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November 12, 2012

Littler Forms Workplace Policy Institute to Bridge the Gap Between Employer Interests and Policy Developments

Specialized Group Addresses Labor, Employment and Benefits Policy Developments in Washington D.C. Impacting Workplaces and Business Strategies

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 12, 2012) – Littler Mendelson, P.C. (Littler), the world’s largest employment and labor law firm representing management, has announced the formation of the Workplace Policy Institute (WPI), creating an effective resource for the employer community to engage on legislative and regulatory developments that impact their workplaces and business strategies. Shareholders Michael Lotito and Ilyse Schuman will serve as the group co-chairs.

Effective November 12, 2012, this formalized group, which will rely upon attorneys from across Littler’s practice groups, captures in one, specialized institute the firm’s existing education, counseling and advocacy services related to the most anticipated workplace policy changes at the federal, state and local levels.

“Littler has always been uniquely positioned to help employers navigate the ever-changing, increasingly complex labor and employment legislative policy and framework,” said Marko Mrkonich, president and managing director of Littler. “Our subject matter experts are intimately familiar with, and often involved in, the latest legislation, regulations and federal agency activity. Now is the perfect time to streamline our policy assets into one, strategic offering that aligns clients’ interests with workplace policy developments and other labor and employment changes on the horizon.”

Following the outcome of the Presidential and Congressional elections, the Obama Administration is expected to prioritize policies that will significantly impact the workplace. As a result, near-term priorities for the WPI include preparing employers for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, broader requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, increased oversight of equal employment opportunity and hiring practices, and further initiatives proposed by the National Labor Relations Board favoring union organizing efforts. In the wake of President Obama’s re-election, the WPI is also paying close attention to the expected finalization of the Department of Labor’s new interpretation of the “advise” exemption under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. 

“Following a turbulent election season focused on job creation, labor and employment issues remain at the forefront of the national agenda as employers continue to feel the impact of various government regulations,” said Lotito. “The formation of this group was a logical and strategic move for Littler, which has an unmatched level of experience in advocating for clients’ interests before policymakers as well as handling the myriad complexities involved in the legislative and regulatory process.”

“WPI will help employers gain and maintain a competitive edge through its ability to anticipate and evaluate government action,” said Schuman. “The firm’s broad client base across multiple industries and regions affords the group a unique and valuable perspective from which to articulate and advocate the needs of individual employers as well as those of industries and trade associations.”

Littler attorneys have an extensive track record representing clients before governmental agencies, including the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, in addition to testifying before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Littler has addressed other emerging workplace issues on behalf of a variety of trade associations submitting amicus briefs and extensive comments to proposed rules, including those under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

For an analysis of how the 2012 election results will impact labor, employment and benefits policy, please see the WPI’s recent client alert. As part of the WPI effort, Lotito and Schuman will host a webinar on November 15, and along with Littler shareholder Barry Hartstein, will also lead a panel discussion at the 2012 NLJ Regulatory Summit in Washington, D.C. on December 6. Also serving as panelists will be Ed Gilroy, director of Workforce Policy at the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Joe Trauger, vice president of Human Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

About Littler Mendelson

Littler Mendelson is the world’s largest labor and employment firm exclusively devoted to representing management.  With over 950 attorneys and 56 offices throughout the U.S. and globally, Littler has extensive resources to address the needs of U.S.-based and multi-national clients from navigating domestic and international employment laws and labor relations issues to applying corporate policies worldwide. Established in 1942, the firm has litigated, mediated and negotiated some of the most influential employment law cases and labor contracts on record.