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Overview

Labor and Employment Attorney

Bethany is a member of Varnum’s Labor and Employment Team. She focuses her practice on employment litigation involving claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination, as well as FMLA, wage and hour and whistleblower claims. She also advises employers on a wide range of employment-related issues, including employee handbooks and employment policies, independent contractor agreements, disciplinary matters, discrimination and harassment issues, disability accommodation and litigation avoidance. Bethany works with clients in diverse industries including automotive, manufacturing, retail, computer gaming, and health care, as well as multiple nonprofit organizations. She has practiced extensively in both state and federal courts, as well as before various administrative agencies.

Before entering the private practice of law, Bethany had an extensive career in higher education, working for both the University of Michigan and Yale University in a variety of capacities. She has advised higher education clients on a variety of student and faculty issues including breach of contract, due process violations, FERPA, the Clery Act, discrimination, and disability accommodation.

Experience

Experience

Granted summary judgment in Title VII litigation involving race discrimination, a racially hostile work environment and retaliation.  Successfully negotiated a nominal settlement in a state-law matter alleging national origin discrimination and retaliation.

Drafted employee handbooks for companies in industries including health care (hospitals, physicians, clinics), manufacturing, staffing, automotive leasing, universities, and public municipalities. 

Negotiated retention and/or severance agreements for 84 employees of a manufacturing plant as the result of a WARN Act closing.

Simultaneously defended multiple EEOC charges in multiple states for a professional employment organization, including interviewing witnesses, drafting position statements and communicating with EEOC investigators.

Provided training to 200+ employees, including senior executives, of a manufacturing plant on diversity and workplace harassment. 

Provided training to 50+ employees of a manufacturing plant regarding drug and alcohol use in the workplace; copresented with an Assistant U.S. Attorney regarding the civil and criminal ramifications of same.

Leadership

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association, Labor  and Employment Section

Federal Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section

State Bar of Michigan, Labor and Employment Section

Washtenaw County Bar Association

Community Involvement

SafeHouse Center: Board of Directors, past member; Personnel Committee, member

St. Joseph Catholic Church: Caritas Committee, member; Finance Council, member

News & Publications

Speaking Engagements

Presentations

Employee Handbooks - What to Include, What to Exclude and Why, May 2018

The Essentials of Workplace Investigations, March 2018

Understanding and Navigating the FMLA and ADA: Best Practices for Employee Leaves of Absence, March 2017

Hiring Right, March 2016

Employment Law: What Every HR Professional Should Know, May 2015

Avoiding Employment-Related Liability, March 2015

Valuing and Managing a Diverse Workplace, June 2013

The ADA Going Forward, October 2012

Retaliation: An Employee's New Best Friend, November 2011

FMLA: Adapting to the Latest Regulations and Curbing Abuses, November 2010

Publications

Industries

Education

University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., 2001

University of Michigan School of Social Work
Ann Arbor, Michigan
M.S.W., 1994

Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, Michigan
B.A., magna cum laude, Political Science and Psychology, 1992

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan

Court Admissions

  • All Michigan state courts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
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