Issue #19 Winter 2021
View From the Chair

The Labor and Employment Law Section will hold its Annual/Midwinter Meeting on Friday, January 21, 2022, at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (Orchestra Hall) in Detroit. In customary fashion, the meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. with a series of annual updates presented by members of the Section, including NLRB Region 7 Director Elizabeth Kerwin, MERC Chair Tinamarie Pappas and Bureau Director Sidney McBride. After a brief business meeting and election of officers at 4:30 p.m., the Section will hold an expanded cocktail reception at The Max, the highlight of which will be the presentation of the 2022 LELS Distinguished Service Award to former National Labor Relations Board Member Nancy Schiffer.

A Selection Committee composed of Len Givens, Stuart Israel and Shel Stark--all previous recipients of the award—and John Runyan and Michelle Crockett, ex officio—unanimously recommended that Ms. Schiffer be the recipient of the 2022 Award. Ms. Schiffer has made significant contributions to the practice of labor and employment law; reflects the highest ethical principles including principles of civility and professionalism; has advanced the development of labor and employment law; has a long-established commitment to excellence; and is recognized and respected by constituents in the labor and employment community.

After graduation from the University of Michigan Law School, Ms. Schiffer went to work as a Field Attorney for Region 7 of the National Labor Relations Board in Detroit. After a brief stint in private practice, she joined the United Auto Workers International Union in Detroit, first as Associate General Counsel and later as its Deputy General Counsel. In 2000, after nearly twenty years at the UAW, Ms. Schiffer became Associate General Counsel of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington, D.C. There she was frequently called upon to testify on labor law issues before Congress and to provide briefings to Members of Congress and their staffs.
On July 30, 2013, Ms. Schiffer was nominated by President Barack Obama to the National Labor Relations Board for a term ending on December 15, 2014. Following confirmation by the Senate, she served as a Board member from August 2, 2013 until her term expired. Among the significant decisions issued by the Board during her tenure were those involving employees’ use of social media, employer handbook rules, jurisdiction over religious colleges and universities, the Board’s arbitral deferral standard, employee access to employer communication systems and mandatory waivers of class action litigation.
The afternoon session consisting of legal updates is free of charge to all who register through the SBM online registration site. The registration for evening cocktail hour is $75.00 for all section members and non-section members alike. Online registration will be available in early January through the SBM.  PLEASE NOTE: consistent with other prominent Detroit-area arts and cultural institutions, The Max requires a proof of COVID vaccination or negative COVID test for all attendees with strict mask mandate while inside the venue except when eating and drinking.  Complimentary parking at Orchestra Hall Garage will be provided to all registrants.

Please contact LELS Council member Mami Kato (of Ogletree Deakins) at [email protected] or (248) 723-6154 with any questions.
Labor and Employment Law Section
Announces 2022 Mentorship Program
The SBM Labor & Employment Law Section plans to continue its Mentorship Program in 2022, modeled upon the Mentorship Academy sponsored by the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. The Section successfully launched its Mentorship Program in 2021 with a small year-long pilot project consisting of ten Mentors and ten Mentees.

The program will again pair Section members with less than five years’ labor and employment law experience with more experienced members of the Section. The objective of the program is to provide an opportunity for one-on-one consultation and networking between experienced and inexperienced Section members that will inure to the benefit of both. Participants are expected to attend an orientation, as well as to commit to monthly one-on-one meetings, which may be in person or by teleconference such as Zoom, WebEx, or GoToMeeting. Section members interested in participating as either Mentors or Mentees should contact John Runyan ([email protected]).
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/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