Supreme Court Ruling on LGBTQ+ Employment Discrimination: Changes on Policy Drafting and Advising Employer-Clients


CLE credits earned: 1 General Credit (WA 1 Law and Legal)

Attorneys will learn about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision extending Title VII protections and prohibitions to LGBTQ+ employees. The Court’s opinion necessarily effects employers and employment practices. In order to understand its impact and craft policies to protect employers, we will provide a background on the LGBTQ+ community; address lower court decisions prior to the High Court’s Ruling; discuss the factual and procedural posture of the recent decision; and provide key takeaways. Takeaways will include direction on advising employer-clients and tips on policy-drafting.

Key topics to be discussed:

• General LGBTQ+ Background
• Discuss U.S. Supreme Court Decision on LGBTQ+ employees and Title VII
• Provide Employment Advising Tips
• Discuss Undecided Issues

Date / Time: July 20, 2020

•   3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•   2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Pacific

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•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
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Closed-captioning available upon request

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Original Broadcast Date: July 20, 2020

Alan Rupe, Managing Partner – Lewis Brisbois Wichita, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

Alan Rupe is the managing partner of Lewis Brisbois’ Wichita and Kansas City offices and a vice-chair of the Labor & Employment Practice. Mr. Rupe is an experienced trial lawyer who is consistently recognized for excellence by local, state, national, and international rankings organizations, including Chambers USA (Band 1, Kansas Labor & Employment), Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. Mr. Rupe is an “Advocate” member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an invitation-only role granted to trial attorneys who are of “high personal character and honorable reputation” with considerable jury trial experience. He has also been named “Board Certified Trial Specialist” by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Mr. Rupe’s practice embraces every aspect of employment law: day-to-day counseling, training, administrative agency proceedings, civil litigation, and trials. He has litigated landmark employment cases, including handling the first Title VII jury trial and the first RICO case in Kansas. His years of experience defending claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, civil rights violations, and wage and hour class and collective actions, cause employers to seek him out for representation in state and federal courts across the United States. Accustomed to being the “lawyer from out of town,” he associates seamlessly with local counsel and skillfully and successfully demonstrates his courtroom skills and experience on behalf of his clients wherever he is selected to litigate.
Recent representative successes include:
Represented a consumer products manufacturer in litigation in the District of Kansas in which the 55-year old female plaintiff alleged that she was refused workers’ compensation following an on-the-job injury, and that she was discriminated against by her 23-year old male supervisor; after we filed our Motion to Dismiss, the plaintiff’s counsel, understanding that the motion would succeed, voluntarily dismissed all claims against our client.
Represented a hospital in litigation in the District of Kansas alleging that a doctor’s termination from the hospital and the revocation of his temporary clinical provisions were a breach of contract and deprived him of his due process rights under the 14th Amendment. Our motion for summary judgment was granted but was reversed and remanded by the Tenth Circuit. We filed a second summary judgment motion which was also successful, and which the Tenth Circuit affirmed.
Represented a major national retailer in litigation in the District of Kansas claiming constructive discharge, discrimination, and harassment in violation of Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD). We successfully motioned for summary judgment, at which point the plaintiff dropped her $1 million-plus settlement demand and agreed to dismiss the case for a nuisance value.
Secured summary judgment for a sporting goods chain in litigation in the Southern District of Mississippi alleging wrongful termination of an African-American employee; we successfully argued that our client had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for firing the plaintiff.
Represented a nationwide trucking company in class action litigation in the Northern District of Illinois brought by two named plaintiffs on behalf of a putative class of former truck drivers that claimed that our client misclassified them as independent contractors rather than as employees. Following our Motion to Dismiss, the claims filed by one plaintiff were dismissed, and the other plaintiff settled his case on an individual basis.
While Mr. Rupe has built a reputation as a top employment lawyer, his skill set ranges beyond this one practice area. With more than 150 jury trials handled over his career, there is virtually no type of claim that he has not defended against in the courtroom – professional liability, general liability, construction litigation, insurance coverage, as well as litigation concerning sexual abuse, molestation, and school shootings. In addition, Mr. Rupe is often retained to handle appellate arguments after previous counsel receives unfavorable rulings or verdicts by trial courts.
Some of Mr. Rupe’s best known matters are his work on behalf of public entities. He receives ongoing national attention and recognition for his successful prosecution of cases relating to the constitutionality of the funding of K-12 public education, and received the Demetrio Rodriguez Champion of Educational Justice Award from Education Law Center, Inc. for “years of outstanding lawyering and lobbying and perseverance in the face of many obstacles, including brash insults” for his work on a series of lawsuits on behalf of Kansas school children. The lawsuit culminated in a court ordering the State of Kansas to increase spending on public schools by nearly $1 billion each year from 2006-2009, and approximately $440 million in 2014 and 2015.

Jon Olafson, Partner – Lewis Brisbois Denver, Colorado

Jon Olafson is a partner in the Denver office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Labor & Employment Practice.
Finding the right path, the right people, and the right result that matches the client’s overall goals is Jon’s guiding principle. Jon counsel’s business clients on a variety of regulatory and dispute resolution matters, largely based on the “who” of their business or industry. In particular, Jon regularly works with clients on their domestic and international trade secret protections, corporate espionage, data & cybersecurity, and how to handle situations where a client’s most valuable materials data are threatened by internal and external sources. Jon also works with clients on their complicated wage and hour issues, business and corporate compliance, and C-suite transitions. Jon also counsels his clients other business-related disputes and helps clients understand the pros and cons of multiple courses of action to achieve their ultimate goals. Jon is an experienced complex commercial and corporate litigator, which specifically includes the management of large commercial and employment-related class and collective actions in both state and federal courts across the country. His class and collective action experience include contract and commercial actions, claims of misrepresentation, wage and hour, and misclassification. Jon’s arsenal, however, is not limited to litigation and he will narrowly tailor a plan specifically suited to your business’s specific needs.
Jon has worked with clients covering a broad span of industries including technology, government contracting, oil field services, drilling, manufacturing, and engineering, investor-driven development, entertainment, food and restaurant service, crypto-currency, and franchisor operations. Jon also has extensive experience working with aviation clients in counseling and representing them in front of the Federal Aviation Administration on issues related to drones, airman certificates, testing, facilities and land usage, flight operations, and Pt. 16 investigations. Jon has extensive experiencing in working with both airports and those interested in economic development around an airport to find solutions that comply with federal regulations.
Jon is also very involved in the community. He currently serves on the Colorado Bar Association’s Executive Council as an at-large member, the Board of Governors representative for the Colorado Bar Association Labor and Employment Section and serves on Group IV of the Colorado Bar Association’s Diversity Initiatives. Jon also serves as the President of the Board for the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra and has been in that position since 2012. Jon also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nathan Yip Foundation. He is also the Chair of the Admissions and Membership Committee of the University Club of Denver. In his spare time, Jon enjoys hiking Colorado’s mountains and spending time outdoors with his partner, family, friends, and his trustee canine sidekick Elske. He is also an avid college sports fan, with his loyalties being with the University of North Dakota and Texas Tech University.

Colby Everett, Associate – Lewis Brisbois Kansas City, Missouri

Colby Everett is an associate in the Kansas City office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Labor & Employment and General Liability Practices. He represents clients in employment disputes, general liability issues, insurance litigation, and trade secret litigation in state and federal courts in Kansas and Missouri.
A fierce advocate for his clients, Colby endeavors to manage his clients’ front-end risk in order to mitigate their back-end exposure. He is not afraid to take on litigation with demands in the six figures or higher and excels at disposing of high exposure matters early in litigation.
Colby is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy and published on issues in First Amendment and social media policy. He also represented the University at national trial competitions.

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I. Overview of LGBTQ+ definitions and background information. 3:00-3:10
II. Pre-U.S. Supreme Court, lower-court rulings on LGBTQ+ and Title VII 3:10-3:20
III. Discuss factual background of LGBTQ+ employment cases before the Court 3:20-3:30
IV. Discuss U.S. Supreme Court’s decision 3:30-3:40
V. Employment advising tip following ruling 3:40-3:50
VI. Undecided issues and potential pitfalls for employers and their attorneys 3:50-4:00