Employment Discrimination Mock Trial

Friday 8:00 – 9:00 AM and 9:15 – 10:15 AM

Session Description

As an HR Professional, you are called upon to make difficult decisions that are legally compliant. Occasionally, however, personnel decisions can lead to lawsuits that may go to trial where a jury will scrutinize your actions. This Mock Trial – where you will sit as a mock juror in judgment of a case – allows you to see how the trial process works, and to view your actions from a different perspective.

In the first hour, attorneys for the employer and attorneys for the employee will present their cases to you – in abbreviated form – as they would to an actual jury. This will include opening statements, witnesses, and closing arguments.

In the second hour, the “judge” will give you jury instructions and a verdict form. You will break into small groups, select a foreperson, deliberate, and reach a verdict. Each foreperson will announce the verdict and brief reasons for it.

Learning Objectives

  1. Through a case-based demonstration, learn how a typical employment discrimination jury trial unfolds
  2. Participate in interactive deliberations with your peers using standard jury instructions and a verdict form
  3. Discuss with other participants how a verdict is reached based on evidence presented by the parties and jury instructions from the court

Vaughn Burkholder

Vaughn Burkholder is a partner and practice group chair of Foulston’s litigation & employment practice group. Vaughn represents employers involving ADA, FMLA, harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and other employment issues. He has been the lead defense counsel in numerous successful cases before the EEOC, KHRC and other administrative agencies, and has been the lead attorney for negotiations, settlement, and litigation of employee rights lawsuits. Vaughn also assists employers with employment policies and procedures, reductions-in-force, investigations, discipline, terminations, and all other workplace issues.

Forrest Rhodes

Forrest Rhodes is a partner and member of Foulston’s employment & labor practice group. Forrest brings legal expertise with a down-to-earth, approachable style to help clients identify and resolve issues before they become legal problems and effectively address difficult employment situations to avoid or minimize legal risk. He assists employers with various day-to-day employment issues, including working through challenging discipline situations and the proper handling of employee absences that may implicate statutory leave laws. He also has significant experience defending employers against discrimination charges and wage and hour audits brought by the Department of Labor. Forrest also represents employers through all aspects of the safety and health compliance process.

Scott Nehrbass

Scott Nehrbass is a partner and member of Foulston’s litigation & employment practice group. Scott has more than 20 years of experience handling complex commercial litigation for corporate clients from a wide variety of industries. He has tried cases in Kansas state and federal courts, as well as in Missouri and Alabama, and argued appeals before the Tenth Circuit, Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Court of Appeals. Scott has led Kansas-based trial lawyer organizations, including serving as President of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, and he is currently Chair of the Johnson County (Kansas) Bar Association’s Civil Litigation Section. Scott has tried cases before several currently sitting Kansas federal judges and Johnson County, Kansas state court judges.

Tara Eberline

Tara Eberline is a partner and practice group vice chair of Foulston’s litigation & employment practice group. Tara advises employers on complex workplace challenges at all stages of the employment relationship. She partners with local governments, business owners, managers, and human resources professionals to guide them in making strategic and lawful decisions regarding their employees. When disputes arise, she represents employers before state and federal agencies and defends clients in workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other civil rights and employment-related lawsuits. She is a co-editor and author of the Kansas Employment Law Letter and is a frequent speaker on civil rights and employment law topics. 

Steve Massoni

Steve Massoni is special counsel and member of Foulston’s employment & labor practice group.  Steve has 40 years of experience in commercial and employment litigation in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate level. His cases have included disputes arising out of shareholder agreements, insurance policies, employment contracts, services agreements, loan documents, and construction contracts. His trial experience includes both bench and jury trials in federal and state courts. Steve has represented corporate, governmental, and individual clients in cases alleging retaliatory discharge, discrimination based on race, national origin, or sex, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, disability accommodation, and violations of restrictive covenants.

Eric Turner

Eric Turner is an attorney and member of Foulston’s litigation & employment practice group. Eric’s practice focuses primarily in three areas: employment and litigation, governmental liability, and commercial litigation and disputes. His experience included cases related to age discrimination, contract disputes, tax evasion, criminal matters, the interplay between federal and state law, and Social Security disability appeals. Eric is a frequent author and contributor to publications, including three years as co-author of the civil procedure chapter in the Kansas Bar Association’s Annual Survey of the Law. As the co-chair of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel amicus committee, Eric also writes for the KADC’s Kansas Defense Journal. 

Travis Hanson

Travis Hanson is an attorney and member of Foulston’s litigation & employment practice group. Travis regularly assists clients with a broad range of employment issues primarily focusing on allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. He handles administrative charges and litigation matters and is experienced in drafting employment agreements and employee handbooks, handling workplace investigations, and providing day-to-day HR consulting. Travis is also a frequent contributor to publications such as the Kansas Employment Law Blog and the Kansas Employment Law Letter.

Sarah Otto

Sarah Otto is an attorney and member of Foulston’s litigation & employment practice group.  Sarah defends employers in litigation and administrative charges and helps employers review and develop employment policies with the goal of avoiding costly litigation. She has provided practical management training to local companies and assisted employers in writing and implementing employee handbooks.  Sarah serves a wide range of clients in contract disputes, including global, regional and local businesses. She also represents businesses and employees in disputes involving breach of noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements.