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Law & Legislation

Gender Stereotypes and LGBT Employees — Turning a Powder Keg into a Respectful Workplace

David Long-Daniels, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig (Atlanta, GA)

Tuesday | 10:30 - 11:30 AM | Room 103

This speaking topic will include a discussion on how employees who fall into one or more of the LGBT categories (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) may fit into one or more legally protected categories. Since the 1989 landmark Supreme Court case of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, the law has been on a trajectory of providing more protection for LGBT employees and others who do not fit neatly into common stereotypes of "male" or "female." Nevertheless, many employers find it difficult to promote the same kind of workplace respect and acceptance for these employees as employees with other protected traits.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will learn the various legal protections afforded to LGBT employees and others who do not "fit" gender norms
  • Attendees will identify areas and behaviors in the workplace that can lead to claims of harassment and discrimination
  • Attendees will learn best practices for developing an inclusive workplace that is respectful of LGBT employees and others.

Known for his creative approaches to difficult, high-stakes cases, David Long-Daniels, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta Labor and Employment Practice, represents clients across the country in complex labor and employment matters. His practice includes the representation of clients in claims under the Fair Labor Standard Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, civil rights cases, and other federal and state labor and employment matters. A particular focus of David’s practice is representing corporations in class and collective actions. David has received numerous recognitions, including Chambers & Partners USA Guide, (2007-2011), "Georgia's Legal Elite," by Georgia Trend magazine (2006, 2008-2010) and Georgia Super Lawyers magazine (2009-2011.) David has taught labor and employment as an Adjunct Law Professor at both the University of Alabama School of Law and the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He has written for the Defense Research Institute and has been quoted in The National Law Journal on current legal matters.

Hot Topics in Employment Law

Greg Hare, Managing Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins (Atlanta, GA)

Tuesday | 2:00 - 3:00 PM | Ballroom A

Curious HR professionals will be wondering how changes in government enforcement will affect their businesses in the upcoming year. This presentation will offer HR leaders valuable insights on what to expect in recent developments at the EEOC, DOL, and NLRB; recent court decisions affecting HR; and how companies can adjust their HR procedures to account for anticipated changes. Please join us for a discussion of these and other hot topics affecting the practice of HR in 2016 and beyond!

Learning Objectives:

  • Staying on top of recent legal developments in HR.
  • Adjusting policies to maintain compliance.
  • Minimizing exposure to costly lawsuits.
  • Greg Hare has been an employment lawyer at Ogletree Deakins his entire career. He assists companies with human resources and employment-related litigation matters, including wrongful termination claims, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, employment contracts, trade secrets, and non-compete agreements. He advises clients on a wide range of human resources topics, such as employee discipline and discharge, severance planning, independent contractor classifications, wage payment, family and medical leave, disability law, military leave, joint employment issues, affirmative action and reductions in force. Greg encourages companies to develop proactive human resources strategies that are designed to minimize exposure to costly litigation and disputes. This commonly includes conducting comprehensive employment law compliance audits, employment policy design and review, management training and counseling and simulated problem solving workshops.

    Best Practices For Effective Workplace Investigations

    Cameron Pierce, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson (Dunwoody, GA) & Dionysia Johnson-Massie, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson (Atlanta, GA)

    Tuesday | 3:30 - 4:30 PM | Room 103

    Effective internal investigations are increasingly important and require more than analytical expertise. Objectively reviewing, characterizing and documenting factual allegations is critical. This session will examine key phases of an effective investigation, with an emphasis on practical skills. Using realistic scenarios, participants will receive insights and practical guidance in the following areas:The right and wrong way to conduct complaint intake;How to determine and articulate allegations objectively; Investigation planning strategies that keep the fact finder on the right track; Interview techniques that cut through the noise and get to the facts; Proper methods for documenting interviews-from note taking to witness summaries; Objectively documenting findings.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Important considerations for compliance professionals undertaking a workplace investigation.
    • Develop effective investigation procedures.
    • Prepare an appropriate investigation report.

    Cameron Pierce has litigated on behalf of management in connection with numerous types of employment and labor disputes, including claims based upon: Title VII, The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and The National Labor Relations Act. In his counseling practice, Cameron frequently advises employers on effective personnel policies, employee discipline, non-compete issues, wage hour compliance and drug and alcohol testing. Additionally, Cameron serves as the office managing shareholder in Littler’s Atlanta office.

    Dionysia Johnson-Massie is a litigator who focuses her practice on federal employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wage-hour litigation and strategic compliance issues, including matters arising under: Title VII and Section 1981, The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The Family and Medical Leave Act and The Fair Labor Standards Act. She has defended clients against state law defamation, intentional interference with business relationships, assault and battery and false imprisonment claims. Dionysia uses a combination of legal skills and business acumen to offer her clients creative and cost-effective strategies that minimize exposure to a myriad of legal risks. She regularly provides advice and counsel on the practical and legal implications of everyday employment decisions. Through mediations, arbitrations, or summary judgment motions, she effectively resolves difficult and complex "bet the company" matters. She also has unique expertise handling religious accommodation matters for employers in a variety of industries and promotion and tenure issues for educational institutions.

    Classifying Employees and Independent Contractors

    Todd Wozniak, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Smyrna, GA)

    Wednesday | 10:30 - 11:30 AM | Room 103

    Guidance from the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") in July 2015 has the potential to monumentally reshape employers' classification of their workers as employees or independence contractors. While certain industries and employers have previously made efforts to classify workers as independent contractors, this recent guidance from the DOL indicates that most workers will be viewed by the DOL as employees in the near future. A string of high-profile cases involving companies like Uber suggest that one of the most important issues for HR professionals in the coming years will be properly classifying workers as employees or independent contractors. This has important ramifications for HR professionals and companies that wish to avoid liability under federal statutes governing worker pay and treatment as well as workers that may have preferred contractor status.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Discuss "Economic realities test" and factors at issue in determination of worker classification.
    • Case study: Barbara Ann Berwick v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al.
    • Practical recommendations: explain consequences of misclassification including include employer liability for minimum wage, overtime compensation and joint employer (including staffing agencies and franchisees) liability under statutes such as Title VII, ADEA, ADA and FMLA.

    Todd D. Wozniak is a trial lawyer who defends companies and public institutions throughout the United States in labor and employment, ERISA and business disputes. He is co-chair of the firm’s National Labor & Employment Practice’s ERISA litigation team and is experienced in ERISA and employee benefits litigation. He is also experienced in wage and hour litigation, state and federal whistleblower statutes, non-discrimination laws, plant closing and mass layoff laws, collective bargaining and traditional labor relations, executive contracts and compensation, noncompete and trade secrets litigation and partnership/business disputes. During his career, Todd has defended more than a dozen class or collective actions and tried more than 40 cases or arbitrations to verdict. Todd is a frequent lecturer and writer on a wide range of employment and business related issues, including protecting trade secrets, implementing reductions-in-force, pre-dispute arbitration agreements and programs, class action defense, ERISA compliance and preemption, eDiscovery and wage and hour compliance.