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Overview

Labor and Employment Attorney

Beth is a partner with the Labor and Employment Practice Team, 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.

Experience

Experience

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 manufacturing client in case under Title VII, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and state law alleging multiple claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and FMLA violations. Secured summary judgment and/or dismissal on majority of claims.

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 four day jury trial, jury returned a verdict in favor of the client on all counts.

Represented employer in medical field in arbitration against employee for breach of severance agreement and misappropriation of intellectual property. Obtained judgment for client.

Represented manufacturing client in case alleging unlawful discharge for making a safety complaint. Secured favorable verdict for client following trial before administrative law judge.

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.

Leadership

Honors & Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America® since 2012

Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Litigation - Labor & Employment 2014 and 2018

Best Lawyers in America®, Women in the Law Spring Business Edition, Labor and Employment Law, 2017

Leading Lawyers, Employment Law - Management

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Women in the Law, 2014

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Employment and Labor Law, Grand Rapids, since 2015

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association: Labor & Employment Law Section; Litigation Section

American Employment Law Council

Bar Association of the District of Columbia

Federal Bar Association, Western Michigan Chapter

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section

Illinois State Bar Association

Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), Labor & Employment Law Advisory Board, 2016 - present

Society for Human Resource Management

State Bar of Michigan, Labor & Employment Law Section; Litigation Section

Community Involvement

ACT – Artists Creating Together, Board member, 2006 - present; secretary, 2011 - 2013; chair, 2013 - 2015; past chair 2015 - present

East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation, Board member, 2017 - present

Go Red for Women Campaign, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate, Executive Leadership Team, 2014 - 2016

Grand Rapids Bar Association: Judicial Review Committee, 2016 - present; Nominating Committee, 2012

Legal Assistance Center, Board member, 2017 - present

News & Publications

Speaking Engagements

Presentations

Representative presentations:

Varnum's Labor and Employment Law Seminar, "How to Say Goodbye Without Getting Sued: Best Practices for Employment Terminations," March and May 2017

Lakeshore Advantage/West Coast Chamber of Commerce, "More Overtime Pay for More Workers? Upcoming Changes to the White Collar Exemptions," September 2016

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce CEO Roundtable, "DOL Final Rule on Salary Threshold for Exempt White Collar Employees," August 2016

Varnum's Labor and Employment Law Seminar, "Managing Employee Leaves of Absence: ADA and FMLA Best Practices," March and May 2016

Varnum's Labor and Employment Law Seminar, "Compensable Time ‒ Ensuring FLSA Compliance in the Modern Workplace," March 2014

Priority Health's Shape Michigan Forum, Panel Moderator, "Workplace Wellness," January 2013

MISHRM Annual Conference, "The Continuing ADA/FMLA Conundrum," October 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

Publications

Industries

Education

University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 1993

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A. with honors, 1990

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Michigan

Court Admissions

  • All District of Columbia courts
  • All Illinois state courts
  • All Michigan state courts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • 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
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
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