Editorial Board   

Mr. Schmidt

Michael C. Schmidt

Partner, Cozen O'Connor

Michael C. Schmidt is a member of Cozen O'Connor and practices in the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group. He concentrates in representing management in all facets of employment law, including: o 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; o drafting employment agreements, termination/severance agreements, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, employee manuals, and individual corporate policies; and o counseling and providing corporate training on day-to-day issues from hiring through firing. A substantial portion of Mr. Schmidt's practice is devoted to advising large and small businesses on how to avoid litigation and minimize potential exposure for claims that are made. He has specifically represented clients in the hospitality and restaurant industry in matters involving wage and hour, discrimination and employment contract disputes. Mr. Schmidt is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Touro Law School in Central Islip, N.Y., where he teaches a course on employment law. He frequently lectures and conducts seminars for human resources professionals, corporate executives, and lawyers. A regular author on employment law issues, his recent pieces include: "Avoiding the Hazards of Economy-Driven Decisions," Law 360 - Portfolio Media, Inc. (December 8, 2008); "Work Overtime to Ensure That Your Unauthorized Employees Do Not," The Corporate Counselor (August 2008); "The Wage and Hour Minefield: Some Words of Wisdom for Employers," The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (November 2007); and "Overtime Confusion Leads to Lawsuits," Executive Counsel (July/August 2007). Mr. Schmidt earned his juris doctor degree, with distinction, from Hofstra University School of Law in 1993, where he was a notes and comments editor of the Hofstra Law Review. He received his bachelor of arts degree, with honors, from Brandeis University in 1990. Mr. Schmidt is admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of New York.

Mr. Schmidt can be contacted at 212-453-3937 or mschmidt@cozen.com

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.