Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Lisa Banks and senior counsel Carolyn Wheeler spoke on panels at the 2019 National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law. The annual program provides plaintiff, management, union, judiciary and government attorneys with expertise on top trial practice issues and up-to-date analysis of current legal and policy developments.
Ms. Banks spoke on the panel, “Front Page News: Ethical Challenges of High Profile Cases,” about the efficacy and ethics of using a public relations firm when litigating high-profile employment cases. In light of the #MeToo movement, when and how to present claims publicly is more complex than ever. Ms. Banks addressed how to appropriately engage the press in ongoing litigation and what attorneys can say publicly – to reporters or on social media. Ms. Banks presented along with Melinda Riechert of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP. Ms. Banks is also a member of the conference’s Program Planning Committee.
Ms. Wheeler was a speaker on the panel, “Age Discrimination – It Never Gets Old.” With more workers delaying retirement and working second or third careers, the issue of age discrimination has become even more prominent in the last decade. Ms. Wheeler’s presentation focused on recent legal developments, including the decisions in the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits, that job applicants cannot challenge hiring practices that are neutral on their face but screen out older workers, such as recruiting only employees with seven or fewer years’ experience, or who are only two or three years out of college. She also discussed the ease with which employers can meet their defense to any disparate impact challenge by showing they relied on a “reasonable” factor in selecting people for a reduction in force, such as terminating the highest paid employees. Ms. Wheeler was joined by Ivelisse J. Berio LeBeau of Sugarman & Susskind, PA, and Cathy Ventrell-Monsees of the EEOC. The panel was moderated by Barbara J. D’Aquila of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.