Nearly twenty-five years ago, a corporate client of Jonathan’s contacted him and asked him if he could put together a seminar that would teach their managers the fundamentals of employment law. “Our leaders have questions about how to manage employees within the law, they are sometimes doing and saying things they shouldn’t be, unnecessary conflicts are developing… would you be willing to put together a seminar that teaches them the `hire to fire’ fundamentals?” It sounded like a pleasant diversion from his usual work, so Jonathan agreed and presented what would become the first version of Employment Law for Managers Seminar (ELMS).
Afterwards, Jonathan didn’t think much about it and got back to his normal legal practice. Then a surprising thing happened, with little effort to deliberately market the seminar, Jonathan started getting phone calls from other employers: “I heard you offer a great seminar on employment law for supervisors and managers, could you present it to our management personnel as well?” And mainly by word of mouth, Jonathan started presenting ELMS and other employment-law related seminars for employers throughout the country. Jonathan has now presented ELMS well-over six hundred times in just about every type of workplace imaginable (in addition to hundreds of other employment law-related presentations).
An attorney who comes to your workplace? Absolutely. Enthusiastically. Jonathan loves to get out and mix it up with managers working in every type of environment imaginable. He thrives off seeing the different places where people work and “do their thing.” One day he’s presenting a seminar to “cowboy managers” working in the dirt and dust of a large cattle ranch in rural Kansas (and yes, he was a little startled at first when participants “rode up” to the seminar wearing cowboy hats, boots and spurs), and two days later he’s on the east coast presenting to leaders who supervise employees working in high-tech clean room environments (um, let’s just say that cows aren’t allowed, unless they gown up first). Jonathan is passionate about finding effective and practical compliance solutions for every work environment regardless of how unique it may be (by the way, the ADA doesn’t apply to cows, but you should still treat them nicely).
In his nearly thirty years of experience, Jonathan has learned that the key to effective presentations on employment law is to never forget that it’s a very human area of the law. You can’t lead an effective discussion about employment law if you don’t build it upon the foundation of human relations fundamentals: respect, sensitivity to employee-relations dynamics, effective communication skills, and most importantly, being an effective leader. Jonathan’s seminars are so effective because he connects the dots between the law and all the “human factors” that are inseparably intertwined with and often drive the legal issues. And to Jonathan, every seminar he presents is ultimately a leadership seminar because effective leaders create fewer legal liability risks.
Jonathan’s most favorite feedback from seminar participants—and he hears it frequently—goes something like this (and FYI, it usually starts off in a somewhat embarrassed, confessional tone): “My boss forced me to come… I thought this was going to be a really boring legal seminar… but I am so glad that I attended, I learned so much more than expected, including how to talk to people in tough situations, thank you so much!”