Labor and Employment Law Symposium

Full Day of Programming at Inaugural ACBA Labor and Employment Law Symposium

ACBA members – as well as non-member attorneys and human resources professionals – are invited to the ACBA’s inaugural Labor and Employment Law Symposium. This robust, full-day symposium will feature a full day of programming that highlights the latest developments in labor and employment law.

Don’t miss this opportunity to earn 6 CLE credits (5 substantive and 1 ethics), network with colleagues and learn from experienced panelists. Featuring Federal Judges, representatives from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Department of Labor, seasoned practitioners will lead discussions on the developments that labor and employment law attorneys and HR professionals need to know. This in-person event will be one of the largest labor and employment law seminars held in Western Pennsylvania this year.

Labor and Employment Symposium

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. – Plenary Session 1
Employment and Labor Law: Year in Review

One substantive credit

Having a baby; holding strong religious beliefs; applying to college; engaging in union activities; taking time off from work; being subjected to sexual harassment by an employer; investigating employee work conduct; suffering work data breaches; being fired in contravention of an employer’s own policies…The past year once again changed the landscape in these and many other employment and labor issues both nationally and in Western Pennsylvania. This session will review the year in employment and labor law. Join a plaintiff and defense attorney for this lively and thought-provoking survey of the law of the workplace, 2023 style.


  • Samuel J. Cordes, Rothman Gordon PC
  • Mariah L. Passarelli, Cozen O’Connor

9:40 – 10:40 a.m. – Breakout Session 1A
Religion, Disability, Pregnancy: The Changing Landscape of Accommodations and an Employer’s Duty to Lend a Hand

One substantive credit

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have seen an uptick in accommodation requests. As the way that work changes, so does the type of workplace accommodations that need to be offered. A flurry of recent decisions and laws have imposed greater burdens on employers when evaluating accommodation requests. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Groff v. DeJoy heightened the burden for employers claiming undue hardship in the face of an accommodation request. Meanwhile, the recently enacted Pregnancy Fairness Workplace Act gives pregnant workers, for the first time, the affirmative right to request accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. This panel will address recent decisions, laws and regulations that impact employers’ current obligations to accommodate their employees.


  • Nikki Velisaris Lykos, Ramage Lykos, LLC
  • Jamie S. Tuite, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
  • The Hon. Maureen P. Kelly, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pa.

9:40 – 10:40 a.m. – Breakout Session 1B
What Every Employment Lawyer Needs to Know About ERISA

One substantive credit

Many lawyers are afraid of ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), but you don’t have to be. This panel will provide an overview of key ERISA issues that employment lawyers should be aware of including which types of benefits are covered by ERISA, common ERISA issues that arise at the termination of employment, claims for ERISA benefits and ERISA interference and retaliation claims under Section 510.


  • Tybe Ann Brett, Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC
  • Christine T. Elzer, Elzer Law Firm, LLC
  • Michael J. Joyce, Saul Ewing LLP

9:40 – 10:40 a.m. – Breakout Session 1C
Hot Issues in Wage and Hour Law and Distinctions Between Pa. Wage Law and Federal Fair Labor Standards Act

One substantive credit

This program will cover what is happening in wage and hour law on both the federal level and here in Pennsylvania. Panelists will summarize the most important changes and describe what you should look out for in employee misclassification, overtime violations and retaliation cases under both federal and Pennsylvania state law. Specific topics to be covered include the current state of wage and hour law and regulations, what’s new at the U.S. Department of Labor and emerging distinctions between Pa. Wage Law and Federal FLSA.


  • John DuMont, U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
  • Karen Welton, U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
  • Christopher S. Bouriat, Reed Smith
  • Elizabeth Pollock-Avery, Lynch Carpenter LLP

10:50 – 11:50 a.m. – Breakout Session 2A
The Law Does Not Apply to Us Because We Do Not Have a Union – Or Does It? Why All Employment Lawyers Need to Understand the National Labor Relations Act

One substantive credit

This session will address recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions which impact employers and employees in non-union workplaces. The session will highlight recent Board decisions regarding protected concerted activity, work rules, prohibitions on non-disparagement clauses in severance agreements and independent contractor status.


  • Thomas S. Giotto, Cozen O’Connor
  • Nancy Wilson, National Labor Relations Board
  • Tara N. Yoest, National Labor Relations Board
  • Zuzana Murarova, National Labor Relations Board

10:50 – 11:50 a.m. – Breakout Session 2B
It’s Time to Update Your Employee Handbook

One substantive credit

Recent legislative policy and case law developments from the EEOC, NLRB, state of Pennsylvania and federal courts have rendered many longstanding employment policies and practices obsolete and have created the need for new ones. In this session, panelists will review some of the more significant changes in employment and labor law and discuss how those legal developments trigger a need to review and update the policies and practices that employers rely upon in the modern workplace.


  • Andrea Clark-Smith, UPMC
  • Christopher K. Ramsey, Morgan Lewis

10:50 – 11:50 a.m. – Breakout Session 2C
Religion and Work: The Devil is in the Details

One substantive credit

With the COVID-19 pandemic and recent Supreme Court Cases of Groff v. DeJoy and 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the intersection of religion and the workplace is taking center stage for employment law practitioners. This session will explore recent cases, related religious accommodation issues and the practical implications of this evolving area of the law.


  • Sheri L. Giger, Ogletree Deakins
  • Nicholas W. Kennedy, Quatrini Law Group

1:10 – 2:10 p.m. – Plenary Session 2
Diversity and Inclusion Programs: Pitfalls and Opportunities

One ethics credit

Law firms and legal departments recognize the importance and the impact of programs that promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). These programs have the potential to be truly transformative when legal professionals properly execute them. Through the lens of exercises, case studies and facilitated dialogue, this session will explore the opportunities and the pitfalls that arise in connection with the use of various DEIB tools and initiatives such as employee resource groups, business resource groups and pipeline programs. This session will also address how such programs can empower lawyers to meet their professional obligations under Rule 8.4(g) to refrain from committing discrimination or harassment with respect to the practice of law.


  • Derek Illar, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
  • Danielle Mundekis, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
  • Cristian Minor, UPMC

2:20 – 3:20 p.m. – Plenary Session 3  
Better Negotiation Through Science: Using Neuroscience Research to Enhance Negotiation Skills

One substantive credit

Over the last 10 years, neuroscience research has exploded, giving us incredible information about how our brains work. This session will explore practical ways attorneys can use this information to enhance negotiations both in mediation and throughout the litigation process. 


  • Selina J. Shultz, The Conflict Lab

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Breakout Session 3A
Accommodating Pregnancy in the Workplace: The New Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and its Interaction with the ADA and FMLA

One substantive credit

Now that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has gone into effect, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.” This panel will discuss this new law and its interplay with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act.


  • Shelly R. Pagac, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP
  • Megan Block, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Deborah Kane, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Breakout Session 3B
Individual Liability in Employment Law: Aiders, Abettors, Decisionmakers and HR Professionals Beware

One substantive credit

This session will explore the vulnerability that owners, supervisors, managers and HR professionals can face as individual defendants under various employment statutes, such as the PHRA, EPA, FLSA, FMLA, USSERA, OSHA, COBRA, ERISA, 1981 and 1983.


  • Colleen E. Ramage, Ramage Lykos, LLC
  • Theodore A. Schroeder, Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • The Hon. Patricia L. Dodge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pa.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Breakout Session 3C
Race as a Factor in Employment Decisions: The Risks in Light of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard

One substantive credit

This session will provide an overview of the case Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and other relevant caselaw. The audience will gain an understanding of the case and its possible impact on using race as a factor in employment decisions and other DEIB incentives for non-government employers from both the employer and plaintiff sides. Cases involving “reverse race discrimination” will be examined in light of the recent ruling. Tips to consider when moving forward will also be discussed.


  • Rachel McElroy, McElroy Law Firm, LLC
  • Karen E. Baillie, Ogletree Deakins

4:45 – 6:00 p.m. – Cocktail Reception

After a long day of CLE programming, stick around for a cocktail reception and network with your fellow attorneys, HR professionals and judges.

Registration TypeACBA MembersNon-ACBA MembersACBA Law Students
Early Bird (by Monday, Nov. 6)$389$479$99

Click here to register.

*Please note: This symposium will be recorded and available online with closed caption availability.

This event has been approved for Human Resources Certification Institute Credits.

“The use of this official seal confirms that this Activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.”

Continental Breakfast Sponsor

Lunch Sponsors

All Day Coffee Break Sponsor

Cocktail Reception Sponsors

Silver Sponsors