University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 1993
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A. with honors, 1990
District of Columbia
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
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.
Represented transportation client in case alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and state law, and violations of the ADA. Successfully secured summary judgment in client’s favor on all claims.
Represented banking client in case alleging age, gender and disability discrimination under the ADEA, Title VII and the 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 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 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.
Honors and Recognitions
Best Lawyers in America® since 2012
Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – Labor and Employment 2014 and 2018
Best Lawyers in America®, Women in the Law Spring Business Edition, Labor and Employment Law, 2017
Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers: Labor and Employment Law; Litigation – Labor Employment Benefits; since 2019
Leading Lawyers, Employment Law – Management
Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Go To Employment Lawyer, 2021
Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Women in the Law, 2014
Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2015
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: Judicial Review Committee, 2016; Nominating Committee, 2012
Grand Rapids Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
Illinois State Bar Association
Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), Labor & Employment Law Advisory Board, 2016 – 2019
Society for Human Resource Management
State Bar of Michigan, Labor & Employment Law Section; Litigation Section
U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, Merit Selection Panel for Reappointment of Magistrate Judge, 2021
ACT – Artists Creating Together, Board member, 2006 – 2018; Secretary, 2011 – 2013; Chair, 2013 – 2015; past Chair, 2015 – 2018
East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation, Board member, 2017 – present; Secretary, 2019 – 2021; Vice President, 2021; President, 2022 – present
Go Red for Women Campaign, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate, Executive Leadership Team, 2014 – 2016
Hillman Advocacy Clinic held by the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan; Faculty Member, 2022
Legal Assistance Center, Board member, 2017 – 2022
West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT), Board member, 2022 – present
Varnum’s Fall 2021 Labor & Employment Webinar, “OSHA’s Covid-19 Vaccine and Testing Rules: What Employers Need to Know,” November 2021
Varnum’s Fall 2020 Labor & Employment Webinar, “HR Legal Issues for the New Year,” December 2020
Michigan Chamber of Commerce, “2020 Employment Law Update,” January 2020
Varnum’s Labor and Employment Law Seminar, “Plenary Session: New Developments in Labor and Employment Law” and “Employee Leaves of Absence: Applying the FMLA and the ADA in the Real World,” March and April 2019
Michigan Chamber of Commerce, “2019 Employment Law Update,” January 2019
Varnum’s Labor and Employment Law Seminar, “Plenary Session: Sexual Harassment – New Awareness and Strategies to Address an Old Problem,” March and May 2018
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, “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
“We have worked extensively with Elizabeth (Beth) Skaggs at Varnum. She is phenomenal. As an HR office of one for a campus with about 500 employees, Beth’s knowledge of employment laws has been indispensable. She always makes herself available, and she is so knowledgeable and thorough. She has provided us with guidance and options on a variety of topics ranging from FMLA administration, ADA compliance, severance agreements, handling of EEOC claims and more.”
Human Resource Director, Michigan liberal arts college