Labor and Employment Law

Ca. Labor & Emp't Rev. July 2016, Volume 30, No. 4

Message from the Chair

By Amy Oppenheimer

Amy Oppenheimer is an attorney and retired administrative law judge whose law firm focuses on workplace investigations. She has written a book about investigations, testifies as an expert witness on employer practices in responding to and investigating harassment, and is the founder and past-president of the board of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). Ms. Oppenheimer has trained employers and employees throughout the country in preventing and investigating workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and on understanding and eliminating implicit bias.

As labor and employment lawyers, we work in a field of law that is vast, interesting, and constantly changing. A significant percentage of cases filed in civil court are employment related – about twenty percent in federal court, and more than that in state court – and many of the appellate court decisions in California and in federal court are in the labor and employment field. With over 7,000 members, our section is the third largest of the State Bar sections. The work we do is constantly in the news. And lately, I do mean constantly.

The U.S. Supreme Court defined sexual harassment more than thirty years ago, and California mandated training on sexual harassment for supervisors and managers more than ten years ago. Yet, every day we wake up to headlines about the latest smart and powerful person whose career has tanked due to engaging in inappropriate workplace behaviors. Usually, but not always, these are men.

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