A few months ago, the African Diaspora’s business and entertainment communities were rocked when Black women at Okay Africa and Essence Magazine accused the CEOs, Abiola Oke and Richelieu Dennis, respectively, of inappropriate behavior, and labor and employment law violations including sexual harassment.
The allegations were extensive and went viral, forcing both CEOs to resign from their positions. Since then, in recent times, Dennis claims that the independent law firms hired by Essence Magazine to investigate the allegations, have exonerated him, and found no merits to the harassment claims. Notwithstanding his claim, the alleged victims are yet to recant their stories against both executives.
In this 140th episode of The Africa Music Law show, Ms. Uduak, host and producer, invites Employment and Civil Rights lawyer Michelle Reynolds to discuss the lessons for employers and top-level executives, so these types of situations can be avoided. It is a very engaging, educational, and informative episode. Listen to the podcast episode on your favorite platforms and share.
Michelle Reynolds (Guest) – Ms. Reynolds uses her legal acumen to advise and represent predominantly private sector employees and employers in all areas of employment/labor law compliance and litigation, including discrimination; harassment; leave laws; retaliation; wage and hour violations, including the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA); misclassified independent contractors; employees misclassified as exempt from overtime and meal/rest break laws; Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices; wrongful termination; and unfair competition.
Ms. Reynolds also advises and represents clients with any unemployment/payroll tax law issue, including Employment Development Department (EDD) tax audits, unemployment insurance and state disability income (SDI) appeals before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB), and administrative writ(s) of mandate opposing California’s Attorney General Office. Ms. Reynolds represents employees and employers through arbitration, mediation, pre-litigation negotiations including demand letters, reinstatement, settlement, severance, bench trial(s) and appeal(s). Additionally, Ms. Reynolds counsels employer clients through all stages of the employment relationship, from hiring to firing, layoff or quit, including through discipline to separation, and compliance throughout.
Ms. Reynolds advises her clients in effort to retain good employees and avoid legal claims. However, when the inevitable charge or complaint is filed, Ms. Reynolds either zealously, yet effectively, defends employers, from the initial filing through resolution, or Ms. Reynolds files complaints against offending employers to make her employee clients whole. In addition to representing clients in small claims appeals to unlimited and complex civil litigation, Ms. Reynolds also represents clients before such agencies as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DIR-DLSE) i.e. Labor Commission, Department of Labor (DOL), Employment Development Department (EDD), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA).
Uduak Oduok, (Host) founder of Africa Music Law, is a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. For almost two decades, as an attorney, she has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts. She has also handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa and Asia including network television and licensing deals. Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the Natio