Michael C. Schmidt is the office managing partner vice chair of the firm's New York office where he is a member of Cozen O'Connor and practices in the Labor & Employment Group.
Michael concentrates his practice on representing management in all facets of employment law, such as: (i) defending companies in litigation involving discrimination, harassment, wage and hour (overtime and unpaid compensation), non-competes and trade secrets, and disability and other leave-related issues; (ii) drafting employment agreements, termination/severance agreements, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, employee manuals, and individual corporate policies; and (iii) counseling and corporate training on day-to-day issues from hiring through firing. A substantial portion of Mike’s practice is devoted to counseling large and small businesses on how to avoid litigation and minimize potential exposure for claims that are made. He has tried cases and argued appeals in federal and state courts in New York.
Mike is a member of the editorial board of HotelExecutive.com, where he is a contributing author on legal issues relevant to the hospitality industry, including large hotel operators and real estate developers.
Mike earned his Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from Brandeis University in 1990. He earned his J.D., with distinction, from Hofstra University School of Law in 1993, where he was a notes and comments editor of the Hofstra Law Review.
May 02, 2013
In an article titled, "Legal Concerns: Your Facebook Account as Evidence in a Lawsuit," Michael Schmidt of the firm's Labor & Employment Group discusses the use of social media as court evidence, and the legal duty to preserve it.
May 01, 2013
Michael Schmidt of the firm's Labor & Employment Group discusses the application of new and existing regulations in the context of social media in an article titled, “The Risks and Rewards of Social Media – Regulators and Plaintiffs Take Aim at Companies’ Use of Social Media.” “It’s so easy for companies using social media to disclose and talk about things that used to be tightly controlled before they were disclosed to the public,” Schmidt says. “But agencies are becoming increasingly vigilant about applying their existing rules to what a company can and can’t say in this new context.”
January 28, 2013
Michael Schmidt of the firm's Labor & Employment Group discusses leave-related issues and medical conditions in an article titled, "Medical Information Not Confidential If Disclosed in Response to General Inquiry."
January 23, 2013
Michael Schmidt, a member in the firm’s Labor & Employment group, was quoted in an article published in the Human Resource Executive Online entitled “Breaking Down the EEOC's Plan.”
December 14, 2012
Michael Schmidt argues that employers need to tread carefully before taking action against an employee for misuse of social media in, “Tips on Social Media's Legal Minefields.”
May 09, 2013
In an article titled, "FBI: Delete Passwords of Ex-Employees," The Wall Street Journal highlights the firm's Cybersecurity Conference, which was held this past Wednesday, May 8, at the W Hotel. Trevor Cloak, Joe Dever, Greg Fliszar, Brian Gillam, Steven Haas, Mike Schmidt, Stuart Shorenstein, Matthew Siegel, Ahren Tryon and Dave Walton presented during the seminar, along with Richard Aborn, President, Citizens Crime Commission of New York City and Austin P. Berglas, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Cyber, FBI New York Field Office.
To read the WSJ article, click here.
April 02, 2013
On March 29, 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will raise the New York minimum wage in staged increases over the next three years.
March 27, 2013
One of Barack Obama’s first actions when he became president was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, resetting the statute of limitations each paycheck for equal-pay gender discrimination lawsuits and making it easier for employees to pursue them.
March 19, 2013
The New York City Council continues to grow the chasm that exists between New York City employment law and its state and federal counterparts. Specifically, on March 13, 2013, the council overwhelmingly enacted (by a 43-4 vote) a local law that precludes employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider or hire an applicant because he or she is unemployed, and from posting advertisements that require job applicants to be employed. This comes less than a month after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially vetoed the legislation, which now is set to become effective on June 11, 2013.
January 01, 2013
We are pleased to provide you with our 2012/2013 Observer, which looks back at the developments in labor and employment law over the past year and forward to what employers can expect in 2013.
December 01, 2012
How much information would you like to have about your employees before you make a decision about whether to hire or fire them? If you had access to all public and private information about them at the click of a mouse, would you seize the opportunity? Be careful what you wish for.
September 18, 2012
The New Employee Wage Deduction Law in New York - Labor and Employment Alert - Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) just made things a little easier for employers. Effective on November 6, 2012, employers in New York will have greater flexibility when it comes to permissible deductions from employee wages.
October 24, 2011
Deciphering the NLRB's Stance on Social Media Issues - New York Law Journal - The National Labor Relations Act was enacted in 1935 to protect trade unionists from unfair labor practices by employers, and afford employees a greater ability to organize and collectively bargain. Social media entered the scene approximately 60 years later, when society (including the labor work force) recognized the ease and benefit of engaging in collective activity without ever leaving one's computer keyboard.
July 01, 2011
Summer 2011 - Labor and Employment Observer -
March 29, 2011
The New York Wage Theft Prevention Act: New Employer Obligations Beginning in April 2011 - Labor & Employment Alert! - Effective next week (April 9, 2011), employers must comply with significant, substantive, and procedural obligations in New York’s new Wage Theft Prevention Act (Act). This alert highlights the new requirements, which apply to virtually every company that employs individuals in New York. While many of these new obligations will cause administrative and logistical headaches, the potential consequences for failing to comply have increased as well.
March 04, 2011
The Effect of a Cat's Paw on Employment Law and Why Employers Should Limit Social Media Employee Research - Labor & Employment Alert! - On Tuesday, March 1, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in the long-awaited “cat’s paw” case of Staub v. Proctor Hospital. The decision will likely broaden the permissible theories under which a current or former employee might bring a discrimination lawsuit against a company. It may also serve as another cautionary tale for those who use social media for employment-related decisions.
October 28, 2010
Fall 2010 - Labor and Employment Observer - We are pleased to present the latest edition of the Labor and Employment Observer. We hope you find this issue both useful and informative.
September 24, 2010
Big Brother in the Big Apple: Subtle Erosion of Employment at Will? - New York Law Journal - Employers in New York have taken great comfort over the years in citing the "at will" nature of an employee's job status when taking virtually any action ranging from discipline, to a diminution of salary or job responsibilities to outright termination. New York has generally been considered a pro-employer jurisdiction, with employees often having to clear high hurdles before circumventing the cornucopia of legal precedent
September 09, 2010
New York Governor Signs Three Employment Bills - Labor & Employment Alert! - The first enactment establishes a test to determine if a construction industry worker is an independent contractor or an employee, and is entitled “The New York State Construction Industry Fair Play Act.”
July 01, 2010
Summer 2010 - Labor & Employment Observer - Our Summer 2010 Labor and Employment Law Observer covers topics of interest to in-house counsel, human resources professionals and corporate management.
March 01, 2010
Winter 2010 - Labor Observer -
December 17, 2009
Social Media Update: United States Supreme Court to Rule on Novel 'Sexting' Privacy Case - Labor and Employment Alert! - The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a case in which a federal appeals court ruled that an employer violated an employee’s right to privacy when it audited his text messages and found sexually explicit and otherwise personal messages. The implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling will be significant.
November 23, 2009
IRS Begins Major Initiative to Audit 6,000 Companies - Labor and Employment Alert! - The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has determined to perform its most expansive and widespread audit initiative in recent history. Beginning in early 2010, the IRS will audit the federal tax returns of 6,000 companies to assess compliance with tax and labor regulations. This new audit initiative will be conducted in three phases, with the IRS studying the tax returns of 2,000 companies in each of 2010, 2011 and 2012.
November 03, 2009
The Employment Classification Tirlogy - Part I of III: The Overtime Exemption Dilemma - HotelExecutive.Com -
October 22, 2009
Lawyers warn: Bosses who 'friend' are begging to be sued - The National Law Journal - Bosses who "friend" their subordinates on social networking sites may seem warm and harmless, but they've got
liability risk written all over them. So warn employment lawyers.
October 01, 2009
Fall 2009 - Labor and Employment Observer - We are pleased to present the latest edition of the Labor and Employment Observer. We hope you find this issue both useful and informative
September 14, 2009
New York Employers on Notice: The Labor Law Imposes New Notice Requirements - Labor and Employment Alert! - New York employers must now comply with new notice
obligations owed to employees, and also must now
consider tougher penalty provisions for violations of New York’s wage and hour laws.
September 08, 2009
Experts: Carefully Consider Independent Contractor Classifications - Independant Contractor - Given the present state of the economy, employers are looking for ways to reduce costs and overhead. One way a company may choose to save money is to classify current workers or new hires as independent contractors rather than employees,
but misclassifying employees-even unintentionally-can prove to be extremely expensive for employers, opening them up to administrative fines and penalties as well as costly private lawsuits,
August 13, 2009
Employers Face Crackdown On Misclassification - Law360 - Employers looking to save money and avoid layoffs
by classifying workers as independent contractors are facing heightened scrutiny by federal
and state work force agencies, whose own coffers are shrinking with the rise of the U.S.
jobless rate and the consequent decline in payroll taxes.
August 10, 2009
Schmidt: Cutting costs by using independent contractors is risky - Long Island Business News - Despite recent news that the economy may have finally bottomed out, businesses small and
large continue to look for ways to reduce costs. One method has been to retain independent
contractors in lieu of employees and to reclassify current employees as independent contractors.
For example, a recent SurePayroll Contractor Index says small businesses' use of independent
contractors reached a record peak due to the current economic climate.
June 22, 2009
Top Five Hazards of a Hotel's Economy-driven Employment Decisions - Hotel Business Review -
June 01, 2009
Spring 2009 - Labor and Employment Observer - Our Spring 2009 Labor and Employment Law Observer covers a multitude of topics of interest to in-house counsel, human resources professionals and corporate management. Many of these articles are particularly timely given the changing political climate and our increasingly technology driven society. These articles include:
• An overview of the first 100 days of the Obama Administration; • A discussion of two recent decisions by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
January 01, 2009
Winter 2009 - Labor and Employment Observer -
December 08, 2008
Avoiding The Hazards Of Economy-Driven Decisions - Law360 - Times are tough. The weakened economy has
spared few Industries, causing companies big and small to re -examine their personnel needs
.and make tough decisions. Hard times require businesses to strengthen their resolve to
avoid the legal tsunami that can also result from such economy -driven decisions. This article
sets forth best practices to help your company minimize Its potential exposure in five
August 01, 2008
Work Overtime to Ensure That Your Unauthorized Employees Do Not - The Corporate Counselor - As we have passed the mid-way point of 2008, it is clear that wage and hour lawsuits continue to dominate a large portion of all new cases
filed in court each day. This noticeable
surge will continue, if not further
increase, as current and former
employees claim in increasing numbers
that they have been classified
improperly as "exempt" employees,
and thus are owed overtime premium
June 25, 2008
The New York Court of Appeals Resolves Issues Concerning the Calculation of Earned Commissions - Labor and Employment Alert! - On June 10, 2008, the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision that is significant for the financial services industry, the real estate and insurance brokerage industries, and any other industry or employer that compensates its New York employees in whole or in part on a commission basis. Specifically, the Court of Appeals decided in Pachter v. Bernard Hodes Group, Inc. that New York Labor Law provisions governing the payment of wages and commissions
February 29, 2008
Winter 2008 - Labor and Employment Observer - Our Winter 2008 Labor and Employment Law Observer covers a multitude of topics of interest to in-house counsel, human resources professionals and corporate management.
Recently, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, which expands the FMLA to provide enhanced leave for families of military personnel. Additionally, in mid-February 2008, the Department of Labor
November 01, 2007
Amendment to New York Law Requires Written Agreements with Commissioned Salespersons - Labor and Employment Alert - As of October 16, 2007, New York law has been amended to require that the terms of employment for all commissioned salespersons be put in writing. While many employment relationships are not reduced to a written agreement between the
parties, the potential confusion and difficulty that has arisen in the context of commissioned salespersons in determining when commissions are owed and how they are calculated, has resulted in a legislative attempt to provide some minimum requirements.