Cornell University

Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution

456 ILR Research Building, 607-255-9298

Employment Law for Arbitrators, Mediators, and HR Professionals

Instructor: Lori B. Rassas - Lori is a SPHR-certified employment and labor attorney. She received an LL.M. in Labor and Employment Law from New York University Law School, a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, and a B.A. from Tufts University. She has provided extensive guidance and counsel on all phases of the employment process to both employers and employees, and she has developed a pragmatic approach to the navigation of employment relationships by resolving complex legal issues that have arisen on both sides of the bargaining table. Lori is currently the Director of Labor Relations at Columbia University, an Adjunct Professor Law at Fordham University Law School, and an Adjunct Faculty member at Berkeley College. She has also written an employment law textbook which will be foundation for the materials covered in this workshop.

Materials: Employment Law: A Guide to Hiring, Managing and Firing for Employers and Employees (Wolters Kluwer 2011) by Lori B. Rassas & Handouts (to be provided)

Date: January 14, 2013

Location: Cornell ILR, New York, New York 

This course will provide a basic overview of employment law, focusing on the most significant laws and legal principles that may surface during an employment dispute. The goal is to provide labor and employment mediators, arbitrators, and others working in the Human Resources with a foundation of knowledge that can be used to identify potential legal issues that may be faced by both employers and employees.

The substantive coverage starts with Title VII, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and, most recently, genetics. (Practically speaking, this would include a discussion about pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation).This will be followed by an overview of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A brief overview of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Equal Pay Act (EPA) will be also be provided since these statutes are particularly relevant to compensation claims. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will also be discussed since leave issues (and issues related to reinstatement at the conclusion of a leave) often materialize into wrongful termination claims.

After this statutory foundation is set out, there will be an extensive discussion about employment at-will and its exceptions, just cause, and progressive disciplines which are concepts that are often at the center of employment disputes.  An understanding about the role these legal principles play in the resolution of employment disputes is critical for those who are working to help the parties craft amicable resolutions.

This course is intended for aspiring mediators and arbitrators, and established ADR professionals looking to expand their existing knowledge about employment. The course will also be useful for HR Managers, supervisors, and other professionals who want to learn about federal and state laws, regulations, and court cases that may impact what conduct is and is not appropriate in the workplace.

This course is the first day of our 5-day program, Employment Law Mediator Training Program. If you have paid for this 5-day course, no additional payment is necessary. If you are taking only the 1-day workshop, Employment Law for Arbitrators, Mediators, and HR Professionals, the fee is $895.

To register for this workshop, you must contact Traci Morse at, or via phone at 607-255-9298. Registration forms must be submitted manually via fax. To download the registration form, click here.