Services

Investigations

Workplace investigations require a deep understanding of employment laws and the ability to meaningfully engage with the employees involved.  Cherie investigates various types of workplace complaints, including allegations of harassment, discrimination, workplace violence, and retaliation.  While some workplace investigations can be handled internally or by a third-party consultant, certain complex or sensitive situations are best conducted by an experienced and impartial employment law attorney-investigator.  

In addition to her years of relevant experience as an employment law attorney, Cherie has also undergone specific accredited training in interviewing techniques, credibility assessments, and skills to effectively conduct impartial and thorough workplace investigations.  In addition to being an active member of the Association of Workplace Investigations (AWI), she is also an AWI-Certificate Holder. To obtain this distinction, Cherie completed the AWI Training Institute, an accredited certificate program that consists of several days of training and testing on workplace investigations.  AWI-CH credentials are granted to participants who complete the training program and pass a series of three tests to assess their knowledge of the materials taught, interviewing skills, and analysis and report writing skills.   The AWI Training Institute for Workplace Investigators is fully accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – Certificate Accreditation Program.  ANSI accreditation confirms that the AWI Institute provides the highest quality education and training for conducting workplace investigations.  In addition to being an AWI Certificate Holder, Cherie is also a proud member of AWI, whose mission is to promote and enhance the quality of impartial workplace investigations.  

When regular outside counsel cannot conduct an investigation for their own client due to an actual or perceived conflict of interest, Cherie collaborates with counsel to provide an impartial investigation.  In these situations, she is trained to avoid any unintentional waiver of attorney-client privilege.  

There are various other reasons a company may wish to use an outside attorney-investigator, such as:

• The internal investigator may need to be called as a witness in the event of a lawsuit
• The company’s regular outside counsel cannot conduct the investigation due to an actual or perceived conflict of interest or concerns regarding attorney-client privilege
• Utilizing a third-party provides a level of impartiality that cannot exist with an internal investigator
• The alleged wrongdoer or key individuals involved are a member of the leadership or HR team
• The company desires to keep the investigation protected by the attorney-client privilege
• The allegations are complex and involve a deep understanding of employment laws
• The company does not have appropriate internal resources to conduct a proper investigation
• The company’s internal investigator is unable to handle the investigation in a timely manner due to other business needs

Training

Effective employment law training is critical in today’s work environment, regardless of whether employees are working remotely or in-person.  While there are countless off-the-shelf training modules you can provide employees to educate them on harassment, discrimination or other laws, they may not adequately achieve the company’s goals.  Cherie’s training programs are customized to address each company’s culture and issues they are facing in their workplace.  Sessions are always interactive, whether virtual or in person, providing current examples and opportunities for employee engagement and growth. One of the elements that makes Empath Employment & HR Law’s trainings so impactful is that they are delivered by an employment law attorney who has seen numerous relevant scenarios play out firsthand in the courtroom.  By sharing real scenarios and including current events in the discussion, employees gain a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

DIVERSITY EQUITY AND INCLUSION (DEI) TRAINING

Impactful diversity training is best achieved with live presenters and interactive workshops. Empath Employment & HR Law provides this training and often partners with experts in the field, such as livingHR, to develop a customized, comprehensive, and holistic program, to maximize the impact in the workplace.  Learn more about livingHR here.

HARRASSMENT TRAINING

Harassment training is required by law in a growing number of states and localities.  Even in areas where it is not legally mandated, discrimination and harassment training is essential not just to reduce a company’s potential legal liability, but to maintaining a productive and comfortable work environment.  Cherie has conducted hundreds of anti-harassment training programs, including sessions for supervisors, managers and executives to ensure they understand harassment laws and can identify other types of unacceptable and improper conduct in the workplace.  Training programs are also available for non-management level employees.  All sessions include a discussion regarding reporting, confidentiality and non-retaliation obligations.

OTHER TRAINING

Cherie can also provide a variety of other employment law trainings. In addition to anti-harassment and discrimination training, Cherie has conducted a variety of beneficial training programs to clients, including “train the trainer” presentations. These can significantly improve workplace relations and mitigate risk by educating supervisors to become aware of their legal obligations and training HR professionals to properly handle difficult situations. Topics can always be customized, but supervisor and HR trainings have included how to conduct investigations, handling employee accommodations and leave requests, interviewing and hiring, and documentation and discipline.  

HR Audits

HR Audits often uncover some risks that create an opportunity for ongoing liability with various employment laws. Cherie can work with a company’s HR or leadership team to assess any potential liability and assist with preparing or revising necessary policies and procedures so the company can focus on its business and employees.

As an experienced employment law attorney, not only can Cherie help identify risks and create practical solutions and deliverables, but the legal services provided will typically be protected by the attorney-client privilege. This provides companies with an advantage over a typical HR audit performed by a non-attorney, as the audit results may be protected and not required to be turned over to a government agency or in litigation.  

Audits can include a comprehensive review of company practices, or simply just focus on certain areas of concern, such as:

• Wage and hour issues
• Employee handbooks
• FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
• Job applications, employment offers. and onboarding documents
• Employment and independent contractor agreements
• Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
• Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
• Separation and severance agreements

Employment Law Counsel Services

Empath Employment & HR Law provides a variety of employment law counseling services designed to meet each client’s needs. With fractional employment law general counsel arrangements, Cherie can function as outside in-house employment law counsel to employers who do not have an employment attorney on staff, or to partner with them when the needs arise.  By developing a deep understanding of the company’s practices, culture, and areas of risk, she can provide effective and efficient day-to-day employment law advice in addition to assisting with long-term strategical business decisions.

In addition to providing advice and counseling, Cherie often reviews or prepares employee handbooks and policies, creates compliant employment policies and other documents, including severance and separation agreements, employment contracts, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, and independent contractor agreements.  

While the focus of Empath Employment & HR Law is to develop compliant employment practices in an attempt to mitigate risk, sometimes disputes are unavoidable. When such situations arise, Empath Employment & HR Law can defend companies in pre-litigation matters. Such services include defending charges of discrimination brought before the EEOC and preparing management employees for interviews under the protection of the attorney-client privilege. Empath Employment & HR Law can also defend companies in Department of Labor audits and represent companies in unemployment hearings.  

Empath Employment & HR Law can provide flexible solutions that are most easily achieved in a small firm environment.  In addition to the traditional hourly fee format, there are a variety of predictable billing arrangements that can be customized for any company.      

Defend

While the focus of Empath Employment & HR Law is to develop compliant employment practices in an attempt to mitigate risk, sometimes disputes are unavoidable. When such situations arise, Empath Employment & HR Law can defend companies in pre-litigation matters. Such services include defending charges of discrimination brought before the EEOC and preparing management employees for interviews under the protection of the attorney-client privilege. Empath Employment & HR Law can also defend companies in Department of Labor audits and represent companies in unemployment hearings.  

Audits & Assessments

Employers might be surprised how much liability can be avoided by undergoing a proactive employment practices audit. Legal audits most often uncover some risks that create an opportunity for ongoing liability, including class actions. Empath Employment & HR Law proactively identifies these areas and can assist with preparing or revising necessary policies and procedures.  Audits can include a comprehensive review of company practices, or target certain areas, including just some of the following:

✓ Wage and hour issues
✓ Employee handbooks
✓ FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
✓ Job applications, employment offers and onboarding documents
✓ Employment and independent contractor agreements
✓ Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
✓ Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
✓ Separation and severance agreements

As an experienced employment law attorney, not only can Cherie help identify risks and create practical solutions and deliverables, but the legal services provided will typically be protected by the attorney-client privilege.  Cherie can work with a company’s HR or leadership team to assess any potential liability and craft solutions so you can focus on your business and your employees.

Wage and hour issues
Employee handbooks
FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
Job applications, employment offers and onboarding documents
Employment and independent contractor agreements
Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
Separation and severance agreements

Support

Clients turn to Empath Employment & HR Law for day-to-day employment law counseling and advice with time sensitive critical matters and to collaborate on developing long-term strategical and compliant business decisions.  Empath Employment & HR Law can provide flexible solutions that are most easily achieved in a small firm environment.  In addition to the traditional hourly fee format, there are a variety of predictable billing arrangements that can be customized for any company. Cherie strongly feels that no risky personnel decision should be made without consulting legal counsel.  One of the services she offers is to function as outside in-house employment law counsel to employers who do not have an employment attorney on staff, or to partner with them when the needs arise.  

Wage and hour issues
Employee handbooks
FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
Job applications, employment offers and onboarding documents
Employment and independent contractor agreements
Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
Separation and severance agreements

Training

There are countless off-the-shelf training programs you can show your employees to educate them on harassment, discrimination or other laws. Cherie’s training programs are different. Every training is customized to the organization to address the specific company culture and difficult issues in their workplace.  Sessions are always interactive, whether virtual or in person, providing current examples and opportunities for employee engagement. One of the elements that makes Empath Employment & HR Law’s trainings so impactful is that they are delivered by an employment law attorney who has seen these scenarios play out firsthand in the courtroom. Real scenarios and current events are used to give employees a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Diversity Training
Impactful diversity training is best achieved with live presenters and interactive workshops. Empath Employment & HR Law provides this training and often partners with experts in the field, such as livingHR, to develop a customized, comprehensive, and holistic program, to maximize the impact in the workplace.  Learn more about livingHR here.


Harassment Training  
Harassment training is essential, and even required by law in some jurisdictions.  Cherie provides training programs for supervisors, managers and executives to ensure they understand harassment laws and can identify other types of unacceptable and improper conduct in the workplace.  Training programs are also available for non-management level employees.  All sessions include a discussion regarding reporting, confidentiality and non-retaliation.

Other Training
Cherie can also provide a variety of other employment law trainings for your workplace. In addition to harassment and EEO training, Cherie has conducted a variety of beneficial training programs to clients, including “train the trainer” presentations. These can significantly improve workplace relations and mitigate risk by educating supervisors to become aware of their legal obligations. Topics can always be customized, but supervisor and HR trainings have included how to conduct investigations, handling employee accommodations and leave requests, interviewing and hiring, and documentation and discipline.  

Wage and hour issues
Employee handbooks
FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
Job applications, employment offers and onboarding documents
Employment and independent contractor agreements
Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
Separation and severance agreements

Investigations

While some workplace investigations can be handled internally or with a trusted third-party consultant, certain situations are best handled by an experienced employment law attorney.  When a sensitive complaint warrants particular care, or you desire to have the investigation protected by the attorney-client privilege, you can engage Empath Employment & HR Law to conduct a thorough and discrete investigation and provide recommendations. Empath Employment & HR Law also works alongside regular outside counsel when conflicts of interest prevent them from handling the investigations for their clients’ themselves.   There are various reasons your company may wish to use an outside investigator, such as:

✓ The alleged wrongdoer is a member of the leadership or HR team
✓ Your company does not have appropriate internal resources to conduct an investigation
✓ Your internal investigator may need to be called as a witness in the event of a lawsuit
✓ The company’s internal investigator is unable to handle the investigation in a timely manner due to other business needs

Wage and hour issues
Employee handbooks
FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
Job applications, employment offers and onboarding documents
Employment and independent contractor agreements
Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
Separation and severance agreements

Defend

While the focus of Empath Employment & HR Law is to develop compliant employment practices in an attempt to mitigate risk, sometimes disputes are unavoidable. When such situations arise, Empath Employment & HR Law can defend companies in pre-litigation matters.  Such services include defending charges of discrimination brought before the EEOC and preparing management employees for interviews under the protection of the attorney-client privilege.  Empath Employment & HR Law can also defend companies in Department of Labor audits and represent companies in unemployment hearings.  

Wage and hour issues
Employee handbooks
FLSA exemption and independent contractor reviews
Job applications, employment offers and onboarding documents
Employment and independent contractor agreements
Non-compete and other restrictive covenants
Job applications, background check authorizations and other screening documents
Separation and severance agreements