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Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Joseph F. Spitzzeri, will be participating in ALFA International’s upcoming conference, The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be: Current Trends and Critical Issues in Professional & Employment Practices Liability and Insurance. The conference, hosted by ALFA’s Insurance Law, Labor & Employment and Professional Liability Practice Groups, will take place from June 13 – 15, 2018, in New York.

The conference will include presentations from ALFA International attorneys and client representatives on various topics, such as:

Trial tactics and the reptilian theory;
Ethics in your everyday practice;
The attorney-client privilege;
Legal malpractice;
Joint employer issues;
Restrictive covenants;
Sexual orientation and harassment;
The Cat’s Paw theory;
Bad faith claims; and
The use of underwriting in claim denials.

The panels will also offer strategies, practical tips and solutions to help attorneys deal with challenges they might be faced with on a day-to-day basis.

Mr. Spitzzeri will be participating in a panel as part of the Labor and Employment group on matters related to sexual harassment in the workplace. The panel will discuss employers’ potential liability based on the “cat’s paw theory”. The panel will also address the potential coverage issues and practical problems that can come up in such situations. Mr. Spitzzeri will be speaking with George Fagan, of Leake & Andersson, L.L.P., Dean Constantine, of AIG and Carter Berkeley-Taylor, of Marriott International, Inc.

Joseph F. Spitzzeri is the co-chair of Johnson & Bell’s Employment group. Mr. Spitzzeri’s employment practice includes defending employers in EEOC and IDHR administrative proceedings, and proceedings in federal and state courts arising from Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the Equal Pay Act and claims brought under the Illinois Human Rights Act. His employment practice also includes the drafting of employment policies as well as employee training.

In advance of his presentation, Mr. Spitzzeri analyzed rulings in the 7th and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that introduced the Cat's Paw Doctrine. The Cat’s Paw Doctrine (“Cat’s Paw”) is a theory of liability whereby employment discrimination claimants impute the bias of any employee —even a non-manager, non-decision maker-- to the employer sufficient to demonstrate a causal nexus exists between the employee’s bias and the resulting adverse job action. Since its introduction, the courts have worked to color in the controlling factors: what non decision maker involvement can constitute proximate cause of the adverse decision and how can the employer insulate itself from imputed bias of any employee?

You can access the two articles by clicking on the following links:

The Cat's Paw Doctrine is Born in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Cat's Paw in the 9th Circuit