Voth accepted into LOKC’s Signature Class 39

Attorney Lauren S. Voth has been accepted into Leadership Oklahoma City’s next Signature Class.

Attorney Lauren Symcox Voth

“Usually, the Signature LOKC program is a 10-month program with classes each month that focus on different community issues,” Voth said. “This year will be a little different and LOKC Class 39’s start date will be deferred to Fall 2021, however, we will have virtual meetings and get to attend alumni events throughout this year.”

The Signature Program is comprised of a two-day opening retreat and one-day-a-month programs for accepted individuals familiar with volunteer programs to network and increase their impact on their organizations and their community. Applicants are typically senior executives, business owners, and high-level directors and managers across industries and business types regionally.

“I am excited that we are in this unique position to spend a year getting to know one another and then another year learning and exploring Oklahoma City’s community issues, diversity, and resources,” Voth said.

To learn more about the Signature Program and other Leadership Oklahoma City programs, visit their website here.

Voth participates in Leadership OKC medical marijuana panel

attorney lauren voth and other leadership oklahoma city panelists

Attorney Lauren S. Voth with the other Leadership OKC panelists

Attorney Lauren S. Voth joined other panelists to discuss issues related to medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church hosted the Leadership Oklahoma City panel on Jan. 23. Voth rounded out the panel of industry leaders including:

  • David Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of Stability Growth
  • Stephen Prescott, MD, President of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
  • Scott Shaeffer, D.Ph., DABAT, Managing Director of Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information

The panel was moderated by David Dishman, Business Writer for The Oklahoman newspaper.

To learn more about Leadership OKC and other upcoming events, visit their website here.


USDOL withdraws 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs announced the withdrawal of recent guidance regarding joint employment and independent contractors.

OPA News Release:
June 7, 2017 [link] WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. Removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law. The department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

The Administrator Interpretation Letters – Fair Labor Standards Act, which have been withdrawn are:

  • FLSA 2015-1: “The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s ‘Suffer or Permit’ Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors”
  • FLSA 2016-1: “Joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act”

What does this mean for employers?

For employers, this means:

  • Joint employment and independent contractor status are no longer reviewed by the DOL under these previous Administrator’s Interpretations
  • Employees no longer have FLSA 2015-1 and FLSA 2016-1 to cite before the courts.

However, the Administrator’s Interpretations relied upon case law, statutes and regulations that are still good law.  Further, how the courts define joint employment and identify misclassified independent contractors has not changed because the common law, statutes and regulations are still in effect.

The definition of joint employment may depend on the state and federal Circuit Court where the employer is located. Independent contractor status is also defined by the FLSA, common law, statutes, and regulations as well as state law. Some states may have a different standard for independent contractors and joint employment.

Employers should consult with their attorney regarding questions about classifying independent contractors, joint employment and state laws that may vary. Although the removal of the DOL Administrator’s Interpretations is not a change in the law, it may indicate a change in DOL enforcement in these two areas. Stayed tuned for more information or changes from the DOL.

Attorney Lauren Voth supports Metropolitan Library System through Literary Voices

Lauren Symcox Voth and author Lisa Scottoline

The Metropolitan Library System selected author Lisa Scottoline as the featured author for the 2017 Literary Voices event on April 11, and attorney Lauren Symcox Voth lent her time and support to make the event a success.

“The library system has been a large part of my life, since I was a kid,” Voth said. “My mom was the chair of the Literary Voices Committee in 2011-2012. I showed up to a meeting to introduce the committee to my first daughter who had just been born a few weeks earlier, and I ended up staying and joined the committee.”

Since then, Voth has been involved with the committee in various capacities.

“For the 2017 Literary Voices event, I assisted committee chairs Karen Delaney and Gail Huneryager with the decorations for the event, which is always very creative on a shoestring budget for this fundraiser,” she said.

Literary Voices began in 2003 and is an annual event to raise money for the Library Endowment Trust, which benefits the Metropolitan Library System.

“Authors provide great insight into their own background, experiences, and often what lead to their inspiration for many of their books,” Voth said. “The 2017 author was Lisa Scottoline, a former attorney who practiced employment law before jumping into being a full-time author.

“Lisa has written a variety of books, but her series about the female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio and Rosato & Associates are probably her most successful. She has also written emotional thrillers and humorous non-fiction and was an exceptionally entertaining author this year.”

Past authors invited to the event include:

  • Sebastian Junger (2016)
  • P.J. O’Rourke (2015)
  • Khaled Hosseini (2014)
  • David McCullough (2013)
  • Mary Higgins Clark (2012)
  • Laura Bush (2011)
  • Harlan Coben (2010)
  • Ann Patchett (2009)
  • Scott Turow (2008)
  • Sue Grafton (2007)
  • Jane Seymour (2006)
  • Juan Williams (2005)
  • Dr. Beck Weathers (2004)
  • Dave Barry (2003)

Click here to learn more about the Metropolitan Library System’s Endowment Trust and how to get involved.

Legal Alert: New EEOC and OCRE Rules for Oklahoma

By Lauren Symcox Voth

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) isn’t the only game in town. The Oklahoma Office of Civil Rights Enforcement (“OCRE”), a division of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has been investigating complaints of discrimination for over a year now. Formerly known as the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission (“OHRC”), the OCRE was created through the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act in July 2012 to investigate and enforce state anti-discrimination laws relating to employment, housing and public accommodations. Before July 1, 2012, generally employers had to have at least 15 employees to fall under federal anti-discrimination laws; and employees claiming employment discrimination could file a charge of discrimination in employment with the EEOC or the OHRC and the charge was considered dually filed. Post July 1, Oklahoma employers with 1 or more employees are covered by the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act, charges are no longer dually filed, and the agencies’ enforcement and investigations are separate.

Keys to the EEOC and OCRE in Oklahoma:

  1. The OCRE enforces and investigates employment discrimination claims under the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act including, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age.
  2. The EEOC investigates and enforces Federal statutes related to employment discrimination including race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, age, and genetics.
  3. The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act covers all employers with one or more employees.
  4. Most Federal anti-discrimination statutes cover employers with 15 or more employees, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act covers employers with 20 or more employees, and the Equal Pay Act covers virtually all employers.
  5. No dual filing. An employee must file with both agencies to preserve their state and federal claims.
  6. Individuals have 180 days to file a charge of discrimination with the OCRE.
  7. Individuals have 300 days to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
  8. Employers must file separate responses to charges filed with the EEOC and OCRE – but make sure the responses are consistent! Employers are responsible for participating in the investigation process for both the EEOC and OCRE.
  9. The EEOC and OCRE have agreed to share information in related investigations.

If you have questions about the EEOC, OCRE, a charge of discrimination, or if you are a covered employer, consult an attorney.

Five attorneys join Phillips McFall

Phillips McFall announced the addition of five new attorneys to the Firm. Joshua L. Edwards, Wendy P. Higgins, Carol E. SorensenMyron K. Stout and Lauren L. Symcox were named associates in various practice areas, including litigation, health care, banking and patents and trademarks. Each attorney brings special talents to the firm, including 16 years of banking industry experience, previous experience as a patent attorney and years of community service experience.

Phillips McFall Welcomes Five New Attorneys to Downtown Office

Phillips McFall was pleased to announce the addition of five new attorneys to their Downtown Office: Joshua L. Edwards, Wendy P. Higgins, Carol E. Sorensen, Myron K. Stout and Lauren L. Symcox. Edwards and Sorensen join the Business Department, Higgins and Symcox will focus their work in the Litigation Department and Stout adds to the ever-growing Intellectual Property Department. Phillips McFall congratulates and welcomes its newest attorneys.