Michael C. Schmidt

Vice Chair, Labor & Employment Department

New York

(212) 453-3937

(866) 736-3682

Michael will be speaking at an upcoming event:

2021 Wrap-Up: The Year of COVID-19 (and Other Important Labor/Employment Developments Too)

Webinar 12/16/2021

Cozen O'Connor attorneys will be presenting this webinar about 2021 in labor and employment challenges.

Event Details 

Mike is the vice chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department, and the office managing partner of the New York office. For more than 25 years, Mike has assisted businesses and their management teams throughout the United States accomplish their goals through litigation, negotiation, and day-to-day counseling.

Mike is a trial lawyer who represents employers in federal and state courts, in arbitration, and before government agencies on issues including discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; wage and hour, including class and collective actions; FMLA, ADA, and other federal, state, and local leave obligations; breach of contract; whistleblowing, including SOX and other laws; restrictive covenants, non-competes, and non-solicits; social media use; WARN; Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and other COVID-19 legislation; and other employment law matters.

Mike provides in-person and web-based employment law training to corporate executives, managers/supervisors, HR professionals, and other employees on employment law requirements and trends, including cultural sensitivity in the workplace; harassment, discrimination, and retaliation; the use and pitfalls of social media; accommodation and leave-related issues; manager ABCs; and other customized issues unique to the organization.

He is also a legal and business counselor providing day-to-day advice to employers on all employment law issues from hiring to firing. Mike drafts and reviews employment and severance agreements; reduction-in-force plans; employee handbooks and individual policies; non-compete and non-solicit agreements; and other documents used in conjunction with the employer-employee relationship.

Mike is part of the firm's 2020 Coronavirus Taskforce and conducts COVID-19-specific webinars and podcasts and counsels employers on return-to-work, WARN, COVID-19 legislation, and other pandemic issues. He also created an employer COVID-19 toolkit of templates and policies and other checklists and documents.

He is the founder and host of the podcast Employment Law Now since February 2017, bringing listeners the latest trends and developments in employment law and which is available on iTunes and Spotify. The podcast won the 2020 JD Supra Readers Choice Award for Top Podcast and Thought Leadership on employer liability issues. Mike is regularly invited to speak at national conferences and webinars, including the ABA, AELC, NELI, and industry/trade associations, on television and radio/internet programs, and regularly quoted in national and local journals and newspapers on employment law developments and trends.

Beyond his regular client practice, Mike serves as the chairman of the board of directors of After-School All-Stars of New York, the New York chapter of a national charitable organization founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the mid-1990s to provide after-school and summer programs for inner-city youth. He also spends significant time providing pro bono counsel to various organizations and individuals who are less able to afford representation in times of need.

Mike earned his undergraduate degree, with honors, from Brandeis University in 1990. He earned his law degree, with distinction, from Hofstra University School of Law in 1993, where he was a notes and comments editor of the Hofstra Law Review.

Experience

News

Lawdragon Names six Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Among the Top 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers

November 19, 2021

Lawdragon has named six members of Cozen O’Connor’s Labor & Employment Department to its 2021 list of the Top 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers.

V-106 - BREAKING OSHA ETS NEWS: Extending the Stay and Choosing a Lottery Winner [Employment Law Now Blog]

November 17, 2021

Today's new episode summarizes the late-breaking developments with the 5th Circuit's extension of its stay of enforcement of the OSHA ETS, and the impact that today's Circuit Court lottery may have on the ultimate viability of the ETS. Download this episode....

V-105- The New OSHA ETS on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines [Employment Law Now Blog]

November 08, 2021

In today's new episode, I break down the primary obligations under OSHA's new ETS on mandatory vaccination and testing, provide an update on current legal challenges, and suggest what employers should be doing right now. Download this episode....

Vaccine Mandates: Supreme Court Likely to Weigh in 'Before This Pandemic is Over'

November 02, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in The Wealth Advisor discussing the latest with OSHA's ETS COVID-19 mandate.

V-104 - Religious Accommodations to Vaccine Policies: An EEOC Update and Best Practices [Employment Law Now Blog]

October 29, 2021

In today's episode, I address one of the biggest challenges employers have faced with mandatory vaccine policies: religious-based accommodation requests. First, I summarize the EEOC's latest update from this week on religious-based accommodations. Second, I am joined by my Cozen O'Connor colleague,...

V-103 - A Conversation About Mental Health and COVID-19 [Employment Law Now Blog]

October 25, 2021

In today's episode, I am joined by Dr. Christina Carson-Sacco, the co-founder of The Center for Neuropsychology and Counseling, to talk about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of employers and employees, and how all of us can better promote mental health moving...

V-102 - Updates on OSHA, EEOC, State Action, and Sex Addiction [Employment Law Now Blog]

October 19, 2021

In today's new episode, I provide an update on the anticipated vaccine ETS from OSHA, the EEOC's latest guidance on vaccine incentives, the current obligations under the NY HERO Act, and whether sex addiction is a disability under the ADA. Download this episode....

Super Lawyers Recognizes 17 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys in New York

October 04, 2021

Super Lawyers has named 17 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its 2021 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

Want a medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine? Good luck with that.

September 23, 2021

Michael Schmidt spoke with CBS News about COVID-19 exemptions for employees.

V-101 - President Biden's New OSHA COVID-19 Directive [Employment Law Now Blog]

September 14, 2021

In today's new episode, we address President Biden's new directive that OSHA issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing. We also look at the import of New York State finally designating COVID-19 as a "highly...

Cozen O’Connor Attorney Michael Schmidt Elected Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

September 02, 2021

Michael Schmidt, vice-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s national Labor & Employment Department, has been elected a fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

V-100 - The Latest on Vaccine Policies and Bellwether States [Employment Law Now Blog]

August 27, 2021

On today's episode (our 100th!), I talk about the latest developments with COVID-19 vaccines and mandatory vaccine policies, and am joined by my Cozen O'Connor colleague John Carrigan to discuss what California and other bellwether states are doing on the vaccine issue. Download this...

FDA vaccine approval is good news for markets, employment, economy

August 23, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in NBC News discussing the FDA's approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech's two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

4 Things To Know About COVID 'Long-Haulers' At Work

August 13, 2021

Michael Schmidt spoke to Law360 Pulse to discuss the challenges employers face with employees with long-term COVID-19 symptoms.

Forget Government Mandates. Companies Are Calling the Shots

August 12, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in U.S. News discussing businesses enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Won't get a COVID vaccine? Some bosses may charge you $20 to $50 more for health insurance on every paycheck

August 10, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Press From discussing mandating the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace.

Michael Schmidt on KCOL

August 05, 2021

Michael Schmidt joined KCOL-AM in Denver, Colorado to discuss rules on masks in the workplace.

Private Employers Wrestle With Trying To Vaccinate Their Workforce

July 30, 2021

Michael Schmidt joined NPR to discuss employers mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.

V-99- Vaccines, Masks, and Other Big Developments [Employment Law Now Blog]

July 29, 2021

In today's new episode, I discuss big new developments: updates on mandatory vaccine and mask policies, new action to ban non-competes, a big free speech decision, New York regulatory updates, and a proposed wage and hour rule. Download this episode....

Managers will have to enforce rules for unvaccinated employees, and it won't be easy

July 28, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in CNN Business discussing how to handle unvaccinated employees.

Michael Schmidt Honored by The National Law Journal

July 21, 2021

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor’s Labor & Employment Department, was named an Employment Law Trailblazer by The National Law Journal for 2021.

What to say if a job interviewer asks:

July 14, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Biz Instant discussing how employers should handle a job candidate asking about location preference in the interview.

Navigating the new hybrid workplace

June 16, 2021

Michael Schmidt joined This Morning with Gordon Deal to discuss what employers and employees can expect when they head back to the office.

Goldman Sachs memo stirs up debate on employee vaccinations

June 11, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in NBC News discussing how some companies have little appetite for the potential legal and public relations headaches related to vaccination mandates.

V-98 - BREAKING: The EEOC's New COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance [Employment Law Now Blog]

June 01, 2021

Right at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, the EEOC issued new guidance on COVID-19 vaccine policies and incentive programs. Today's episode breaks down the Commission's answers to key questions and what it all means for employers. Download this episode....

V-97- Thoughts on Workplace Violence and Safety Plans [Employment Law Now Blog]

May 20, 2021

Today I am joined by Dan Pascale of safety and security firm Margolis Healy (a Cozen O'Connor affiliate) to identify the workplace violence and safety issues that businesses should be thinking about in 2021. Download this episode....

University of Pennsylvania Health System makes rare move to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees

May 20, 2021

Michael Schmidt spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the University of Pennsylvania Health System requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 1.

V-96- LOTS of Big Employment Law Developments [Employment Law Now Blog]

May 17, 2021

In today's new episode, I talk about social media and schools (and what that means for employers generally), spousal claims against employers for getting COVID-19 at home, the withdrawal of the independent contractor rule, the new New York HERO Act, and what the CDC just did to eliminate...

V-95 - Very Active Federal Agencies and Insight From an OSHA Insider [Employment Law Now Blog]

April 19, 2021

The past several weeks have seen significant action from the major federal agencies involved with employment law: EEOC, NLRB, DOL, and OSHA. In today's new episode, I will highlight the direction these agencies seem to be taking and am joined by Jim Sullivan, my colleague and former Chairman of the...

Can You Be Fired for Not Returning to the Office?

April 15, 2021

Michael Schmidt joined the Bloomberg Law podcast to discuss the legal and practical implications of employees not wanting to return to the office after working remotely.

How to Convince Employees to Keep Wearing Masks

April 06, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in SHRM discussing the challenges that employers face when vaccinated employees want to stop wearing masks at work.

JD Supra Selects Four Cozen O’Connor Attorneys as Top Authors

April 05, 2021

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Bernard Nash and Lori Kalani, co-chairs of the firm’s State Attorneys General practice, Michael Schmidt, vice chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department, and Rachel Welford, an attorney in the firm’s Transportation & Trade Group have been selected as top authors for JD Supra’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards for their thought leadership on key topics during 2020.

V-94- A Hodge Podge of Significant New Employment Law Developments [Employment Law Now Blog]

March 22, 2021

This episode addresses significant changes from OSHA and the DOL, the new and expanded FFCRA, and the first state to require paid leave to get vaccinated. Download this episode....

V-93- The View From HR: An Inside Perspective on Diversity, Inclusion, and Employee Engagement [Employment Law Now Blog]

March 10, 2021

In today's episode, I am joined by Donna Hughes, the Chief People Officer at EmblemHealth to talk about her experiences, successes, and concerns about promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization, and strategies to get buy-in from top to bottom. Download this episode....

Can an Employer Fire Workers Who Are Scared to Return to the Office?

March 01, 2021

Howard Schweitzer and Michael Schmidt were quoted in SHRM discussing what businesses should do if an employee refuses to come back to work when they re-open.

V-92 - Analyzing Congress' Proposed "Pro Act" and Its Implication on Labor Law [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 24, 2021

Evan Armstrong from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) joins me to talk about the significant PRO Act that was introduced in Congress and that will dramatically alter labor issues such as the use of mandatory arbitration agreements, the joint employer and independent contractor tests,...

V-91- (Part 2 of 2) One-On-One Conversation With EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 18, 2021

Today's episode is the second of my two-part conversation with EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling (Part 1 released yesterday), who discusses the EEOC's enforcement priorities, the increase in use of guidance and opinion letters, hot 2021 topics (including Covid-19), and outreach and litigation...

Vaccinated or not, many workers want to remain remote

February 18, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in CNBC discussing employees returning to work once they are vaccinated.

V-90- (Part 1 of 2) One-On-One Conversation With EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 17, 2021

Today's episode is the first of a two-part conversation with EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling, who discusses the EEOC's enforcement priorities, the increase in use of guidance and opinion letters, hot 2021 topics (including Covid-19), and outreach and litigation avoidance resources for both...

Cozen O’Connor Announces Changes to Firm Management

February 16, 2021

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce the following changes in firm leadership positions for the 2021 year.

Cozen O’Connor Moves into Premier Office Space at 3 World Trade Center

February 09, 2021

Move Consolidates Employees and Becomes the Firm’s Flagship Manhattan Office

V-89- New OSHA Guidance on Covid-19 [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 04, 2021

In today's episode, I am joined by my Cozen colleague and the Chair of our OSHA Practice Group, John Ho, to talk about the new guidance (finally?) issued by OSHA on the Covid-19 pandemic. What did the guidance say? What did it not say? Download this episode....

V-88- 4th Anniversary Special Episode [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 01, 2021

As he does every February 1st since our inaugural episode on February 1, 2017, my colleague and the CEO of my firm's Public Strategies Group, Howard Schweitzer, joins the podcast to reflect on the state of politics in DC and around the country, and what it all means for employers. Download this...

3 Tips For Handling This Year's Minimum Wage Increases

January 22, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Law360 discussing how the new minimum wage laws can differ greatly across jurisdictions, so it's important to know which one applies where.

Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Lockdowns

January 22, 2021

Howard Schweiter and Michael Schmidt were quoted in SHRM about what employers have learned during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

V-87- 21 for 21: Twenty-One Employment Law Issues to Watch in 2021 [Employment Law Now Blog]

January 19, 2021

In this first new episode of the year, I address the 21 employment law issues that employers should watch in 2021. Download this episode....

4 Things NY Law Firm Leaders Are Thinking About In 2021

January 04, 2021

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Law360 discussing the challenges employers face when employees return to the office.

Can Your Employer Force You To Get Vaccinated?

December 10, 2020

Michael Schmidt discussed with Bay News 9 about if an employer can require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine resisters could derail Island's COVID-19 recovery, experts say

November 29, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Newsday discussing how state and federal agencies haven't provided clear guidance on whether a business can require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

How to Talk to Employees About Their Holiday Plans

November 27, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Inc. discussing if employers can ask their employees to change their holiday plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A COVID-19 Vaccine Looks Promising. Can You Require Employees to Take It?

November 12, 2020

Michael Schmidt spoke with Inc. about whether or not employers can require employees to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Being Proactive Can Reduce COVID-19 Liability

November 10, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in New Jersey Business discussing how companies can reduce their liability in the workplace with well-thought-out safety policies and informed employees.

Boosting employee productivity after an election roller coaster

November 09, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Employee Benefit News discussing boundaries managers need to set for employees to express themselves about the election and COVID-19.

How To Make Election Day Go Smoothly: 4 Tips For Employers

October 26, 2020

Michael Schmidt spoke with Law360 about how business can make sure that Election Day goes off without a hitch in the office.

Talking politics in a digital workplace: 7 ways to keep it civil

October 13, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Employee Benefit News discussing his recommended best practices for keeping political discussions in a virtual workplace productive and civil.

How Employers Can Keep Their Employees Protected from COVID in the Workplace?

October 13, 2020

Michael Schmidt joined This Morning with Gordon Deal to discuss companies welcoming employees back into the physical workplace during COVID-19.

Super Lawyers Recognizes 21 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys in New York

September 29, 2020

Super Lawyers has named 21 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its 2020 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

As businesses reopen, workers face a new challenge: getting in the door

July 24, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in Newsday discussing COVID-19 screening for returning to work.

How companies can step up to make workplaces diverse, inclusive

June 14, 2020

Michael Schmidt was quoted in the New York Post discussing an architecture firm that removed any unconscious bias from recruiters for their summer intern hiring process.

Michael Schmidt Recognized by JD Supra

May 11, 2020

Michael Schmidt was named to the 2020 JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards, which acknowledges the top authors and firms for their thought leadership in key topics the previous year.

What does it mean to be furloughed?

April 01, 2020

Michael Schmidt talked with CNN about why a company may do a furlough and what furlough workers should need to know.

The Pros and Cons of Unlimited PTO

February 10, 2020

Michael Schmidt discussed with HR Daily Advisor the downsides and benefits for employers that offer unlimited PTO.

The no-no of asking job hopefuls about salary history

September 08, 2019

Michael Schmidt was quote in Newsday discussing salary history during the interview process.

To hug or not to hug: A 5-step guide to embracing at work

July 13, 2019

Michael Schmidt discussed with CNN about how during the era of #MeToo, employers and workers are paying more attention to their actions in the workplace.

Workplace Ethics: "Keep Your Opinions to Yourself"

July 12, 2019

Michael Schmidt spoke with KPRC AM 950 about social media commentary by employees.

Six Cozen O'Connor Labor & Employment Attorneys Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

January 28, 2019

Benchmark Litigation has named six attorneys from Cozen O'Connor’s Labor & Employment department as Labor & Employment Stars for their respective regions.

How external forces are reshaping FLSA compliance

January 07, 2019

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in HR Dive discussing technology with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

How To Throw A Holiday Party — Without The Legal Hangover

December 13, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, spoke with Law360 about how the #MeToo movement has impacted work holiday parties.

#MeToo movement has made firms cautious about holiday celebrations

November 18, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in Newsday about the impact the #MeToo movement is having on company holiday parties.

3 Tips To Avoid Legal Horror At Office Halloween Parties

October 26, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in Law360 about costume guidelines at work Halloween parties to avoid any trouble.

Here’s how you should behave at those upcoming company holiday parties

October 22, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discussed with the New York Post how companies can improve the behavior at holiday parties.

HR Support on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

October 18, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, joined the Xpert HR podcast to discuss the #MeToo movement impact on a new sexual harassment policy and training requirements in New York.

More employers offering paid summer internships, despite federal rule changes to make it easier to hire unpaid interns

May 31, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in The Baltimore Sun about new federal guidelines that affect intern programs.

Beware how your state treats overtime rules for managers

May 22, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was interviewed on The Small Business Advocate discussing overtime rules.

How the Trump administration is handling the overtime rule changes

May 22, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was a guest on The Small Business Advocate to discuss the overtime rules under the Trump administration.

How to handle Water Cooler chat that turns Political

April 07, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, spoke with Western Mass Women about employees engaging in political discussion at work.

Michael Schmidt on Wharton Business Radio In the Workplace

March 29, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, joined Peter Cappelli and Dan O'Meara to discuss new guidelines for summer internships on Wharton Business Radio In the Workplace.

Sexual Harassment Training: The Do’s and Don’t’s

February 28, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair, and David Barron, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, were quoted in Bloomberg BNA's Workforce Strategies on sexual harassment.

Cozen O’Connor Names Schmidt New York Midtown Office Managing Partner

February 15, 2018

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce Michael C. Schmidt has been appointed to serve as Office Managing Partner for the firm’s New York Midtown office.

Cozen O'Connor Gets New Miami and Manhattan Leaders in Leadership Shuffle

February 15, 2018

Cozen O’Connor’s Miami and Midtown Manhattan offices have new leaders, while the former managing partner in Miami has been elevated to a firmwide strategic role.

Dating danger? Businesses rethink workplace romance policies

February 14, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in Yahoo! about workplace relationships.

Worried About Minimum Wage Increases? Here Are 6 Things You’ll Want to Watch

January 15, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, spoke with Small Business Trends about the minimum wage increases in 2018.

#MeToo prompts Long Island firms to address sexual harassment

January 12, 2018

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, spoke with Newsday about companies offering sexual-harassment training.

Why Millennials Want You to Know How Much They Make

November 13, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in TheStreet about why millennials are not shy about discussing their salary with others.

Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Against Men

October 26, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted in SHRM regarding Title VII and discrimination against men.

Epidemic at Work?: Businesses Forced to Deal with Drug Abuse

September 20, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, was quoted by multiple news agencies, including the Associated Press, CNBC, The Journal Gazette and The Washington Post.

Wharton Business Radio's In the Workplace

September 14, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses concerted activity for mutual aid and protection on Wharton Business Radio.

Two Years Post-Merge, Cozen O'Connor Hitting Growth Goals in Labor Practice

August 10, 2017

Our Labor & Employment department was featured in an article by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Google Gender Debacle Speaks to Tech Culture Wars

August 09, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses this topic on the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The Financial Exchange

April 25, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses how to prevent sexual harassment claims in the workplace.

Labor Attorney Warns Workers Against Getting Too Wrapped Up In March Madness

March 16, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses March Madness on CBS.

How to Keep Your Office Holiday Party From Going Off the Rails

December 14, 2016

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, discusses how to keep your holiday party under control in the New York Times.

Publications

V-106 - BREAKING OSHA ETS NEWS: Extending the Stay and Choosing a Lottery Winner [Employment Law Now Blog]

November 17, 2021

Today's new episode summarizes the late-breaking developments with the 5th Circuit's extension of its stay of enforcement of the OSHA ETS, and the impact that today's Circuit Court lottery may have on the ultimate viability of the ETS. Download this episode....

V-105- The New OSHA ETS on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines [Employment Law Now Blog]

November 08, 2021

In today's new episode, I break down the primary obligations under OSHA's new ETS on mandatory vaccination and testing, provide an update on current legal challenges, and suggest what employers should be doing right now. Download this episode....

V-104 - Religious Accommodations to Vaccine Policies: An EEOC Update and Best Practices [Employment Law Now Blog]

October 29, 2021

In today's episode, I address one of the biggest challenges employers have faced with mandatory vaccine policies: religious-based accommodation requests. First, I summarize the EEOC's latest update from this week on religious-based accommodations. Second, I am joined by my Cozen O'Connor colleague,...

V-103 - A Conversation About Mental Health and COVID-19 [Employment Law Now Blog]

October 25, 2021

In today's episode, I am joined by Dr. Christina Carson-Sacco, the co-founder of The Center for Neuropsychology and Counseling, to talk about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of employers and employees, and how all of us can better promote mental health moving...

V-102 - Updates on OSHA, EEOC, State Action, and Sex Addiction [Employment Law Now Blog]

October 19, 2021

In today's new episode, I provide an update on the anticipated vaccine ETS from OSHA, the EEOC's latest guidance on vaccine incentives, the current obligations under the NY HERO Act, and whether sex addiction is a disability under the ADA. Download this episode....

V-101 - President Biden's New OSHA COVID-19 Directive [Employment Law Now Blog]

September 14, 2021

In today's new episode, we address President Biden's new directive that OSHA issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing. We also look at the import of New York State finally designating COVID-19 as a "highly...

V-100 - The Latest on Vaccine Policies and Bellwether States [Employment Law Now Blog]

August 27, 2021

On today's episode (our 100th!), I talk about the latest developments with COVID-19 vaccines and mandatory vaccine policies, and am joined by my Cozen O'Connor colleague John Carrigan to discuss what California and other bellwether states are doing on the vaccine issue. Download this...

V-99- Vaccines, Masks, and Other Big Developments [Employment Law Now Blog]

July 29, 2021

In today's new episode, I discuss big new developments: updates on mandatory vaccine and mask policies, new action to ban non-competes, a big free speech decision, New York regulatory updates, and a proposed wage and hour rule. Download this episode....

V-98 - BREAKING: The EEOC's New COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance [Employment Law Now Blog]

June 01, 2021

Right at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, the EEOC issued new guidance on COVID-19 vaccine policies and incentive programs. Today's episode breaks down the Commission's answers to key questions and what it all means for employers. Download this episode....

V-97- Thoughts on Workplace Violence and Safety Plans [Employment Law Now Blog]

May 20, 2021

Today I am joined by Dan Pascale of safety and security firm Margolis Healy (a Cozen O'Connor affiliate) to identify the workplace violence and safety issues that businesses should be thinking about in 2021. Download this episode....

V-96- LOTS of Big Employment Law Developments [Employment Law Now Blog]

May 17, 2021

In today's new episode, I talk about social media and schools (and what that means for employers generally), spousal claims against employers for getting COVID-19 at home, the withdrawal of the independent contractor rule, the new New York HERO Act, and what the CDC just did to eliminate...

V-95 - Very Active Federal Agencies and Insight From an OSHA Insider [Employment Law Now Blog]

April 19, 2021

The past several weeks have seen significant action from the major federal agencies involved with employment law: EEOC, NLRB, DOL, and OSHA. In today's new episode, I will highlight the direction these agencies seem to be taking and am joined by Jim Sullivan, my colleague and former Chairman of the...

V-94- A Hodge Podge of Significant New Employment Law Developments [Employment Law Now Blog]

March 22, 2021

This episode addresses significant changes from OSHA and the DOL, the new and expanded FFCRA, and the first state to require paid leave to get vaccinated. Download this episode....

V-93- The View From HR: An Inside Perspective on Diversity, Inclusion, and Employee Engagement [Employment Law Now Blog]

March 10, 2021

In today's episode, I am joined by Donna Hughes, the Chief People Officer at EmblemHealth to talk about her experiences, successes, and concerns about promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization, and strategies to get buy-in from top to bottom. Download this episode....

V-92 - Analyzing Congress' Proposed "Pro Act" and Its Implication on Labor Law [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 24, 2021

Evan Armstrong from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) joins me to talk about the significant PRO Act that was introduced in Congress and that will dramatically alter labor issues such as the use of mandatory arbitration agreements, the joint employer and independent contractor tests,...

V-91- (Part 2 of 2) One-On-One Conversation With EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 18, 2021

Today's episode is the second of my two-part conversation with EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling (Part 1 released yesterday), who discusses the EEOC's enforcement priorities, the increase in use of guidance and opinion letters, hot 2021 topics (including Covid-19), and outreach and litigation...

V-90- (Part 1 of 2) One-On-One Conversation With EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 17, 2021

Today's episode is the first of a two-part conversation with EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling, who discusses the EEOC's enforcement priorities, the increase in use of guidance and opinion letters, hot 2021 topics (including Covid-19), and outreach and litigation avoidance resources for both...

V-89- New OSHA Guidance on Covid-19 [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 04, 2021

In today's episode, I am joined by my Cozen colleague and the Chair of our OSHA Practice Group, John Ho, to talk about the new guidance (finally?) issued by OSHA on the Covid-19 pandemic. What did the guidance say? What did it not say? Download this episode....

V-88- 4th Anniversary Special Episode [Employment Law Now Blog]

February 01, 2021

As he does every February 1st since our inaugural episode on February 1, 2017, my colleague and the CEO of my firm's Public Strategies Group, Howard Schweitzer, joins the podcast to reflect on the state of politics in DC and around the country, and what it all means for employers. Download this...

V-87- 21 for 21: Twenty-One Employment Law Issues to Watch in 2021 [Employment Law Now Blog]

January 19, 2021

In this first new episode of the year, I address the 21 employment law issues that employers should watch in 2021. Download this episode....

New York Return-To-Work Safety Plan Checklist

June 10, 2020

Michael Schmidt addressed best practices for New York employers to return to work from the COVID-19 pandemic.

NYC Council Considers Legislation to End At-Will Employment in the Fast Food Industry [Alert]

February 11, 2020

Katie Schwab discusses two new bills in New York City impacting fast food employers and employees. A hearing on the bills is scheduled for February 13.

Proceed with Caution: Halloween is the Unofficial Start of the Office Party Season [New Jersey Business]

October 30, 2019

Michael Schmidt discussed how employers can control an office party to avoid legal pitfalls.

New York State and Local Pro-Employee Trend Continues in 2017

December 15, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair and Jennifer Queliz, an associate of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department wrote in New York Law Journal about New York's trend of enacting laws and regulations at both the state and local levels.

The End Of Overtime Pay As We Know It? [Law360]

May 30, 2017

Michael Schmidt, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment Department, discusses the end of overtime pay in Law360.

Noncompete Agreements: New Considerations Under Both Employment and Antitrust Law [Labor & Employment Observer]

December 23, 2016

Michael C. Schmidt discusses the legal landscape in 2016 and how the Trump administration might impact various aspects of workplace issues.

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

2021 Wrap-Up: The Year of COVID-19 (and Other Important Labor/Employment Developments Too)

December 16, 2021 - Webinar

Cozen O'Connor attorneys will be presenting this webinar about 2021 in labor and employment challenges.

Past Events

Latest Update on OSHA Vaccination Mandate

November 18, 2021 - Webinar

Wishing the Legal Industry Well

October 12, 2021 - Webinar

What the Stimulus Means for Your Company

March 31, 2020 - Webinar

2018 Hot Labor and Employment Law Topics

October 23, 2018 - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance 2018

February 13, 2018 - New York, New York

2017 Labor and Employment Law Update - Chicago

October 05, 2017 - Chicago, IL

New York Paid Sick Leave Law

August 09, 2017 - Webinar

Labor and Employment Law Update

June 14, 2017 - Philadelphia, PA

Wage & Hour Claims & Class Actions

June 12, 2017 - New York, NY

Education

  • Hofstra University School of Law, J.D., 1993
  • Brandeis University, B.A., 1990

Awards & Honors

Benchmark Labor & Employment Star for the Northeast

New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2020

The National Law Journal Employment Law Trailblazer, 2021

Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Lawdragon Top Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers, 2021

  • New York
  • New York Court of Appeals
  • New York Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Southern District of New York
  • American Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association