Elizabeth Wells Skaggs Partner
Labor and Employment Experience
Beth is a partner in the labor and employment practice group, focusing on employment issues and litigation. She has counseled business clients on a variety of matters affecting the workplace, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination issues, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and harassment and litigation prevention. When litigation is unavoidable, Beth has significant experience representing employers under the numerous state and federal statutes that govern the employment relationship, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Beth has experience in both single-plaintiff cases and complex class and collective actions.
Recent Representative Matters
- Represented high-end food processor in collective and class action suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law alleging the food processor had failed to pay employees for all time spent donning and doffing uniforms and protective gear and for walking to and from locker rooms and break areas. Successfully defeated plaintiffs' motion to certify a collective action of several hundred employees, and prevailed on motion to dismiss class action and state law claims.
- Represented employer at trial in lawsuit brought by former employee alleging retaliation in violation of the FLSA. After 4-day jury trial, jury returned a verdict in favor of the client on all counts.
- Represented banking client in case alleging age, gender, and disability discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After extensive discovery, obtained summary judgment for the client on remaining claims and case was dismissed in its entirety.
- Represented power industry client in collective action under the FLSA challenging the status of certain groups of employees as exempt from overtime. Following multiple appeals to the Sixth Circuit, secured summary judgment for the client on all claims in the collective action.
Sample Speaking Engagements
- MISHRM Annual Conference, "Managing Employee Leaves of Absence: The Continuing ADA/FMLA Conundrum," October 2012.
- Varnum's Labor & Employment Seminar, "Proper Classification of Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors," January 2012.
- Michigan Manufacturer's Association, "Wage and Hour Lawsuits: The Growing Litigation Threat," June 2011.
- MISHRM Annual Conference, "Harassment Avoidance and Prevention," and Legal Panel, October 2010.
- AHRM Presentation, "Effective Discipline and Discharge," February 2010.
Recognition & Rankings
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2012
- American Employment Law Council
- Federal Bar Association, Western Michigan Chapter
- American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law and Litigation Sections
- State Bar of Michigan, Labor & Employment Law Section
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Bar Association of the District of Columbia
- Grand Rapids Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
- Society for Human Resource Management
- All Michigan state and federal courts
- All Illinois state and federal courts
- District of Columbia
- United States District Courts (multiple jurisdictions)
- United States Courts of Appeals (multiple jurisdictions)
- ACT - Artists Creating Together, Grand Rapids Board (2006 - present)
- Grand Rapids Bar Association Nominating Committee, 2012
University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 1993
Michigan Law Review, Article Editor
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., with honors, 1990