On June 1, 2013, EEO Legal Solutions celebrated its first birthday. Here are a few highlights from our inaugural year in business:
EEOC v. Picture People Affirmed En Banc: the 10th Circuit affirmed, en banc, the summary judgment dismissal of EEOC v. Picture People, in which the EEOC ordered a retail employer to allow a deaf/mute employee to substitute written notes for its “strong verbal communication skills” requirement. This successful outcome shows that skilled attorneys using lean litigation practices (e.g., one attorney, no expert witness, and only necessary administrative support) can yield cost-effective victories on the BIG cases;
Denver PowerBook in Law, 2012: the Denver Business Journal named me as one of Denver’s 10 Most Powerful Attorneys in its 2012 Denver Power Book;
Summary Judgment Awarded to Small Rural Non-profit in Vexatious and Meritless Whistleblowing Litigation: a Colorado judged entered summary judgment for one of our client-employers, a small rural non-profit organization, in a contentious wrongful discharge in violation of public policy prosecution, a whistleblowing claim. To “punish by process,” the plaintiff named each volunteer Board member individually as defendants in this litigation. Representing both the non-profit organization and each individual Board member, EEO Legal Solutions trounced the plaintiff using a cost-effective surgical strategy that minimized expense, instead of maximizing billable hours and profits-per-partner;
FREE, Accredited Employer Webinar Programming Launched: EEO Legal Solutions launched its free accredited webinar programming for employers, typically offered on the third Wednesday of each month. As a former social worker and EEOC Trial Attorney, I believe passionately in the power of prevention and defensive management practices, and aim to arm employers to manage their workplaces with confidence and without fear. In only five months, our webinar programming has mushroomed in popularity, drawing more registrants with each webinar;
EEO Legal Solutions’ Inclusiveness Account Created: In December, 2012, EEO Legal Solutions created the Inclusiveness Account (10% of gross) to underwrite projects that promote inclusiveness in our communities, schools, and workplaces. We have many more donations planned (just because it feels so good), but so far, the Inclusiveness Account has funded good-sized donations to
- PHAMALY, an excellent troupe of talented, amazing actors and singers who happen to have a disability, www.phamaly.org;
- Operation TBI Freedom, to help veterans recovering from traumatic brain injuries;
- The Colorado Muslim Society, to promote outreach and understanding;
- PFLAG Denver, to support its programming for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens;
- The American Indian College Fund, because every mind matters and because we have so much to learn from Native American cultures; and,
- Junior Achievement, for scholarships for its amazing Business Week program and for the inaugural Kids’ Power Table at the upcoming Denver Business Journal Power Book luncheon in September, 2013.
Employer Lobbying Attempted . . . Failed: This past year, EEO Legal Solutions also joined forces with various Colorado business groups as a volunteer lobbyist against HB-1136, which significantly ratchets up damages against employers accused of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Having looked at issues of discrimination and inclusiveness from many different perspectives, we demonstrated that the availability of compensatory/punitive damages and attorneys’ fees since the Civil Rights Act of 1991 has had no measurable impact on reducing discrimination claims and on promoting workplace inclusiveness in the most desirable positions. On May 6, 2013, however, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed HB-1136 into law, a law that will change the climate for employers here. Fortunately, this law does not take effect until January 1, 2015, which gives employers plenty of time to build the infrastructure necessary to prevent and defend against these particularly “squishy” and costly claims. Please log on to our FREE webinars!
We are excited about what the next year brings. By using technology to streamline tasks, improve client access, and minimize overhead, our model proves that skilled attorneys can deliver excellent quality at reasonable rates, while still generating meaningful profits. Our first year in business also shows that employers (particularly HR professionals, in-house counsel, and their legal advisers) can champion the cause of full workplace inclusiveness, while defending themselves vigorously and cost-effectively from meritless EEO claims.