor disputes involving termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, family medical and military leave, employment contracts, wage and hour claims, whistleblowers, severance agreements, pensions, and class actions, Don is an effective litigator with many landmark court victories, but tries to keep clients out of court through alternative dispute resolution. He is a past President of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, past Employee Co-Chair of the ABA LEL Section=s ADR Committee, past Chair of NYS Bar Ass'n  Lab. & Emp. Law Section, past chair of the Westchester County Bar Ass'n Labor & Emp. Law Comm., is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in New York Metropolitan Area, SuperLawyers, New York Area's Top Rated Lawyers, is A/V rated, was named one of Westchester County=s Best 25 Lawyers, and has appeared many times on Court TV.


John Gaal is a Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, practicing in its Syracuse and New York City offices. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (cum laude, 1974) and the Notre Dame Law School (magna cum laude, 1977), where he served as an editor of the Notre Dame Law Review. Following law school he clerked with the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. His practice focuses on the representation of management in the full range of Labor and Employment Law matters.  Although Mr. Gaal's practice cuts across all industry lines, he has particular experience in the Higher Education, Construction and Health Care sectors. He has co-chaired BS&K's Higher Education Practice Group (for more than 10 years). He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for both Labor and Employment Law and Education Law, is a Fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, is Chair-Elect of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, is a frequent contributor to professional publications, and frequently speaks on Labor and Employment Law and Ethics topics.


Karen M. Mitchell is the Global Head of HR for the Legal and Compliance Division of Credit Suisse.  She is responsible for the Human Capital strategy and HR processes for over 1,500 employees worldwide. Prior to her current role at Credit Suisse, she was head of Employment Law for the Americas where she was responsible for coordinating the Credit Suisse employment law efforts in the Americas including the management of affirmative and defensive litigations, mediations and arbitrations and daily advice and counsel.  

Ms. Mitchell joined Credit Suisse in 2001. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Ms. Mitchell was an employment litigator with Epstein Becker & Green, and a Vice President of Human Resources at Citibank.

Ms. Mitchell received her law degree from Fordham Law School, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Ms. Mitchell is a member of the New York State Bar and is the President of the Board of Directors of the New York Women's Bar Association Foundation, Inc.
 


Hanan B. Kolko joined Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP in March 2019.

Mr. Kolko practices in the area of labor and employment law.  He represents labor unions in federal and state court litigation, arbitration proceedings, administrative proceedings before various regulatory agencies, and in collective bargaining.  Mr. Kolko also advises unions and their leaders on internal union governance, the investigation and handling of sexual harassment claims, and internal union elections.  He has represented unions in a wide variety of industries including publishing, media, education, health care, law enforcement, transportation, and manufacturing.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Kolko was a partner at two major union-side firms in New York City, and began his career as a lawyer as an associate at union-side firms in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.  While in law school, Mr. Kolko was a law clerk for the United Auto Workers.  His first experience working with unions was while he was in college, where he was an intern for the Rochester, New York PATCO local.  He is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he received the Book Award for the highest grade in his labor law class.

Mr. Kolko is a former co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Technology in the Workplace, and is an Advisory Board Member of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.  He has given continuing legal education presentations on a wide variety of labor law topics to groups including the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Technology in the Workplace, and the Practicing Law Institute.  He has been named a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro Annual Lists of Super Lawyers from 2015-2018.

Mr. Kolko also represents clients in the cannabis industry.  He advises these clients in areas including licensing applications, regulatory compliance, internal investigations, and in litigations. He has lectured extensively on cannabis law issues, giving presentations on issues including legal ethics and the representation of cannabis clients, bankruptcy and the cannabis industry, the current state of legal affairs in the cannabis industry, RICO claims against cannabis industry participants, and the New York State Compassionate Care Act.


Jill L. Rosenberg, an employment partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York, is a nationally recognized employment litigator and counselor.  Ms. Rosenberg has significant experience defending and advising employers in discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, wrongful discharge, affirmative action, wage-and-hour and traditional labor matters.  She handles complex individual cases, as well as class actions and systemic government investigations.  She represents a broad range of companies, with a focus on employers in the securities industry, banks and financial institutions, accounting firms and law firms. 

Ms. Rosenberg also has particular expertise in the representation of nonprofit entities, including colleges, universities, hospitals, foundations and cultural institutions.  She frequently speaks on employment law issues for employer and bar association groups. 

Ms. Rosenberg has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading employment lawyer. Ms. Rosenberg is the firm-wide Partner in Charge of Pro Bono Programs and serves on the firm’s Personnel Development, Risk Management and Diversity Committees.  She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Leadership Committee of the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of New York Legal Assistance Group, a legal services organization serving New Yorkers in need. 

Ms. Rosenberg graduated from Princeton University, and earned her J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School.


Judge Parker was sworn into office on November 4, 2016. She received a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Duke University in 1989. In 1992, she received her J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. She was a Notes & Articles Editor for the Fordham Law Review.

From November 2000 through October 2016 she was a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP where she practiced labor and employment law and chaired several practice groups including Employment and Law Counseling and Training and Government Regulatory Relations and Affirmative Action. She was associated with the Proskauer firm from October 1993 through October 2000 as an associate.  While at Proskauer, she had an active litigation career in cases involving the full gamut of federal, state and local employment laws. She also litigated cases involving fair housing, civil rights, non-compete, contract and employee benefits disputes.

While at Proskauer, Katharine was elected to be a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and consistently honored in various listings such as Best Lawyers in America and New York Super Lawyers.

Judge Parker clerked for the Honorable Warren W. Eginton in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut prior to joining Proskauer.

Judge Parker has been actively involved with the NYC Bar Association during her career, and has chaired both the Disability Law and Employment Committees.  Judge Parker is also involved in pro bono and charitable causes, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Girl Be Heard.  She was a recipient of the Fairy Godmother Award from Girl Be Heard and the Jeremy Epstein Award for Pro Bono Service from the NYC Bar Association.


Lawrence J. Baer represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment matters. He is an experienced litigator, labor negotiator and advisor.

Mr. Baer’s practice has most recently focused on the myriad of labor and employment issues facing debtor-employers while operating under the protection of United States bankruptcy laws. Those issues include restructuring obligations under collective bargaining agreements, pension plans and retiree medical benefit plans. In addition, Mr. Baer assists debtor-employers facing complex issues related to restructuring their workforces including key employee retention, obligations under plant closing laws, severance plans, employment contracts and other compensation and benefits plans. Representative debtor clients include Lehman Brothers, General Motors, Enron Corp., Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Republic Technologies International LLC, Aleris International, Magna Entertainment, Pilgrim’s Pride and Parmalat Dairies.

Lawrence J. Baer represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment matters. He is an experienced litigator, labor negotiator and advisor.

Mr. Baer’s practice has most recently focused on the myriad of labor and employment issues facing debtor-employers while operating under the protection of United States bankruptcy laws. Those issues include restructuring obligations under collective bargaining agreements, pension plans and retiree medical benefit plans. In addition, Mr. Baer assists debtor-employers facing complex issues related to restructuring their workforces including key employee retention, obligations under plant closing laws, severance plans, employment contracts and other compensation and benefits plans. Representative debtor clients include Lehman Brothers, General Motors, Enron Corp., Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Republic Technologies International LLC, Aleris International, Magna Entertainment, Pilgrim’s Pride and Parmalat Dairies.

Mr. Baer also represents employers in unfair labor practice and union representation proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, collective bargaining, labor arbitration and union-related litigation. Mr. Baer regularly represents employers in other employment-related litigation, including judicial actions and administrative proceedings brought under federal, state and local employment discrimination laws, laws covering wages and hours, employee benefits, including ERISA and other workplace-related statutes and regulations. In addition, Mr. Baer advises employers how to prevent and avoid such disputes.

Mr. Baer works with employers to develop and administer personnel policies. In addition, Mr. Baer counsels executives and employers in connection with matters relating to individual employment agreements.

Mr. Baer regularly counsels participants in corporate transactions regarding labor and employment issues that arise in such matters.

Mr. Baer also has extensive experience in the unique labor issues pertaining to professional sports.

Mr. Baer has lectured and written on labor and employment law issues.

Mr. Baer received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany, and his J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, where he was selected as a member of its Moot Court Board and taught legal research and writing, appellate advocacy and professional ethics. Mr. Baer served as a student judicial law clerk to former Chief US District Court Judge John T. Curtin.


Marty Schmelkin is a Managing Director, Associate General Counsel with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York. Marty is a member of the firm’s Employment Law Group, and his practice focuses on employment law counseling, affirmative action & diversity issues, employment discrimination arbitration and litigation. Marty has spent time in the firm’s Hong Kong office, handling employment law matters arising in the firm’s offices throughout Asia (Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo). He also covers matters arising in the firm’s non-U.S. offices in the Americas (Bermuda, Buenos Aires, Calgary, Cayman Islands, Mexico City, Santiago, Sao Paolo, and Toronto). Marty is the Chairperson of the Pro Bono Steering Committee at Goldman Sachs, where he coordinates all of the firm’s pro bono initiatives and programming. He is also a member of the Knowledge Share Committee, which provides Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programming for members of the firm’s Legal Department. Marty is a member of the Board of the Women’s Enterprise Development Center, an organization which provides training programs and support services to women business owners in Westchester County.

Marty received a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) at Cornell University in 1991, and a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law in 1994. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2000, Marty worked in the Employment Law Departments of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and O’Melveny & Myers.


Matt Lampe represents employers throughout the country in class action and other complex litigation, including cases under the FLSA, ERISA, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, and numerous state discrimination, wrongful discharge, and other tort laws. He has extensive experience leading the defense of clients facing employment class actions across multiple jurisdictions. Matt also defends companies in EEOC, DOL, and other agency investigations alleging systemic discrimination or pay practice violations. In addition, he counsels clients across a broad spectrum of employment law and litigation avoidance topics.

Matt is co-chair of the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice. He speaks frequently throughout the country on employment-related topics, including class action defense and wage and hour compliance and audit strategies. He is a contributing author to Labor & Employment N.Y. (LENY), the official blog of the New York State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Section, and a contributor to The Fair Labor Standards Act, Second Edition, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law.

Matt was named one of the "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by HR Executive magazine and Lawdragon. In 2012, Matt was recognized as a "Client Service All-Star" by BTI Consulting Group, which commended him for "extraordinary dedication to client service during a time of increased pressure and client demands." He is a Fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a life member of the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, and a member of the New York City Bar Association and the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association.


Michele Fisher is a managing partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and the Chair of the Firm’s Business Development and Marketing Groups, which originate class and collective actions and market the firm.  She has dedicated her career to litigating wage and hour cases in an aggressive, creative, and strategic manner. She is one of the leaders of a practice group that has been described as a "powerhouse" for mass wage and hour litigation and arbitration.  Michele has the experience, resources, and staff to take on any company regardless of size.  She has handled several jury trials and arbitrations in her fight for employee rights and prides herself on the firm's reputation as a leader in national wage and hour class and collective action litigation. Michele has litigated hundreds of class and collective actions involving positions such as home health aides, loan officers, retail salespersons, oil and gas workers, assistant managers, field service engineers, call center representatives, exotic dancers, inside sales representatives, restaurant workers, insurance adjusters, property specialists, property managers, installers, service technicians, and road construction laborers.  Michele is active in several organizations. She is the Co-Chair and a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee, the Co-Chair of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section's Revenue and Partnership Development Committee, and a wage and hour track coordinator for the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s annual conference.  She has also served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee FLSA Midwinter Report, an editorial board member for BNA’s the Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise, and a chapter editor for BNA’s Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey. She has been named to the Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys, and Rising Star lists repeatedly, is a member of the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, and Top 10 Wage and Hour Lawyers, and has been named a Lawyer of Distinction.  Michele volunteers as an attorney for a foster child through the Children's Law Center.


Rob Hale, a partner in and chair of Goodwin’s Labor & Employment Practice, represents employers across a broad spectrum of employment matters.

Mr. Hale’s practice involves representation of clients in employment litigation, including noncompetition, discrimination, wrongful discharge, FLSA and ERISA litigation. He has obtained successful results for employers at all stages of litigation, including in preliminary injunction proceedings, at summary judgment, at trial and on appeal. Mr. Hale is experienced in successfully representing employers before administrative agencies and in labor arbitrations. His practice also includes counseling in numerous areas of labor and employment law, including disability discrimination, sexual harassment and other discrimination matters; noncompetition agreement and other restrictive covenants; downsizing; employment agreements; wage and hour compliance; collective bargaining; and personnel policy development and administration. In addition, Mr. Hale is experienced in providing training for managers, supervisors and human resources professionals.

Mr. Hale is a former employer co-chair of the Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee of the American Bar Association. He is a former chair of the ABA's subcommittee on the Family and Medical Leave Act, the ABA's subcommittee on the WARN Act and the Boston Bar Association's Employee Benefits/ERISA Committee. He is also a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

Mr. Hale was elected as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers in 2007. He has also been repeatedly selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers magazine.

Mr. Hale has spoken at a number of seminars, including those presented by the American, Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations, Practising Law Institute and various professional and trade groups.


Zach Fasman is a nationally recognized labor and employment lawyer who has shifted roles—from advocate to neutral. Zach participated in hundreds of mediations as an advocate and has trained as a mediator at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School, at the New York City Bar Association, the New York Peace Institute and the National Employment Law Institute. He mediates disputes in this field as well as commercial and community disputes.

Zach brings to the neutral role extensive experience and knowledge of labor and employment law gained through a lengthy career in this field. He began his career as a traditional labor lawyer at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, negotiating labor contracts and trying arbitration cases. He has extensive experience in labor arbitration, having tried hundreds of arbitrations and handled scores of arbitration related cases in the courts, including the issue of class action procedures in labor arbitration. He also has extensive experience before the National Labor Relations Board and has litigated many complex labor cases in the courts on issues including federal preemption, successorship, civil RICO and labor-antitrust law. His career included two successful arguments before the United States Supreme Court, Golden State Transit Corp. v City of Los Angeles, 475 U.S. 608 (1986) and Golden State Transit Corp. v City of Los Angeles, 493 U.S. 103 (1989). He also has written numerous amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court on labor and employment law issues.

Zach has extensive experience in employment discrimination law, having served as national Co-Chair of the employment discrimination law practice while at Paul Hastings, where he was a partner for many years. Zach has litigated hundreds of employment law cases ranging from nationwide class actions to jury trials of individual discrimination claims. He has testified on many occasions before the U.S. Congress and the EEOC on labor and employment law issues and worked extensively with Congress and the White House on the Americans with Disabilities and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Zach devoted his practice exclusively to labor and employment law. He has been recognized as a leading practitioner for many years. He has repeatedly earned a "Band One" ranking in Chambers USA and Chambers Global (recently became a “Senior Statesman”) and is a long-time Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He continues to teach employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center and New York University Law School and has been a guest lecturer at various law schools on topics including appellate advocacy, employment discrimination, labor law, and legal ethics. He has published many articles in the New York Law Journal and has written three books on labor and employment law.


For more than 40 years, Willis Goldsmith has represented management before state and federal trial and appellate courts in matters arising under the NLRA, Section 301 of Taft-Hartley, ERISA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and OSHA, as well as in injunction, breach of contract, and employment cases. He also regularly represents management in collective bargaining and in labor contract administration.

Among his noteworthy matters is Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, which Willis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court, reversing an en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit, held that a California statute that prevented employers from using state funds to lawfully deter union organizing was preempted by the NLRA, noting federal labor policy favoring employer speech regarding union organizing.

Willis was Partner-in-Charge in New York from 2008 through 2012, when he was required to step down from that position pursuant to the terms of the Partnership Agreement; from 1991 to 2006, he chaired the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; a Member of the Labor Law Advisory Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; an Advisor, American Law Institute Restatement of the Law Third Employment Law; a Member of the Advisory Board of the NYU School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the Labor and Employment Law sections of the New York State Bar Association (Section Secretary, 2013-2014) and of the ABA. He is a Director of the Corporation of Yaddo, the upstate New York artists' retreat, and a Member of the Board of New York Appleseed.


Debra L. Raskin graduated from Radcliffe College magna cum laude in 1973 and received her law degree from Yale in 1977.  She worked at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago from 1977 to 1981, serving in 1981 as Supervisor of Employment Litigation for that organization.  She served as law clerk to Hon. Lee P. Gagliardi of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York from 1982 to 1984.  From 1984 to 1986, she served as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York in the Civil Rights Bureau.  She joined the Vladeck firm in 1986, and became a partner of the firm in October 1988.  From 2014 to 2016 Ms. Raskin served as the President of the New York City Bar Association.  She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has taught at Columbia and Fordham Law Schools and has lectured and written on employment law matters for the New York State Bar Association and the Practicing Law Institute, among other groups. 


Laura S. Schnell, a member of the firm of Eisenberg & Schnell LLP, has practiced employment law in New York City on behalf of employees for over thirty years.  She is a 1980 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1983 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 1983 to 1984.  Ms. Schnell represents employees in all aspects of employment law and has extensive employment discrimination, non-compete and employment contract litigation experience as well as financial industry arbitration experience.  She has served on numerous bar committees and is a frequent speaker on issues involving employment litigation, arbitration and mediation.  She has been a Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers recognized attorney since 2006 and was named the New York Best Lawyer of the Year, Employment Law-Individual for 2012 and again for 2017.


Mr. Rogers, the managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Labor and Employment Law Group, is a graduate of Harvard College (magna cum laude, 1976) and Harvard Law School (cum laude, 1979).  He joined Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in 1979, and has been a partner of the Firm since 1987.  He has been named the New York City “Employment Law - Management Lawyer of the Year” for 2017 as well as for 2014 and the 2012 “New York City Labor Law – Management Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America,  and is one of 33 lawyers in the United States named in “Best of the Best USA 2015” as leading labor and employment lawyers.  In 2017 and for each of the prior nine years, he has been named one of the 100 leading management attorneys in the United States by the publication Human Resource Executive in conjunction with Lawdragon; he is also ranked in the top tier in New York among defendant-side employment lawyers in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (available at www.chambersandpartners.com/usa). He is a contributing author to BNA’s Workplace Harassment Law (2012), is a co-author of West Publishing Co.’s Employment Litigation in New York (1996) and Employment Law Deskbook for Human Resources Professionals (2001), and serves as a lecturer on employment law topics to many groups, including the Practising Law Institute's annual Employment Law Institute and the Federal Judicial Center’s annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.  He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute and of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and has served on the Labor and Employment Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.


Peter D. DeChiara joined the firm in 1989, and became a partner in 1999.

Mr. DeChiara works primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, and has litigated extensively on behalf of unions, employee benefit funds, and individual employees.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. DeChiara was a clerk for Judge Lawrence Pierce of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mr. DeChiara has taught labor law at New York Law School and the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, and legal writing at University of Chicago Law School. He has published articles on labor law subjects in the Harvard Journal on Legislation, American University Law Review and the Rutgers Law Record.

Mr. DeChiara graduated from Columbia Law School in 1988, where he was Editor-In-Chief of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1984, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.