On September 17, 2019, Labor & Employment partner and member of the Proskauer Executive Committee Elise Bloom moderated “The New Workplace” panel at the Benchmark Women in Litigation NYC Forum where Proskauer was a sponsor. The forum boasts panels of women lawyers discussing the top legal issues facing in-house counsel. On the panel with Elise were Yvette Politis (associate general counsel, RELX), Marissa Coyne (SVP, employment & compliance counsel, Universal Music Group), Dolores DiBella (VP, legal affairs, NFL, & Proskauer alumna), Katie Manley (executive director, employment law, Morgan Stanley), and Rachel Philion (senior counsel, Proskauer).
The Panel discussed three important issues facing in-house counsel today—the aftermath of the #MeToo Movement, the changing workforce and emergence of new jobs created by the digital environment and pay equity.
Aftermath of the #MeToo Movement. After touching on the recent legislative developments in New York State related to workplace anti-discrimination protections, the panel discussed what steps their companies have taken to understand cultural shifts in the workplace. The panel discussed everything from organizational health studies to employee trainings—both off-the-shelf trainings and trainings tailored to a specific workforce. The panel’s focus on training aligns with the results of Proskauer’s most recent Value Insights Survey wherein 100% of respondents agreed that training was the most effective way to reduce complaints and reported providing anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and retaliation training to their employees.
The Emergence of New Jobs and the Changing Workforce. The panel also discussed how the workforce seems to be changing at a faster pace than ever before—e.g. shorter job tenures and the proliferation of a remote workforce. The discussion included how the emergence of new types of jobs created by the digital environment and the remote workforce has resulted in wage and hour challenges. The panel also touched on a number of new issues confronting in-house counsel, including altered priorities and expectations, remote accessibility, workplace culture, retaining and attracting talent and technological support.
Pay Equity. The panel briefly mentioned the legal landscape of pay equity and then dove into discussing their practical experience with pay-equity audits and the three main issues facing in-house counsel conducting an audit: privilege, transparency, and remedial action.