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|Chicago Area 2019 Institute Faculty|
Linda G. Burwell, AWI-CH investigation counsel and president of National Investigation Counsel, PLLC, serves law firms, in-house counsel, and insurers primarily in workplace investigations, focusing her investigations on C-Suite and other high-level executives. She is often retained/referred by national employment law firms representing a wide variety of entities ranging from small non-profits to Fortune 100 Companies. Her investigations have spanned international borders, extending from the United States into Africa, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, India and Thailand. She is a nationally recognized employment law expert with over 30 years' experience, is a frequent speaker/author on risk management issues, and was invited by the EEOC to testify (as a defense attorney) before the Commission in Washington DC regarding investigations and conciliations. She has received numerous awards and honors including being recognized in the Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, one of Michigan’s Super Lawyers, Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Top 50 Female Lawyers in Michigan, Top Lawyers by DBusiness Magazine, and she received a lifetime achievement award for Women in Leadership, from the Michigan Business & Professional Association. Prior to forming National Investigation Counsel, PLLC, Ms. Burwell cofounded and grew an employment defense firm into the largest women-owned defense firm in the state of Michigan. Today, as the leader of National Investigation Counsel, PLLC, she no longer litigates, has no ties to any single law firm, and has become a valuable resource to her clients, many of whom are former competitors or courtroom adversaries.
Pamela Clarke, AWI-CH is a workplace human rights lawyer and investigator practising in Winnipeg. Pamela has focussed her career on employment and labour relations issues, both as a lawyer and senior human resources leader in prominent Canadian corporations. She started working in the area of employment discrimination at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in the late 1980’s while attending the University of Ottawa Law School. Pamela has extensive experience in the development of respectful workplace policies, the design and delivery of workplace human rights education, the mediation of disputes and the investigation of complaints. She has trained thousands of individuals on the prevention of harassment and workplace violence as well as instructing HR professionals on the appropriate methods for investigation and response. Since launching her own investigation practice in 2005, Pamela has investigated close to 300 complaints, in a variety of private and public sector, unionized and non-unionized workplaces, often dealing with complex issues and multiple parties. Pamela is a member of the Law Society of Manitoba, the Canadian and Manitoba Bar Associations, the American Association of Workplace Investigators and a founding member of the Canadian Association of Workplace Investigators. She is a graduate of the 2015 AWI Institute in Mystic, Connecticut. She and served on the 2016 AWI Institute in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario as full-time faculty, and at the Austin (2017) and Whistler (2018) Institutes as part-time faculty.
Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, AWI-CH, a partner in Robinson+Cole's Labor and Employment Group, counsels boards of directors, senior management, and human resources professionals in all areas of employment law, with a focus on sensitive, high-risk personnel issues, investigations, compliance, training, and U.S. market entry initiatives for international organizations. She represents a wide array of employers, ranging from Global 500 Companies and publicly-traded companies to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to manufacturers and has been ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the state of Connecticut in the area of Labor & Employment since 2014 and in Connecticut Super Lawyers® since 2013. Britt-Marie regularly advises clients regarding personnel policies, affirmative action compliance, pay equity, discipline and terminations, wage and hour issues, disability and reasonable accommodations, leaves of absence, employment contracts, severance and separation agreements, reductions in force, and workplace health and safety issues. She also represents employers across various industries in litigation involving discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and other employment claims. Britt-Marie is a trained workplace investigator, and regularly serves as a speaker for the Association of Workplace Investigators. Robinson+Cole is an Am Law 200 firm serving regional, national, and international clients from nine offices throughout the Northeast, Florida, and California.
Donna R. Evans, AWI-CH is a Director at EXTTI, Inc, where she conducts workplace investigations, training and expert witness review. Donna has years of expertise in the following areas: (1) investigation of claims of harassment, discrimination, and employee misconduct, including complaints made under Title VII and Title IX, EEOC and FEHA; (2) executive and staff training on respectful workplace conduct, leadership, communication, ethics, performance management and bullying; and (3) expert witness testimony and consulting in sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination litigation — particularly on workplace investigation issues. Donna’s background includes civil litigation and trial experience in healthcare, insurance as well as labor and employment law. She served as a Director with Aon Corporation where she managed a work group responsible for contract review and regulatory compliance. She is an adjunct instructor at California State University of Fullerton, where she has taught labor and employment law. Donna is a member of the State Bar of California (Labor and Employment Law Section). She is a Sustaining Member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and a Certificate Holder (AWI-CH). She has been a faculty member for AWI Training Institutes in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Donna also holds Title IX certificates of training from ATIXA and T9 Mastered (basic and advanced). In addition, she also received special training from the National Center for Campus Public Safety for trauma-informed sexual assault investigation and adjudication.
Kathryn M. Hartrick, AWI-CH is the founder and managing partner of Hartrick Employment Law, Ltd. She delivers legal solutions in the areas of investigations, training/coaching, and employment law counseling. She has recently supported many clients in implementing investigation programs, updated policies and training programs to deter discrimination/harassment and foster positive workplace cultures. She has been involved in several investigations addressing perceived bias and harassment. She has also coached several individuals where investigations have found violations of company policies. Kathryn combines over 25 years of employment law expertise with training in investigations and executive coaching. She has over 15 years first-hand knowledge of business needs as a senior corporate counsel and HR officer with global publicly traded corporations such as Career Education, Wolters Kluwer and United Stationers/Essendant. She is also General Counsel/Vice President for the global coaching firm, Robertson Lowstuter. In addition to being a former law firm partner, she taught Employment Discrimination at Loyola University School of Law, and served as Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations discrimination agency. She is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), International Coach Federation (ICF), and a Fellow to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She’s a certified mediator and former volunteer with Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR), EEOC and IDHR. For the past 15 years, she has chaired the North Shore Labor & Employment Counsel (NSLC), and serves on the Board of Directors for NISHRM. She frequently speaks and writes on sexual harassment/respect in the workplace, investigations, executive coaching topics, and employment law topics. Her law degree is from Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she served on the Law Review, and she has a BBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Erin Mason, AWI-CH is an experienced ethics and compliance professional with recognized expertise in conducting and ensuring thorough, fair, and defensible workplace investigations. Ms. Mason is the Director of Ethics and Compliance at Reyes Holdings, LLC, a Chicago-based company with approximately 31,000 employees in nineteen countries. As part of her responsibilities at Reyes Holdings, Ms. Mason frequently trains management and Human Resources representatives in conducting internal investigations. Prior to joining Reyes Holdings, Ms. Mason practiced civil litigation for four years. Ms. Mason holds a B.A. from Indiana University – Bloomington and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law where she was a member of the DePaul Law Review. Ms. Mason is also a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP).
Judy Mims has been active in AWI since she joined in 2012 and attended the 2013 AWI Training Institute in Santa Barbara. Judy was elected to the AWI Board of Directors in 2015 and serves as the Chair for the Seminar and Webinar Committee which produces Basics in Investigations training as well as Public Investigations training annually. Judy has been a speaker about internal investigations at an annual AWI conference, and co-presented annual AWI Investigations Basics day long trainings in Seattle, WA, and in Vancouver, BC. In 2014, she was selected to be a full-time faculty member for the AWI Training Institute and has taught at the east coast institutes in Mystic, CT, Niagara, Ontario, and Baltimore, MD. Judy values her involvement with AWI as she appreciates conducting workplace investigations as a profession and wants to contribute to AWI’s efforts to continue setting the standard for this body of work. She brings her experience as a former EEO internal investigator at the Microsoft Corporation and 20+ years in labor and employment law as in-house counsel and HR for the University of Washington and the State of Washington. In the past, Ms. Mims has served as the chair of the Executive Committee for the Labor & Employment Section of the Washington State Bar Association as well as chair for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Directors for King County in Seattle, WA.
Marilou Mirkovich, AWI-CH has been an attorney for over 30 years. For more than 15 years, conducting, supervising, and evaluating impartial investigations has comprised the central part of Ms. Mirkovich’s practice. Her impartial investigation practice often concerns complex allegations against high‐level employees and focuses on whistleblower, discrimination, and harassment allegations. She has significant expertise in public sector investigations, including compliance with statutory requirements for California public safety officer and firefighter investigations. Before focusing on impartial workplace investigations, Ms. Mirkovich represented employers on all aspects of employment law, and she continues to provide employment advice and counsel to employers. Additionally, Ms. Mirkovich has received Title IX investigator certification through the Association of Title IX Administrators, and has acted as an external adjudicator for Title IX sexual misconduct hearings. Her training in trauma informed investigations enhances her skills in conducting sexual misconduct investigations at postsecondary academic institutions. She also trains employees of post‐secondary institutions and workplaces to investigate claims of sexual misconduct.
Reuben Mjaanes is a Senior Legal Director at Medtronic, Inc., where he has served as in-house counsel in Medtronic's Employment Law Group since 2006. In his role at Medtronic, Reuben provides advice and counsel to Human Resources (HR), Employee Relations (ER) and Managers on a wide range of employment related issues. He also conducts training for HR, ER and Medtronic managers and employees on employment related topics, respect in the workplace, performance management and investigations. Reuben coordinates Medtronic's Employment Law Group's investigation process and team. Prior to joining Medtronic, Reuben was a partner at the Minneapolis, MN law firm of Lindquist & Vennum where he worked in the Employment Law area (handling litigation and advice and counseling). While at Lindquist & Vennum, Reuben was named a Minnesota Lawyer Rising Star. Reuben is a Madison, WI native and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Reuben taught for three years before attending law school.
Keith Rohman has been an investigator in the public and private sectors for more than 30 years. As president and founder of Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII), a Los Angeles-based investigations firm, Rohman investigated many high-profile cases, including litigation related to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib; allegations of shootings of Iraqis by Blackwater, Inc.; the enslavement of dozens of Thai workers in an El Monte, California, sweatshop; and the trial against Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King. Rohman has conducted defense investigations in death penalty cases in California, Utah, Alaska, Arizona, and Washington. His work has taken him throughout the United States, as well as to Mexico, Germany, Jordan, South Africa, and Turkey. Under Title IX, Rohman has conducted and overseen investigations of sexual assault complaints at numerous Southern California colleges and universities. He was the principal investigator for attorneys in landmark litigation filed on behalf of service women and men sexually assaulted in the U.S. military. He is a senior trainer with T9 Mastered Training for Campus Investigators. In the workplace, Rohman has conducted third-party investigations into allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination, and retaliation for private- and public-sector employers, including school districts and universities. Previously, he was appointed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to the Equity Oversight Panel (EOP) of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a civilian oversight board that oversees Internal Affairs investigations at the Sheriff’s Department. Rohman also served as a court-appointed monitor in a federal lawsuit addressing the treatment of disabled inmates in the Orange County jails. The City of Los Angeles retained Rohman to serve as the executive director of its Office of Discrimination Investigation, which conducted more than 300 employment discrimination investigations, and provided recommendations to the City Council on restructuring how the City handled these matters. These recommendations led to the establishment of a new City agency to oversee this work.In addition, Rohman has served as an expert witness and testified in court proceedings on investigative issues, both in civil and criminal cases. Rohman is the president of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), an international professional association of more than 850 attorneys, human resource professionals, and private investigators who conduct or manage workplace investigations. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, where he teaches fact investigation. He is a Senior Faculty member at AWI’s accredited Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, and has conducted trainings throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Vida L. Thomas has conducted workplace investigations for 23 years. She serves as Of Counsel to the Labor and Employment Group of Weintraub Tobin in Sacramento, California. An AV-rated attorney, Ms. Thomas heads up her firm’s workplace investigations unit. As the Co-Chair of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) Committee on Guiding Principles, Ms. Thomas helped develop AWI’s Guiding Principles framework for workplace investigations. She advises employers regarding all aspects of employment law and human resources management, serves as an expert witness in state and federal employment lawsuits, and mediates litigation and non-litigation matters. Ms. Thomas has conducted scores of workplace investigations for private and public employers, and is experienced in complying with California’s Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. She has considerable experience investigating matters within a union setting and is particularly adept at investigating complex matters involving high-profile employers and individuals. Ms. Thomas has been qualified as an expert on investigations in federal court and frequently trains attorneys, human resources and EEO professionals on how to conduct legally effective workplace investigations. She routinely conducts sexual harassment prevention training for state agencies and private companies. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of the 2015 AWI Institute in Mystic, Connecticut.
Sue Ann Van Dermyden, AWI-CH 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).