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2024 Fundamentals of Employment Law

8:40        Welcome and Introductions

8:45        Introduction to Federal Employment Discrimination Laws

William J. McMahon IV, Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete LLP, Winston-Salem
Joshua R. "Josh" Van Kampen, Van Kampen Law PC, Charlotte

Learn the fundamentals of the critical federal statutes governing claims of unlawful discrimination in employment based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender, age and disability (Title VII, ADEA, ADA).

9:45        Break

9:55        Introduction to North Carolina Employment Law

Michael B. Cohen, Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, Raleigh

This session provides a basic overview of the common law doctrine of "employment at-will" and North Carolina statutory and common law claims, including wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) and employment-related torts such as negligent hiring and retention, tortious interference with contract, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

10:55      Break

11:05      EEOC Overview

Elizabeth "Betsy" Rader, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Charlotte
Aretina "Tina" Samuel-Priestley, O'Hagan Meyer, Charlotte

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the majority of federal anti-discrimination laws. This session covers the EEOC process for charging parties and respondents, including filing charges of discrimination, EEOC categorizing of charges, EEOC mediation, position statements, request for information, fact investigations, EEOC findings, conciliation and the resolution process.

12:05      Lunch Break

12:50      Basic Wage Protection Law

W. Wood Lay, Moore & Van Allen PLLC, Charlotte
Aretina "Tina" Samuel-Priestley, O'Hagan Meyer, Charlotte

Hear an introduction to the requirements of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, including minimum wage, overtime and wage payment requirements.

1:50        Break

2:00        Introduction to the National Labor Relations Act

Jordan N. Wolfe, National Labor Relations Board, Winston-Salem

Listen as the presenter gives an introduction to the National Labor Relations Act and the National Labor Relations Board, the agency responsible for enforcing the Act. This session addresses how the Act applies to non-unionized employers, including an overview of protected concerted activity, employee rights to discuss and share information about their wages and other conditions of employment, and employer handbook rules.

2:45        Break

2:55        The Basics of the FMLA and Its Interplay With the ADA

Jennifer L. Bills, Patterson Harkavy LLP, Chapel Hill
Janean B. Dunn, IQVIA, Durham
Kristen E. Finlon, Gardner Skelton PLLC, Charlotte

Gain a better understanding of the complex relationship between the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), especially when the inability to work arises from a workplace accident or occupational disease.

3:40        Break

3:50        Settlement Agreements and Releases

L. Nicole Patino, Law Offices of L. Nicole Patino PLLC, Greensboro
T. Cullen Stafford, Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP, Raleigh

During this session, the presenters share a basic overview of the main components in a severance/settlement agreement in North Carolina, including Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) language, release language, restrictive covenants, confidentiality, cooperation clauses and reemployment clauses.

4:35        Break

4:45        Damages

Daniel C. Lyon, Elliot Morgan Parsonage PLLC, Charlotte

Receive an introduction to the common law and statutory damages available in employment claims, including discussions on required proof of damages, mitigation of damages, and defenses.

5:30        Adjourn

Thank you

Thank you for joining us for 2024 Fundamentals of Employment Law.


Employment law is critically important to businesses and to the general public, as the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees continually develop and evolve. The United States Congress and the North Carolina General Assembly continue to change the laws and judicially interpreted nuances of employment law continue to expand.


  • Jennifer L. Bills

    Jennifer L. Bills is a Partner at Patterson Harkavy LLP in Chapel Hill. For more than 20 years, she has represented individuals, nonprofits, and organizations in a full range of labor, civil rights, and disability-related legal matters.

    Jennnifer is a frequent teacher and lecturer on employment law and primarily represents employees facing discrimination. She conducts workplace investigations and training for managers and employees regarding best employment practices and compliance issues. She is an Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) certificate holder and teaches Disability Law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill.

    Jennnifer also offers her expertise as a trusted advisor to small, women- and BIPOC-owned businesses and organizations helping employers to assess and navigate compliance issues. As a trusted neutral, Jennifer brings vast experience in conducting impartial, third party workplace investigations for municipalities, non-profits, and employers faced with employee complaints.

    Graduating from Haverford College with a major in Sociology, Jennifer worked as an advocate with non-profit organizations in Washington D.C. before attending Northeastern University School of Law. Upon graduation, she clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Gene Carter in Federal District Court in Portland, ME. She then worked for two small Boston law firms practicing civil rights and employment law before coming to North Carolina in 2008. She was recognized as a Rising Star while practicing in Boston, MA.

    Click here for more information about Jennifer.

  • Michael B. Cohen

    Michael B. Cohen is an Associate at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP in Raleigh, in the firm's Labor + Employment Practice Group. He focuses his practice on representing employers in wage and hour class and collective actions, FMLA claims, ADA claims, restrictive covenant and trade secret litigation, and wrongful termination actions. He has extensive experience representing his clients before federal and state courts across the U.S., as well as federal, state, and local administrative agencies.

    In addition to his litigation practice, Michael routinely counsels his clients through a number of complex issues, including independent contractor misclassification, exempt employee misclassification, restrictive covenant violations, trade secret misappropriation, managing leave and accommodation requests, and terminations. Michael also helps draft and revise employee handbooks, employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, severance agreements, and restrictive covenant agreements.

    Every year since 2018, Michael has been recognized as a North Carolina "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers, a rating service of outstanding attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional development.

    Michael earned his B.A., cum laude, from The George Washington University and his J.D. from University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Michael.

  • Janean B. Dunn

    Janean B. Dunn is a Senior Counsel, Global Employment Law at IQVIA in Durham. She is a legal advisor to business leaders and Human Resources professionals on employment law matters. She works closely with key stakeholders to execute business strategy in a practical and compliant manner, to include driving efficiency across the global enterprise through process and procedure improvements. She advises on a range of employment law matters including restrictive covenant agreements, artificial intelligence initiatives, diversity and inclusion, wage and hour issues, employment policy development and implementation, and employee relations matters.

    Previously, Janean was a Senior Associate Attorney at Jackson Lewis PC where she represented private and public employers in federal and state courts, arbitrations and administrative proceedings before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the North Carolina Department of Labor, and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. She also provided a variety of transactional services to employers such as: due diligence in corporate transactions, drafting various employment agreements, advising on reductions in force, site closures and workplace investigations.

    Janean earned her B.A., cum laude, with a double major in Sociology and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her J.D. from Elon University School of Law, where she served as a contributing editor to the Journal of Leadership and the Law .

    Click here for information about Janean.

  • Kristen E. "Kris" Finlon

    Kristen E. "Kris" Finlon is Senior Counsel at Gardner Skelton PLLC in Charlotte. She brings 15 years of experience litigating employment law claims on both the plaintiff and defense side to Gardner Skelton's corporate employment law practice. She works with the firm's business and executive clients to do her best to keep them out of the courtroom. She provides support for her clients' HR teams by helping them analyze and address situations that arise in the workplace, as well as assisting to craft policies, procedures and agreements and understand ever-changing rules and regulations nationwide.

    Kris draws on her experience in employment litigation to help clients evaluate their legal obligations and risks. She also maintains a robust regulatory practice representing clients in front of the EEOC, state deferral agencies and the US and NC DOL.

    Kris earned her B.A. in Women's Studies and History from Duke University and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Kris.

  • Wood W. "Woody" Lay

    Wood W. "Woody" Lay is Managing Partner at Moore & Van Allen PLLC in Charlotte. With over 30 years of experience, he focuses his practice on advising national employers on addressing the employment law challenges of operating in all 50 states. He often handles the employment litigation nationwide for these same companies.

    Wood regularly defends employers in court and arbitration against single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class or collective employment claims of all types, including Title VIII, FLSA, ADEA, ADA FMLA, and state-law wrongful termination claims.

    Wood also routinely advises clients on the investigation, discipline, and termination of all levels of employees; wage and hour issues; whistleblower allegations; joint employment and independent contractor issues; restructuring; layoffs, and shutdown of facilities, including advice on the WARN act and severance issues; harassment or discrimination complaints; employee attendance or leave issues under FMLA, ADA, state workers' compensation laws, and ERISA benefit plans; workplace fatalities, OSHA investigations; and employment agreements, including non-competition and confidentiality agreements.

    Prior to joining Moore & Van Allen, Woody was a Partner at both O'Hagan Meyer and Winston & Strawn LLP, where he led the Charlotte Labor and Employment Practice.

    In 1988, Woody earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia and his J.D., cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review and elected to Order of the Coif. After law school, he clerked on the Eastern District of Virginia for the Honorable Walter E. Hoffman.

    Click here for more information about Woody.

  • Daniel C. Lyon

    Daniel C. Lyon is a Partner at Elliot Morgan Parsonage PLLC in Charlotte. He practices in the areas of employment and family law with a focus in litigation. He also practices criminal law, ranging from impaired driving to drug-related offenses.

    Prior to joining EMP Law, Daniel served as an assistant public defender with the Mecklenburg County Public Defender's office. He currently serves as chapter editor of the Sixth edition of the North Carolina Prima Facie Torts Manual.

    Daniel earned both his B.A. and J.D. from Elon University. While at Elon University School of Law, he served as Student Bar Association President and a member of the Public Interest Law Society.

    Click here for more information about Daniel.

  • William J. "Bill" McMahon IV

    William J. "Bill" McMahon IV is a Partner with Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete LLP in Winston-Salem. He represents and defends plan sponsors and employee benefit plans in connection with claims for denial of benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, and other miscellaneous relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). He is Co-Chair of Constangy's ERISA Litigation Practice Group and also teaches Employee Benefits & Pension Law (a course he created) at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law since 2010.

    Stemming from his unique accounting and philosophy undergraduate background, Bill takes an analytical approach to simplifying issues in cases that he handles, even drawing inspiration from some of his hobbies, including chess and Sherlock Holmes. In an era when very few cases actually go to trial, Bill nonetheless has significant trial experience, having represented clients in bench and jury trials in state and federal courts, including the United States Tax Court. This trial experience allows Bill to evaluate and handle a lawsuit working backwards from trial to focus at the very outset of a case on what witnesses and documents are important.

    Bill is a member of the American and North Carolina Bar Associations.

    Bill earned his B.S. in Accounting, summa cum laude, from State University of New York and his J.D., cum laude, from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Bill.

  • Keisha Murray

    Keisha Murray is an attorney in Charlotte. She has experience representing employers from claims of discrimination, wrongful discharge, and retaliation.

    Keisha earned her B.A. in Communication, Communication Studies and Political Science from the College of Charleston and her J.D. from Charleston School of Law. In law school, she made the Dean's List, served as an articles editor for Resolved: Journal of Alternative Dispute Resolution, and her article, "Northern Kentucky Area Development District v. Snyder: The Future of Employment Arbitration Agreements" was selected for publication. In 2023, to further hone her skills in employment law, she earned an Employment Law Certificate from Cornell University.

    Click here for more information about Keisha.

  • L. Nicole Patino

    L. Nicole Patino is owner of the Law Offices of L. Nicole Patino PLLC in Greensboro. She is a labor and employment attorney who diligently and zealously advocates both public and private sector clients, whether they be employers, employees, or local governmental agencies.

    Nicole graduated from Elon University School of Law where she was a staff member of the Elon Law Review in 2013-2014 and became Notes and Comments Editor during the 2014-2015 school year. She was a law clerk with the Law Offices of Fred T. Hamlet during her second and third year in law school. She continued her legal career as an associate with Law Offices of Fred T. Hamlet for five years until Mr. Hamlet's death. Her goal is to honor his memory and work with the same dedication and devotion to the ethical practice of law.

    Before attending law school, Nicole worked as a substance abuse counselor where she gained knowledge of HIPAA, FMLA, federal privacy laws, and medical records. She also gained experience working with EAPs, human resources personnel, employers, and employees. She uses her knowledge of medical records and medical practices in her representation of medical practices, nurses, and in litigating cases which require medical knowledge.

    Click here for more information about Nicole.

  • Elizabeth "Betsy" Rader

    Elizabeth "Betsy" Rader is the District Director, Charlotte District, for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Charlotte. This includes six offices in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. She is a member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service.

    Betsy's prior experience includes private legal practice representing victims of workplace discrimination and serving as senior counsel and chair of the employment law group at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio's largest employer. Prior to joining the USEEOC, she served as a regional director for the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, responsible for enforcement of civil rights laws in educational institutions throughout Ohio and Michigan. She began her legal career as a judicial clerk for Nathaniel Jones on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Betsy's prior experience includes practice in her own employment law firm, running a government agency advocating for abused children, serving as General Counsel for a national physician staffing company, and conducting business litigation as an associate at an international law firm.

    Betsy's volunteer work has included serving as Vice-President of the Board for the Cleveland Legal Aid Society, serving on the Board of the Ohio Employment Lawyers Association, and serving as President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

    Betsy earned her B.A.,summa cum laude, in Classics from The Ohio State University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

    Click here for more information about Betsy.

  • Aretina "Tina" Samuel-Priestley

    Aretina "Tina" Samuel-Priestley is Managing Partner at O'Hagan Meyer in Charlotte. Her practice focuses on employment litigation and counseling. She represents employers in a wide variety of employment issues, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination in federal and state courts, as well as before federal and state administrative agencies.

    In addition to litigation, Tina routinely advises clients on the investigation, discipline and termination of employees; whistleblower allegations; employee attendance and leave issues under the FMLA, ADA, and other state and federal laws; compliance with wage and hour laws; restructurings, layoffs, and facility shutdowns—including advice on the WARN Act and severance issues; OSHA investigations; and employment agreements, including non-competition and non-disclosure agreements. She also regularly represents clients in professional liability, commercial, and other civil actions in federal and state courts.

    Prior to joining O'Hagan Meyer, Tina served as the Senior Judicial Law Clerk for The Honorable Loretta Copeland Biggs in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. She also previously worked as part of the insurance defense and commercial litigation practice group at Clement Wheatley, in Danville, VA.

    Tina earned her B.A. from New York University and her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Prior to attending law school, Tina worked for more than ten years as a labor and employment and litigation paralegal at corporate law firms in New York and Charlotte.

    Click here for more information about Tina.

  • T. Cullen Stafford

    T. Cullen Stafford is a Partner at Wyrick Robbins Yate & Ponton LLP in Raleigh. He represents management in employment litigation matters involving wage and hour disputes, breach of contract, restrictive covenants, unfair competition, discrimination, harassment, and unfair labor practice charges. He also represents clients in commercial disputes, including such areas as trade secret misappropriation, intellectual property, construction litigation, and other complex business litigation.

    Cullen has represented clients at all stages of litigation in state and federal court and routinely represents clients in proceedings before the N.C. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal and state agencies. He represents companies in a variety of industries, including healthcare, construction, transportation, manufacturing, retail, education, and finance. In addition, he counsels employers on a variety of issues, including reductions in force, terminations, regulatory compliance, and drafting effective employment agreements.

    Prior to joining the firm, Cullen worked at Ford Harrison LLP, a labor and employment firm in Atlanta, GA.

    Cullen graduated, cum laude, from Emory University School of Law, where he received awards for outstanding achievement in Negotiations and Disability Discrimination. During law school, Cullen clerked for the Georgia Supreme Court. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Click here for more information about Cullen.

  • Joshua R. "Josh" Van Kampen

    Joshua R. "Josh" Van Kampen is the founder and leader of Van Kampen Law PC in Charlotte. Prior to forming Van Kampen Law PC in July 2011, he was a partner at two of the premier, plaintiff-side employment law firms in North Carolina: Fosbinder & Van Kampen PLLC and Patterson Harkavy LLP.

    In 2004, Josh left a safe and lucrative career as a management-side attorney, to open a practice in Charlotte devoted exclusively to representing victims of discrimination, sexual harassment, unequal pay, wrongful discharge, retaliation, and wage and hour violations. It was the best decision he ever made.

    In 2018, SuperLawyers rated Josh in its "Top 100" attorney list for all of North Carolina and in its Top 25 attorney list for Charlotte. The road to the SuperLawyers Top Lists started in Chicago, Illinois where Josh worked as an associate for two nationally recognized employment law defense firms: Seyfarth Shaw and Franczek Radelet. During his six years as a defense attorney, Josh defended Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller businesses in age, race, sex, disability, sexual harassment, traditional labor, and wage and hour litigation. Josh's defense experience also included counseling employers on litigation avoidance and sexual harassment training.

    Josh earned his B.A. from Purdue University and his J.D., magna cum laude, from University of Illinois College of Law.

    Click here for more information about Josh.

  • Jordan N. Wolfe

    Jordan N. Wolfe is a Field Attorney at the National Labor Relations Board in Winston-Salem.

    Jordan earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science and Spanish from University of North Carolina Asheville and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jordan.

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February 28, 2024
Wed 8:40 AM EST

Duration 8H 50M

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