Valerie is a Director in the Labor and Employment Group and focuses her practice on employment litigation and providing advice to employers on all aspects of employment law.
Throughout her career, Valerie has represented employers in numerous employment cases involving claims under Title VII, the Americans with Disability Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. She has also defended employers against administrative charges and complaints before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation.
In addition, Valerie routinely counsels clients on hiring, performance and conduct issues, FMLA compliance, ADA accommodations and compliance, background checks, and drug and alcohol testing. She also conducts and oversees investigations of alleged employee misconduct and provides supervisory and employee training on a variety of employment matters.
Valerie represents a diverse range of clients, including manufacturing companies, coal mining companies, engineering firms, nursing homes, and nonprofit organizations.
Valerie’s experience includes:
- Defending employers in numerous employment discrimination cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- Negotiating the favorable resolution of numerous employment discrimination cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- Successfully defending employers against numerous discrimination charges and complaints filed with the EEOC and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
- Providing advice to employers regarding fitness for duty examinations and accommodations under the ADA
- Conducting sexual harassment investigations
- Negotiating and drafting employment separation agreements
- Conducting supervisory and employee harassment training for numerous employers
- Defending employers in connection with numerous claims filed with the U.S. Department of Labor Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation
- Defending employers in workers’ compensation litigation before the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- Member of the Firm’s elevation committee
- Member, Labor and Employment Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Allegheny County Bar Association
- Board of Directors, Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, May 2018-present
- Board of Directors, Pittsburgh Opera, June 2016-June 2019
- Board of Directors, Baptist Homes Society, October 2007-September 2016
- Board of Directors, Arsenal Family and Children’s Center, 1996 through 2014, and Trustee Emeritus, 2014-present
- Coach of Upper St. Clair High School Mock Trial Team, 2010-2013
Valerie has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Labor and Employment since 2013, and is a frequent lecturer on employment subjects.
During her years of practice, Valerie has spoken at seminars sponsored by a number of professional organizations and has authored and co-authored several articles. The more recent seminars and articles are listed below:
- Presenter, “Conducting Bulletproof Workplace Investigations,” Penn State Continuing Education Series, October 3, 2019
- Author, “What Are the Keys to An Effective Workplace Investigation,” CATALYST Magazine, Fall 2018
- Co-presenter, “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in a Me Too World,” Cohen & Grigsby’s CLE Day, April 19, 2018
- Presenter, “Harassment and HR Investigations in the #MeToo Era,” Penn State Continuing Education Series, March 14, 2018
- Presenter, “Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace,” Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Human Resources Conference, October 5, 2017
- Presenter, “Understanding the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act,” Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Human Resources Conference, October 6, 2016
- Co-Author, “Pennsylvania Legislature Passes Significant Amendments to Act 153 Clearance Requirements,” Cohen & Grigsby Bulletin, July 8, 2015
- Presenter, “Conducting Effective Workplace and Title IX Investigations,” College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, December 5, 2014
- Presenter, “Discipline and Documentation,” Cohen & Grigsby Labor and Employment Seminar, May 8, 2012