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Event Details

    PCHRA April Member Meeting - 1/2 Day Conference: Workplace Law Today: Applying Traditional Employment Law Principles to Modern-Day Situations

    Date: April 20, 2023, 7:30am – 12:00pm
    Kent State Hotel and Conference Center

    7:30am - Registration Opens
    7:50am - Networking & Breakfast
    7:55am - Announcements
    8:00am - Presentations Begin
    Price: Tiered
    Event Type:
    PCHRA Monthly Meeting (Blended)
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    Our employment law partners at Kastner Westman & Wilkins will provide a ½-day conference on employment law challenges and solutions.  The event is divided into 3 separate presentation topics garnering national attention not only in the legal community but at the doorstep of most businesses:

    1. DE&I – Beyond Compliance,  
    2. Employee Behavior in Hybrid/Remote Workplaces, and
    3. Employee Mental Health & FMLA/ADA.   

    Details are below!

    To register for the event, select the button: 

    Session 1: DE&I: Beyond Compliance

    The DE&I session is a discussion led by Attorney Amanda Smith presenting ideas on how to strengthen and protect your organization by being proactive and intentional about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.   The business case for cultivating a more diverse workforce simply cannot be denied. The employer that proceeds with (good) intention and takes a holistic approach to DE&I initiatives will not only enjoy the benefits of a diverse workforce but can also greatly mitigate the risks associated with harassment and discrimination claims.   

    During the discussion, Amanda will present simple, but effective steps that employers can take to achieve DE&I goals while also reducing legal risk.  From this session participants will learn about:

    • Evaluating the roles that criminal history and social media play in the hiring processes.
    • Addressing bias in the recruitment and interviewing process.
    • Reviewing the type of language used in employee handbooks and other policies.
    • Regularly assessing whether employees are paid equitably and taking appropriate remedial measures when they are not.

    About the Presenter:

    Amanda Smith is an Ohio State Bar Association-certified specialist in labor and employment law, and a shareholder in Kastner Westman & Wilkins. She represents public and private employers in many types of labor and employment matters, including with labor negotiations and arbitration as well as charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and other state fair employment practice agencies. She counsels employers on litigation and alternative dispute resolution matters, as well as wage/hour compliance, performance and leave management, discipline, and workplace policies. Amanda firmly believes in the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). In furtherance of her commitment to advancing DE&I initiatives both at K|W|W and beyond, Amanda completed the National DiversityFirst certification program to become a National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional and regularly counsels employers on DE&I-related matters.

    Session 2: Employee Behavior in Hybrid/Remote Workplaces

    The Hybrid/Remote Workplaces session will be an interactive discussion of case studies in harassment and discrimination led by Attorney Julie TroutProfessionalism is the foundation of an effective and legally compliant workplace.  Addressing inappropriate conduct that affects work – including harassment, bullying, and discrimination – is critical to the success of any organization. 

    This highly interactive session will aid attendees in taking practical steps to identify, understand, and address different types of unprofessional and potentially unlawful conduct at work.  Topics pursued will include:

    • Understanding the difference between inappropriate conduct, bullying, and unlawful harassment or discrimination.
    • Exploring the expanding scope of the workplace.
    • Best practices for addressing employee conduct in a hybrid or remote work environment.

    About the Presenter:

    Julie Trout is a management-side labor and employment attorney, assisting employers by providing legal counsel and practical HR advice enabling them to maintain positive, proactive workplaces.  Julie has practiced with Kastner Westman & Wilkins since 2011. She finds helping clients comply with the full range of labor and employment laws very fulfilling. Julie enjoys helping clients prevent problems by providing proactive advice on various topics, including complicated leave management or reasonable accommodation issues, wage/hour compliance, performance management and corrective action. In addition to this advice, Julie represents employers when discrimination charges arise, including before the EEOC, the NLRB, and state fair employment practice agencies.  Julie graduated with honors from the University of Akron School of Law. She received her B.S., with honors, from Grove City College.

    Session 3: Employee Mental Health and FMLA/ADA

    The Employee Mental Health session, led by Attorney Tom Green, will focus attention on how ADA amendments prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on an individual’s disability are impacting companies. Statistically, most employers will have at least one employee with a psychiatric impairment rising to the level of a legally protected disability; larger employers may have more. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with known physical or mental disabilities and the Family and Medical Leave Act provides job-protected leave and benefits continuation for these employees.

    This session will address the complicated issues of:

    • Identifying mental health issues, even when it is uncomfortable.
    • Not shying away from mental impairments and disabilities using an effective accommodation framework like a physical disability.
    • Addressing serious mental health conditions and extending the same FMLA rights available for physical health conditions.
    • Effectively and confidentially utilizing employee medical information to address mental health related FMLA and ADA rights.
    • Managing employee performance and employee relations issues that may arise when an employee is experiencing a mental health issue.

    About the Presenter:

    Tom Green spends most of his professional time helping employers stay compliant and out of trouble. Years as a blue-collar worker prior to attending law school gives Tom a unique perspective on employee relations and other workplace law advice.  Tom is a long-time Ohio State Bar Association-certified specialist in labor and employment law, and has practiced workplace law at Kastner Westman & Wilkins for over 20 years, the last 14+ as a shareholder.

    He has vast experience in the representation of large, multi-state employers, and the challenges that accompany running a business with employees spread over many jurisdictions.  His advice is in the areas of disability accommodation, family and medical leave management, wage/hour compliance, labor relations, reductions in force/workforce restructuring, and many others. He regularly practices before federal and state agencies like the EEOC, NLRB, OCRC, and defends employment related claims throughout the nation’s courts.  Tom is an active volunteer with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where he is a past board chairperson, and at Cleveland State University’s College of Law, where he is a 2002 magna cum laude graduate.  Tom is also past president of the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce.