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Event Details

    Harassment in the #MeToo Era

    Date: May 17, 2018, 7:30am – 9:00am
    Holiday Inn Christiansburg
    99 Bradley Drive
    Christiansburg, VA 24073
    Premium Members - Free, Basic Members - $20, Guests - $20, VT & RU SHRM Students - Free
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    Speaker: Jim Cowan and Eric Chapman with CowanPerry

    Pending approval for HRCI / SHRM recertification credit


    Session Content:

    Best Practices for Preventing and Addressing Workplace Harassment in the #MeToo Era

    The recent focus of media on issues of sexual harassment in the workplace has intensified the cultural, political, and legal discussions surrounding the best practices for preventing harassment, investigation and identifying whether harassment is present but un-reported, and, if so, addressing and resolving the resulting workplace issues caused by harassment, whether the harassment is on-going or past. In this presentation, we will: 

    • Discuss these "key concerns" and how the interplay of social media and intense media scrutiny can affect an investigation and can heighten the PR associated with an investigation. 
    • Discuss the difficulty of addressing past issues when evidence is unavailable and the event allegedly occurred in the years past. 
    • Discuss suggested "new tactics" for adapting to this rapidly changing event and working to provide an open and welcoming workplace free of harassment.  

    About the Speakers: 

    Jim is the Chairman of CowanPerry PC. His practice focuses on representing management in the full spectrum of labor & employment related issues confronted by employers in today's workplace, and representing property owners and developers on land use issues. He represents a number of

    employers, business owners and developers in the region, ranging from high-tech start-ups to large manufacturers, and from local property owners to national developers.

    He has eighteen years of trial experience representing employers in numerous unfair competition cases involving breach of restrictive covenants, myriad types of business and partnership disputes, and the waterfront of employment-related litigation, including employee benefits and ERISA claims.

    Over the course of his career, he has represented companies in federal and state courts across Virginia in commercial litigation and in the defense of wrongful discharge claims, including disability, age, family medical leave, sexual harassment, race, and gender under the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Family Medical Leave Act and Fair Labor Standards Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. §1981; and before the Virginia Supreme Court on appellate

    matters. Jim also represents employers before the NLRB, the EEOC and the Virginia Employment Commission. Additionally, he specializes in the preparation of affirmative action plans and responding to OFCCP and other Department of Labor audits.

    Jim is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the New River Valley Society for Human Resource Management, serves as General Counsel to the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, and is Chairman of the New River Valley Regional Executive Council. He is a frequent speaker and corporate trainer, and an active member of the Virginia State Bar. He has been recognized repeatedly in "The Best Lawyers in America;" as a Virginia "Super Lawyer" each of the past four years; and named to Virginia Business Magazine's "Legal Elite." Jim was also named by Richmond Magazine as a "Rising Superlawyer" in the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2007-2009.

    Eric focuses his practice in the areas of business litigation, employment law, and corporate transactions. He helps clients navigate employment law issues, including E.E.O.C., ADA, Title VII, and ADEA claims. Eric’s experience in evaluating and analyzing employment law claims makes him a valuable member of the litigation team and allows him to advise clients on preventing employment issues and strategically resolving them when they arise. Additionally, he draws upon his eclectic work and management experiences to craft unique and cost-effective solutions for businesses.

    Prior to joining CowanPerry, Eric worked as a summer associate with LeClairRyan at their Blacksburg office, and as a paralegal at Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown in Reston, Virginia. During law school, he served as a judicial intern for The Honorable James G. Welsh, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Virginia, and as a yearlong extern for The Honorable Rebecca B. Connelly, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Virginia. Additionally, while at Washington & Lee University School of Law, Eric was selected as a Burks Scholar, and taught legal research and writing skills to first-year law students.

    In 2014, Eric was appointed as the 27th Circuit Representative for the Virginia State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Conference. He is also an Associate Member of the Ted Dalton American Inns of Court and Board Member of the New River Valley Chapter of Mental Health America.


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