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Karen Baillie

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Karen Baillie is experienced in counseling and defending educational institutions and employers in matters related to employees, students, and other constituencies.

Higher Education

Karen represents colleges and universities in a variety of matters brought by students, faculty and others. Her higher education experience includes creating whistleblower and other complaint procedures, performing investigations, writing policies and procedures and training investigators. She partners with higher education clients in matters relating to students, employees, contracts, risk analysis, privacy and many other issues. Student issues include discipline, discrimination, Title IX, and VAWA, hazing, accommodating disabilities, privacy, Title IV financial aid, collections, bankruptcy, international students, marketing, accreditation, state licensing and state authorization for distance education, for example. Previously, she served as in-house counsel for educational institutions. She has appeared before the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on myriad student discrimination issues. Karen has experience writing and interpreting policies to comply with complex regulations.

Labor and Employment

Karen’s labor and employment practice includes employment counseling, policy review, investigating and responding to complaints and representing clients in litigation. She handles diverse employment issues, including discharge and discipline, discrimination, accommodation of disabilities, leaves, wage and hour, workplace safety, labor arbitration hearings, union election campaigns, collective bargaining agreements, drug testing, investigations, reductions in force, unfair competition, trade secrets, and separation agreements. She has represented employers in federal and state courts, in labor arbitration hearings, and before various administrative agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and other government agencies charged with protecting workers and investigating employee complaints. Karen has advised employers during union election campaigns, negotiated collective bargaining agreements and provided strategic legal advice and training regarding remaining union-free. She also has written employee handbooks and policies.

Litigation

Karen’s representative experience includes allegations of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, defamation, whistleblower, failure to pay separation pay, ERISA, misuse of criminal background information among others. She has successfully procured and defended against temporary restraining orders in Defend Trade Secrets Act and unfair competition and covenants not to compete cases. She has won summary judgment motions, motions for judgment on the pleadings, and motions to dismiss. In addition to her labor and employment practice, Karen also participates in general commercial litigation, including matters involving construction, landfills, banking, mergers and acquisitions and breach of contract, among others. She also has represented a juvenile-life-without-parole prisoner in a resentencing hearing.

Investigations

Karen has investigated a multitude of student and employee allegations. She has led seminars on the topics of conducting investigations and writing investigative reports. She has been trained in trauma-informed investigation techniques by the National Center for Campus Public Safety. Karen has created SOX-compliant whistleblower programs, which included writing policies, gathering constituent support, finding a web-based host service, creating forms, training investigators, and creating recordkeeping guidelines to support a robust compliance program. Representative investigations have included allegations of employee misconduct, discrimination, harassment, workplace violence, and student Title IX complaints, as well as financial improprieties.

Training

Karen enjoys developing and leading training sessions. Recent topics have included:

  • Campus-wide Non-Discrimination and Title IX Training
  • Title IX Process Training for University Administrators Responsible for Title IX
  • Legal Issues for Supervisors
  • Preventing Harassment
  • Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Title VII v. Title IX
  • Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policies
  • Accommodating Requests for Remote Work
  • Faculty Grievance Committee Responsibilities
  • Codes of Conduct
  • Conducting Investigations
  • Protecting Youth on Campus and Required Background Checks in Pennsylvania
  • Wage-and-Hour Issues – What Supervisors Need to Know
  • Preventing Sexual Misconduct on Campus and Responding to Title IX Complaints
  • Accommodating Student Disabilities
  • What Color is Your Collar? The Fair Labor Standards Act on College Campuses
  • The First Amendment on Campus
  • Higher Education Labor and Employment Updates
  • Unions and Students
  • Medical Marijuana on Campus
  • New Developments in Accommodating Disabilities on Campus
  • Ethics for In-house Counsel
  • Managing Employee Leaves under Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act
  • The Borrower Defense to Repayment Regulations

More About Karen Baillie

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