A panel discussion with a former EEOC trainer and attorneys on both sides
of the aisle sharing best practices for addressing mental health conditions
in the workplace.
1. Understanding best-practices for compliance with requests for mental health accommodations to mitigate the risk of discrimination claims.
2. Learn the risks of neglecting (or refusing) to accommodate a mental health condition.
3. Gain a better understanding of "reasonable accommodation" and "undue hardship" and what you can do when employee mental health conditions impact essential job functions.
4. Know where you stand as an HR professional when your company leaders are not in agreement on best-practices for addressing mental health issues.
5. Create awareness of functional approaches to supporting employee mental wellness.
Meet our panelists!
Panelist: Shafeeqa Giarratani
Bio: Shafeeqa Giarratani is a shareholder in the Austin office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart and a member of the firm’s governing Board of Directors. Shafeeqa is a strong advocate for her clients. She represents employers in federal and state court and before administrative agencies and regulatory agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Shafeeqa has been recognized both locally and nationally as a skilled advocate. Shafeeqa was named by Law360 as a 2016 Rising Star, one of only seven employment lawyers in the country to receive such a distinction. Shafeeqa has also been named repeatedly as a Super Lawyer–Texas Rising Star and was featured in Bloomberg BNA for her commitment to her clients.
She regularly handles litigation matters at both the trial and appellate level, in alternative dispute resolution and before governmental agencies. Shafeeqa has represented management in civil rights, wrongful discharge, Family and Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, employment tort, defamation, breach of contract, tortious interference and other employment-related charges and litigation.
Shafeeqa specializes in advising clients on whistleblower employment issues, in particular retaliation cases under the False Claims Act, and performing investigations. She advises clients on appropriate handling of whistleblowers, regularly handles litigation in this area, and performs in-depth investigations of all types.
Shafeeqa regularly advises clients that are federal contractors on affirmative action, legislative and regulatory changes affecting employment matters for federal contractors and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) compliance issues, from developing affirmative action plans to representing companies during the audit process.
Shafeeqa co-founded Ogletree’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practice group and assists clients in climate investigations, statistical analysis surrounding diversity metrics and creating and executing strategic diversity plans. Shafeeqa is skilled at providing training on a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion topics.
Shafeeqa also performs supervisory training seminars, prepares and reviews personnel handbooks and policies and advises clients regarding employee retention and termination.
Panelist: Rodney Klein
Bio: Rodney Klein has over sixteen years of experience as an EEO trainer and presenter as owner of Rodney Klein EEO Training and with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He is a recognized authority in federal EEO law and is a sought-after speaker and trainer across Texas. He regularly educates groups on workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also trains audiences on addressing workplace behavior, creating civil cultures, understanding and reducing microaggressions, and minimizing unconscious bias in decision making. He coaches organizational leaders on how to re-think EEO in ways that better equip them to navigate the challenges brought on by an ever-changing social landscape. Rodney believes that understanding EEO both legally and culturally is the key in creating productive, efficient and ultimately inspired workforces.
Panelist: Robert W. Schmidt
Bio: Robert W. Schmidt represents employees in employment matters and litigation involving discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, civil rights, whistleblower and wage and hour claims, and employment contracts. He has been selected as a Texas “Super Lawyer” in labor and employment law since 2014 and frequently speaks on employment law to various groups. He is a former chair and officer of the Austin Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section and also served for many years on the board of directors of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association, which is a statewide organization of attorneys who fight for employee rights. He is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer College, an intensive trial training program for plaintiff and public interest attorneys. He is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Texas Bar’s Labor and Employment Law and LGBT Law sections. Mr. Schmidt received an undergraduate and law degree from the University of Texas in Austin and also received an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma City University. Mr. Schmidt has been practicing law since 1989. He began his law career at Locke Purnell Rain Harrell (now Locke Lord) in Dallas, Texas, and also previously worked for the State of Texas including with the Texas Legislative Counsel and Texas Attorney General. He is a member of the bar in the State of Texas, the United States District Court for Western, Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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