Overview

With over 25 years of experience advising and representing employers, Mark T. Phillis helps guide employers in implementing effective accommodation policies and practices for individuals with disabilities, streamlining their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) practices, and ensuring that their commission and incentive pay plans and other pay practices conform to the law.

Mark enjoys helping employers solve complex problems involving various intersecting laws that provide leaves of absence to employees such as the FMLA, similar state laws, paid sick leave laws, and parental leave laws. He helps employers both find creative ways to accommodate their employees while ensuring that employees continue to perform their jobs effectively and do not abuse their leave privileges. He has helped employers deal with employees using FMLA leave to plan their weddings, rein in employees whose use their leave around weekends and major sporting events, and manage employees who believe being eligible for FMLA leave prevents their manager from holding them accountable.

Mark counsels employers on their employment policies and practices, particularly those disability discrimination and accommodations for employees and members of the public under both Title I and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He has worked to find creative accommodations for employees who suffer from migraines, attention deficit disorder, mobility issues and myriad other impairments. Mark defends companies when their employment practices and decisions are challenged as being discriminatory or unlawful. He also works with companies to ensure that their facilities, websites, and mobile applications are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

For example, Mark has defended companies in disability access litigation, including in numerous purported class action lawsuits, and he has assisted retailers with assessments of their stores, hotels with assessments of their properties and reservations systems, brewers with ensuring that their public tours are accessible, and well over 100 companies across a broad range of industries with accessibility issues with their websites and mobile applications.

In addition to his work on leaves of absence and disability accommodation, as part of Mark’s focus on compliance, he works extensively with employers across the country to ensure that their incentive compensation plans and commission plans provide proper incentives to their employees and that their plans comply with various state laws. Mark revises plan documents to not only ensure that they are legally compliant, but also to ensure that employees understand how their pay plans work and what behavior is being rewarded.

He defends employers when they face individual claims and class and collective actions over how they pay their employees and when overtime pay is due. He defends companies in class and collective actions and in U.S. Department of Labor audits, and he works with companies to prevent future litigation. For example, in recent years, Mark helped two companies, each with over a dozen subsidiaries, review their pay practices and policies to ensure that they comply with federal and state law in over 30 states.

As co-chair of Littler’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, Mark devotes a good deal of his time working on the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. He works with clients to ensure that their diversity and inclusion initiatives are both effective and comply with the law.

Mark is a frequent lecturer on leaves and disability accommodations, employment and pay practices, and diversity and inclusion. He also regularly publishes articles on developments relating to accommodations for individuals with disabilities, leaves of absence, diversity and inclusion, and LGBTQ-related workplace issues. He is a frequent commentator in both trade and legal publications.

As an undergraduate, Mark studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and received an Organization of American States grant to study at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In law school, he was executive and production editor of the Journal of Law Reform.

In 2018, Mark was inducted as a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and he has been listed in the Best Lawyers of America© since 2017.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Chair

Strategic Planning Committee

Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition

Co-chair

Diversity Collaborative Committee

Allegheny County Bar Association

2016-2017

Chair

LGBT Rights Committee

Allegheny County Bar Association

2014-2016

Member

Labor and Employment Section

Allegheny County Bar Association

Member

Labor and Employment Section

American Bar Association

Member and Former President, Board of Directors

Residential Care Services

Chair

Alumni Admissions Program

Western Pennsylvania - Georgetown University

Recognition

Fellow

College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

2018-present

Named, Lawyer of the Year

Pittsburgh

The Best Lawyers in America©

2020

Named, The Best Lawyers in America©

2017-2020

News, Analysis & Press

High Court Silent on LGBT Cases

Business Insurance

April 1, 2019

Federal Agencies Diverge on Transgender Protections

Business Insurance

October 30, 2018

Labor of Law

Law.com

March 1, 2018

Disability Suits Over Website Access Surge

Business Insurance

November 6, 2017

Federal Protection for LGBT Employees and Students

Today's General Counsel

August 1, 2017

Legal Industry Leads in Transgender Policies for Employees

Bloomberg Big Law Business

July 20, 2017

Supreme Court Declines Transgender Bathroom Case

Business Insurance

March 6, 2017

Are Outside HR Professionals Necessary in Discrimination Cases?

Bloomberg BNA Human Resources Report

March 2, 2017

Are Outside HR Professionals Necessary in Discrimination Cases?

Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report

February 13, 2017

Mitigating Risk by Addressing Issues Facing Transgender Issues

The Legal Intelligencer

November 7, 2016

Battling Transgender Discrimination

Human Resource Executive Online

July 11, 2016

Paid Sick Days Ordinance: Employers Should Start Preparing

The Legal Intelligencer

November 25, 2015

Where the human resource worries reside

Fleet Owner

July 17, 2015

Gays still lack full civil rights protection in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 27, 2015

Gay marriage constitutional right, Supreme Court rules (video)

Charlotte Business Journal

June 26, 2015

2015 Roundtable Discussion on Diversity Issues

The Legal Intelligencer

June 2, 2015

The LGBT Travel Risk Dilemma

Risk Management

June 1, 2015

Supreme Court Hears Marriage Equality Cases

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

April 29, 2015

GCs On Notice After UniTek Privilege Ruling

Law360.com

February 12, 2015

Supreme Court Ruling May Eliminate Costs of Inconsistent Marriage Laws

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

January 22, 2015

Five local firms score well in LGBT equality

Lawyers Journal

December 26, 2014

Mailing of FMLA Notices Insufficient, Third Circuit Rules

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

August 18, 2014

Keeping Them Safe

Human Resource Executive Online

June 17, 2014

WorkZone: Negative references can hurt job seekers, employers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 13, 2014

Making an Inclusive Workplace for the LGBT Workforce

Corporate Counsel

March 12, 2014

Supreme Court Narrowly Defines ‘Supervisor’ In Discrimination Case

Thomson Reuters Westlaw Journal Employment

July 10, 2013

Supervisors on the line: The case of Vance v. Ball State

Thomson Reuters Westlaw Journal Employment

December 26, 2012

Preparing for a Pandemic

The Pennsylvania Lawyer

September 1, 2008

Speaking Engagements

PBI’s Got Talent: An Interactive Study of a Sexual Harassment Case

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 12, 2018

When Is Social Discourse Too Coarse for Work?

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 12, 2018

Just How Accommodating Do We Have to Be?

2018 New England Employer Conference, Boston, MA

November 8, 2018

Employment Law Basics

Association of Corporate Counsel, Western Pennsylvania Chapter

January 18, 2018

Navigating Federal, State, and Local Laws Governing Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees

Pennsylvania Bar Institute West

November 8, 2017

Paid Sick Time: Compliance Solutions Across Multiple States

2017 New England Employer Conference, Boston, MA

October 27, 2017

ROI for LGBTQ-Inclusive Workplaces: Recruiting, Optimizing and Improving Advancement

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Philadelphia, PA

October 10, 2017

LGBTQ Issues in the Workplace: What Does a Trump Administration Mean for Employers?

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Philadelphia, PA

October 10, 2017

LGBTQ and Ally Leaders: Navigating the Changing National Climate

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Philadelphia, PA

October 9, 2017

LGBTQ Issues in the Trump Administration

Lavender Law Conference, San Francisco, CA

August 2017

FMLA: Navigating the Uses and the Abuses

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

July 2017

Who Let the Dogs In? An ADA Primer on Public Accommodation

The 2017 Executive Employer® Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 11, 2017

Current Trends in ADA Workplace Accommodations: Today’s Battles and Tomorrow’s Frontiers

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2016

Managing LGBT Mobility in a Global Organization

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Orlando, FL

October 5, 2016

New Developments/Future Challenges in LGBT Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Orlando, FL

October 4, 2016

Paid Sick Time: Local Legislation Creates a Big Problem for Employers

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference, Scottsdale, AZ

May 5, 2016

Same-Sex Marriage, Religion and the Workplace: Accommodating Constitutionally Protected (and Potentially Competing) Rights

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference, Scottsdale, AZ

May 5, 2016

Legal Issues Affecting Transgender Pennsylvanians: Professionalism in Dealing With the Transgender Client

Allegheny County Bar Association

March 30, 2016

Running the Gauntlet: Surviving Expanding ADA, FMLA, and Paid Sick Leave Obligations and Accommodating Religious Beliefs

ACC, Western Pennsylvania Chapter

March 16, 2016

Navigating the Complexities of FMLA, ADA and Other Overlapping Leaves of Absence Laws

Fairport, NY

March 15, 2016

Keeping the “Independent” in Independent Landman: Understanding the Differences Between Employees and Independent Contractors

MLBC/IRWA Joint Conference

March 10, 2016

Recognizing Employee Individualism: Accommodating Religious Diversity, Disability Access Requirements and Transgender Employee Issues

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Dallas, TX

October 2015

Leave Issues for 2015 and Beyond: Avoiding 15 Common FMLA Pitfalls and Preparing for Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Pittsburgh, PA

September 22, 2015

Pregnancy Discrimination in Employment

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

July 10, 2015

A More Aggressive DOL: Get Ready for Regulatory Changes and Increased Enforcement

Human Resources Association of the Alleghenies, Johnstown, PA

April 15, 2015

Marriage Equality in Pennsylvania and Elsewhere: What Does it Mean for Employers?

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2014

Recognizing Employee Individualism: Accommodating Religious Diversity, Disability Access Requirements and Transgender Employee Issues

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Dallas, TX

October 2014

A Year of FMLA and ADA Developments: Keeping Your Company Out of the Headlines

Pittsburgh, PA

September 23, 2014

Winning Retaliation Claims in the Post-Nassar World

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

August 2014

Building a Diverse Workplace: Best Practices for Making Your Workplace LGBT Inclusive

March 4, 2014

Managing Intermittent Leave and Reduced Leave Schedules Under the FMLA

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2013

Basics of Employment Law

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

August 2013

The New FMLA Regulations – What You Need to Know Now

May 16, 2013

Who’s the Boss? Defining the Employer-Employee Relationship in an Evolving Economic Landscape

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2012

Developments under the ADA, the FMLA, and GINA

Allegheny County Bar Association

April 3, 2012

Under Attack! Independent Contractors and Contingent Worker Classifications

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

February 2012

Strategies for Handling Damages in Age Discrimination Cases

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2011

Social Media and Social Networking: Navigating the Legal Perils of a New Electronic Workplace

Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Dallas, TX

October 2011

Wage & Hour Challenges – Avoiding Litigation

Pittsburgh Association of Human Resources Professionals

May 2011

Update on the FMLA, USERRA, and State Leaves of Absence

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2010

The Basics of Employment Law

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

August 2010

On the Cutting Edge of Workplace Privacy: Rethinking Your Organization’s Strategy for Regulating Employees’ Communications

Pittsburgh Legal Administrators Association

April 2010

The Do's and Don'ts of Interviewing

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2009

Diversity – An Introduction to the Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

Pittsburgh Legal Administrators Association

November 2009

H1N1 Flu: Preparing the Workplace for a Pandemic

Pittsburgh, PA

October 2009

Dealing with the Problem Employee

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

August 2009

The Basics of Employment Law

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

June 2009

A Brand New (Work) Day: Coming Workplace Change in the Obama Era

College & University Professionals Association for Human Resources

December 2008

The Basics of Employment Law

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

June 2008

Dealing with the Problem Employee

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

June 2007

Advanced Topics in the FMLA

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2006

Drafting Employment Agreements

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

April 2006

Damages Issues in Employment Discrimination Cases

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2004

The New FLSA Regulations: A Look at the Changes

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

July 2004

Attorneys' Fees in Employment Litigation

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2003

Practical Tips for Handling Employment Discrimination Cases at the Administrative Stage

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

November 2002

FMLA Basics

Pennsylvania Bar Institute

December 2001

Education

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1992
  • B.S., Georgetown University, 1986magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admission

Pennsylvania

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania