New Layer Representing Federal and Public Employees April 5-6, 2024 Doubletree by Hilton Denver Hotel

Spring Seminar Program

Friday, April 5, 2024

8:00-9:00 a.m.Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:45-9:00 a.m.Welcome & Opening Remarks
9:00-10:00 a.m.Updates on Accommodations Law for Federal and Public Workers
Moderator/Speaker: Taylor Secemski
Speakers: Brian East & Rachel E. Ellis
This session will address how new accommodations laws, including the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act, and recent case law on the ADA and Rehabilitation Act are affecting the landscape for workers.
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.CONCURRENT SESSIONS
Working with the DOJ Civil Rights Division (Public Employees)
Moderator: Heidi R. Burakiewicz
Speakers: Taryn Wilgus Null & Zeyen Wu
In this panel, attendees will learn about the role of the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in investigating and litigating Title VII matters against public employers. Attendees will also hear about the increasing presence of U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country in DOJ’s affirmative Title VII work. In this session, DOJ attorneys will discuss the benefits of partnering with the Employment Litigation Section, how to build a collaborative and productive relationship, and learn about some of the considerations in bringing Title VII matters on behalf of the United States.
Tips for Dos and Don’ts from MSPB Administrative Judges (Federal Sector)
Moderator: Debra D'Agostino
Speakers: AJ (ret.) Grace B. Carter, AJ Stephen Mish & AJ Sara Snyder
As the Supreme Court of the United States has said, the “exclusive review scheme” to litigate serious adverse employment actions taken against Federal employees under the Civil Service Reform Act generally runs through the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Many other claims a Federal employee might bring against the government as an employer do, too. This panel, moderated by Debra D’Agostino of The Federal Practice Group, will include current and former MSPB Administrative Judges discussing practical aspects of representing clients before the MSPB. You will learn some “Dos and Don’ts,” differences with employment litigation in other fora, and practice pointers for both novices and more experienced practitioners before the MSPB. Questions and audience participation in this lively discussion will be encouraged.
Emerging Issues in Title IX Litigation (Public Employees)
Moderator/Speaker: Adria Lynn Silva
Speakers: Lauren A. Khouri & Rebecca G. Pontikes
Our expert panelists will share the latest challenges facing educators and how you can best represent your clients when vindicating their rights under Title IX.
Whistleblower Claims: OSC and Beyond (Federal Sector)
Moderator: Sterling L. DeRamus
Speakers: Lynne Bernabei & Kevin L. Owen
Join our panel to learn the nuances of representing federal employee whistleblowers. Learn about the OSC, the NDAA and the Carr factors in this in-depth panel.
Tips for Successfully Navigating EEOC & State FEPA Investigations (Public Employees)
Speakers: Madison Fiedler-Carlson & Iris Halpern
Learn the ins and outs of filing EEOC or FEPA Complaints for state employees, including political considerations, goals, and practical tips for getting what you and your client need out of the process. While the specifics from state-to-state can change, we explore common issues state employees face in the administrative process and how to set up your civil case for success.
Effective Advocacy Before the EEOC (Federal Sector)
Moderator: Morgan Bigelow
Speakers: Gary M. Gilbert & Cheri L. McCracken
In advance of our session with EEOC AJ’s, our expert panelists will share their tips for effectively representing your client before the EEOC and how to deal with potential roadblocks along the way.
Remedies in Public Employee Cases (Public Employees)
Speakers: Adria Lynn Silva & Marni Willenson
Determining the proper remedies for public employee cases can be complicated and unique from the private sector. This session will address the potential tax consequences of remedies and other unique remedies issues you may encounter in the course of your representation.
Maximizing Remedies: Equitable Relief, Damages and Attorney Fees (Federal Sector)
Moderator/Speaker: Kevin L. Owen
Speakers: Bryan J. Schwartz & Harini Srinivasan
The procedure for obtaining a damages award for federal employees can be peculiar in contrast with private sector clients. This session explores how to maximize a damages award before the EEOC and MSPB in individual and class cases, as well as obtaining attorneys fees and back pay.
5:30-7:00 p.m.Reception
Generously co-sponsored by the National Institute for Workers' Rights

Saturday, April 6, 2024

8:00-9:00 a.m.Registration & Continental Breakfast
Public Employees & the First Amendment (Public Employees)
Speakers: Yvette D. Everhart & Ian Kalmanowitz
The question of whether public employees forfeit their first amendment rights in the workplace has been litigated since the late 1800s. Our panelists will discuss the most recent case law developments impacting these cases and what may be on the horizon.
Meet The Heads Of Agencies Responsible For Enforcing Federal Employee Rights (Federal Sector)
Speakers: FLRA Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann & MSPB Chairperson Cathy A. Harris
This panel includes Cathy Harris, Acting Chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and Susan Tsui Grundmann, Chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). MSPB and FLRA are two of the primary federal agencies responsible for enforcing and protecting the civil service and labor relations rights of federal employees. FLRA is an independent administrative federal agency created by Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, also known as the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. MSPB is an independent, quasi-judicial agency in the Executive branch that serves as the guardian of Federal merit systems. This lively panel will address current events at each agency including major initiatives, recent statistics, and unique challenges they face.
Navigating Claims Against Government Employers: From Governmental Immunities to Settlement Considerations (Public Employees)
Speakers: Mari Newman & Felipe Bohnet-Gomez
Litigation against the government is a unique animal, particularly at the beginning and end of a case. From determining which government entities can be sued and understanding their susceptibility to lawsuits, to exploring the nuances of resolving employment claims through settlement, we’ll provide insights to help plaintiffs’ attorneys successfully maneuver through the complexities of pursuing claims against government employers.
Issue Spotting & Election of Remedies in Federal Sector Cases (Federal Sector)
Moderator: Ricardo J.A. Pitts-Wiley
Speakers: Susan E. Jewell & Richard R. Renner
This panel will focus on issue spotting and procedural choices you need to make—tips and traps in elections of remedies—when representing federal employees. We will review advantages and limitations of various options and claims to help you decide what the possible choices are, and aren’t, when pursuing remedies for your clients.
Representing Public Employees in the Pre-Disciplinary Stage (Public Employees)
Speakers: Tad DeLegal, Alicia K. Haynes & Martin C. Kuhn
Attorneys Alicia Haynes, Tad Delegal, and Martin Kuhn discuss the ins and outs of representing public employees in pre-disciplinary matters. The issues discussed will include Loudermill rights and related proceedings, Garrity warnings, Weingarten rights, putting your client in a position to succeed at hearing, among other subjects.
Tips for Dos and Don’ts from EEOC Administrative Judges (Federal Sector)
Moderator: Alexis N. Tsotakos
Speakers: AJ Meghan Droste, AJ Michael Imdieke, AJ Lucila G. Rosas & AJ Andrew Winston
A conversation about best practices in all phases of the federal sector hearing process before EEOC administrative judges, including accommodations of complainants with disabilities, initial conferences, discovery, motion practice, sanctions, settlement, and hearings.
2:45-3:45 p.m.Effective Discovery Techniques When A Public Entity Is Your Adversary
Speakers: Holly V. Franson & Heather Newsom Leonard
This session will ensure you make the most of the discovery process, including obtaining public records and other ESI, when your adversary is a public entity. Our speakers will discuss the nuances of discovery in both federal employee and non-federal public employee cases and how these types of cases differ from private sector litigation.