Update From the EEOC: New Charge-Handling Procedures

Nicholson,Travis (2)By Travis Nicholson

EEOC has implemented new procedures to be followed in all of our offices for the submission and release of position statements. The procedures apply to EEOC requests for position statements to employers made after Jan. 1, 2016. The purpose of the new procedures is to advance investigations by facilitating more pertinent information from both parties, including a response from the charging party.

An effective position statement is clear, concise, complete and responsive. EEOC recommends these practices for employers:

  • Submit position statements that are fact-based and thorough;
  • Ensure that the position statement focuses on the allegations in the charge;
  • Provide relevant documentation, evidence, and/or information that supports the employer’s position;
  • Segregate confidential information in attachments, including personally identifiable information, sensitive medical information, confidential financial information, etc.

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The Chair’s Comments: Big Plans For the New Year

Leaven,JessicaBy Jessica E. Leaven

As I was preparing my first comments as chair, this tune kept coming to my mind. “To everything – turn, turn, turn – there is a season – turn, turn, turn.” Maybe it’s because the summer is ending and the kids are going back to school. Or maybe it’s because it’s blueberry season in the mountains, and going blueberry picking with my family always marks the end of summer and beginning of fall. It could be because during this election season, I’ve too often thought of the lines “a time for love, a time for hate, a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” Either way, it’s time to welcome everyone to the new bar year for the Labor & Employment Section, and it’s my turn to be our chair.

I’m very excited and honored to serve as chair of the Labor & Employment Section this year. It was my pleasure working closely with our immediate past chair, Grant Osborne, over the past year, and I am grateful to have the assistance of our section’s new officers, Vice Chair Margaret Manos, Secretary Michael Kornbluth, and Treasurer Melanie Tuttle, and committee leadership this year. We have big plans for our section this year, and I would like to use this comment as an opportunity to let you know about some changes we have made to the section’s newsletter, the wonderful lineup for the annual CLE and social events planned for this October in Asheville, and the push to develop podcasts for our section.

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Contemplations on ‘An Act to Further Define … ‘Practice [of] Law’,’ ‘Requirements for Web Site Providers’ and Chapter 84 of the North Carolina General Statutes

Osborne,GrantBy Grant B. Osborne

Ulysses Everett McGill (previously imprisoned for practicing law without a license and about to be hanged):  “It ain’t the law!”

Sheriff Cooley:  “The law? The law is a human institution.”

— “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2001)

How much time have you spent reading Chapter 84 of the North Carolina General Statutes on “Attorneys-at-Law”? Probably not much, which is a little surprising considering that it defines what it means to engage in the “practice [of] law” in North Carolina and regulates what we do for a living. Most attorneys in North Carolina (including your humble author until he wrote this) have probably spent more time monitoring updates on LinkedIn and Facebook than they have engaging in study of the statutes that, until recently, gave us in North Carolina a virtual monopoly over the rendition of legal services. The General Assembly and our Governor, however, have recently amended what it means to engage in the “practice [of] law.” Those amendments warrant attention.

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What Is Collaborative Practice and What Does It Have To Do With the Practice Of Employment Law?

Woodward,DanaeBy Danae C. Woodward

Collaborative practice is a relatively new alternative dispute resolution process which has been adopted by family law practitioners throughout the United States and in many other countries. Collaborative law practice was developed in 1990 by a Minnesota family law attorney, Stuart Webb, who proposed this new dispute resolution practice to the Honorable A. M. Keith, Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Webb believed that good lawyering, which he defined as “the analytical, reasoned ability to solve problems and generate creative alternatives and create a positive context for settlement” was often missing in early mediation. Webb sought to create a settlement climate replicating the way some of his cases had naturally settled:

We find ourselves in a conference with the opposing counsel, and perhaps the respective clients, where the dynamics were such that in a climate of positive energy, creative alternatives were presented. In that context, everyone contributed to a final settlement that satisfied all concerned—and everyone left the conference feeling high energy, good feelings and satisfaction. More than likely, the possibility for a change in the way the parties related to each other in the future may have greatly increased. As a result, the lawyers may also develop a degree of trust between them that might make future dealings more productive.

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Recent Court Opinions

Murray,JoeBy Joseph S. Murray IV

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the N.C. Court of Appeals issued the following labor and employment law opinions in the past several weeks:

Adams v. State of NC, COA15-1275 (N.C. Ct. App. Aug. 2, 2016)

Hubbard v. NC State Univ., COA16-38 (N.C. Ct. App. Aug. 2, 2016)

Tully v. City of Wilmington, COA15-956 (N.C. Ct. App. Aug. 16, 2016)

RLM Communications, Inc. v. Tuschen, No. 14-2351 (4th Cir. July 28, 2016)

Amaya v. Power Design, Inc., No. 15-1691 (4th Cir. Aug. 15, 2016)

Calobrisi v. Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., No. 15-1331 & No. 15-1399 (4th Cir. Aug. 23, 2016) (unpublished)