Position: Adams and Reese partner
Age: 35
Family: Single
Education: bachelor’s degree in English, Louisiana Scholars College at Northwestern State University of Louisiana; juris doctor, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

Take just about any workplace no-no — sexual harassment, badmouthing the boss, gossiping about a company sale that’s still under wraps – changes are, it’s played out on social media, email or text. That’s why Michelle Craig is never bored at work. As partner and labor and labor and employment attorney with Adams and Reese, she helps companies resolve work-place issues and keep their policies and procedures in order, which can be a challenge in a society where technology puts everything on display.

The electronic world has made operations difficult for employers because they can’t police everything that’s shared through social media. Meanwhile, employees are doing and saying things that they shouldn’t in a public forum, Craig said. She has seen employees post information on Twitter that’s in violation of Securities and Exchange Commission rules and employers engage in discriminatory practices online.

Craig’s clients include schools, fast food companies, offshore firms, home improvement retailers, entrepreneurs and other small and medium-sized businesses. She provided legal counsel for National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources and helped Adams and Reese land a corporate retail outlet client for its labor and employment matters. Often, cultural difference can cause employers and employees to insult each other without realizing it. Craig encountered an example of that while talking to a business owner to get more information about an alleged sexual harassment claim.

“I was talking to him about the case, and he said, ‘OK, no problem honey.’ I told him, ‘We can’t go around saying ‘honey.’ She he said, ‘No problem, darling.'” The conversation demonstrated that even though it’s more culturally acceptable to use terms of endearment in some parts of the country, those terms of endearment could be problematic in an employment setting matter because they can be taken out of context. Craig co-founded and served as an executive member of the Urban League of New Orleans Young Professionals Chapter, which has nearly 200 minority professionals as members. She also was one of the founding members of inNOLAvation, a group of professionals that works to help minorities turn their ideas into businesses, and co-founded DiversiTea, an organization that brings together college students and business owners of diverse backgrounds.

 

Author: Autumn Cafiero Giusti

Source: 2013, New Orleans City Business – Leadership in Law, a supplement to New Orleans CityBusiness.

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