Burnette, Shutt present CLE seminars at SC Association for Justice convention

Employment lawyers Nekki Shutt and M. Malissa Burnette gave presentations this week at the South Carolina Association for Justice convention in Hilton Head.

Burnette and Shutt presented continuing legal education seminars to the annual gathering of South Carolina trial lawyers. Both are certified specialists in employment and labor law and founding partners of Burnette Shutt & McDaniel in Columbia, SC.

Burnette discussed the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law covering issues such as minimum wage, overtime and youth employment. FLSA enforcement has shifted dramatically under the Trump Administration.

One of the administration’s first acts was rolling back measures President Obama put in place. Officials replaced them with guidance dating back to President George W. Bush’s final days in office. The changes covered pay for travel time, year-end bonuses and on-call pay.

Trump also refused to defend in court President Obama’s expansion of overtime pay to cover more workers. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that decision costs American workers $1.2 billion a year.

Beyond Social Security disability

Shutt’s seminar covered employment law and disability cases. She examined how Social Security disability claims, workers compensation and other laws such as ERISA, COBRA and more come together.

She presented sobering statistics about the outcome for injured workers. More than half of personal bankruptcies and foreclosures are due to disabilities.  The average monthly Social Security disability payment awarded between 2006-15 was $1,171.15. The maximum is $2,788.

Shutt framed her seminar around a fictitious security guard on duty when a train derailed, spewing toxic gas over a South Carolina town. She walked step-by-step through the federal and state laws that could come into play in the case. These included OSHA reporting requirements, Americans with Disabilities Act provisions and more.

Founded more than 50 years ago by a small number of trial lawyers, the South Carolina Association for Justice has grown to more than 1,200 members. Its goals are to protect individuals’ rights, support policies that hold wrongdoers accountable and to continue to educate its members. Burnette was an early supporter of SCAJ. She’s been a member since joining as a law student in 1974.