Conversation With...

Genie Harrison, Southern California Super Lawyer

Thursday, April 6, 2017  ~  7:30 - 9 am

Western Justice Center's Maxwell House Dining Room
55 S Grand Avenue ~  Pasadena, CA 91105

Topic of Conversation: How a Southern California Super Lawyer uses investigators' testimony and reports at trial.


Genie Harrison

As a successful and formidable employee representative, Genie Harrison will share her observations and experiences with some of the following:

  • How she prepares an employee for the interview with the workplace investigator;
  • How she best represents employees in the interview;
  • Investigation reporting - what she looks for (both good and bad)
  • How she prepares for the investigator's deposition
  • How she prepares for the investigator's trial testimony

About Genie Harrison 

Employment cases do not often result in seven figure verdicts or settlements, but Los Angeles employment attorney Genie Harrison has obtained a number of seven figure results. Ms. Harrison has also represented countless employees in cases that resulted in five and six figure outcomes as well. In fact, some of her most satisfying cases are modest in dollar value, but immense in human value. In those cases, her clients often keep their jobs, make up for the harm they suffered, move on with their lives and avoid the drain on their lives that comes from being involved in litigation.

Ms. Harrison has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers List in Plaintiff's Employment litigation for nine years in a row (2009-2017), for which only 5% of all attorneys in the state qualify in any single year, has been named by Super Lawyers as one of the Top 10 Southern California Super Lawyers for two years (2016-2017), and is one of only two women lawyers in the state of California named by the Daily Journal as one of the state's Top Labor & Employment lawyers for seven years (2009-2013, 2015-2016).

* * *

We will offer a Continental breakfast from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.  Genie Harrison will be "in conversation" from 8-9 a.m.

The event will be held at The Western Justice Center's Maxwell House Dining Room, 55 S Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105.

The event is free and open to members and non-members

but room is limited and an RSVP is required.  


Last Updated on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 02:20 PM

Committee and Board Nominations Due March 24


Liz Rita

By Liz Rita
Nominating Committee Chair

AWI’s Nominating Committee is looking for members interested in becoming more involved in AWI.  Specifically, we are looking for members who would like to be considered for involvement in committee work and also those who are interested in and would like to be considered for a 2-year term on the AWI Board of Directors.

AWI’s committees are responsible for creating and supporting everything we do at AWI, and are an exciting way to become more involved.  Committees include: Advocacy, Annual Conference, Australasian Association of Workplace Investigators, Canadian Association of Workplace Investigators, Marketing, Member Benefits, Publications, Seminar & Webinar, and Training Institute.

AWI’s Board of Directors is a “working board.”  Each Director is expected to lead a committee or major initiative during his/her tenure, attend all meetings, and participate in other AWI events and initiatives as needed.  Prior committee work or other demonstrated commitment to the organization is generally preferred, and AWI membership is required, before becoming a Board member. 

We welcome diversity, in EEO terms as well as geographic and practice area, in committee assignments and Board nominees. 

If you are interested in becoming more actively involved in AWI, please send an email to Liz at:, and to our AWI office staff at, by March 24, 2017.  We cannot guarantee that all interested members will become Committee or Board members in 2017-2018, but hope that everyone who is interested lets us know so that we can keep you actively engaged in AWI in the meantime.

Last Updated on Friday, March 10, 2017 12:10 PM

AWI Signs Texas Competes Pledge, Writes to Texas Governor

In accordance with the decision of the Board of Directors of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) at its meeting on February 27, 2017, AWI has signed the Texas Competes pledge as an organization, and its President has written a letter to the Texas Governor , in response to pending Texas legislation commonly known as the "bathroom bill".

The letter to the Texas Governor informs the Governor that AWI will honor the two contracts it has for events in Texas in 2017, but that if the "bathroom bill" passes AWI will seriously consider whether future events should be held in Texas.

AWI has existing contracts in Texas for a day-long Workplace Investigation Basics seminar in Houston on March 29, 2017, and for a week-long Training Institute in Austin September 11-15, 2017.

Last Updated on Thursday, March 02, 2017 07:20 PM

Sixty-five Students Take AWI Certificate Tests in Monterey

Sixty-five students completed AWI's eighth Training Institute for Workplace Investigators in Monterey, California, USA on February 24, 2017 by taking the new AWI Certificate Tests.

The Training Institute consists of four days of training and one day of tests. The training and tests cover the core knowledge and skills required to successfully conduct  workplace investigations.

There are three tests: a multiple choice knowledge test; a written analysis and report writing performance assessment; and an oral interview performance assessment. Students who achieve a passing score on all three tests are eligible for the AWI Certificate.

This was the first time the certificate tests had been publicly offered. On January 27, 2017 twenty-six AWI Institute faculty members took the certificate tests in a pilot administration in Walnut Creek, California. Another eleven faculty members who were unable to attend the pilot also took the certificate tests in Monterey on February 24, 2017.

The four days of training consist of approximately one-half lecture and one-half interactive exercises. The interactive exercises include a full-day mock investigation simulation and a half-day analysis and report writing exercise.

The mock investigation and analysis and report writing exercise are conducted in small groups of ten to twelve students, each led by two AWI faculty members.The  very low student-faculty ratio of 5:1 or 6:1, and the interview performance assessments, require a relatively large number of faculty members at each Institute.

Now that the current faculty members have taken the Certificate Tests, all Institute faculty members will be certificate holders. Future faculty members will be drawn from Institute students.

AWI has two more public Institutes scheduled in 2017. The next Institute will be in Baltimore, Maryland, USA May 1-5, 2017. From September 11-15, 2017 the Institute will be in Austin, Texas, USA.

The Baltimore and Austin Institutes each have a maximum capacity of 60 students. The Baltimore Institute is mostly full, with only 22 spaces remaining. The regular registration deadline for the Baltimore Institute is March 31, 2017, after which tuition increases by US$200.

The early registration deadline for the Austin Institute is May 31, 2017. Twenty-one students are currently registered for that Institute.

All previous AWI Institutes have sold out, so students who wish to attend an AWI Institute in 2017 are encouraged to register now.

Last Updated on Sunday, February 26, 2017 06:15 PM

2017 Workplace Investigation Basics Seminars


April 13 • Oakland, CA • Marguerite Malloy & Amy Oppenheimer


 April 13 • Los Angeles, CA • Deborah Maddux & Keith Rohman


 May 23 • Atlanta, GA • Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson & Cinnamon McLin


The seventh annual presentation of this popular, fast-paced, interactive program is designed to introduce the participants to the theory and the practical skills necessary to investigate allegations of employee misconduct. Among other things, you will learn how to: ask effective questions, interview reluctant witnesses, obtain relevant evidence, assess credibility, and arrive at a legally defensible decision. You will also learn how to prepare and utilize all of the necessary documentation during the investigative process. Each attendee will receive program materials containing valuable checklists, forms, and templates that will assist them in carrying out investigations. The seminar runs from 9 am to 4 pm and includes continental breakfast and lunch. 

Members Register $275
Sustaining Members $137.50
Non-Members Register $425

Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson is a partner at Robinson & Cole LLP. Ms. Cole-Johnson counsels boards of directors, senior management, and human resources professionals in all areas of employment law with a focus on sensitive, high-risk personnel issues and investigations as well as compliance and training. She is regularly engaged to advise clients regarding personnel policies; affirmative action compliance; pay equity; discipline and terminations; wage and hour issues; disability and reasonable accommodations; leaves of absence; employment contracts; separation agreements; and reductions in force. She also represents employers across various industries in litigation involving discrimination, wrongful termination, workers' compensation retaliation, and other employment claims before state and federal administrative agencies and courts. 

Deborah Maddux (Los Angeles, CA) is a founding principal of Van Dermyden Maddux Law Corporation. She specializes in employment law and human resources management. Her firm heavily focuses on conducting workplace investigations and other neutral work. Ms. Maddux is a licensed California attorney, a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and a certified EEOC investigator. Drawing upon her extensive background, which includes experience as a litigator, advisor to a State Commission, in-house counsel, and now owner and manager of her own firm, Ms. Maddux has provided employment law services throughout California for nearly two decades. Ms. Maddux is a frequent trainer and speaker. She pioneered the interactive computer forensics Pre-Conference session at the 2012 AWI Annual Conference, led the Pre-Conference session at the 2013 AWI Annual Conference, and was on the faculty of the 2012 AWI Training Institute.

Marguerite Malloy (Oakland, CA) is associate counsel of the Alameda County Employees' Retirement Association (ACERA), a public agency which is the retirement pension plan for over 20,000 current and former public employees in Alameda County, California. ACERA is governed by a Board of Retirement consisting of nine members and two alternates, and has over 90 employees. Ms. Malloy provides legal advice and assistance to the ACERA Board of Retirement and ACERA staff. Her responsibilities include workplace investigations and other employment matters. Since ACERA is a public agency, Ms. Malloy's expertise includes conducting public sector workplace investigations. Ms. Malloy has been a member of AWI since 2010, has attended numerous AWI programs, and received a certificate of completion from AWI's 2014 Institute.

Cinnamon McLin is the Workplace Ethics and Concerns Manager for Southern Company Services. She is responsible for managing concerns and compliance investigations, including managing support and guidance protocols and reporting systems, as well as maintaining policies throughout Southern Company. Cinnamon previously served as a Workplace Ethics coordinator at Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, where she led concerns investigations and facilitated training for managers and employees on matters involving ethical behavior, conflict resolution and the concerns program. Prior to joining Georgia Power in 2014, Cinnamon served as a Strategic Performance Consultant at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was responsible for complaint investigations across the Institute, updating and implementing policies and procedures, serving as a mediator for faculty and staff, and advising managers and human resources professionals on performance issues and disciplinary matters. For over 10 years, Cinnamon practiced law as a litigation attorney at Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP, representing clients in complex commercial and employment litigation and securities arbitration. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is also a registered neutral with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. Cinnamon earned her bachelor's degree from Stanford University and her juris doctor degree from Vanderbilt Law School.

Amy Oppenheimer (Oakland, CA) has more than 30 years experience working in the field of employment law. For the past twenty-five years her emphasis has been preventing and responding to workplace harassment and discrimination. After litigating on behalf of plaintiffs for eight years Ms. Oppenheimer began a neutral practice as an investigator of claims of harassment and discrimination, trainer, mediator and arbitrator. She is also a retired Administrative Law Judge for the State of California. Ms. Oppenheimer is the author of many articles about harassment, bias and discrimination, including one of the only practical guides to doing investigations: Investigating Workplace Harassment, How to be Fair, Thorough and Legal, published in 2003 by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She is a trial qualified expert on the issue of employment practices in preventing, responding to and investigating workplace harassment and discrimination, having testified at trial, deposition and arbitration more than sixty times. Ms. Oppenheimer is a frequent speaker on investigations for AWI and other professional associations. For AWI she has presented at seminars, webinars, annual conferences, and the AWI Institute. Ms. Oppenheimer is the Vice Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California, is the founder and immediate past president of AWI, and the Chair of the AWI Institute.

Keith Rohman (Los Angeles, CA) is the president of Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII) in Los Angeles, a firm with 30 years’ experience assisting corporations, government entities and attorneys. He has been involved in many high-profile cases, including litigation related to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, allegations of shootings of Iraqis by Blackwater, Inc., the trial against Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King, and numerous capital murder cases. Mr. Rohman is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, where he teaches fact investigation. Mr. Rohman served as the court appointed Monitor in the matter of Pierce v. Orange County, et al., a federal ADA class action case filed on behalf of disabled inmates at the Orange County Jail. He was appointed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to the Equity Oversight Panel (EOP) of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a civilian oversight board that oversees Internal Affairs investigations of discrimination allegations at the LASD. PII is currently contracted to investigate discrimination complaints against elected officials and high-level County executives with the County of Los Angeles, and was selected by the City of Los Angeles as an investigator for the Special Committee on Investigative Oversight which handles similar investigations. Mr. Rohman served as the executive director of Los Angeles City Office of Discrimination Investigation, which conducted more than 300 employment discrimination investigations, and provided recommendations to the City Council on restructuring how the City handled these matters. Mr. Rohman is a Sustaining Member and Secretary of AWI and has been a popular speaker at AWI annual conferences, seminars, webinars, and Institutes.

Last Updated on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 02:49 PM
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