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Overview

Kara S. Nickel is a Shareholder in the Labor & Employment Department. Representing exclusively employers, Kara focuses her practice employment litigation and counseling, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whisteblower, reasonable accommodations, leaves of absence, and wage and hour claims, and employment, separation and restrictive covenant agreements. She partners with clients to provide practical, business-focused guidance on the full range of legal issues involving employees and the employment relationship.

Kara also counsels employers in connection with developing and maintaining affirmative action programs, and responding to audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Kara is a frequent presenter and trainer (for human resources and management employees) on topics including the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), wage and hour compliance, cybervetting/electronic monitoring of employees and family responsibilities discrimination. She is also a regular contributor to the firm’s labor & employment law blog, BeLabor the Point.

Representative Experience

  • Representation of employers in state and federal courts on discrimination, harassment, retaliation ADA reasonable accommodation, FMLA interference or retaliation, whistleblower retaliation, breach of contract and other claims.
  • Frequently appears before the EEOC, as well as state and local EEO agencies, to represent employers in charges of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Kara’s experience includes representation of employers in the agency mediation process, preparation of position statements, preparation of witnesses for interviews by agency investigators, and negotiation of conciliation agreement and remedial measures.
  • Regularly counsels employers on the full-range of employment issues, including employee performance management, discipline and terminations, FMLA compliance and non-FMLA leaves of absence, ADA reasonable accommodations, and internal investigations.
  • Representation of employers in wage and hour litigation and threatened claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Florida law. Counsels employers on wage and hour compliance and best practices, including workplace policies and classification of workers as exempt/nonexempt and employee/independent contractor.
  • Drafts employee handbooks and workplace policies and counsels employers regarding policy implementation.
  • Regularly drafts and negotiates employment, separation and restrictive covenant agreements on behalf of employers for senior executives and employees.
  • Conducts training of human resource professionals and management and non-management employees on a variety of topics, including FMLA compliance, ADA reasonable accommodations, preventing workplace harassment, and wage and hour compliance.
  • Defense of public accommodations and government entities in lawsuits regarding the accessibility of physical spaces, services and websites by individuals with disabilities under Titles II and III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the Florida Civil Rights Act. Counseling of clients on ADA compliance and service animal requirements under the ADA and Florida law.
  • Special Counsel to the City of Coral Gables, Florida, on employment matters and accessibility and non-discrimination requirements under federal and state laws in connection with services and programs offered to the public.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Human Resources Association of Broward County (HRABC), Member, 2014-present; Legislative Director, 2015 & 2016
  • Academy of Florida Management Attorneys (AFMA), Membership & Website Committees
  • The Florida Bar, Labor and Employment Section, Member
  • Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Member
  • American Bar Association: Equal Employment Opportunity Section (Equal Rights and Responsibilities Committee) and Young Lawyers Division, Member 2004-2012
  • Volunteer, Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic School, Southwest Ranches, Florida
  • Volunteer, Cub Scouts Pack 117, Southwest Ranches, Florida

Recognition

  • Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2009-2015 (a distinction awarded to less than 2.5% of lawyers each year)
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite , “Up and Coming Legal Elite” 2004, 2006

Publications & Presentations

Events: The Business Case: Retention, Productivity & Profit
Impact Broward Work/Life Symposium|August 2017

Events: Finding the Well in Wellness Programs
Stearns Weaver Miller's 27th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2017

Events: Advanced Topics In Reasonable Accommodations
Human Resource Associate of Broward County (HRABC)|May 2017

Events: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management
2017 FMLA Master Class: Florida |February 2017

Publications: Employee Smart Phones: Smile, Your Meeting is Streaming Live and In Color
BeLabor The Point Blog|January 2017

Events: FLSA Update: Salary Level Changes
The Children’s Trust

Publications: Employment is Now-But is a Separation Agreement Still Forever?
BeLabor The Point Blog|October 2016

Publications: How Does Time Off Due To A Hurricane Affect Your Employees’ Pay?
BeLabor The Point Blog|October 2016

Events: ADA-HR Insomnia: Dealing With Things That Keep You Up at Night
Stearns Weaver Miller's 26th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2016

Events: Resources for HR Professionals in 2016
Human Resource Associate of Broward County (HRABC)|May 2016

Publications: FMLA Update: New Poster and Employer Guide
BeLabor the Point Blog |April 2016

Publications: Contributor, Chapter 28: Title VII Litigation Procedure
Employment Discrimination Law (4th ed.)|January 2016

Publications: Are Your Employees Naughty or Nice?
BeLabor the Point Blog |December 2015

Publications: How Does Time Off Due To A Hurricane Affect Your Employees’ Pay?
BeLabor the Point Blog |August 2015

Events: What Human Resources Professionals Need To Know for 2015
Human Resource Association of Broward County (HRABC)|May 2015

Publications: A New Workplace Event: Take Your Parents To Work Day
BeLabor the Point Blog |November 2014

Publications: Unlimited Vacation Time From Work: Dream, Reality or Just A Myth?
BeLabor the Point Blog |October 2014

Events: BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: New Claim on the Horizon: Family Responsibilities Discrimination
Stearns Weaver Miller Labor & Employment Breakfast Series|September 2014

Events: Cybervetting and Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace
Hospitality Human Resources Association of Broward County (HHRABC)|June 2014

Publications: Takeaway Lessons From One Employer’s Loss On FMLA Retaliation Claim
BeLabor the Point Blog |May 2014

Publications: Flexible Workplace: What’s In A Name?
BeLabor the Point Blog |May 2014

Events: Avoiding The Rough When Dealing with “Family Responsibility” Issues
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 24th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2014

Events: HR Insights 2014 - The Business of People - Agile and Engaged for the Future
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Professional & Workforce Development Committee|March 2014

Events: But We Do Not Have a Union – How the NLRB is Impacting Non-Union Workplaces
Stearns Weaver Miller Labor & Employment Breakfast Series|January 2014

Events: Snoops – Cybervetting and Monitoring Employees’ Activities Electronically From Hiring Through Termination
Stearns Weaver Miller Labor & Employment Breakfast Series|November 2013

Publications: Prying Eyes: Reading a Former Employee’s Personal Email Gets Verizon Sued
BeLabor the Point Blog |October 2013

Publications: FMLA Update: Revised FMLA Poster Available In Spanish
BeLabor the Point Blog |October 2013

Events: Public Sector: Hunting for Hidden Employment Treasures
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 23rd Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2013

Publications: FMLA Update: Revised Regulations, A New Poster And A New Certification Form
BeLabor the Point Blog |February 2013

Publications: FMLA Update: Leave Available To Care For An Adult Child
BeLabor the Point Blog |January 2013

Publications: Florida Employment Law Manual
Florida Chamber of Commerce|January 2013

Events: If We Had a Nickel For Every FMLA Question...
Stearns Weaver Miller Labor & Employment Breakfast Series|June 2012

Events: Secrets in the Workplace: Are Your Documents and Conversations Protected?
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 21st Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar|May 2011

Events: Reading the FMLA Tea Leaves
2010 Greater Miami Society for Human Resource Management GMSHRM Legal Update|September 2010

Events: Reading The FMLA and ADA Tea Leaves
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 20th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2010

Events: All In The Family (Leave)
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 19th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar |May 2009

Events: Are You Ready for the Changes to the FMLA and ADA
Stearns Weaver Miller Labor & Employment Breakfast Series|January 2009

Events: What’s The Deal with Electronic Discovery and the Paperless Office?
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 18th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar|May 2008

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Newsroom

In the Media: Can separation agreements stop ex-employee claims?
What's Working in Human Resources|March 2017

In the Media: Weather call-outs? Can we dock exempt workers’ pay?
What's Working In Human Resources|October 2015

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