Editorial Board   

Mr. Schmidt

Michael C. Schmidt

Partner, Cozen O'Connor

Michael C. Schmidt is a member of Cozen O'Connor and practices in the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group. He concentrates in representing management in all facets of employment law, including: o defending companies in litigation involving discrimination, harassment, wage and hour (overtime and unpaid compensation), non-competes and trade secrets, and disability and other leave-related issues; o drafting employment agreements, termination/severance agreements, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, employee manuals, and individual corporate policies; and o counseling and providing corporate training on day-to-day issues from hiring through firing. A substantial portion of Mr. Schmidt's practice is devoted to advising large and small businesses on how to avoid litigation and minimize potential exposure for claims that are made. He has specifically represented clients in the hospitality and restaurant industry in matters involving wage and hour, discrimination and employment contract disputes. Mr. Schmidt is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Touro Law School in Central Islip, N.Y., where he teaches a course on employment law. He frequently lectures and conducts seminars for human resources professionals, corporate executives, and lawyers. A regular author on employment law issues, his recent pieces include: "Avoiding the Hazards of Economy-Driven Decisions," Law 360 - Portfolio Media, Inc. (December 8, 2008); "Work Overtime to Ensure That Your Unauthorized Employees Do Not," The Corporate Counselor (August 2008); "The Wage and Hour Minefield: Some Words of Wisdom for Employers," The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (November 2007); and "Overtime Confusion Leads to Lawsuits," Executive Counsel (July/August 2007). Mr. Schmidt earned his juris doctor degree, with distinction, from Hofstra University School of Law in 1993, where he was a notes and comments editor of the Hofstra Law Review. He received his bachelor of arts degree, with honors, from Brandeis University in 1990. Mr. Schmidt is admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of New York.

Mr. Schmidt can be contacted at 212-453-3937 or mschmidt@cozen.com

Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.