All data projects can benefit from building a Data Management Plan (“DMP”) before the project begins.  Typically a DMP is a formal document that describes your data and what your team will do with it during and after the data project.

There is no cookie-cutter DMP that is right for every project, but in most cases the following questions should be addressed in your DMP:

  1. What kind of data will your project analyze?  What file formats and software packages will you use?  What will your data output be?  How will you collect and process the data?
  2. How will you document and organize your data?  What metadata will you collect?  What standards and formats will you use?
  3. What are your plans for data access within your team?  What are the roles that the individuals in your team will play in the data analysis process?  How will you address any privacy or ethical issues, if applicable?
  4. What are your plans for long term archiving?  What file formats will you archive the data in?  Who will be responsible for the data after the project is complete?  Where will you save the files?
  5. What outside resources do you need for your project?  How much time will the project take your team to complete and audit?  How much will it cost?

When working on any type of data project, planning ahead is a crucial step.  Before starting in on a project, it’s important to think through as many of the details as possible so you can budget enough time and resources to accomplish all of the objectives.  As a matter of fact, some organizations and government entities require a Data Management Plan (“DMP”) to be in place in all of their projects.

 

A DMP is a formal document that describes the data and what your team will do with it during and after the data project.  Many organizations and agencies require one, and each entity has specific requirements for their DMPs.

 

DMPs can be created in just a simple readme.txt file, or can be as detailed as DMPs tailored to specific disciplines using online templates such as DMPTool.org.  The DMPTool is designed to help create ready-to-use data management plans.

In most instances, analyses in personal injury cases are a necessity.  Personal Injury cases require an expert to value the loss of earnings, ability, or life of an individual.  In addition, experts can also calculate the loss of household services the individual’s household has suffered, that is the daily services someone would provide their children or spouse living in the home.  

To begin performing an economic analysis of the loss of earnings of the injured, there is one crucial step that many attorneys try to sidestep: Hiring a vocational expert.  Very few economic experts performing these types of analyses will make a judgement regarding the Plaintiff’s ability to work, and those experts that will, are not the ones an attorney wants to hire.  Sure, doing this will save money, but if an attorney wants to cross all their T’s and dot all their I’s, he or she will need to hire a vocational expert.  After crossing this bridge, the analysis should be smooth sailing.

Many attorneys ask economic experts to also analyze the Plaintiff’s loss of household services.  In most personal injury cases, the Plaintiff has a reduced, or complete loss of, ability to perform tasks such as inside housework, cooking, shopping, and caring for household children.  A major question in determining a loss of household services is, who was the Plaintiff providing household services to?  Frequently, experts will provide this analysis knowing that the Plaintiff lives alone.  Widely accepted economic theories and methodologies state that in order to provide household services to someone, they must be providing those services to someone.  Often, those persons receiving these services would be children living in the household or a spouse.  However, it is inappropriate to assign household services to someone who lives alone.  It is important for attorneys, representing the Plaintiff or Defense, to keep this in mind as it can drastically affect the reliability of an expert’s analysis and be a major point of contention in a rebuttal report.  

In determining if a Plaintiff made extensive efforts in their job search following their alleged wrongful termination, economic experts should look into several key factors.  Lawyer’s should be very familiar with these factors in order to best represent their client, whether Plaintiff or Defense.

  1. How many jobs has your client applied to and are they similar to the position they were terminated from?  A major point of attack experts should address in their reports will examine if the Plaintiff has performed a sufficiently diligent replacement job search. In Texas, individuals are granted unemployment benefits provided they apply for a minimum of three jobs per week.  This number can be used as the threshold for determining if a Plaintiff has done his or her due diligence in finding replacement employment after the alleged wrongful termination.
  2. How long has the Plaintiff been unemployed?  Widely accepted labor market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can be utilized to determine the average range an individual with a similar job position, in the same job market, would expect to be unemployed.  If the Plaintiff has been unable to find replacement employment within the typical unemployment duration, it is not likely they have performed a sufficient job search.
  3. How many job openings were available in the Plaintiff’s job market at the time of their termination?  Again, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can be utilized to determine job openings per month that the Plaintiff would have been qualified to hold.  In many cases, there are a significant number of job openings in the area the Plaintiff is searching.  Occasionally, a Plaintiff’s job search records will reveal that they have applied to jobs in multiple job markets, sometimes spanning across several states.  To a defense attorney requesting a mitigation analysis, this is music to their ears.  The more markets a Plaintiff makes themselves available to, the more markets experts can include when determining a number of job openings.  This only increases the number of jobs the Plaintiff could have held had they performed a sufficient job search and strengthens the argument that they have not performed such as search.

Employment lawsuits involving wage and hour disputes can get very messy, very fast.  However, it is critical to determine if the data and the case will require an outside expert early on in the lawsuit.  The more hands and the more opinions on how to produce the result that is desired can only lead to more confusion.  Finding an expert that will know exactly how to work with your data and has a clear objective for finding the answer to your question will save attorneys and clients time, money, and frustration.

A majority of wage and hour disputes consulting firms encounter involve lost meal or rest breaks, time clock rounding, misclassification, or unpaid overtime.  Each of these types of disputes are different, however they all rely on the same type of data, time punch records and payroll records.  Without proper records of the employees, there can be no analysis.  Depending on the company involved and the nature of the case, these records can expand into the tens of millions of observations.  Experts will have the resources and statistical tools to compute large sets of data and export information that will reveal the severity or lack of severity, of the claims.

Essentially, if you find yourself diving in deep and losing yourself, as well as losing your question, in the data, call an expert.

Insight into CLE Speaker David Neumark

Posted by Matt Rigling and Susie Wirtanen | Uncategorized

David Neumark is an American economist and a Chancellor’s Professor of Economics at the University of California, Irvine, where he also directs the Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute. Professor Neumark graduated with a B.A. in economics in 1982 from the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, with Honors. He went on to complete his M.A. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1987 in economics from Harvard University. His fields were labor economics and econometrics. His dissertation was entitled Male-Female Differentials in the Labor Force: Measurement, Causes and Probes, and published in parts in the Journal of Human Resources.  Professor Neumark’s research interests include minimum wages and living wages, affirmative action, sex differences in labor markets, the economics of aging, and school-to-work programs, and has also done work in demography, health economics, development, industrial organization, and finance.

 

Professor Neumark is an academic affiliate at EmployStats and will be a speaker at the employment CLE sponsored by EmployStats on July 12, 2017 in San Francisco.  Professor Neumark is a renown labor economist who has performed extensive research on wage disparity related issues, and has extensive knowledge into the current California Fair Pay Act and its implications in the labor force.  He and Dr. Dwight Steward will hold a discussion on the statistical implications of the California Fair Pay Act and the use of statistics in recent cases.

 

For more information on speakers and registration for the July 12, 2017 CLE, please visit: www.californiaequalpay2017cle.com/

Follow EmployStats on Social Media

Posted by Matt Rigling and Susie Wirtanen | Employment

EmployStats is dedicated to providing our clients and employment lawyers with up to date information regarding employment law, including law changes, innovative implications, and statistical uses in employment litigation.  Stay informed by following EmployStats on Twitter @employstatsnews and on LinkedIn at EmployStats.

 

For all news and publications related to equal pay and employment law, follow @equalpayact on Twitter and @CaliforniaEqualPay on Facebook.  Register for our employment CLE sponsored by EmployStats to hear about recent equal pay cases and their implications, as well as the use of statistics in employment litigation. Link: www.californiaequalpay2017cle.com/

Dwight Steward, Principal Economist at EmployStats, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming employment law CLE in San Francisco on July 12, 2017.  The CLE will be taking place at the Bently Reserve in downtown San Francisco, CA, and will be discussing the recent California Equal Pay Act.

 

Dwight Steward, Ph.D., is the author of the book Statistical Analysis of Employment Data in Discrimination Lawsuits and EEO Audits.  The statistical guide for attorneys and human resource professionals provides managers and courts with empirical evidence that goes beyond anecdotes and stories.

 

The textbook presents the methodologies that are used in statistical employment data analyses.  The book uses a non-mathematical approach to develop the conceptual framework underlying employment data analyses, so that professionals starting with no background in statistics can easily use this book as a tool in their practice.

 

Visit www.CaliforniaEqualPay2017CLE.com to register to hear directly from Dwight Steward at the July 12th employment law CLE in San Francisco, CA.

 

Interested in purchasing Dwight Steward’s statistical guide? Find it on Amazon at www.amazon.com/Statistical-Analysis-Employment-Discrimination-Lawsuits/dp/0615340504

Upcoming CLE in San Francisco, California

Posted by Matt Rigling and Susie Wirtanen | Employment

EmployStats is sponsoring a CLE seminar discussing the California Equal Pay Act on July 12, 2017 from 9:00AM to 1:15PM at the historic Bently Reserve. The Bently Reserve previously served as the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank for nearly 60 years.  Now, the Bently Reserve represents one of San Francisco’s greenest venues and is included in the National Register of Historic Places.  

 

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district, the Bently Reserve is located near many shops, restaurants, and other world renowned landmarks.  Attendees, whether familiar or new to the San Francisco area, will be able to explore well known sights within walking distance of the Bently Reserve such as the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Ferry Building Marketplace at Embarcadero, Chinatown, and the Transamerica Pyramid after the seminar.  

 

Attendees will receive complimentary breakfast and lunch catered by Boudin Bakery, known for their classic sourdough bread, in addition to hearing from our accredited speakers Lori Andrus, Jessica Stender, David Neumark, Ph.D., and Dwight Steward, Ph.D.  Speakers will be covering a wide range of topics surrounding the California Equal Pay Act and the implications of the Act, including recent equal pay related cases and the use of statistics for future employment litigation.

 

Looking to enroll? Visit: www.californiaequalpay2017cle.com/

Insight into CLE Speaker Jessica Stender

Posted by Matt Rigling and Susie Wirtanen | Employment

Jessica Stender, Senior Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), will be one of the accredited speakers at the employment CLE sponsored by EmployStats. Jessica is responsible for leading ERA’s Women at Work Initiative by supporting and developing ERA’s litigation and other gender justice-related advocacy work, with a focus on employment-related cases and projects.

Previously, Jessica was a Civil Rights Fellow at the public interest class action firm Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, where she represented workers in civil rights and employment class action cases. Jessica graduated from U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2009, where she served as Senior Executive Editor of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Co-Chair of the Student Liaison Committee for Faculty Appointments, and Co-Chair of the Boalt Hall Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Jessica Stender’s extensive knowledge and experience in employment law in California, will offer the CLE attendee’s great insight into the current policies and practices revolving around the Fair Pay Act.

To hear directly from Jessica Stender, register for our employment law CLE in San Francisco here: www.californiaequalpay2017cle.com/