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Tracking Labor Issues

Anyone who has been following the largest class action suit in history, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, has likely heard the views of Washington and Lee alumnus Gerald “Jerry” Maatman.

The 1978 graduate, a senior partner at Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P.,   in Chicago, has filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Walmart on behalf of Costco and the Society for Human Resource Management. Jerry’s primary practice is defending employers sued in employment-related class actions and EEOC-pattern or -practice lawsuits brought in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He is credited with pioneering employment-practices audits in order to help employers devise policies that will reduce employment-related class-action suits. He co-authored a 2002 book, “The Manager’s Guide to Preventing a Hostile Work Environment.”

Jerry is a popular media-interview subject on these issues, and his perspectives on the Walmart case have been widely quoted, from an article in The Economist this past January to an appearance on the National Public Radio program “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” last month.

In the NPR segment, the discussion came on March 31, two days after arguments were made at the Supreme Court. Jerry said he thought that the court’s decision in the case may determine how future class-action suits are treated, but that it will depend upon the language the court uses. “There are many different combinations of alliances on the court. I don’t think it will be a unanimous decision,” he said.

You can also listen to a podcast of his views on how the Walmart decision could impact corporate recruiting on ERE.net.

Jerry also shares his expertise on another hot topic — workplace bullying. A recent story on PropertyCasualty360.com cited his views on that issue.

His W&L classmates will recall Jerry’s expertise on the golf course more than in the courtroom. He was a two-time All-American in the sport. It wasn’t until 2008 that W&L had another golfer with those credentials. That’s when Nathaniel James earned back-to-back recognition on All-American teams.

If you know any W&L alumni who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.