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|2017 Annual Conference Speakers|
Rachel Ablin is the founder of Ablin Law, a firm focused on conducting independent workplace investigations. Prior to starting her firm, Rachel worked for 19 years as in-house employment counsel for Walgreens. Before joining Walgreens, she was a Senior Investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Chicago and Baltimore.
Jeff Brodin founded Brodin HR Law in 2012, with more than 25 years of labor and employment law experience in top tier law firm and in house corporate environments. In addition to his in house legal experience, Jeff led the HR transformation for one of the largest employers in Arizona as HR Director. This experience provides Jeff with deep expertise in nearly all areas of employment law. His unique combination of experience in law firms, in house and HR gives Jeff the ability to practically analyze and understand workplace issues from the business and legal perspective.
During his more than 25 years of experience as a lawyer and HR executive, Jeff has conducted countless workplace investigations, as both in-house and outside counsel, and workplace investigations are a large part of Jeff's practice at Brodin HR Law. These investigations have involved the full range of workplace issues and have been conducted for a wide range of employers, including Fortune 20 companies, in industries including health care, manufacturing, financial services, religious institutions and other non-profits, food service, and labor unions.Jeff is regularly asked to speak and share his expertise on employment law topics, including on the PBS news show Arizona Horizon. He recently was interviewed on Arizona Horizon about workplace harassment investigations. In 2016, Jeff was elected by his peers as a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and awarded the Frances Perkins Award for Public Service by the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Section.
Yesenia Z. Carrillo handles employment law, litigation and workplace investigations. Yesenia has extensive experience in conducting workplace investigations for employers including; complaints of misconduct in the workplace, company policy violations, hostile work environment, sexual harassment, abusive conduct, sexual battery, rape, and violations of wage and hour. She represents employers in administrative proceedings before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Department of Industrial Relations, Cal OSHA, the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among others.
As a native Spanish speaker, Yesenia connects with interviewees in a personal and effective manner. She had conducted numerous interviews of Spanish speaking employees investigating allegations of misconduct and wage and hour allegations. As a fluent and native Spanish speaker, Yesenia has served as a joint investigator and simultaneously interpreter.
Yesenia conducts trainings and webinars in conducting an effective investigation. She also provides trainings on labor and employment law issues in both English and Spanish. Ms. Carrillo received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Diane Citrino is an experienced litigator who has first-chaired federal and state cases for her clients for over 30 years. She is a partner at Giffen & Kaminski, a women-owned law firm in Cleveland, Ohio that finds practical results for its clients. A former Regional Director of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Diane frequently conducts independent investigations into alleged workplace harassment or discrimination. Diane carries Martindale Hubbell's preeminent AV rating. Diane currently chairs the Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and is a delegate of the American Bar Association.
Jennifer J. Freyd is a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon. She received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in psychology from Stanford. Freyd directs a laboratory investigating interpersonal and institutional betrayal trauma. Freyd’s laboratory has also conducted several campus-wide sexual harassment and assault surveys at the University of Oregon. In recent years, Freyd has participated in numerous efforts regarding the application of behavioral science to interpersonal and institutional victimization, from promoting good methodology regarding measuring campus sexual violence to evaluating and implementing effective interventions and policies. In 2014, she was invited two times to the U.S. White House due to her research on sexual assault and institutional betrayal. Freyd is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has received numerous awards including being named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. In April 2016 Freyd was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation. Freyd currently serves as the Editor of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.
Ann Fromholz is the Founder and Principal of The Fromholz Firm Law That Works, specializing in workplace and Title IX investigations. She is often retained by national employment law firms, national, regional and local law firms, and in-house counsel representing a wide variety of entities ranging from small family owned businesses to Fortune 10 companies. Ann has conducted investigations throughout the United States. She also serves as a hearing officer for campus appeals of Title IX investigations at public and private California universities.
Ann is a nationally recognized employment law expert with over 20 years of experience and is a frequent speaker and author on employment law issues. Before she started The Fromholz Firm, Ann was a partner at Jackson Lewis PC and Seyfarth Shaw LLP. She also worked as the Vice President and Chief Counsel, Enterprise Labor & Employment for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the parent company to 43 casino properties across the United States. She repeatedly has been recognized as one of Southern California's Super Lawyers.
Richard Hart is a lawyer, arbitrator, mediator, and founding director of ProActive ReSolutions, a boutique consultancy focusing on workplace conflict and conduct issues. ProActive has worked with organizations in over 32 countries, including Global 500 and Fortune 500 companies, as well as local, state and national government agencies; Richard has led some of ProActive's largest engagements, and has developed a particular expertise in dealing with high conflict dynamics involving harassment, bullying, threats and violence. He presents frequently on these topics.
Susan K. Hatmaker, founder of Hatmaker Law Group, handles labor and employment law and litigation for employers, both in the public and private sectors. She provides counseling and training to employers on employment compliance with state and federal laws and represents employers at administrative proceedings. She has conducted innumerable workplace investigations including complaints of workplace safety violations, hostile work environment, sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, workplace theft, and substance abuse. Ms. Hatmaker received her J.D. with Distinction from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1994 and is admitted to the state bars of California and Nevada.
John Hughes is the Director of Ethics and Investigations at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Prior to joining Rutgers, John spent nine years with the New Jersey State Ethics Commission serving first as a Legal Specialist conducting investigations of ethics violations, providing guidance to ethics officers throughout NJ State government, and drafting rule and policy changes. Perhaps the most important rule change that John worked on was the Scholarly Capacity Rule which carved out certain exceptions for faculty members at New Jersey state colleges and universities. John was later promoted to the role of Ethics Compliance Officer for the State Ethics Commission and in that role he conducted regular audits of State agencies, trained new ethics officers, conducted high level investigations, and co-presented quarterly ethics training for all Executive Branch ethics officers. John is a graduate of Montclair State University with a B.A. in Political Science and Rutgers School of Law- Camden with a J.D.
Dr. Ingram is a licensed clinical social worker and an educator who has over 25 years working in the mental health and education fields. Her dissertation focused on the impact of community violence on the academic careers of African American elementary school students. She is the Director of Clinical Services for Peace Over Violence. Dr. Ingram is a lecturer with UCLA Social Welfare Department and was a full and adjunct faculty member at Pacific Oaks College, Marriage and Family Therapy where she developed their specialization for African American Mental Health. She is on the Advisory Board of the African Communities Public Health Coalition (ACPHC). She is a member of the National Association Social Work (NASW) and Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW). She provides consultations, workshops and training on sexual and domestic violence, child abuse/trauma, trauma informed care, cultural competence, foster youth, mentoring, and program development to various human service agencies, schools, and mental health professionals.
Kevin Kish, a noted civil rights attorney, was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on December 29, 2014 to be director of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the largest state civil rights agency in the nation. Kish was previously with Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s premier public interest law firms. As director of the firm’s Employment Rights Project, Kish led the firm’s employment litigation, policy, and outreach initiatives. His cases focused on combatting violations of minimum labor standards in low-wage industries and human trafficking for forced labor. He led trial and appellate teams in employment and trafficking suits, including prevailing in the first civil case to reach a jury verdict under the California Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Kish developed and teaches an employment-law clinic at Loyola Law School and frequently speaks on issues related to poverty, employment, human trafficking and human rights.
Cheryl-Anne has positioned herself as a confident and trusted advisor. Cheryl-Anne has built an enviable reputation for her energy and commitment to quality and value.
She believes passionately that building strong long term relationships, and becoming part of the conflict resolution process, is the best path to excellent client outcomes.
Cheryl-Anne provides consulting services that span every aspect of employee and industrial relations. Her core industrial relations skills lie in the areas of advocacy, conciliation, negotiations and in managing industrial disputes throughout every phase of their lifecycle. She is a specialist in workers compensation, workplace investigations, and all discrimination/harassment/workplace behaviour matters. With deep understanding of each client’s culture and workplace philosophy, her advice is tailored to every specific circumstance.
"I have extensive experience as either outside legal counsel or lead investigator in advising or running sensitive internal and public-facing investigations involving senior leadership of large institutions of higher education and other employers in a wide variety of contexts that require both confidential and publicized reporting to boards, government entities, and in-house counsel. I have also spoken regularly on such topics, particularly within the higher education legal community and other venues (including with Deborah Maddux, which led to my joining AWI)."
Ashley Lattal is a lawyer, a workplace investigator, and a mediator who practices law in Toronto. She began her career practicing in Washington, D.C. at a national law firm and spent the first part of her career as a commercial litigator. After obtaining her LL.M. in ADR, she transitioned her practice to one focused on assisting organizations in the management of workplace conflict.
Ashley has expertise in conducting workplace investigations into complaints of sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, workplace violence, hostile work environments, and conflicts of interest. She also has considerable experience in managing large and complex investigations involving multiple parties and witnesses and significant evidentiary issues.
Ashley also provides workplace mediation services to assist parties in managing workplace conflict. She also works with organizations requiring assistance in restoring workplaces and repairing relationships following a disruptive event, such as an investigation. In addition, Ashley regularly acts as a mediator on civil litigation cases
Ashley graduated from Cornell Law School in 2000 and is a member of the bars of New York, Washington, D.C., and Ontario.
Michal Longfelder, founder and principal of Employment Matters, a uniquely “neutral” employment law practice. As a lawyer, an HR professional, and a business person, with years of experience in each discipline, Michal brings a distinctive understanding of workplace challenges and conflicts. Michal has conducted and overseen hundreds of workplace investigations and has a keen appreciation of the impact of an investigation; the disruption to the organization, the damage to the parties’ working relationship, which can result in conflict that persists long after an investigation and lead to future complaints. Along with years of experience as a mediator, Michal offers a specialized expertise in conducting “post-investigation mediations”, helping the parties to defuse the hard feelings between them, develop strategies to avoid future disputes and establish fundamental agreements that help them move forward. Michal has served as an EEOC mediator and adjunct faculty at the Golden Gate University School of Law, focusing on the practical, day-to-day implications of employment discrimination law.
Julie A. Moore, Esquire, is president and founder of Employment Practices Group in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She founded EPG in 1998 to work with organizations on best practices of human resource management, consistent with the law and industry standards. Julie has been practicing law for 25 years in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She consults and advises on employment law and human resources issues; is retained as an independent investigator for alleged harassment and misconduct; drafts policies, procedures and handbooks; and represents employees and employers in workplace matters. Julie is frequently retained to offer expert witness testimony on workplace issues. She conducts in-house seminars for employers and speaks at employment seminars offered by the New Hampshire Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Association of Workplace Investigators, and other organizations. Julie has written many publications in legal and trade journals. She earned her B.A. degree from Boston College, summa cum laude, and her J.D. degree from Suffolk University Law School, cum laude. Julie is a member of the American, New Hampshire (past chair, Labor & Employment Law Section) and Massachusetts Bar Associations. She is a former board member and conference chair for the Association of Workplace Investigators, board member and program chair for the Greater Merrimack Valley Human Resources Association, and member of the Society for Human Resources Management. She has the two highest HR certifications available: SPHR and SHRM-SCP. In 2013, Julie was nominated by her peers and inducted as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Attorneys. She was also re-appointed by the Town of Wellesley for her second 3-year term to the Human Resources Board and is Vice Chair, overseeing a staff of five employees.
Amy Oppenheimer has over 30 years of experience in employment law, as an attorney, investigator, arbitrator, mediator and trainer. She is also a retired administrative law judge. Her areas of expertise include preventing workplace harassment and responding to allegations of harassment, retaliation, whistleblower claims, discrimination and other forms of workplace misconduct.
Ms. Oppenheimer is the founder and past President of the Board of the Association of Workplace Investigators, Inc. (AWI) and is the Immediate Past Chair of the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Section of the State Bar of California. She is also past president of the Board of the Berkeley Dispute Resolution Services.
Ms. Oppenheimer has trained employees and employers throughout the country in how to prevent harassment, and in how to investigate workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.
A trial qualified expert in State and Federal court, Ms. Oppenheimer has testified, more than sixty times at trial, for both the plaintiff and the defense, about employment practices in preventing, responding to and investigating workplace harassment.
Ms. Oppenheimer is the author of numerous articles about harassment, discrimination, and implicit bias and is co-‐author of one of the few books about the practice of investigations, Investigating Workplace Harassment, How to be Fair, Thorough and Legal, (Society of Human Resource Management, 2003). email@example.com ∙ 510-393-4212 ∙ www.amyopp.com
Stacey brings over 20 years in-house legal and compliance experience with a passion for human rights to emphasize a work culture of care, respect, accountability and trust. Her current global role oversees Employee Relations and HR Compliance best practices for an international company with over 70,000 employees in 130 country locations. She is responsible for establishing global HR Compliance policies and best practices to help employees understand and model appropriate behaviors in order to support a positive, productive work environment. She is known for fair and objective workplace investigations, her candid personality, and her ability to resolve issues effectively and efficiently as a compassionate listener, investigator, collaborator and thought leader.
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Keith Rohman has over 30 years of experience as the founder of Public Interest Investigations, Inc., in Los Angeles. A recognized expert in the investigations field, including workplace investigations, is an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School where he teaches Fact Investigation. He served on the Equity Oversight Panel of the L.A. Sheriffs Department, which supervised Internal Affairs investigations, and was the Executive Director of the Office of Discrimination Investigation for the City of Los Angeles. Mr. Rohman was appointed the Court Monitor by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey B. Collins in Pierce et al. v. County of Orange, et al., a case filed on behalf of physically disabled jail inmates. In addition, Mr. Rohman has investigated allegations of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and assisted attorneys on representation of capital murder defendants. He is the Vice President of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI).
Carole Ross has been practicing employment law for more than 25 years. Much of that time, Carole was was part of Sheppard Mullin where she practiced employment law and was responsible for business development. In 2013, Carole started her own firm, where her practice focuses on workplace investigations.
Mike Sandulak is the Health Sciences Principal Investigator for the University of California Office of the President, where he conducts investigations and responds to whistleblower and retaliation complaints. Previously, Mike was an investigator in the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination at the University of California San Diego where he conducted Title IX investigations and resolved all types of bias, harassment, and discrimination complaints. Prior to joining the University of California, Mike was an FBI Special Agent in the Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he investigated a broad range of federal crimes, including health care fraud, cyber and internet crimes, and public corruption.
Deborah Shapiro is an employment and labor lawyer, advising management on all matters concerning the employment relationship. She counsels companies on applicable laws, conducts workplace investigations, trains management, drafts handbooks and policies, and handles administrative agency charges. She also negotiates executive contracts on behalf of companies and executives, and serves as an arbitrator, mediator, hearing officer, and law professor.
Jennifer A. Smith is a partner in the Education Law Practice Group at Franczek Radelet P.C.
Jennifer’s practice involves representing education clients on a wide range of issues, including matters related to student rights, athletics, special education, general contract matters, labor and employment law, policy development, TIF counseling, and litigation. She has extensive experience in representing public school districts and higher education institutions in civil rights investigations and litigation. Jennifer has experience with sensitive internal investigations and audits for school districts and higher education institutions.
Jennifer has litigation and trial experience before state and federal courts, and numerous administrative agencies. Jennifer’s reported cases include: Students & Parents for Privacy v. United States Dep't of Educ., No. 16 C 4945, 2016 WL 3269001 (N.D. Ill. June 15, 2016); Swan v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, No. 13 C 3623, 2013 WL 4401439 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 15, 2013); Johnson v. Bd. of Educ. Champaign Cmty. Unit Sch. Dist. #4, No. 00-CV-1349, 2009 WL 3765846 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 4, 2009).
Jennifer is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and the National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys (NSBA). She presented at the 2016 NSBA Annual Conference on “A Legal Guide to Serving LGBT Students.” She also presented at the NSBA Advocacy Institute in 2016 on transgender issues in the presentation “Will the Real Title IX Please Stand Up?” In 2017, Jennifer was named an Emerging Lawyer by Law Bulletin Publishing.
Rebecca Speer has conducted investigations for more than twenty years and counts herself as one of the first attorneys in California to devote her law practice to independent workplace investigations. Rebecca is a graduate of Stanford University and the Santa Clara University School of Law; she began her career at Morrison & Foerster and Seyfarth Shaw. With Beth Gramigna, Rebecca has founded Tribù Partners, a law firm that helps employers build exceptional investigative teams through a suite of investigations-focused services. Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Ann Van Dermyden, President. Ms. Van Dermyden is a founding partner of Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation (VMLC). Since 1993, she has focused on employment law. After years of litigating employment cases in state and federal courts, her practice primarily focuses on conducting workplace and Title IX campus investigations. Ms. Van Dermyden also serves as an expert witness in employment matters, regularly conducts training seminars on employment matters and Title IX workplace investigations, and provides employment-related advice and counsel. She has handled hundreds of workplace investigations on all types of employment matters. Ms. Van Dermyden is experienced in testifying during administrative and judicial proceedings relating to her own investigations and as an expert witness on the adequacy of the investigation. She is also an experienced investigator in Title IX sexual assault claims, and a founding member of T9 Mastered, a training firm for Title IX investigations. Her commitment to and passion for improving the quality of investigations extends beyond her team of ten attorneys at VMLC. Ms. Van Dermyden was listed in Northern California Super Lawyers in consecutive years from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, she was elected as a Fellow to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Election as a Fellow is the highest recognition by one's colleagues of sustained outstanding performance in the profession, exemplifying integrity, dedication and excellence. Ms. Van Dermyden is a graduate of CSU Chico (1990) and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1993).
Don Vilfer is an owner at VAND Group LLC, a Top-tier Computer Forensics firm in the Sacramento, California area. VAND Group provides Computer Forensics, Investigations and eDiscovery services to organizations ranging in size from small business to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, government agencies and Non-profit organizations. Don is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Digital Forensics and has provided sworn testimony in over 100 cases in State and Federal Courts.
Don previously operated and sold another digital forensics firm. Prior to starting that company, Don served in the FBI as the Special Agent in charge of the White-Collar Crime and Computer Crime Unit in Sacramento. As such, he led investigations of Federal White Collar Crime and Computer Crime violations, including an international computer intrusion and extortion investigation.
During his FBI career, he was also assigned to the Washington D.C. Field Office and later at FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. where he led a major case management team at venues from The White House to the Oklahoma City Bombing. Don is a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Law and a member of the Ohio Bar.
In 2000, after practicing employment law at a San Francisco labor and employment boutique, Ms. West started Employment Practices Specialists where she specializes in conducting workplace investigations for employers of all sizes and industries, on a variety of topics, including harassment, discrimination, theft, violence, disability and whistleblower issues. She also delivers interactive investigation, HR and management training, provides sensitivity training and coaching, and expert witness assistance. Ms. West is a frequent speaker on employment law and HR topics at national and local HR and industry conferences. She is a Charter and Sustaining Member of AWI, was a Board Member from 2013-2017 and chaired the Marketing Committee. Ms. West also served as junior faculty at the AWI Institute. Ms. West is a frequent author and blogger on employment law and investigation topics. She is a member of the State Bar of California, International Association of Interviewers, ASIS Technical Committee Member - Managing the Investigative Process, Guidance on Conducting Investigations (creating international ANSI Standards) and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources and SHRM-SCP certification.
Casey Woods is an experienced investigator specializing in conflicts of interest in the workplace. Before taking a position with Rutgers University Ethics & Compliance with a focus on employee training, Casey served for three years as an investigator for the New Jersey State Ethics Commission. Casey is an admitted attorney in New Jersey and lives down the shore with his very understanding and supportive wife, a very supportive dog, and several mostly supportive cats.
With an extensive background in mediation, executive-level administration, strategic planning, leadership development, and organizational systems, I know that workplace investigations can leave a wide and choppy wake. Best-in-class organizations look for opportunity in workplace disruptions, and develop plans for how to prevent future conflict. They invest time and resources to learn everything they can about what else might not be working well, to strengthen relationships with their employees, to make positive adjustments to operational policies and procedures, to send clear messages about acceptable behavior, and to support a healthy work environment by providing focused training and workforce development. By resisting the impulse to put Humpty Dumpty together again too quickly, leaders can learn a lot about organizational strengths and vulnerabilities. I support organizations by coaching employees and managers, leading team-building exercises, or providing in-service training in leadership, communication, conflict management, and performance evaluation and mentoring skills.