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November 2020
Welcome to readers of Making the Connection 
In this issue, you will find: 
  • In Focus : Succession Planning Lessons from the NFL
  • Question of the Month, posing a question to readers about blurred lines between work and personal life
  • Case on Point, discussing privilege as a defense to a defamation claim
  • At the Podium, listing my speaking engagements and public appearances
  • Client Corner, spotlighting client events and announcements
In Focus
Succession Planning Lessons from the NFL
To succeed in the long run, enterprises need to carefully plan and execute transitions to the next generation of leaders. Several NFL teams,  led by quarterbacks in their late 30's or early 40's, are facing this challenge. 
One strategy, employed by the New England Patriots, is to jettison their established leader. Thus, Tom Brady is now quarterbacking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a winning season,  while the Patriots are struggling with Cam Newton at the helm.This strategy has the advantage of protecting the new leader from competition with and potential sabotage by the incumbent but deprives him or her of potentially valuable mentoring.
In contrast, the Miami Dolphins, led by veteran journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick coming off a good season, drafted highly rated quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. When Tagovailoa was injured and Fitzpatrick returned to the starting role, he acknowledged his placeholder status. Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick rose to the challenge, and played exceptionally well in the starting job while developing a close mentoring relationship with Tua. Despite Fitzpatrick's performance, the Dolphins decided to start Tua after the bye week.  Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick learned this through the grapevine.  Despite acknowledging he was heartbroken at the decision, Fitzpatrick showed he was a team player and pledged to support Tua in his debut.
To make such a relatively seamless transition possible, organizations should:
  • be forthcoming with the incumbent leader and the organization about the succession plan;
  • enlist the incumbent's assistance in preparing his or her successor; and
  • acknowledge and reward the inumbent's contribution to a successful transition.
Question of the Month'
This month's question is posed to my readers in anticipation of my interview on the Employment Law Today radio show:
Q: What challenges and questions do you have about navigating the blurred lines between work and personal life, especially during Covid-19?

Case On Point
In this month's case, the court considers the privilege defense to a defamation claim
Macumber v. South New Berlin Library 
(N.Y. App. Div., 3d Dept. 2020)
Plaintiff, President of the Board of Defendant Library, claimed he was defamed by another Trustee who reported to the State Department of Education that plaintiff had misappropriated funds from the Library's accounts.  The trial court dismissed the suit, finding that the challenged statements were "privileged". Plaintiff appealed, and the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal.
In so ruling, the appellate court observed that when one person communicates with another about a matter of common interest, where that person has a legitimate reason or obligation to speak up, such communication is "privileged" and cannot be the subject of a defamation action.  The privilege, though, is "qualified" and does not apply if the statement was made maliciously.  Malice is defined as being motivated solely by ill will and with knowledge or reckless disregard of the statement's falsity. 
Employers often adopt neutral reference policies to protect themselves from defamation claims by former employees.  However, a communication between a former employer and a prospective one about an employee's performance would qualify as privileged under these standards and assist employers in making more informed hiring decisions. 
At the Podium
This is a listing of speaking engagements, workshops, events and other public appearances. At the Podium events are listed on the calendar page of my website. A listing of available presentations and workshops is also posted.   To book me as a speaker or facilitator at your next company, client or association function, contact me at lisa@lisapom.com.    
  • On November 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. I will be interviewed by host Eric Sarver, Esq. on his radio show Employment Law Today.  My topic will be Navigating Blurred Lines Between Work and Personal Life.

  • Join me on November 16, 2020 at 9:15 a.m. for a presentation on The Value of Transparency in Mediation at the 2020 New York State Dispute Resolution Association virtual conference.  Click here for information and registration.
Client Corner
Client Corner features client announcements and events of potential interest to readers. Some Client Corner events are also listed on the calendar page of my website.    

  • Marc Miller, Ph.D., of MLM Coaching & Consulting LLC will be offering  an online program focused on How to Create an Organizational Coaching Culture.  Innovative business owners, organizational leaders, managers, and professionals who are interested should contact Marc directly at marc@marcmillercoaching.com or by phone at 516-935-7711.
80 Orville Drive, Suite 100 | Bohemia, NY 11716
© 2020, Lisa Renee Pomerantz. All rights reserved.

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