There are many legal and cultural issues that need to be addressed in an employee handbook, including accommodation for certain classes of people, wages and overtime, confidentiality issues, and many more. Unfortunately, lawyers can often overlook the importance of catering their firm’s handbook to their employees. In this On the Road report from the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews Kate Bally, Matthew Schiff, Michael Lotito, and Sierra Spitzer, speakers from the conference’s panel “Minefield in the Modern Employee Handbook.” Together, they create awareness about the most important and often ignored laws and best practices for creating an effective employee handbook. Matthew explains the mistakes many lawyers make when taking their handbook from a previous firm. He also discusses exempt and non-exempt employees with regards to overtime laws. Michael goes into the National Labor Relations Act and why it actually does apply to lawyers, despite a belief to the contrary. Kate talks about LGBT and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, accommodation for disability, religion, and pregnancy, wage and hour rules, and state specific issues. Sierra Spitzer concludes the interview with thoughts on how to balance the law and culture in a law firm employee handbook.
Kate Bally is the director of Labor and Employment Service, Practical Law at Thomson Reuters. Kate has her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Matthew Schiff is a labor and employment partner at Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP where he counsels clients in all aspects of employment and labor relations. He has his J.D. from Boston University.
Michael Lotito is the co-chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute which provides advocacy services for clients, associations, and policy leaders on all workplace concerns. He has his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.
Sierra Spitzer is a partner at the law firm of Schwartz Semerdjian. Sierra has been practicing law in San Diego since 2004 with a focus on labor and employment issues, personal injury, and business litigation on behalf of both individuals and business entities. She has her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.