U-M?Law alumna helped to develop new 'HR/Advantage' program for employers

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

In her 1L year at the University of Michigan Law School, Carly Osadetz did an externship with Chief Judge James G. Carr at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio – and the first case she worked on dealt with age discrimination and harassment.

“The facts read like a story and really kept my attention – there was a personal element to that case that drew me in,” she says. “I hadn’t felt that same interest in the fact patterns from most of my first year classes, like contracts or property.”

Now an attorney in Clark Hill’s Detroit office, Osadetz continues to enjoy this niche area.

“I love helping businesses and human resources departments solve problems in their workplace,” she says. “At its core, labor and employment law is about human relationships, which makes every day different and interesting. The stories about what people do while they are at work never gets old.”

About 18 months ago, while working at another law firm, Osadetz learned Clark Hill was in the early stages of developing a human resources and employee benefits products initiative, with fee-based, compliance-type programs and services for employers. She jumped at the opportunity to join the firm’s Labor and Employment team and spearhead this new products initiative.

The project evolved into HR/Advantage, a suite of interactive tools, resources, and practical solutions designed to help employers stay current with the complex requirements and demands of employment and benefits law.

“The whole project is client-driven,” Osadetz explains. “During the early stages, we asked a lot of clients and prospective clients what tools and resources would be most helpful. Their answers helped form the basis for our programs, including our Wage and Hour, HIPAA, and FMLA Compliance Tool-Kits and our comprehensive training programs.”

Among other tools and resources for employers, HR/Advantage – found at hr-advantage.com – offers online learning and mobile access, with “Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation in the Workplace” as its first e-learning course. The course can be completed in under an hour using any computer, laptop, tablet or other mobile device, and can be customized to include specific state laws or employer policies.

“In addition to making sure we had the most up-to-date legal content, we spent a lot of time working with an e-learning specialist to include course elements that would maximize the learner’s experience,” Osadetz says.  “I’m very proud of the end result and know it will be a great addition to the training curriculum for many employers.” 

For Osadetz, the current hot topic in the labor and employment world is family and medical leave. “It’s fascinating that the United States is so vastly different than the rest of the world when it comes to paid leave, especially parental leave,” she says.  “Although the law hasn’t really caught up yet, I believe this will be an area of great legislative change over the course of my legal career.

“Interestingly, a lot of the employers I work with want to get ahead of the curve and have developed workplace leave policies that make a lot more sense for their employees.”

Named a “Rising Star” in Employment & Labor by Super Lawyers, for the past three years, Osadetz represents large and small employers in a variety of matters in both state and federal court, including claims involving employment discrimination, disability accommodations, family and medical leave and wage and hour issues.

She also represents employers before numerous administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and Department of Labor.

A lecturer on various employment topics, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, she assists employers with practical advice and innovative solutions for preventing and mitigating risk events in the workplace, including daily counsel and human resources and supervisor training. She also conducts and counsels clients in sensitive and complex investigations arising from employee complaints.

She has made life-long friends through the Oakland County Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan.

“The Labor and Employment bar is especially close knit,” she says.  “Even if we only get together a few times a year, we get the opportunity to catch up with each other and continue to build those relationships.”
After earning her undergrad degree in political science, with honors, from McGill University in Montreal, Osadetz earned her law degree, cum laude, from U-M Law School, where she was a contributing editor for the Journal of Law Reform and a student attorney in the Clinical Law Program.

“Michigan Law School is truly a special place,” she says. “The professors really shaped my experience there – I was able to learn from some amazing legal minds. My Constitutional Law professor was the acting director of the ACLU in Los Angeles and flew in from California twice a month for classes. He has argued numerous famous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and was such a dynamic speaker. He taught the class more like a workshop and really challenged the students to get outside their comfort zones and think outside the box. I know that class has influenced how I practice law.”

Another highlight was a class by Catharine MacKinnon, one of the first legal scholars to argue that sexual harassment was a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

“Eventually, the EEOC and U.S. Supreme Court adopted her theory, which forms the basis for a lot of what we do as employment attorneys,” Osadetz says.

“I’m lucky to have had such a comprehensive education directly from the pioneers in this area on the statutes and regulations that we deal with every day.”

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