Overview

After 25 years, UT Law's Labor and Employment Law Conference is more relevant than ever. With two days of timely updates and emerging trends in employment law from leading members of the bar and personnel experts, the conference has earned the reputation as the premier program on employment law practice in Texas.

This year’s highlights include:

  • Exploration of The Boundaries of Employee Free Speech with discussion of the rights of employees to express their views and the competing rights of public and private employers to respond.
  • Insight into unconscious bias in the workplace, including how it may influence workplace decisions and interactions, and the latest approaches and legal implications for addressing it.
  • Examination of current activity involving Leaves of Absence Under the FMLA and ADA, including tactics for pushing back on suspected leave abuse.
  • What Is It Worth? An analysis of how lawyers on each side of the docket value the settlement of cases and how to compare in terms of valuation for standard employment law situations.
  • Focused presentation series on litigation strategies (featuring discussion of expert witnesses and anti-SLAPP concerns) and workforce solutions (featuring discussion of the onboarding process and preventing workplace violence).
  • The latest federal and state employment case law and legislative developments, including disability issues under the ADA, guidance under the NLRA, and more.
At the conclusion of the conference, attendees will receive a bonus eCourse containing an additional hour of ethics to ensure attendees can earn their required 15.0/3.0 MCLE hours for the year.

Event Schedule

Program is subject to change.

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Thursday Morning, May 10, 2018
    Presiding Officer:
    James H. Kizziar Jr., Bracewell - San Antonio, TX and Washington, DC
  • 7:30 am
    Austin Only
    Registration Opens
    Includes continental breakfast.

  • 8:20 am
    Welcoming Remarks

  • 8:30 am
    0.75 hr
    State Employment Law Update: Texas and Beyond
    Review employment-related developments under Texas state law with a discussion of significant new Texas cases and important trends in other states.

    Clara "C. B." Burns, Kemp Smith LLP - El Paso, TX

  • 9:15 am
    0.75 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Federal Employment Law Developments in 2017-2018
    Look back at significant developments in the legislative and executive branches, federal agencies, the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, and explore what the future may hold.

    Linda Ottinger Headley, Littler Mendelson P.C. - Houston, TX

  • 10:00 am
    Break

  • 10:15 am
    0.50 hr
    Data Analytics
    Learn how to easily kick-start your firm’s innovation efforts, close the gender pay gap (for you and your clients), and use data to reduce bias, improve inclusion as part of a diversity and inclusion initiative, and simultaneously use proven scientific methods to improve bottom-line profitability! 
    This session was originally scheduled on Friday, May 11 at 2:45 p.m.

    Zev J. Eigen, Syndio - Los Angeles, CA

  • 10:45 am
    0.75 hr
    Flip-Flop at the Board: What’s Gone, What’s New, What’s Coming Under the NLRA
    A union lawyer and management lawyer discuss and debate the turn of events and precedent at the NLRB, and how that is impacting employment policies and practices for non-union and unionized employers.
    This session was originally scheduled on Thursday, May 10 at 10:15 a.m.

    John V. Jansonius, Jackson Walker LLP - Dallas, TX
    Rod Tanner, Tanner and Associates, PC - Fort Worth, TX

  • 11:30 am
    0.50 hr
    Texas Unemployment and Payday Law Update
    Get updated on how the Texas Workforce Commission has been ruling on unemployment, wage, and discrimination claims. Follow an outline of the most important compliance issues, and hear highlights of the best practices to follow when assisting clients with unemployment and wage claims.

    William T. (Tommy) Simmons, Texas Workforce Commission - Austin, TX

  • 12:00 pm
    Austin Only
    Pick Up Lunch (in Austin)
    Included in registration.

  • Thursday Afternoon, May 10, 2018
    Presiding Officer:
    Rod Tanner, Tanner and Associates, PC - Fort Worth, TX
  • LUNCHEON PRESENTATION
  • 12:20 pm
    0.75 hr
    Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality
    Understand the fundamental tensions in anti-discrimination law, how it impacts plaintiffs and defendants in the litigation system, and hear practical recommendations for how to better respond to persistent patterns of discrimination.

    Laura Beth Nielsen, Northwestern University and American Bar Foundation - Chicago, IL

  • 1:05 pm
    Break

  • 1:20 pm
    0.75 hr
    Leaves of Absence Under the FMLA and ADA
    Hear a real time update on current activity from the federal agencies, the courts, and the plaintiffs’ bar relating to employee leaves of absence from work for medical reasons. Explore, among other things, navigating complex FMLA issues, changes to the FMLA landscape in recent years, the blending of FMLA leaves into leaves as an accommodation under the ADA, when enough is enough in terms of extended leaves of absence, and tactics to push back on suspected leave abuse.

    Alexis C. Knapp, Littler Mendelson P.C. - Houston, TX

  • 2:05 pm
    0.50 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Reputational Risk: Managing Perceptions with Image Repair
    When the reputation of the client is uncertain and “no comment” is not an option, hear from a public relations veteran and an employment attorney on strategies for communicating with the public and employees. Discussion includes the advanced Image Repair Theory crisis communication guide, coordinating the legal and communications team, and the professional ethical rules that govern lawyers when speaking about ongoing conflict.

    Jeff Hahn, Hahn Public Communications - Austin, TX
    Tom Nesbitt, DeShazo & Nesbitt LLP - Austin, TX

  • 2:35 pm
    Austin Only
    Break (in Austin)

  • Track A: Workforce Solutions
    Presiding Officer:
    Shannon B. Schmoyer, Schmoyer Reinhard LLP - San Antonio, TX
  • SPECIAL NOTICE: Live Webcast Includes Workforce Solutions Only
    The live webcast includes the Workforce Solutions track but not the Litigation Strategies track. The materials for both tracks are available in the course materials, and approximately 6-8 weeks after the conference the Workforce Solutions video and Litigation Strategies audio will both be available in "Your Briefcase."

  • 2:45 pm
    0.75 hr
    The New Gender and Sexuality
    Legal update and practical workplace impact of social and cultural shifts with respect to the evolving terminology and variety of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

    Laura M. Merritt, Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. - Austin, TX

  • 3:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    Legal Issues in the Onboarding Process
    The onboarding process involves a variety of legal issues, including immigration law compliance (I-9 forms), dispute resolution (arbitration agreements or jury waivers), and the protection of company information (confidentiality, non-solicitation and/or non-competition agreements). Discuss onboarding strategies that protect the employer’s interests without alienating new employees.

    Vianei Lopez Braun, Decker Jones, P.C. - Fort Worth, TX

  • 4:00 pm
    0.50 hr
    Threat Matrix: Preventing and Responding to Workplace Violence
    Violence in the workplace is rarely random which means there are often clues and an opportunity to deter or minimize the harm and havoc. Identify and balance the legal issues and practical concerns, use the provided checklist to assess your threat matrix and prepare reasonable countermeasures.

    Audrey E. Mross, Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP - Dallas, TX

  • 4:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    Disaster Planning and Response
    Recent events have underscored the need for employers to develop and maintain a disaster response plan. Explore the legal issues involved in this sort of planning, and how to make sure the interests of both employees and employers are addressed in your plan.

    Connie L. Cornell, Cornell Smith Mierl & Brutocao, LLP - Austin, TX

  • 5:00 pm
    Adjourn

  • Track B: Litigation Strategies
    Presiding Officer:
    Kenneth D. Hughes, Hughes Roch LLP - Houston, TX

  • Austin Only
    SPECIAL NOTICE: Live Webcast Does Not Include Litigation Strategies
    The live webcast includes the Workforce Solutions track but not the Litigation Strategies track. The materials for both tracks are available in the course materials, and approximately 6-8 weeks after the conference the Workforce Solutions video and Litigation Strategies audio will both be available in "Your Briefcase."

  • 2:45 pm
    Austin Only
    0.75 hr
    Anti-SLAPP for Employment Lawyers
    The Texas Citizens Participation Act created new challenges in pursuing, and new opportunities for defending, certain employment-related claims. Review recent case law interpretations and analyze Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute, it's expanding reach, and the implications for employment lawyers.

    Sean M. Becker, Vinson & Elkins LLP - Houston, TX

  • 3:30 pm
    Austin Only
    0.50 hr
    Effective Use of Expert Witnesses
    Expert witnesses can make or break your case. Explore different ways to use them, and what you can and can't do with their testimony.

    Robert E. Sheeder, Bracewell - Dallas, TX

  • 4:00 pm
    Austin Only
    0.50 hr
    ADR Advantages, Disadvantages and Techniques: The Smoothest (Mostly) Road to Yes... or at Least to Closure
    From both sides of the docket, experienced employment litigators now serving as mediators and arbitrators address why, when, and how employment claims can be resolved quickly and efficiently through mediation or arbitration, dispelling certain misconceptions, and suggesting ways to avoid common errors in ADR.

    Richard R. Brann, Baker Botts - Houston, TX
    David T. Lopez, Attorney-Arbitrator-Mediator - Houston, TX

  • 4:30 pm
    Austin Only
    0.50 hr
    Damages in Trade Secret and Non-Compete Cases
    Damages are a crucial but often overlooked component of litigation arising from restrictive covenants. This presentation addresses key legal principles and recent developments in the area of damages in this type of litigation.

    Vanessa M. Griffith, Vinson & Elkins LLP - Dallas, TX

  • 5:00 pm
    Austin Only
    Adjourn

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Friday Morning, May 11, 2018
    Presiding Officer:
    Laura M. Merritt, Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. - Austin, TX
  • 7:30 am
    Austin Only
    Conference Room Opens
    Includes continental breakfast.

  • 8:30 am
    0.75 hr
    Public Sector Update
    Discuss recent developments of importance for representing government employees, including First Amendment, due process, privacy, political patronage, and state law developments in the public workplace.

    B. Craig Deats, Deats, Durst & Owen, P.L.L.C. - Austin, TX
    Natalie G. DeLuca, Metropolitan Transit Authority - Houston, TX

  • 9:15 am
    0.75 hr
    Developments in Disability Discrimination Law
    Review significant regulatory and court developments under the Americans with Disabilities Act and gain insights into emerging disability issues.

    James H. Kizziar Jr., Bracewell - San Antonio, TX and Washington, DC

  • 10:00 am
    Break

  • 10:15 am
    0.50 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Misbehavior in the C-Suite
    Misconduct by senior executives implicates unique issues and challenges for employers and lawyers alike. Using real-world examples, explore strategies for handling allegations of misconduct in the C-Suite and how to proceed when those allegations are substantiated. Examine the unique ethical issues presented when a client representative refuses to follow the advice of counsel for dealing with executive misconduct.

    Jason Boulette, Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. - Austin, TX

  • 10:45 am
    0.75 hr
    The Boundaries of Employee Free Speech
    As social media continues to evolve, employees are increasingly able to express their personal opinions on current events to wider audiences. Examine the rights of employees to express their views both inside and outside the workplace, and the competing rights of public and private employers to respond to those views when they conflict with their own values or those of their customers or employees. Explore when an employer may actually be obligated to take action against an employee for views expressed outside the workplace, including discussion of real-world situations like the events of Charlottesville, VA, the viral misogynistic "manifesto" written by an engineer employed by a giant in the technology industry, and an NFL player’s decision to take a stand by taking a knee.

    Jason Boulette, Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. - Austin, TX
    B. Lee Crawford Jr., City of Austin Law Department - Austin, TX
    Malinda A. Gaul, Gaul and Dumont - San Antonio, TX

  • 11:30 am
    0.50 hr
    The #MeToo Movement: Harassment in the Workplace 
    In 2017, we saw a new surge in harassment claims. Learn about appropriate workplace training and hear viewpoints from both the employee and the management-side experts.

    Amy Gibson, Gibson Wiley PLLC - Dallas, TX
    Shannon B. Schmoyer, Schmoyer Reinhard LLP - San Antonio, TX

  • 12:00 pm
    Austin Only
    Pick Up Lunch (in Austin)
    Included in registration.

  • Friday Afternoon, May 11, 2018
    Presiding Officer:
    Linda Ottinger Headley, Littler Mendelson P.C. - Houston, TX
  • LUNCHEON PRESENTATION
  • 12:20 pm
    0.75 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Emerging from the Shadows: Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
    While the existence of unconscious bias is inevitable, the way we deal with hidden biases in the workplace is enormously important. Examine how unconscious bias may influence workplace decisions and interactions, and discuss the latest approaches and legal implications for addressing it. 

    Katrina Grider, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. - Houston, TX

  • 1:05 pm
    Break

  • 1:20 pm
    0.75 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Investigations in Today's Woke Workplace
    A veteran workplace investigator shares critical tips for ensuring that every complaint investigation is thorough, in good faith, and reliable in the midst of the #MeToo movement, instant social media postings, and polarizing employee relations issues.

    DeDe Church, DeDe Church & Associates, LLC - Austin, TX

  • 2:05 pm
    0.50 hr
    What Is It Worth?
    How do lawyers on each side of the docket value the settlement of cases, and how do you compare in terms of valuation for standard employment law situations?

    Philip Durst, Deats, Durst & Owen, P.L.L.C. - Austin, TX

  • 2:35 pm
    Break

  • 2:45 pm
    0.50 hr
    Wage and Hour Update
    Wage and hour lawsuits continue to proliferate, and rules continue to evolve. Examine intricacies of the FLSA and developing trends in regulation and case law.
    This session was originally scheduled on Thursday, May 10 at 11:00 a.m.

    Jason M. Storck, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. - Austin, TX

  • 3:15 pm
    0.75 hr ethics
    Ethics for Employment Attorneys
    Get updated on cutting-edge ethics issues, including attorney-client privilege and waiver issues, ex parte communications, access to social media and computer information, inadvertent disclosure and improper acquisition of confidential information, litigation holds and spoliation issues, and settlement negotiations.

    Dennis P. Duffy, Baker & Hostetler LLP - Houston, TX

  • 4:00 pm
    Adjourn

Conference Faculty

Sean M. Becker

Vinson & Elkins LLP
Houston, TX

Jason Boulette

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Austin, TX

Richard R. Brann

Baker Botts
Houston, TX

Vianei Lopez Braun

Decker Jones, P.C.
Fort Worth, TX

Clara "C. B." Burns

Kemp Smith LLP
El Paso, TX

DeDe Church

DeDe Church & Associates, LLC
Austin, TX

Connie L. Cornell

Cornell Smith Mierl & Brutocao, LLP
Austin, TX

B. Lee Crawford Jr.

City of Austin Law Department
Austin, TX

B. Craig Deats

Deats, Durst & Owen, P.L.L.C.
Austin, TX

Natalie G. DeLuca

Metropolitan Transit Authority
Houston, TX

Dennis P. Duffy

Baker & Hostetler LLP
Houston, TX

Philip Durst

Deats, Durst & Owen, P.L.L.C.
Austin, TX

Zev J. Eigen

Syndio
Los Angeles, CA

Malinda A. Gaul

Gaul and Dumont
San Antonio, TX

Amy Gibson

Gibson Wiley PLLC
Dallas, TX

Katrina Grider

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Houston, TX

Vanessa M. Griffith

Vinson & Elkins LLP
Dallas, TX

Jeff Hahn

Hahn Public Communications
Austin, TX

Linda Ottinger Headley

Littler Mendelson P.C.
Houston, TX

John V. Jansonius

Jackson Walker LLP
Dallas, TX

James H. Kizziar Jr.

Bracewell
San Antonio, TX and Washington, DC

Alexis C. Knapp

Littler Mendelson P.C.
Houston, TX

David T. Lopez

Attorney-Arbitrator-Mediator
Houston, TX

Laura M. Merritt

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Austin, TX

Audrey E. Mross

Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP
Dallas, TX

Tom Nesbitt

DeShazo & Nesbitt LLP
Austin, TX

Laura Beth Nielsen

Northwestern University and American Bar Foundation
Chicago, IL

Shannon B. Schmoyer

Schmoyer Reinhard LLP
San Antonio, TX

Robert E. Sheeder

Bracewell
Dallas, TX

William T. (Tommy) Simmons

Texas Workforce Commission
Austin, TX

Jason M. Storck

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.
Austin, TX

Rod Tanner

Tanner and Associates, PC
Fort Worth, TX

Planning Committee

James H. Kizziar Jr.—Chair

Bracewell
San Antonio, TX and Washington, DC

Deborah Salzberg—Director

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Sean M. Becker

Vinson & Elkins LLP
Houston, TX

Jason Boulette

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Austin, TX

Richard R. Brann

Baker Botts
Houston, TX

Vianei Lopez Braun

Decker Jones, P.C.
Fort Worth, TX

Clara "C. B." Burns

Kemp Smith LLP
El Paso, TX

B. Lee Crawford Jr.

City of Austin Law Department
Austin, TX

Philip Durst

Deats, Durst & Owen, P.L.L.C.
Austin, TX

Malinda A. Gaul

Gaul and Dumont
San Antonio, TX

Linda Ottinger Headley

Littler Mendelson P.C.
Houston, TX

Kenneth D. Hughes

Hughes Roch LLP
Houston, TX

John V. Jansonius

Jackson Walker LLP
Dallas, TX

David T. Lopez

Attorney-Arbitrator-Mediator
Houston, TX

Laura M. Merritt

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Austin, TX

Audrey E. Mross

Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP
Dallas, TX

Tom Nesbitt

DeShazo & Nesbitt LLP
Austin, TX

Shannon B. Schmoyer

Schmoyer Reinhard LLP
San Antonio, TX

Robert E. Sheeder

Bracewell
Dallas, TX

Rod Tanner

Tanner and Associates, PC
Fort Worth, TX

Credit Info

MCLE Credit
A Texas MCLE Reporting Form will be included in your course materials. Please complete and return to the registration desk and UT Law CLE will report credit on your behalf to the State Bar of Texas, or you can self-report your credit directly to the State Bar of Texas at texasbar.com. A Certificate of Attendance will be provided at the conference to keep for your records.  
At the conference, you will need to sign in on the Record of Attendance form at the registration desk. Self-report your CLE credit directly to the State Bar of California at calbar.ca.gov. You will receive a Certificate of Attendance at the conference to keep for your records. UT Law CLE will maintain Attendance Records for four years.  
At the conference, you will need to sign in on the Record of Attendance form at the registration desk. You will receive a Certificate of Attendance at the conference to keep for your records. UT Law CLE will report credit on your behalf to the Oklahoma Bar Association within 30 days after the conference.
Note on Self-Reporting Your Credits in Another State
If you wish to satisfy MCLE or other professional education requirements in another state for a program offered by the University of Texas School of Law, please check with the state bar or other licensing authority in that state before taking the program to ensure it will qualify for self-reporting your credits.
Other Credit
This activity has been approved for recertification credit hours toward California, GPHR, HRBP, HRMP, PHR and SPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. A HRCI Certificate with the activity ID number will be included as part of the course materials provided at the conference. This type of accreditation (HRCI) is only available for live conferences, and does not apply to live webcasts.

For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org
The University of Texas School of Law is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.
The University of Texas School of Law (Provider #250) live conferences are presumptively approved by The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy for Texas Accounting CPE credit based on a 50-minute credit hour. Approved for general CPE credit only.

At the conference, you will need to sign in on the Accounting CPE Record of Attendance form at the registration desk. You will receive a Texas Accounting Certificate of Completion at the conference for your records. Self-report your CPE credit directly to TSBPA. UT Law CLE will maintain Attendance Records for four years.  

Contact Laura Tolin, ltolin@law.utexas.edu, if you have additional questions.
MCLE Credit
UT Law CLE will report credit to the State Bar of Texas on your behalf. If you are claiming credit in the last week of your birth month, self-report your credit directly to the State Bar of Texas at texasbar.com. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you upon claiming credit.
Self-report your CLE credit directly to the State Bar of California at calbar.ca.gov. Print and keep the Certificate of Completion for your records. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you upon claiming credit.
The University of Texas School of Law (Provider #169) live webcast presentations meet the requirements and are presumptively approved by the Oklahoma Bar Association for MCLE credit based on a 50-minute credit hour. This accreditation requires attendance verification. In compliance with the rules, UT Law CLE monitors and records attendee responses to questions that randomly appear during the live webcast presentation. The response record is detailed on the Certificate of Completion.

To claim Oklahoma MCLE credit, Oklahoma credit option must be selected PRIOR to viewing the live webcast. Upon claiming credit, a Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you. UT Law CLE will report credit on your behalf to the Oklahoma Bar Association within 30 days after the webcast.
Note on Self-Reporting Your Credits in Another State
If you wish to satisfy MCLE or other professional education requirements in another state for a program offered by the University of Texas School of Law, please check with the state bar or other licensing authority in that state to ensure it will qualify for self-reporting your credits.

To claim Other States MCLE credit, Other States credit option must be selected PRIOR to viewing the live webcast. Upon claiming credit, a Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you.

This accreditation requires attendance verification. UT Law CLE monitors and records attendee responses to questions that randomly appear during the live webcast presentation. The response record is detailed on the Certificate of Completion .

MCLE credit is presented based on a 60-minute credit hour.
Other Credit
The University of Texas School of Law (Provider #250) live webcast presentations meet the requirements and are presumptively approved by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy for Texas Accounting CPE credit based on a 50-minute credit hour. Approved for general CPE credit only.

This accreditation requires attendance verification. In compliance with the rules, UT Law CLE monitors and records attendee responses to questions that randomly appear during the live webcast presentation. The response record is detailed on the Certificate of Completion.

To claim Texas Accounting CPE credit, the Texas Accounting CPE credit option must be selected PRIOR to viewing the live webcast. Upon claiming credit, a Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you. Self-report your CPE credit directly to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

Contact Laura Tolin, ltolin@law.utexas.edu, if you have additional questions.

Key Dates

Austin – May 10-11, 2018 – AT&T Conference Center
Conference Concluded
Live Webcast – May 10-11, 2018
Conference Concluded
Buy
Austin
Last day for Individual early registration: May 2, 2018

Add $50 for registrations received after this time

Last day for Group (5 registrants minimum) early registration: May 2, 2018

Add $50 for registrations received after this time

Last day for Group (10 registrants minimum) early registration: May 2, 2018

Add $50 for registrations received after this time

Last day for cancellation (full refund): May 4, 2018

$50 processing fee applied after this date

Last day for cancellation: May 7, 2018
Live Webcast
Last day for cancellation (full refund): May 4, 2018

$50 processing fee applied after this date

Last day for cancellation: May 7, 2018

Venue

speaker

The University of Texas at Austin
1900 University Avenue
Austin, TX
877.744.8822 (reservations)
Map

Accommodations

$189 room rate good through April 16, 2018 (subject to availability).

Reservations 

Parking Information

Free daily self-parking at UT garages. Separate fees apply for valet and overnight parking. 

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