Issue #18 Fall 2021
View From the Chair
Nickelhoff & Widick, PLLC
Report from the Council

I told you in my first column as Chair of the Section that this would be a year of transition. After more than 18 months of isolation and lockdown as a result of the pandemic, I was hoping that we might finally be able to emerge from behind our computers and enjoy the face-to face comradery which has been a hallmark of the Labor and Employment Law Section.

I think we have turned the corner to use a much maligned metaphor. Thanks to the work of Nedra Campbell and her committee, we pulled off a successful “in person” SpringBoard at the end of July and at the end of October, we gathered in Kalamazoo for our first annual outstate event—“Octoberfest” at Bell’s Eccentric Café. We initiated a mentorship pilot project in January and held a Council dinner recognizing our first group of ten mentors and ten mentees last month. In the meantime, the Section took full advantage of the pandemic-driven Zoom technology with a number of remote presentations, including one on “Cancel Culture in the Workplace,” another on “Videoconference Arbitrations” and partnering with the Immigration Law Section, a two-part presentation on Immigration Law 101 and I-9 Audits.

We finish the year with our annual Holiday Party at the Birmingham Country Club, followed by our Annual/Midwinter Meeting on Friday, January 21, 2022. Because we want to be good stewards of your dues, the Council made the difficult decision to scale back this year’s Annual/Midwinter Meeting to include only the afternoon updates and business meeting followed by an expanded cocktail reception and presentation of the Distinguished Service Award. We also made a strictly cost-based decision to relocate the meeting from the DAC to the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. We hope to return to the DAC in January 2023 when the vestiges of COVID-19 and its multiple variants are fully under control if not a distant memory.

It has been my honor to serve as Chair of a dynamic and hardworking Section Council over the past year. I am confident that the hand-off to incoming Chair Keith Brodie will be seamless and that Keith and the new Council will continue to rebuild the Section as we all recover from an experience unlike any other in our lifetimes. Best, John
Disclosing a Disability in the Age of COVID
Join us on Thursday, February 17, 2022, from noon eastern to 1:30 for an engaging conversation about the various concerns and legal issues that can arise when an employee discloses a disability to an employer. Our panelists are Angela Walker, whose practice focuses on the workplace disability rights of employees, Michelle Crockett, who advises and defends employers in employment-related matters, and Jeanne Goldberg, who is a senior attorney at the EEOC who works extensively on disability rights issues. This is a presentation of the Labor and Employment Law Section’s Diversity and Wellness Committee and we encourage you to grab a sandwich and log in for this important conversation.

Angela Walker, of Blanchard and Walker PLLC, is active in the disability community, and she is passionate about helping employees with disabilities enforce their rights with regard to ADA accommodations, FMLA leave, and employee benefits matters. She represents clients who have chronic or progressive conditions, such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. She helps clients understand their options, take strategic action to protect their careers, and enforce their rights under the FMLA, ADA, and other disability discrimination laws.

Michelle Crockett is Principal, Chief Diversity Officer, and Deputy Executive Officer of Miller Canfield. She specializes in defending Fortune 500 companies and public-sector clients against a variety of employment-related claims. She conducts internal investigations which involve claims of harassment, retaliation, discrimination, malfeasance, and misappropriation of funds. In addition, Michelle has an expertise in providing litigation and traditional labor advice to school districts throughout Michigan, which includes but is not limited to assistance with board governance, special education issues, due process hearings, student discipline and collective bargaining.
Jeanne Goldberg is a Senior Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. She advises the Commission on the interpretation and application of the statutes it enforces, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She also assists in drafting regulations and policy guidance, and provides technical assistance to stakeholders. She has delivered hundreds of training presentations throughout the country for private and public sector attorneys, managers, employees, and human resources staff on a wide range of EEO issues, and is a frequent speaker at national conferences.
Mentoring Program: A Personal Perspective
If your eyes are open, you've been paying attention, or you have any sense of self-awareness, you recognize whatever success you've had in your legal career has probably been the result of being mentored, trained, nurtured, supported, and advanced by kindness, generosity, and professionalism of many lawyers and teachers who came before you. I have had such good fortune. More than my share perhaps. As a result, an enormous debt or duty to give back has grown within me: an individual debt to those who helped along the way, a general debt we all owe to this profession that means so much to all of us, and a loftier public debt we owe to the public to ensure the next generation of lawyers who will serve them ethically and well.
Sheldon J. Stark
Mediator and Arbitrator
Elizabeth K. Abdnour
Elizabeth Abdnour Law, PLLC
Demographic Report
The following information is taken from the SBM website regarding the membership and demographics of the Labor and Employment Law Section(LELS). For the SBM’s 2019-2020 fiscal year, the LELS had 2,191 members, making it the sixth-largest of the forty-five Sections in the SBM (not including the Master Lawyers and Young Lawyers Sections). Only the Business Law (3,349 members), Family Law (2,567 members), Litigation (2,441 members), Probate and Estate Planning (3,355 members) and Real Property Law (3,355 members) Sections are larger. It is also worth noting that of the 2191 members of the LELS, 160 are also members of the ADR Section, 360 are also members of the Business Law Section, 150 are also members of the Government Law Section, 408 are also members of the Litigation Section, and 187 are also members of the Real Property Law Section.
Upcoming Events
Annual Holiday Party
Date: Thursday, December 9, 2021
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Country Club - $45
Pre-Registration Required
Annual/Midwinter Meeting
Date: Friday, January 21, 2022
Location: Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center - $75
Diversity & Wellness Zoom Presentation: Disability in the Workplace
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Michelle Crockett, Miller Canfield
Jeanne Goldberg, EEOC Washington
Angela Walker, Blanchard & Walker
Labor & Employment Law Council
Vice Chair 

Immediate Past Chair

Commissioner Liaison