AABANY Congratulates Littler on Receiving the 2020 NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) congratulates Littler Mendelson P.C. (Littler) on receiving the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA’s) 2020 Law Firm Diversity Award. Littler is the world’s largest employment and labor law firm with over 1,500 attorneys in 95 offices globally and AABANY is honored to have the support of Littler as a Silver Sponsor.

The NAPABA Law Firm Diversity Award honors law firms that actively and consistently recruit, retain, and promote Asian Pacific American (APA) lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership. It also celebrates law firms’ successes in their support for APA lawyers. Through its many initiatives, Littler is creating a welcoming environment for its employees, accepting of different backgrounds, and is continuing to look for ways to become a more diverse and inclusive employer. 

Eddie Chyun and William Ng — shareholders in the Cleveland, Ohio and Long Island, New York offices, respectively — both emphasized their membership in Littler’s ‘Ohana affinity group ‘Ohana, when asked about their experiences as an APA lawyer at the firm. Within the first few weeks after being hired, Eddie and Will each were approached through email or word-of-mouth about joining ‘Ohana, the affinity group for Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, and Pacific Islander-American attorneys. The invitation left a memorable impression on them both as it helped ease Eddie and Will’s transition into the law firm by quickly welcoming them into the APA community within Littler. Being a part of ‘Ohana allows them to know APA lawyers across all of Littler’s offices. Affinity groups meet in-person every other year to discuss diversity and inclusion, work on professional development skills such as practicing elevator pitches, and collaborate on coming up with new initiatives relating to retention and advancement, associate development, etc. that can help APA lawyers’ success in the office. Throughout the year, they participate in social gatherings, quarterly calls, and other events which provide members with support and networking opportunities at the firm. 

‘Ohana group photo from their last retreat in Miami

Eddie also serves as co-chair of Littler’s 20-person Diversity & Inclusion Council (D&IC), which includes four APA attorneys among its diverse members. The D&IC focuses on increasing the hiring of individuals from diverse backgrounds and increasing professional opportunities for diverse employees like mentorships and leadership opportunities. Littler’s programs include the Career Advocacy Program (CAP) and Investment for Success, which support and promote diverse attorneys in the firm, including APA lawyers, to leadership positions. 

Littler’s award-winning CAP selects higher-level, high-performing associates (Protégés) who identify as diverse and pairs them with the firm’s most influential leaders (Advocates) and client (Champions) who encourage their career growth. From 2015 to 2020, Protégés represented on average 28% and up to 40% of the firm’s new shareholder class. Twenty-four former Protégés, including eight APA attorneys, have been elevated to shareholder and continue to participate in the program. Currently, 11 of the 31 Protégés in CAP are APA attorneys. The Investment for Success Program pairs recently hired diverse attorneys with a shareholder to help them better integrate into the firm, as the transition in the first few weeks is critical for an attorney’s success in the firm. There are currently 30 diverse associates, including seven APA attorneys, participating in the program. Eddie and Will pointed out the importance of these programs because APA lawyers tend to face barriers with advancement in their positions such as a lack of access to mentors, and with these programs, APA attorneys are able to be mentored by a senior attorney, who ensures that they receive the proper mix of work and opportunities to succeed at the law firm.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Littler continues to create a diverse and inclusive environment through holding their mentorship programs and affinity group meetings virtually.

Littler’s creation of the Career Advocacy Program and the Investment for Success program have promoted and continues to promote APA lawyers to leadership positions within the firm, and the ‘Ohana affinity group continues to provide a supportive community among the firm’s APA lawyers. Littler will be honored at a reception for award recipients held in December 2020.

Please join AABANY in congratulating Littler on receiving the Law Firm Diversity Award. 

AABANY Co-Hosts Webinar on Employment, Labor, and Safety Issues Related to Returning to Work During COVID-19

On May 27, 2020, the Labor & Employment Law Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) co-sponsored an event with Littler and Alston & Bird–Silver-level sponsors of AABANY–addressing safety guidelines for returning to work during the pandemic. The presentation highlighted a variety of topics including re-opening guidelines for different industries, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and various sick leave laws.

The webinar featured panelists Yoojin Deniro, Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Committee of AABANY and Counsel at Advance Publications Inc., and William Ng, a Shareholder at Littler and founding Co-Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Committee. The event was moderated by William Lee, an Associate at Alston & Bird and AABANY member.

To begin, Yoojin Deniro explained that prior to re-opening, businesses must submit a Business Affirmation online and develop and post a Business Safety Plan, which must be retained on the premises and made available to the New York State Department of Health in the event of an inspection. The Business Safety Plan requires guidelines for physical distancing, protective measures (e.g.. providing face coverings to employees at no cost), hygiene and cleaning, communication, and health screenings. 

Next, William Ng discussed how individuals and businesses can make the most of PPP loans. The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which is still pending before the Senate, is a bipartisan effort to fix problems with the PPP. If passed, the Act will allow forgiveness for expenses beyond the eight-week covered period; eliminate restrictions limiting non-payroll expenses to 25% of loan proceeds; remove limitations that constrain loan terms to two years; ensure full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans; and extend the rehiring deadline to offset the effect of enhanced unemployment insurance.

In order to maintain a safe place to work, the panelists recommended that employers safely conduct temperature checks, which are permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) “direct threat” exemption. Temperature checks should be conducted by a trained and authorized individual with proper PPE, and symptomatic employees should be sent home in accordance with ADA confidentiality requirements. Employers are also urged to adopt other health screening protocols, including COVID-19 testing and creating health questionnaires. Moreover, employers must provide employees PPE at no cost, and offer necessary accommodations for employees with disabilities. Finally, individuals must continue to practice social distancing in the workplace and develop a comprehensive exposure control plan. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, any confirmed cases of COVID-19 or other illnesses and injuries must be recorded.

The panelists also reviewed various sick leave laws, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits for employees unable to work due to quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19. The FFCRA also offers exemptions for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. New York State has also instituted Paid Family Leave, which grants paid leave for employees who must provide care for a minor dependent subject to a quarantine order. New York City offers Paid Safe and Sick Leave for employers whose business closed due to a public health emergency or who must care for a child whose school or child care provider closed due to a public health emergency. Lawmakers are also in the process of passing statewide New York Paid Sick Leave, which will apply to all employers and vary depending on the size and net income of the employer. Furthermore, in accordance with the ADA, employees can leave or request remote work if they engage in “cooperative dialogue” with their healthcare provider. Employer-specific policies also include Paid Time Off (PTO), sick leave, and personal or unpaid leave. 

We thank our colleagues at Alston & Bird and Littler for co-sponsoring and organizing this informative event with the Labor & Employment Law Committee of AABANY. We also thank the presenters, Yoojin Deniro and William Ng, and the moderator, William Lee, for their time. For more information on the Labor & Employment Law Committee, see https://www.aabany.org/page/398. If you are interested in volunteering with AABANY to assist with small businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19, please contact probono@aabany.org.

To watch a recording of the presentation, see the video above.

AABANY Presents: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World

On January 30, 2020, AABANY’s Real Estate Committee hosted a CLE entitled “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World.” The CLE and networking event took place at Hanover Bank in Flushing Commons in Queens, and over 25 attorneys attended.

The panel discussion covered all the basics of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and its relevance to the legal profession. The speakers included AABANY’s very own William Ng, Shareholder at Littler,  and Shirley W. Bi, Associate at Littler. Margaret Ling, AABANY Real Estate Committee Co-Chair, moderated the event. Attendees received 1 credit in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias.

Many thanks to our sponsors, John Pollock and Jimmy Lee, both of Hanover Bank, Littler, Big Apple Abstract Corporation, KALAGNY, and the Queens County Bar Association. To learn more about the Real Estate Committee, go to https://www.aabany.org/page/120 .

AABANY CLE: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World

On October 2, 2019, the AABANY Real Estate Committee presented the CLE entitled: “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in Our Everyday World.” The CLE was co sponsored by Flushing Bank, Big Apple Abstract Corp, KALAGNY, and Littler. It took place at Flushing Bank in New Hyde Park, New York and was attended by 40 attorneys. The panelists were AABANY’s very own William Ng, Shareholder at Littler; Samitha Lukose-Khan of Flushing Bank; and Sanjay Nair, Associate at Littler. The CLE was moderated by Margaret Ling, Co-Chair of the AABANY Real Estate Committee. The presentation invoked some powerful and informative discussion specifically on diversity, inclusion and bias in the legal profession.

Pictured above from left to right: Riyaad Khan of Allstate Insurance; Maria Silva of Flushing Bank; Margaret Ling of Big Apple Abstract and AABANY; Thomas Kane of Flushing Bank; Mohammad Yusuf of Flushing Bank; William Ng of Littler; Sanjay Nair of Littler. 

U.S.-China Employment Law Update: New Challenges Facing Chinese Businesses in the U.S.

We are passing along information about the following event from Littler, one of the sponsoring firms for this program.

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Breakfast Briefing – Friday, October 4, 2013
U.S.-China Employment Law Update:
New Challenges Facing Chinese Businesses in the U.S.

October 4, 2013

Registration & Breakfast: 8:30 to 9:00 AM
Program: 9:00 to 10:30 AM
Location: The Cornell Club, 6 E. 44th Street, New York, NY 10017

Map

There is no charge for this program

The China General Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend an informative breakfast briefing designed to provide Chinese businesses in the U.S. with important updates on labor and employment laws. An international panel of preeminent legal practitioners from China and the U.S. will share their knowledge and insight about the latest laws and trends affecting Chinese employers with operations in the United States.

Moderator:
Philip M. Berkowitz, Shareholder and U.S. Practice Co-Chair, International Employment Law, Littler Mendelson, New York

Panelists:
Jiang Junlu, King & Wood Mallesons, Beijing
Johan Lubbe, Shareholder and U.S. Practice Co-Chair, International Employment Law, Littler Mendelson, New York
Huan Xiong, Associate, Littler Mendelson, New York

For direct registration and questions, please contact Ms. Rebecca Xiao at Rebecca.xiao@usa-ccc.org or at Tel: 201-876-2788, ext. 222.

Sponsored by:

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