News and Announcements

Updates from the Labor and Employment Section

Past Events

Sept. 17, 2015

The Labor and Employment Section’s second “East of the Mountains” Mini-CLE and social event was quite a success.  Over 125 people registered for the event, and several others “walked-in” and registered/attended the day of the event.  This was about double the number who attended the first such event held by the Section a couple of years ago.   

Once again this event afforded attendees a great opportunity to meaningfully engage with lawyers and judges from the eastern part of the state in a relaxed and conversational environment.   Speakers this year included Robert A. Dunn, with his co-counsel Alexandra John (Dunn Black & Roberts, Spokane), who provided a case-study of the recent successful plaintiff’s disability case in federal court, Carlson v. City of Spokane – with practical tips or “take-aways” beneficial to plaintiff and defense counsel; and enlightening trial court insights – or lawyer Do’s and Don’ts – from Judges Wm. Fremming Nielsen (U.S. DCT EDWA), Kathleen M. O’Connor (Spokane County Superior Court); and Thomas O. Rice (U.S. DCT EDWA).   

The Section looks forward to presenting more of these type events as a benefit to its members across the state.

 Robert Dunn, Alexandria John, Keller Allen, Leslie Hagin

 Robert Dunn

 Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen, Judge O'Connor, Judge Rice, William Symmes

Nov. 22, 2013

The 2013 Annual CLE and Luncheon in Seattle on November 22, 2013 at the Washington State Convention Center was very successful, and afforded members from all over the state a special opportunity to focus on the most important developments in both state and federal employment law; learn practice tips from experienced attorneys; and to discuss the issues affecting members’ practice. Attendance was approximately 200, with almost half of those participating through the live webcast option. Each topic was addressed by a panel comprising a range of perspectives – e.g., plaintiff’s counsel, defense counsel, union counsel, government counsel. The panels featured speakers from the east side of state as well as the Puget Sound region.

Presentations included those by preeminent practitioners, as well as by Gonzaga School of Law Dean Jane Korn; Erica Temple of the Washington State Bar Association Office of Professional Responsibility, and Michael Chin of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights. Among many highlights were the panels on emerging issues in labor law as to NLRA-protected “concerted activity” (including those in the electronic age, and which apply to non-unionized workplaces as well as unionized workplaces); the current state of whistleblowing and anti-retaliation laws; unique issues and risks presented by social media in the workplace; ethical issues that arise in multiple-client representation situations (for both plaintiffs and defendants); an update on recent developments in medical leave laws; and a discussion about whether age discrimination claims are, or should be different from other discrimination claims. There were also thorough updates presented on recent developments in state law and federal law in labor and employment law.

The program, and list of panels/speakers, are summarized in the overview here. In addition, at the luncheon/annual section business meeting, the three law school summer internship grant recipients (from Gonzaga, Seattle University, and the University of Washington law schools) were recognized. They each gave a report about the important and educational work they were enabled to do in the summer of 2013 through their receipt of the Section’s annual, competitive summer grant awards. Lauren Berkowitz – University of Washington – interned with Teamsters Local Union No. 117; Benjamin Blohowiak – Gonzaga – interned with Office of the Attorney General, Spokane; and Rochelle Nelson – Seattle University – interned with the Unemployment Law Project.

June 7, 2013

The Section’s “East of the Mountains” CLE and social event went very well, with almost 70 attendees, enthusiastic panelists, a great venue (Spokane club) and good food. Gonzaga Law School Dean Jane Korn attended, as did Gonzaga Law School Professor Cheryl Beckett, as well NLRB representative Adam Morrison. The Section looks forward to more events like this, across the state.

Lawyer Panel: the wrongful termination in violation of public policy panel. Left to right:  Bill Symmes; Keller Allen; and Paul Burns.

Judge's Perspective Panel: The judicial perspectives (Dos and Don’ts of Effective and Ethical Advocacy) panel. Left to right:  E.D.WA. Chief Judge Peterson; Spokane Superior Court Judge (Ret.) Leveque; and Spokane Superior court Judge Sypolt.


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