Practice and Industry Groups

William E. Pilchak

Shareholder Detroit (Metro)

Mr. Pilchak has counselled management and represented employers in employment law matters and litigation exclusively since leaving a position as a Senior Trial Attorney with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office in 1984.  Before joining Ogletree Deakins, he had been a principal of a respected local boutique for more than sixteen years.   He has conducted dozens of jury trials in state and federal courts over his career, but knows that avoiding litigation by assisting employers with discharge planning and documentation of issues is the better business strategy.  Having also worked extensively with the auto dealer, staffing and steel industries, an interesting niche of Mr. Pilchak’s practice has been the representation of many Michigan Courts for more than thirty years on employment matters and related funding issues.     

He is a frequent speaker and author on employment law issues.  He has addressed such groups as the American Bar Association Annual Meeting on two occasions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on how the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act constrain employers dealing with employee violence.    He was appointed to the American Bar Association's National Institute on Sexual Harassment Mock Trial Defense Team and the Mock Trial Faculty for the ABA National Institute on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mr. Pilchak has authored two important scholarly articles, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Borderline Personality Disorder and Sexual Compulsivity/Addiction: A Factor In Sexual Harassment Allegations?, (ABA 1997 Annual Meeting Book of Papers), and Pounding Square Pegs Into Round Holes- Non-Compete Agreements For Temporary Employees Stand Existing Law On Its Head, 21 Lab. Law 199 (2005) which was selected by GP Solo Magazine as the ABA’s best Labor and Employment article of 2005.  Mr. Pilchak served as editor of the General Counsel’s Executive Summary of Employment Law in the 50 States,” co-published by the Association of Corporate Counsel. 

He has been recognized for his community leadership.  He was awarded the Oakland County Bar Association’s Leon Hubbard Community Service Award In Support of Diversity, and was named Chairman of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce in 2012, Board Member of the Year for 2013 and Counsel to the Board in 2016. 


Experience

Mr. Pilchak has obtained many trial court dismissals and jury verdicts favoring employers, some of which have resulted in published appellate or trial court opinions or “unpublished” opinions available on-line:

  • Established Michigan law that timing between protected activity and discharge was insufficient, without more, to overcome an employer’s legitimate business reason for termination in a whistleblower case. Taylor v Modern Engineering (2003)
  • Obtained dismissal of tortious interference claims against a vendor on an automotive project who hired the temporary employees of a staffing company that had abandoned the work. Volt v VIA Information Tools (2003)
  • Dismissal of a union’s putative class action alleging bid-rigging and failure to comply with prevailing wage requirements of Michigan’s competitive bidding statute because such claims were pre-empted. SEIU Local 3 v Knight Facilities Mgt. (2005)
  • Sustained dismissal on appeal of age discrimination and workers’ compensation retaliation claims by a foreman who violated a safety rule despite his supervisor’s earlier commission of the same act, because the plaintiff had received training, the rule had been deemed “cardinal” and he had been warned before committing the act. Turnbell v Severstal N.Am. (2010)  
  • Vacated an adverse arbitration decision with class implications and obtained  an appellate decision that paid vacation could be eliminated in response to the “Great Recession,” despite claims that the benefit had vested for all employees. MSX Int’l Platform Svcs v Hurley (2012)

Professional Activities and Speeches

Speeches:

  • Macomb County Circuit Court Administrator - ''Employment Issues Training'' - 2016
  • Severstal North America – Achieve More Together - ''Sexual Harassment & Social Media'' - 2013
  • Tata Technologies – Worldwide Webinar - ''Documenting Discipline and Avoiding Litigation'' - 2013
  • Michigan Court Administrators Association - ''Employment Law and Social Media'' - 2012
  • Ilitch Holdings/Little Caesar - ''Employment Law Implications of Social Media'' - 2012
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