In episode 132, Coffey talks with Patrick Richter about HR news from January, including the Department of Labor’s new contractor rule and discrimination settlements. They discuss the Department of Labor’s final regulation concerning classification of independent contractors, which takes effect on March 11th and whether it will really impact employers; Perdue Foods’ settlement of a lawsuit regarding accommodations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Americans with Disabilities Act; Walmart’s settlement for denying a promotion to a mother; whether and when employers can consider someone’s parental status; and how companies can avoid the costly consequences of non-compliance. Here are some of the news items they discussed:
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Patrick Richter

Patrick Richter

Patrick is an experienced mediator, litigator, and employment attorney with expertise ranging from first chair trial lawyer to advisor on mergers and acquisitions to counselor on the full spectrum of day-to-day HR issues. As an employment lawyer, he has significant experience representing employers and employees with wage & hour issues, class and collective actions, and intellectual property and trade secret issues, including non-disclosure agreements and covenants not to compete—both in the drafting and preparation of the underlying agreements as well as litigation and appeals. HE also haS considerable experience with matters before the National Labor Relations Board and in assisting employers with union avoidance. Apart from employment-related matters, He is a certified mediator, and has significant experience with non-patent intellectual property litigation, commercial litigation, and corporate transactions -including mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investments. No matter the issue — from sensitive employee termination issues, to high-level harassment investigations, to protection of trade secrets — he partners with his clients to help them achieve their business objectives while minimizing legal risks and obstacles.


Patrick Richter can be reached at:  



  1. Jennifer Kurtz

    Hi Patrick, I absolutely love your podcast and appreciate the time and thought that you put into making each episode so impactful.

    Just to add some of my thoughts during the discussion on discrimination (primarily on mothers or mothers to be), it caused me to think about other assumptions (aka stereotypes). The topic of young children needing to be at daycare at home for a mother in the workplace, what about a father? Considering that hypothetical question, it felt like there was a still as assumption that the burden of childcare is owned by the mother and would be something that comes to mind for a female applicant or employee.

    Traveling even further down that rabbit hole, if we were talking about children at home and their age, what age would be the standard? How does that change for children that are just more emotionally mature and independent versus a child with special needs? I enjoy these hypothesis because it pushes one to consider all ways a distraction could occur. It could be children, neighbors, dogs, cats, television, internet problems, the list goes on. Just like your cohost said, are we checking to see if your employee is on the couch with Netflix?

    I whole heartedly agree that setting expectations early, managing as needed, not making performance conversations a surprise, and the like are all practices that apply to all people and situations. The moment we try to specify (or predict) distractions or poor performance, should be the moment we check our biases. Do proper due diligence in interviewing and reference checks, make your best informed decision for the needs of the role, and then manage. Seems simple, right? 🙂

    Again, I just really enjoy your show. Keep up the great work!

  2. Jennifer Kurtz

    Please forgive me, I meant to address this to Mike, Patrick you were a great guest on this episode!


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