Conn Maciel Carey Opens Columbus, Ohio Office

Conn Maciel Carey LLP announced today the opening of its Columbus, Ohio office. It is the firm’s sixth office nationally and the second location in the Midwest. The new office represents another important step in the firm’s continued growth in the region, together with the opening of its Chicago office last year.

Columbus is a growing Midwest hub and is centrally located to many of the nation’s current and historic industrial centers. With an expanded Midwest presence, Conn Maciel Carey attorneys now provide enhanced services to its national clients operating in the Midwest.

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We are excited about our expanding Midwest presence” said Managing Partner Bryan Carey. “The Columbus office will allow the firm to build upon the success of our 2018 launch of our Chicago office, offering clients operating in the central U.S. greater proximity to our attorneys, resources, and counsel.

Nicholas W. Scala, a partner with the firm, will lead the Columbus office. Mr. Scala joined the Firm in 2016, founding the firm’s MSHA Practice Group, which he chairs. His practice services the mining industry, managing all interaction with, and contest of enforcement by, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for companies operating in the coal, aggregates, industrial minerals, and cement industries. He also CMC Headshot (2017)supports the firm’s national OSHA Practice Group, representing general industry and construction companies in connection with inspections and enforcement actions by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Mr. Scala works with state mining associations in Ohio and Illinois and represents clients throughout the Midwest and Ohio River Valley regions. He was named a Super Lawyer Rising Star in Washington, D.C. in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The Columbus market offers a fantastic opportunity for not only our MSHA Practice, but for OSHA and Labor and Employment, as well,” said Scala. “Working with attorneys spanning the firm’s existing offices and groups, we will build upon the firm’s experience and proven client service, bringing additional value to the Midwest. Specific to our firm’s Workplace Safety Practice Group, Columbus is centrally located to several of the most active mining regions in the country, as well as a historically active area for regulatory enforcement over the construction and general industry sectors. It’s a growing and dynamic market that I am eager to grow the firm in.

The Columbus office will expand Conn Maciel Carey’s national Labor and Employment and OSHA practice groups. The Labor and Employment Practice Group, led by founding partner Kara M. Maciel, provides employment defense in both state and federal courts, labor-management relations, as well as day-to-day counseling on a vast array of employment matters. The OSHA Practice Group, led by founding partner Eric J. Conn, represents a wide-range of clients across the country in all aspects of their interaction with OSHA and state OSH programs.

In addition to its Midwest offices, the boutique law firm, which was founded in 2014, has offices in Washington D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; and San Francisco, California.

Here is a link to a press release issued by the Firm about these exciting developments.

[Webinar] Guide to Responding to 11(c) Safety Retaliation Complaints and Notices of Alleged Hazards / Employee Safety Complaints

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 1 pm EST, join Kate M. McMahon of Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA • Workplace Safety Group and Lindsay A. DiSalvo of Conn Maciel Carey’s national Labor & Employment Practice Group for a complimentary webinar: Guide to Responding to 11(c) Safety Retaliation Complaints and Notices of Alleged Hazards / Employee Safety Complaints.

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When OSHA receives a complaint related to employee safety and health or a severe injury report, OSHA often gives the employer an opportunity to respond before it takes the more extreme action of opening an inspection.  In addition, when OSHA receives an allegation of retaliation, it must provide the employer a chance to explain why the action of which it is accused was legitimate or did not occur as alleged.  These responses are an opportunity for the employer to provide sufficient information to avoid a full-blown OSHA inspection or becoming enmeshed in the litigation of a retaliation claim.  A strong and thorough response could resolve OSHA’s concerns and resolve the retaliation complaint in a favorable manner for the employer.  However, these responses could also create a written record of admissions to which OSHA can hold the employer accountable, and any supporting documentation may be closely scrutinized and potentially used to create liability.  Thus, employers must be strategic about the information they share at this early stage and should ensure there is a procedure in place for managing and developing these responses.

​Participants will learn about the following:​

  • The types of complaints and incidents that lead OSHA to request information from the employer;

  • Specific prohibitions of Section 11(c) (OSHA’s anti-retaliation law) and how retaliation complaints are evaluated;

  • Strategies employers can use to effectively respond to Section 11(c) complaints, Notices of Alleged Hazards, and RRI requests; and

  • Proactive measures employers can take to avoid employee complaints.

This program is valid for 1.00 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. 

Click here to register for this webinar.

Good Faith Goes a Long Way: The Benefits of Fully Engaging in the Interactive Process Mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act

On Monday, March 25, 2019, I had the privilege to co-present on reasonable accommodations and the interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) at the HR in Hospitality Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the issues Picture1covered during our presentation involved the fact that the ADA does not require that employers provide the specific accommodation requested by an employee as long as the employer offers a reasonable accommodation to the employee who made the request.  While employers can use their business judgment when deciding how best to reasonably accommodate an employee, a settlement recently announced by the EEOC underscores that many employers would be well-advised to develop internal procedures or guidelines to help ensure that those involved in the accommodation process understand what is expected of them and the company when responding to accommodation requests.   According to a lawsuit filed by EEOC in Minnesota, a Bath and Body Works store failed to reasonably accommodation a sales associate with type-1 diabetes suffering retinopathy who asked that a larger monitor screen be placed at the cash register.  Instead, a store manager purchased what the EEOC described as “a cheap, hand-held magnifying glass” to be used by the sales associate when working the register.

Under a consent decree settling the suit (EEOC v. Bath and Body Works), Bath and Body Works agreed to pay Continue reading

N.J. Court Opens Door for Employees to File Disability Discrimination Claims for Adverse Employment Actions Related to Medical Marijuana Use

Several states have taken steps toward legalizing marijuana in some form.  However, these laws differ in many respects and raise interesting questions for employers, especially as they relate to off-duty conduct.

While some states such as Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota provide specific statutory protections for employees that have a valid prescription for medical marijuana, there has been an increase in litigation under state disability discrimination laws for failure to accommodate an employee’s use of marijuana to treat a disability. The lingering question remains whether an employer’s decision to take an adverse action against an employee for using medical marijuana outside the workplace is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or a state’s disability Continue reading

[Webinar] Withdrawal Liability & Pensions

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at 1 pm EST, join Mark M. Trapp of Conn Maciel Carey’s national Labor & Employment Practice Group for a complimentary webinar: Withdrawal Liability & Pensions.

This webinar will address the significant challenges faced by companies participating in multiemployer plans. Specifically, it will help unionized employers understand and analyze what is often the most critical challenge facing their business – multiemployer pension withdrawal liability.shutterstock_pension

Participants will learn about the following:

  • Specific strategies to analyze and potentially minimize withdrawal liability

  • The latest developments in litigating withdrawal liability assessments, including the proper interest rate and the calculation of the credit for a prior partial withdrawal

  • Recently-proposed regulations by the PBGC that could have a huge impact on the amount employers pay for withdrawal liability

This program is valid for 1.00 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.

Click here to register for this webinar.

Have Faith: 4.9 Million Dollar Settlement Underscores Importance of Accommodating Religious Beliefs During Hiring Process

What happens when the religious beliefs of an applicant conflict with your grooming and appearance policy?  What if the applicant is seeking a public-facing position in which they will be the first (and only) representative of your organization with whom most members of the public interact?  shutterstock_EEOCWhile some employers may believe that “image is everything” when it comes to the appearance of their public-facing employees, a 4.9 million-dollar settlement of a religious discrimination lawsuit announced recently by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) serves as a stark reminder to employers that even your most straightforward policies may need to be modified in certain situations.  As detailed in our June 7, 2018 blog post, the EEOC has been aggressively making good on the promise made in the agency’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017 – 2021 to focus on “class-based recruitment and hiring practices” that discriminate against people with disabilities by filing a series of lawsuits accusing employers of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by inquiring about prior medical histories, subjecting applicants to physical capacity tests and refusing to hire individuals who disclosed certain conditions.  The agency’s Strategic Enforcement Plan similarly committed to rooting out religious barriers to employment.  This is important because while many employers readily understand the need to reasonably accommodate disabled applicants and employees, it seems that some employers fail to grasp that they may also have to accommodate religious beliefs and practices of applicants and employees.

What the Law Requires

Title VII requires that employers, once informed that a religious accommodation is needed, accommodate an employee whose sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with a work requirement, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.  If an employer’s dress and grooming policy conflicts with an employee’s known religious beliefs or practices, the EEOC expects Continue reading

[Webinar] #MeToo Movement Update: Practical Strategies for Training, Investigations, and Discipline

shutterstock_me tooOn Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 1 pm EST, join Kara M. Maciel and Lindsay A. DiSalvo of Conn Maciel Carey’s national Labor & Employment Practice Group for a complimentary webinar: #MeToo Movement Update: Practical Strategies for Training, Investigations, and Discipline.

In 2017, we saw the proliferation of the #MeToo Movement with a slew of high-profile allegations of sexual harassment and assault and tens of thousands of people, mostly women, voicing their own experiences on social media using the hashtag “MeToo”.  Its momentum continued into 2018, with more people coming forward to make allegations of sexual assault and harassment and the Movement’s purpose becoming an even more prominent and influential topic of discourse.  Its significance and impact has not slowed and its influence and impact is likely to be felt into 2019 and beyond.  So, what does this mean for employers?

In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, the amount of sexual harassment claims filed with the EEOC increased by almost 14% in FY 2018 versus FY 2017.  In addition, the EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits against employers in FY 2018, which is more than a 50% increase in EEOC suits challenging sexual harassment compared to FY 2017.  Thus, it is more important than ever for employers to ensure they are effectively preventing and addressing sexual harassment in the work environment through their policies, training, and investigative procedures.

Participants will learn about the following:

  • The legal standards for sexual harassment and their nuances
  • Elements of an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure
  • Elements of a sexual harassment training program
  • Best Practices for investigating complaints of sexual harassment
  • Recommendations for how to respond to sexually harassing conduct

Click here to register for this webinar.