Tel: (313) 496-1200
Fax: (313) 496-1300
Labor and Employment Law
Commercial and Business Litigation
Alternative Dispute Resolution
B.B.A., Eastern Michigan University
J.D., University of Toledo College of Law
State Bar of Michigan
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
Ms. Laughren focuses her practice in the area of complex labor and employment litigation for a diverse array of manufacturing and service industries. She has tried bench and jury cases in federal and state courts, defending wrongful discipline and/or discharge allegations, claims of discrimination and retaliation (race, disability, sex, age, religion, harassment, etc.), whistleblower claims, breach of contract, unfair labor practice charges, manufacturers’ representative commissions claims, and enforcement of non-compete agreements, in addition to other civil and commercial litigation matters. She has argued appeals before the Michigan Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Ms. Laughren represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations as chief spokesperson for the employer, contract administration (grievance and arbitration), conducts union-free education and leads employer campaigns. Ms. Laughren also acts as a facilitator and mediator in employment disputes and has represented employers before the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and various other state labor boards and agencies.
As general counsel for various clients, Ms. Laughren provides advice and legal services with respect to a variety of commercial, business and corporate governance issues in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
She is a member of the Michigan Bar Association and American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Sections, is active in several professional organizations, and participates in relevant business forums. She is currently Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center, on the Board of Trustees and Governance Committee of the United Methodist Retirement Communities, and Secretary of the Human Services Association Workers’ Disability Compensation Fund. Ms. Laughren is a founding trustee and past secretary of the Michigan Quality Council and a former director and secretary of World Medical Relief, Inc. Ms. Laughren has been designated Michigan Super Lawyer, Employment & Labor, Employment Litigation: Defense (2006 – 2016).
Ms. Laughren is a frequent lecturer on issues related to the FMLA, ADA, ADEA, Title VII, and Sexual/Religious/Age/Disability Harassment and Litigation Avoidance. She has served as panelist and presenter on various subjects including management techniques, covenants not to compete, and avoiding litigation in the termination of employees. She offers employment counseling on a wide range of issues including employee discipline and discharge, employee severance and termination agreements, reductions in work force, and WARNA compliance.
Reported and Notable Decisions:
Goldfaden v. Wyeth Labs, Inc.
2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9827; 2012 WL 1676664 (6th Cir. 2012)
In the trial court, Ms. Laughren defended against plaintiff’s claims that she was discriminated against on the basis of her sex and ultimately constructively discharged. Her claims were against the Company and her supervisor and brought under both State and federal statutes. Plaintiff filed gender discrimination claims against her former employer and supervisor alleging that she received a warning letter based on her subordinate’s false charges, and was constructively discharged because of her gender. The lower court granted defendants’ summary judgment motion concluding that plaintiff failed to establish that she was treated differently than similarly-situated males and, hence, she failed to establish a prima facie case of gender discrimination. The trial court also rejected plaintiff’s claims of breach of contract and termination in violation of public policy. On appeal, following oral argument by Ms. Laughren, the lower court’s decision was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
NLRB v. Vico, Inc.
989 F2d 1468 (6th Cir 1993)
In an action before the National Labor Relations Board, Ms. Laughren defended a Company’s right to implement a permanent mass layoff during a union organizing campaign. Following trial before the National Labor Relations Board and appeal to the U.S. Sixth Circuit, the court validated the layoff as a valid business decision.
Bouchard v. City of Warren
2015 WL 5697683 (ED Mich 2015)
Jury returned verdict in favor of defendant after a six day trial in the United States District Court. Defendant was sued by a former employee who quit his job but claimed he was constructively discharged for engaging in whistleblowing activities and in retaliation for taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. At trial, the former employee was seeking $540,000 in economic damages in addition to non-economic damages for emotional distress and reimbursement of all attorney fees. The employer acknowledged that the former employee was a whistleblower and that he took FMLA leave, but denied that it retaliated against the employee or caused him to quit. Ms. Laughren was lead counsel for defendant.
Riley v. Ennis
2012 Mich App LEXIS 2381 (Mich. App. 2012)
Plaintiff who was terminated after returning from a pregnancy leave asserted sex discrimination/pregnancy discrimination and retaliation claims against defendant. Plaintiff sought to impose personal liability on the CEO of the employer under Michigan’s Civil Rights Act. Ms. Laughren defended the CEO and the trial court dismissed plaintiff’s claims finding that she had been terminated for legitimate business reasons. After oral argument by Ms. Laughren in the Court of Appeals, the employee’s allegations of sex and pregnancy discrimination were completely rejected and the Company received costs against her.
Henry v. Quicken Loans Inc.
2009 US Dist LEXIS 09133 (ED Mich 2009)
Defense of FLSA collective action consisting of over 400 mortgage brokers who alleged that they were improperly classified by their employer as exempt from overtime pay of them as exempt under the FLSA administrative exemption.
Little v. Belle Tire
2015 US Dist LEXIS 142227 (ED Mich 2015)
Judgment for defendant following trial in a wage hour case implicating the executive exemption of the FLSA. Assistant manager found to be exempt. Judgment granted in favor of defendant.
Curry v. SBC Communs., Inc.
2009 US Dist LEXIS 22478 (ED Mich 2009)
Ms. Laughren successfully defeated class certification in claims of 800 sales employees alleging race discrimination.
Leader v. Venture Indus. Corp.
1999 US Dist LEXIS 15947 (ED Mich 1999)
While on approved FMLA leave the employer discovered the employee’s poor performance and she was terminated. Ms. Laughren successfully argued that the FMLA does not shield an employee from termination for legitimate business reasons. The employee’s case was dismissed.
Eide v. Kelsey-Hayes Co.
431 Mich 26 (1988)
In an action in front of the Michigan Supreme Court, Ms. Laughren successfully argued to change the law to prohibit employees from receiving a double recovery in discrimination claims.
Hebert v. Aetna Industries, Inc.
182 Mich App 139 (1989)
Arguing before the Michigan Court of Appeals, Ms. Laughren established the right of employers to refer applicants with preexisting epilepsy, diabetes, back or heart problems for certification pursuant to the Michigan Vocational Rehabilitation Act in defense of a prospective employee’s claim that such a referral violates the Michigan Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act.
Saldana v. Kelsey-Hayes Co.
178 Mich App 230 (1988)
Establishing an employer’s right covertly to observe an employee suspected of malingering.
Use Of Criminal Background Checks ♦ The EEOC’S “Guidance” And Attempts To Regulate ♦ A Court’s Decision That The EEOC Statistics Are “Scientific Dishonesty” (August 2013)
The O and P Visa Categories (Aliens with Exceptional or Extraordinary Ability) and Permanent Residence Under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, Illinois Inst. for Continuing Legal Education (2008, 2012)
Detroit Regional Chamber, In-Brief, What’s an Employer to Do (Prompt and Appropriate Response)