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Emilie K. Vassar

About Emilie

Emilie joined Spengler Nathanson in May 2022 after several years in private practice. Emilie practices in the firm’s education, employment, and litigation departments. Emilie currently serves as the Secretary of the Toledo Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Committee.

In her employment practice, Emilie has represented both public and private sector employers across many industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, schools, temporary staffing, non-profit, and performing arts. Emilie assists clients with a variety of issues, such as discrimination, retaliation, disability accommodation, wage and hour disputes, and developing policies and procedures. Emilie also enjoys conducting supervisor and employee trainings for employers and regularly speaks on employment topics.

Emilie’s education practice began more than a decade ago, when she managed legal compliance for an educational service center. Since that time, Emilie has continued to advise and represent public and private preschools, K-12 institutions, and colleges and universities on a range of issues. Emilie is committed to working with educational institutions throughout the region to improve the quality and sustainability of these valuable resources in our community. Emilie also serves as a board member of Baby University, a South Toledo organization committed improving early education by supporting and teaching new and at-risk parents.

When not practicing law, Emilie enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and supporting Toledo’s vibrant arts community, particularly the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet.

Affiliations

  • Baby U, Board Member

  • Toledo Bar Association; Labor & Employment Committee, Secretary

  • Toledo Women’s Bar Association

  • EPIC Toledo

Education

  • Bard College (B.A. 2005, with honors)

  • Boston University School of Law (J.D. 2008, cum laude)

  • Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, Executive Editor

Bar Admissions

  • All Ohio courts

  • All Michigan courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana

Practice Areas

Civil Rights

Our attorneys are skilled in defending clients who are sued or named in administrative proceedings in connection with alleged civil rights violations including claims based upon disability, age, race, ethnic origin, and religion. In addition, Spengler Nathanson has represented numerous public entities in connection with Sections 801 and 830 civil rights claims, including a number of county and municipal law enforcement agencies.

Constitutional Rights

Public sector clients must be aware of the constitutional rights of their employees and members of the public. Our attorneys assist clients in handling many types of constitutional rights claims including: First Amendment claims (religion, free speech, right to participate in union activities), due process and equal protection claims, and claims against law enforcement personnel, child protection agencies, park districts, and publicly operated nursing homes.

Constitutional Questions

Our attorneys regularly advise schools and other governmental clients regarding situations that could lead to a constitutional dispute and defend them when constitutional claims are raised. We work with clients on a variety of constitutional questions, including free speech and religious expression under the First Amendment, search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and equal protection and due process claims. We handle these issues at all stages, from providing preliminary advice through litigation in state and federal courts.

Discrimination (Administrative Charges)

Our attorneys represent employers in administrative proceedings brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and other administrative bodies in matters which involve the employers’ compliance with a broad variety of civil rights statutes.

Employee Discipline

Our experienced employment attorneys often counsel employers on whether proposed employee discipline or discharge is likely to withstand challenge in any number of forums available to employees. We have secured for employers the dismissals of hundreds of claims regarding employee discipline, in court, in grievance arbitrations, and before agencies such as the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio State Employment Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Board.

Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks are excellent tools for outlining consistent employer practices, and for preserving employer flexibility and management rights such as employment at will. Our attorneys frequently review employee handbooks for compliance with federal and state employment laws, and recommend language and policies to protect employers and their businesses.

Employment Claims

In addition to representing employers in unemployment and workers’ compensation claims, our attorneys advise employers on compliance with local, state, and federal laws affecting employment, including the American with Disabilities Act, Title VII, Ohio’s civil rights law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and applicable wage and hour laws. We also advise employers on terminations and represent employers against claims brought by terminated employees.

Employment Discrimination Defense

Our attorneys frequently defend employers facing charges or lawsuits alleging employment discrimination. Although the law is well-intended to protect employees from workplace discrimination, it is unfortunately common for employers to have to defend against unfounded claims of employment discrimination. Our lawyers have secured the dismissals of hundreds of employment discrimination claims before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in state and federal courts.

FERPA (Student Privacy)

Our attorneys regularly advise school districts on questions pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and Ohio’s companion laws protecting student privacy. We understand that sensitive questions can arise under FERPA and have counseled clients regarding disclosure requirements, prohibitions and how to handle situations involving child custody and domestic violence.

FMLA

Our attorneys have counseled both public and private employers on compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act since it became effective in 1994. Our experience with the FMLA includes such matters as eligibility and coverage issues, employee notices, medical certifications, insurance continuation, intermittent leave, concurrent leave, and FMLA abuses.

Governmental Liability

Governmental entities in Ohio are subject to a number of statutory requirements not applicable in the private sector, such as the Public Records Act, the Sunshine Law, and the Ohio Student Records Act. When sued, counties, townships, municipalities, and school districts and their employees have a number of defenses not available to private litigants. Our attorneys have long represented governmental entities and public employees and we are familiar with applicable requirements and defenses.

Insurance Defense

Spengler Nathanson attorneys have defended insureds for over 40 years as panel counsel for such insurance companies as St Paul Insurance, Travelers Insurance, CNA Insurance and HAS. Counsel, the insured, and the claims handler work together to bring the claim to a desirable outcome.

Labor and Employment

Spengler Nathanson attorneys are well-versed in helping employers in various industries with labor and employment matters. We can leverage this expertise to find solutions for healthcare providers too. We also work to stay up-to-date on changes to the Affordable Care Act and other legislation affecting employer health insurance, employee benefits, and other operational matters.

Mediations

Mediation is an impartial, neutral process designed to help couples resolve issues about children and property. Many Shared Parenting Plans have mediation clauses requiring the couple to mediate before filing a motion in court. Mediation can help resolve disputes before, during and following a break up.

Nonprofit Organizations

Our attorneys will help you organize to qualify for non-profit status if your corporation benefits the public, a specific group of individuals or the membership. Some of the non-profits we have represented include: religious organizations, charitable organizations, political organizations, metropolitan parks, credit unions and membership clubs.

Political Subdivisions

A large percentage of our litigation and labor practice involves advising and representing political subdivisions such as counties, townships, cities, villages, police agencies, park districts, fair boards, county nursing homes, and schools districts and in representing these clients in administrative and court proceedings. We have expertise in the laws and regulations that apply to political subdivisions and their employees.

Public and Administrative Law

Our attorneys enjoy a rich history representing public clients in Northwest Ohio, including school boards, port authorities, park districts, municipalities, counties, townships, airport authorities, and more. Our firm has been home to two former City of Toledo Law Directors, a former counsel to the Ohio Department of Commerce, and a former State Senator. We know the legal problems confronting local public bodies both as lawyers and as participants in the political process.

Public Employee Liability

Public employers and their employees are subject to liability for a broad array of claims that private employers and employees do not face. Spengler Nathanson’s attorneys have expertise in these areas of the law.

Public Records and Open Meetings

Spengler Nathanson’s extensive representation of school boards and other local and state governmental bodies has given us a wide range of experience dealing with Ohio’s public records and open meetings laws.

Public Sector and Public Employee Defense

Public employers and their employees are subject to liability for a broad array of claims that private employers and employees don’t face. Spengler Nathanson’s attorneys have expertise in these areas of the law.

School Attendance and Tuition

Our attorneys regularly assist school clients with issues regarding truancy and student attendance,tuition and open enrollment in public schools. We provide counsel regarding compliance with the evolving laws in this area and recognize the practical challenges that can arise with attendance-related issues.

School Law

Our decades-long representation of area school boards has given Spengler Nathanson the opportunity to deal with most legal issues faced by schools. We deal regularly with teacher and administrator contracts, student discipline, special education, competitive bidding, public records and open meetings, religious expression, FERPA, attendance and tuition, and a host of other school concerns.

Special Education

Our attorneys have experience representing school clients at all stages of special education matters. We advise clients when compliance questions arise, attend IEP meetings, represent schools in due process hearings, and serve as counsel in litigation in state and federal courts. We often counsel school clients on how to navigate complicated questions regarding disabilities, bullying, discipline, extracurricular participation, and constitutional issues.