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


7:00-9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:15 a.m.

Welcome, Roll Call Of The States & Opening Remarks
Paul H. Tobias, NELA Founder, Patricia A. Barasch, NELA President & Terisa E. Chaw, NELA Executive Director

9:30-10:30 a.m.

Full Speed Ahead: From Inspiration To Action
Moderator: Patricia A. Barasch
Honorees: Kim Bobo, Mary Rose Diefenderfer & John Hithon
Advocates: Alicia K. Haynes & Judith A. Lonnquist

In the lives and stories of two remarkable workers who have persevered over years of protracted litigation to vindicate their rights to be free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and an extraordinary activist who has dedicated herself to mobilizing communities on behalf of workers, we see the challenges and rewards of standing our ground for workers' rights. Our opening plenary session will celebrate the courage and determination of our three honorees who will continue to inspire you to action long after the Convention is over.

This presentation is co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, NELA's charitable public interest organization.

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

The Year In Review: Significant Developments In Employment Law
Moderator:Paul H. Tobias
Speakers: Professor Eric Schnapper & Richard T. Seymour

This is the presentation everyone has been waiting for since last year's NELA Convention! Professor Schnapper and Mr. Seymour will discuss the employment cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court during its 2011-2012 term, significant legislative and state law developments, as well as emerging issues in plaintiffs' employment law.
12:15-1:45 p.m.

Annual Luncheon & Presentation - Employment Class Actions In The Wake Of D.R. Horton
Moderator: Cliff Palefsky, McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky
Speakers: The Honorable P. David Lopez, General Counsel, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Michael Rubin, Altshuler Berzon LLP; The Honorable M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor & The Honorable Lafe E. Solomon, General Counsel, National Labor Relations Board

Our distinguished panel will explore the implications of the National Labor Relations Board's landmark decision in D.R. Horton, Inc., and discuss the different legal theories, as well as administrative and legal avenues, available to protect and preserve the ability of workers to pursue class and concerted remedies for their statutory claims.

This presentation is co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, NELA's charitable public interest organization.

Emerging Issues

Latest Updates In Family Responsibilities Discrimination Law
Moderator/Speaker: Allegra L. Fishel
Speakers:Noreen A. Farrell & David G. Webbert

This panel will examine legal issues unique to family responsibilities discrimination. Although most states have not codified family responsibilities discrimination, our speakers will explore ways in which FRD claims can be brought under existing law, including laws protecting against gender and pregnancy discrimination. They will also discuss the hottest topics in family responsibilities discrimination law, as well as the latest developments in this area such as pregnancy discrimination when the employee is no longer (or never was) pregnant, care giving for parents, and cases involving fathers and male care givers.
  Employment Law 101

Top 10 Tips For The Next Generation Of Plaintiffs' Employment Lawyers
Moderator/Speaker: Wayne N. Outten
Speakers: Paige Fiedler, Randolph H. Freking & Joseph A. Golden

This panel of NELA legends will share their experiences and lessons learned on the road to becoming successful plaintiffs' employment lawyers. Their inspirational journeys will provide you with the tools to take the courageous action of hanging your own shingle. They will offer you practical tips on a range of topics, including setting up a law firm; making short-term and long-term economic decisions; complying with ethics rules and obligations; selecting cases; building relationships with opposing counsel; avoiding disputes with clients over fees; and living with yourself when you lose a big case.
  Trial Advocacy

Themes For Your Next Trial That Resonate With Today's Jurors
Moderator/Speaker: Alicia K. Haynes
Speakers: J. Bernard Alexander, III & Roxanne B. Conlin

It is easy to lose sight of how important a winning theme is for your trials and how important it is to switch from "get past summary judgment mode" to "win at trial mode." A good theme provides the judge and jury with both the conceptual framework for the facts and the emotional undercurrent for your case. Our all-star litigators will share their tips and techniques for carrying your theme from opening statements to witness examinations to closing arguments.
  California Employment Law

That's Private!
Moderator: Supreeta Sampath
Speakers: David J. Duchrow & Jean K. Hyams

California remains in the vanguard of protecting privacy rights, with several new bills increasing protections for employees. Our speakers will explore using privacy laws as both a sword and a shield in a variety of situations: accessing disciplinary records of alleged harassers and complaints by coworkers; email and video surveillance; drug testing; security breaches in the employer's server and cloud-based employee data; special rights for peace officers, teachers, and other public employees; the rights of unionized and non-unionized employees; and the interplay of California laws with HIPAA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and other federal privacy laws.

Retaliation In The Post-Employment Context
Moderator/Speaker: Nina T. Pirrotti
Speakers: Richard E. Johnson & Michael L. Pitt

Retaliation is alive and well in the post-employment context. We see it in the frivolous lawsuit or counterclaim, or even the otherwise legitimate claim filed with a retaliatory motive—meritless opposition to the departing employee's application for unemployment benefits, the refusal to rehire a qualified candidate, and the negative reference which costs the former employee a new job. Is such retaliation actionable given that the plaintiff was not employed by the defendant when the retaliatory conduct occurred? While there is no universal consensus yet, many courts are answering this question with a resounding "yes," particularly in the post-Burlington Northern world. This panel will discuss the many different guises post-employment retaliation can take and examine how the federal courts have addressed each of them.

Using CIGNA v. Amara To Your Client's Advantage
Moderator/Speaker: Jordan M. Lewis
Speakers: William T. Payne & Teresa S. Renaker

For employee rights practitioners, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision in CIGNA v. Amara offers new arguments to enable pension plan participants to recover monetary awards as a remedy in cases brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act involving breaches of fiduciary duty and unlawful retaliation. The decision establishes that a claim of contract reformation may be brought under ERISA's "catch-all" provision, and its elements appear easier to satisfy than estoppel, the original claim brought by the plaintiffs in this case. Our ERISA experts will dissect the analysis of the case, survey how other courts have interpreted the decision, and tell you how to use it to your client's advantage.
  Emerging Issues

The Impact Of Dukes—One Year Out
Moderator/Speaker: James M. Finberg
Speakers: Cyrus Mehri & Jenny R. Yang

The future of class actions after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes has been cast into doubt. Was the impact of Dukes as bad as we feared? Not so bad? Even worse? How have courts responded to Dukes? What works and what doesn't? Our veteran class and collective action practitioners will discuss the implications of Dukes on multi-plaintiff actions and how best to vindicate employee rights going forward.

This presentation is co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, NELA's charitable public interest organization.
  Employment Law 101

The Whistleblower Laws You Need To Know
Moderator/Speaker: Debra S. Katz
Speakers: Paul J. Lukas & Michael A. Sullivan

Employment attorneys are well versed in the retaliation provisions of anti-discrimination and wage and hour laws, but many other laws provide whistleblower protections for private and public sector employees. From recent whistleblower protections contained in legislation such as the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Product Safety Protection Act, to older protections found in statutes like the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century and the Solid Waste Disposal Act, this session will examine existing whistleblower protections with a focus on lesser known laws, discuss tort whistleblower theories, and evaluate the future of whistleblowing legislation.
  Trial Advocacy

Using Focus Groups Early & Often On A Tight Budget
Moderator/Speaker: Patricia V. Pierce
Speakers: Leslie F. Levy & Richard M. Schall

Using video clips from actual focus groups, NELA members who have worked together on focus groups will provide a "how-to-do-it" presentation, share lessons learned, and discuss how insights gleaned from the focus groups were incorporated into the theory of the case, discovery, and trial.
  California Employment Law

Defamation In The Employment Case
Moderator: Noah D. Lebowitz
Speaker: Christopher H. Whelan

Defamation claims often lurk beneath many of our traditional employment cases. California law provides special protections for workers in this context. Learn from Mr. Whelan, the California Employment Lawyers Association's privacy guru, how to uncover defamation claims, avoid privileges, and use defamation actions to enhance your client's recovery.

Top 10 Tips To Maximize Economic & Compensatory Damages In Employment Cases
Moderator/Speaker: James H. Kaster
Speakers: Amanda A. Farahany, Charles Z. Schalk & Robert W. Wood

Your clients are interested in the value of their case, and rightly so. Why are some cases worth more than others? How do you maximize your client's damages at settlement or trial? Join this interactive presentation where our speakers will share their top tips to help you in evaluating claims for back and front pay, emotional distress, and punitive damages; proving damages; using experts; connecting with the jury; understanding the tax consequences of damage awards and settlements, and more.

Protecting The Rights Of Veterans & Servicemembers In The Workplace
Moderator/Speaker: Kathryn S. Piscitelli
Speakers: David S. Golub & Joyce Walker-Jones

Our speakers will address the effect of Staub v. Proctor Hospital on cases arising under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the types of claims that can be brought under USERRA and other federal laws that protect veterans and servicemembers, procedural considerations, discovery strategies, proving claims, maximizing damages, and more. They will also explore issues that arise for veterans with disabilities under the ADA, USERRA, and other laws, as well as activities of the EEOC in regard to protecting veterans with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace.
6:00-7:00 p.m.

Annual Reception
Annual Reception is included in the registration fee for Registrants only. Guest tickets may be purchased separately.

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


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