Program: Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Program Highlights



Emerging Issues

E-Discovery, Privacy & Social Media In Workplace Investigations
Moderator/Speaker: Lynne Bernabei
Speakers: The Honorable Kristen L. Mix &
Lorrie Peeters

With more than 750 million users on Facebook, 175 million registered Twitter users, about 100 million on LinkedIn, and an estimated 4.5 million already on Google, it is clear that social media has become part of everyday life for a huge percentage of the world's population with access to the Internet—including workers. Among other issues, this presentation will examine an employee's use of workplace computers and email in order to obtain legal advice as to his or her legal rights; an employee's postings on social media and social networking sites that may become discoverable in litigation against the employer or form the basis for disciplinary action; an employee's social media and social networking postings that may be protected under the First Amendment or the anti-retaliation provisions of the discrimination statutes; and attempts by attorneys to access information via a witness' social media and social networking postings.
  Employment Law 101

Bankruptcy & Employment Claims
Moderator/Speaker: Linda M. Correia
Speakers: Michael S. Leib & Wendell W. Webster

In the present economic downturn, plaintiffs pursuing employment claims may find themselves in the unfortunate circumstance of having to declare bankruptcy. In such situations, several jurisdictions have established hurdles to the pursuit of employment claims by bankruptcy petitioners, including application of the doctrine of judicial estoppel where circumstances are purportedly warranted. On the other hand, the economic downturn has caused several employers to declare bankruptcy, which engenders headaches for employees who have claims against such employers. This session will focus on the topics and issues that may arise in such litigation.
  Trial Advocacy

Effective Deposition Techniques For The Adverse Witness
Moderator/Speaker: Kathleen J. England
Speakers: Hal K. Gillespie & Darold W. Killmer

Mastering effective cross-examination techniques gets the plaintiffs' employment lawyer only half-way home. Our panel of veteran NELA litigators will share a panoply of specific deposition taking strategies for those defense witnesses common to a host of employment cases, such as a human resources representative, a corporate executive, the supervisor who made a subjective decision to terminate or discipline your client, and the harasser in a sexual harassment case.
  California Employment Law

Attorneys' Fees After Chavez: How To Get Fees In Small Value Cases
Moderator: Toni J. Jaramilla
Speakers: Dan Stormer & Steven G. Zieff

Ever since the Chavez decision was rendered, many attorneys fear taking cases on behalf of low wage workers out of a concern that courts may find the case should have been brought in "limited jurisdiction" and refuse to award attorneys' fees. The legislative fix died at the hands of Governor Jerry Brown's veto pen. There is hope, however, and at least one attorney has uncovered the pathway to a fee award in a low verdict case.

Insiders' Secrets Of Successful Settlement Negotiations Without Mediation
Moderator/Speaker: Stephen A. Brandon
Tessa Thrasher Hughes & Matthew W. Stiles

Many plaintiffs' employment lawyers don't appreciate the pressure that today's corporate labor counsel are under to balance the company's desire to defend claims with the need to protect shareholder value by obtaining settlements quickly. Also, most plaintiffs' employment lawyers don't understand that corporate labor lawyers typically report to their company's general counsel, who may become very unhappy with their subordinate if he or she misses an early opportunity to settle a case, thereby increasing litigation costs and exposures to risk (and sometimes resulting in unwanted media attention). Hence, the opportunities to settle cases without filing a charge, a lawsuit, or seeking mediation are more readily available than is known by most plaintiffs' employment lawyers. This presentation will provide insight into the processes that NELA members can use to work with corporate labor counsel to settle claims before they evolve into charges or lawsuits, or to settle them quickly after claims turn into lawsuits, which ultimately is oftentimes in the best interests of our clients.

Selected Issues Under The FMLA
Moderator/Speaker: Heather Moore Collins
Speakers: Justin S. Gilbert, Patrick J. Perotti & Ashley Tremain

This panel will focus on some of the more frequent issues that arise under the Family and Medical Leave Act, such as discovery requests, intermittent leave, retaliation, interference with FMLA rights, and attorneys' fees. Our experts will also address the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals, assuming the case is decided by the time of the Convention, as well as mistakes that employers commonly make when implementing the FMLA.
10:45 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

The Defense Playbook 2012
Moderator: Robin B. Potter
Speakers: Kathleen L. Bogas, Bruce A. Fredrickson, Mary Anne Sedey & Michael C. Subit                 

Always a popular topic for NELA Convention goers, the Annual Convention will close with this year's edition of "The Defense Playbook." Our speakers will cover such issues as how to deal with defense counsel who uses stonewalling and unethical tactics, utilizes unnecessary and burdensome motion and discovery practices, and refuses to engage in good faith settlement negotiations. They will also address substantive legal issues such as overcoming defense tactics regarding the use of the "cat's paw" doctrine, "stray remarks," and "business judgment" rule; invasion of an employee's privacy; and other common or emerging trends embraced by defense counsel.

Program: Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Program Highlights


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