Saturday, June 24, 2017

   Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

7:30–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00–10:15 a.m.


New Lawyers

Top 10: A New Lawyer’s Guide To Preparing A Plaintiff For Her Deposition
Moderator/Speaker: Matthew Lango
Speakers: Darci E. Burrell & Trang Q. Tran
Defending a plaintiff’s deposition is much less fun than taking a deposition of the other side. Our panel of veteran practitioners will provide their “Top 10” tips and strategies for properly preparing a plaintiff for his or her deposition for discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wage theft claims.

Trial Advocacy

Mosaics & Motivating Factors: Unshackling Summary Judgment From McDonnell Douglas
Moderator/Speaker: David L. Lee
Speakers: Sonya Edwards & Elizabeth A. Rodgers
Developments in a number of circuit courts may provide employee rights advocates effective mechanisms for presenting circumstantial evidence of discrimination at summary judgment in ways that avoid the restrictive confines of McDonnell Douglas. In Ortiz v. Werner Enters., Inc, No. 15-2574 (2016), the Seventh Circuit concluded that twenty-plus years of jurisprudence regarding “direct/indirect” evidence and the “convincing mosaic” standard had come to obscure, rather than clarify, the central questions at summary judgment, while other circuits (e.g. Ahmed v. Johnson, 752 F.3d 490 (1st Cir. 2014) and Holland v. Gee, 677 F.3d 1047, 1056 (11th Cir. 2012)) have recognized the “convincing mosaic” framework and begun to wrestle with its implications only more recently. In addition, the Eleventh Circuit has joined other courts in affirming that McDonnell Douglas does not apply at summary judgment when the plaintiff alleges that unlawful discrimination was a “motivating factor” in an adverse employment action (Quigg v. Thomas County Sch. Dist., 814 F.3d 1227 (2016)). Join our panel of summary judgment gurus, who will review the state of the law in different circuits on these issues and discuss the pros and cons of using alternative methods of organizing circumstantial evidence to defeat summary judgment.


30 Years After Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson: The State Of Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Moderator: Scott M. Pollins
Speakers: The Honorable Chai Feldblum & Joseph M. Sellers
It’s been 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a claim of “hostile environment” sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is actionable under Title VII. Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes has brought the topic back into the national spotlight. Our experts will provide an overview of the state of the law, practical litigation strategies, how to overcome the employer’s scorched earth tactics, and findings of the EEOC’s Select Taskforce On Harassment In The Workplace.

Defending LGBT Workers From Discrimination “Because of Sex”: Title VII, Title IX & Beyond
Moderator/Speaker: Joshua R. Goodbaum
Speakers: Maureen T. Holland & Rob Wiley
Our speakers will survey recent case law surrounding the application of Title VII to claims of workplace discrimination brought by LGBT employees, focusing on both the gender stereotype and associational theories of discrimination (the associational theory meaning that gay and lesbian employees are treated adversely because of the gender of their romantic partners). They also will touch on state and local protections that may apply to LGBT employees as a protected class and will discuss the possible applications of Title IX in certain employment settings. Finally, they will provide practical advice on some of the challenges that transgender people may encounter in the workplace—from bathrooms to dress codes to health care coverage. Additionally, they will offer resources for NELA members to share with potential clients and employers alike as well as suggestions for framing a case when litigation becomes necessary.


Employer-Initiated Medical Examinations: Preventing Abusive Employer Tactics
Moderator: Kelly Brandon
Speakers: Brian East & Mark D. Sherinian

Many times employers utilize fitness for duty or pre-employment examinations as a way to “screen out” individuals with disabilities. Our speakers will address the limits of these types of examinations; the duties of an employer to accommodate restrictions identified during the exams; the abuse of independent medical examinations; and how we as plaintiff advocates can prevent overreaching employers from invading our client’s privacy rights.


Good Faith & Fair Dealing
Moderator/Speaker: Joseph D. Garrison
Speakers: Mark Hammons, Sr. & Deborah H. Karpatkin
The Restatement of Employment Law has heartily endorsed the doctrine of good faith and fair dealing. But there has been virtually no exploration of the concept of “fair dealing.” And, in many cases, courts place a burden on the plaintiff to show “bad faith,” rather than allowing a jury to determine whether a defendant acted in good faith. Other courts have allowed plaintiffs to plead, as a separate count, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, giving plaintiffs an excellent jury charge as well as expanding sympathetic evidence that may be relevant. NELA lawyers need to use the concept of breach of good faith and fair dealing more actively. Our speakers will review applicable standards and make practical suggestions of how to make this covenant work for our clients.

10:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

The Year In Review: Significant Developments In Employment Law  
Moderator: Matthew C. Koski
Speakers: Professor Eric Schnapper & Richard T. Seymour

The 2017 Annual Convention will close with Professor Schnapper and Mr. Seymour discussing the employment cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court during its 2016–2017 term, significant legislative and state law developments, as well as emerging issues in plaintiffs’ employment law.

 12:30 p.m.

Convention Adjourns

   Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Program subject to change without notice.