“That’s not something that’s terribly
relevant to what [he does in his day
job],” he says. “But, once you know that,
it’s kind of hard to get it out of your head.
It’s hard to ‘unring’ the bell.”
As a result, Duffy says, it is more
prudent to never “over-collect”
background information, especially since
it’s so easy to do with social media.
Social media has also become a
slippery slope when it comes to hiring,
says Shea. He advises that companies
carefully consider whether it’s wise, in
the initial stages of a search, to scan a job
candidate’s public social-media posts.
“You will find information that cannot
be shared with the hiring manager
because it overlaps with protected
categories. You may find out about
a disability, for example, and it will
immediately taint the search,” Shea says.
However, if the job requirements
include understanding a candidate’s
social-media presence, the findings
should be filtered to remove protected
information so an unbiased but helpful
report can be given to the hiring
manager, he adds.
The good news, Duffy says, is that
the current NLRB is “very big” on
trying to communicate its positions
on issues and in clarifying what is
“It’s a good idea to pay a lot of
attention to the guidance NLRB gives
on its websites,” he adds.
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quickly become over whelming with a
lot of storage space needed.
“Unring” the Bell
Duffy says companies that want
to monitor social media as it pertains
to harassment, their reputation or
confidential company information need
to make sure they treat all similar cases
alike. He advises against adopting a policy
to review the online social-media life of
employees without a clear plan for why
this is a legitimate business objective.
“If you don’t ask
questions before you start,
you’ll have no limits or it
will just be arbitrary and
capricious,” he says.
There may be certain
security-sensitive positions or
public-facing positions in which it matters
what the employee says online, but that is
a fairly narrow band, Duffy says.
“If I have a large … workforce [and] I
decide I’m going to go on social media, I
have to be prepared to say that I’m going
to consistently do it for virtually everyone
unless I can make some reasonable
distinctions between who am I looking at
and why that distinction is justified in the
law,” he says.
The other problem with monitoring
social media lies in its content ... and what
too-curious employers may learn about
their workers, even if it is irrelevant to
their jobs. Duffy half-jokingly points to
the Showtime television series Billions,
in which one of the main characters, a
lawyer, engages in sadomasochistic games
with his wife outside of his work life.
This is the ninth edition of the “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys,” a joint project produced by Human Resource Executive® and Lawdragon, a media company that has been issuing “best of” lawyer lists ince 1989.
When we created this guide in 2007, it honored the nation’s top 50 corporate
employment attorneys. We now recognize 210 employment lawyers who stand
out for their ability to guide employers through the constantly evolving laws
governing the workplace. In this issue, we honor 100 leading corporate-side
lawyers; 20 specialists apiece in immigration, traditional labor law, and employee
benefits and ERISA; and 40 Up-and-Comers.
That latter group serves as one of the most exciting features of these lists,
with more than 25 lawyers moving from our “farm team” to the Major League
over the years. This year, three standout employment lawyers—Lorie Almon
of Seyfarth, Dawn Siler-Nixon of Ford Harrison and Jennifer Keller of Baker
Donelson, who also became president and COO of her firm—moved from Up-and-Comers to the Top 100. Joining them are Robert Newman of Covington, who
was recognized in the ERISA Top 20, and Michael Lebowich of Proskauer, who
was recognized in the traditional labor and employment’s top 20.
Another special facet of this guide is the HRE/Lawdragon Hall of Fame, now in
its fourth year. It features legends of the employment bar whose contributions to
the field as well as their firms are unparalleled. Very few lawyers are considered
for Hall of Fame status—which begins with 35 years in the employment-law
trenches and requires consistent recognition for all-around excellence in
counseling clients, contributing to the bar and serving as a visionary to improve
workplaces. Up to 10 lawyers are added to the Hall of Fame each year and
retired from future consideration for other lists; their achievements are perpetually
recognized on HREOnline™ at http://bit.ly/283iMcV and on Lawdragon’s website
Each of these lists is intended to offer corporate counsel and human resource
professionals an unsurpassed guide to the best lawyers to help them resolve
difficult employment situations and keep them in compliance with the country’s
increasingly complicated and changing workplace-related laws and regulations.
The process pairs online balloting and submissions with rigorous vetting, as well
as editorial and peer review. In December, HRE’s 75,000-plus subscribers and
Lawdragon’s 500,000 database members were invited to submit nominations for
the guide. Nomination forms were also posted on both websites and attorneys
who came in through this process are included on these lists. Three months and
thousands of submissions later, the vetting began—first by Lawdragon’s research
team and then through each nominee’s clients and peers.
To make the cut on the general and specialty lists, a lawyer typically
has practiced more than 20 years and amassed a list of remarkable
accomplishments—defending and counselling companies in the day’s most
critical matters, advising them on hiring and retaining the best employees
from around the world, and continuing to unravel the ever-evolving world of
employee benefits. A recognized attorney has also generally chaired his or her
firm’s employment department and often has been selected to lead his or her
state or national employment-bar organization. The criteria for Up-and-Comers
are similar, though ratcheted back a bit to account for their 20 or fewer years in
practice. All have received glowing recommendations from corporate counsel
who have reaped the benefits of their wisdom; in every case, their clients would
hire these lawyers when next they are tested.
The lawyers included on the HRE/Lawdragon lists are also vetted for integrity.
Bar records are checked, and peers and counsel are questioned about their
integrity beyond a lawyer’s technical and tactical skill. It’s important that those
who make the cut admire—even if they don’t always agree with—their colleagues
on these lists.
Lastly, an editorial advisory board comprised of a who’s who of the nation’s
corporate employment bar vets the finalists. They discuss their own experiences
with the attorneys under consideration and follow the trail to the clients, judges
and opposing counsel who can offer first-hand experiences with these lawyers.
Only those who earn glowing marks from clients, peers, colleagues and judges
make the cut.
How We Choose
Congratulations to Tracey Kennedy and Richard Simmons —
named among the “Most Powerful Employment Attorneys”
by Human Resource Executive magazine —two of the
many reasons why companies choose Sheppard Mullin
for their labor and employment legal needs.
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