Faculty Profile: Mark Phillis

Mark PhillisLittler Mendelson
Previous Courses Taught (1)
  • Corporate Counsel Forum 2023

With over 25 years of experience advising and representing employers, Mark T. Phillis helps guide employers in implementing effective accommodation policies and practices for individuals with disabilities, streamlining their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) practices, and ensuring that their commission and incentive pay plans and other pay practices conform to the law.

Mark enjoys helping employers solve complex problems involving various intersecting laws that provide leaves of absence to employees such as the FMLA, similar state laws, paid sick leave laws, and parental leave laws. He helps employers both find creative ways to accommodate their employees while ensuring that employees continue to perform their jobs effectively and do not abuse their leave privileges. He has helped employers deal with employees using FMLA leave to plan their weddings, rein in employees whose use their leave around weekends and major sporting events, and manage employees who believe being eligible for FMLA leave prevents their manager from holding them accountable.

Mark counsels employers on their employment policies and practices, particularly those disability discrimination and accommodations for employees and members of the public under both Title I and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He has worked to find creative accommodations for employees who suffer from migraines, attention deficit disorder, mobility issues and myriad other impairments. Mark defends companies when their employment practices and decisions are challenged as being discriminatory or unlawful. He also works with companies to ensure that their facilities, websites, and mobile applications are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

For example, Mark has defended companies in disability access litigation, including in numerous purported class action lawsuits, and he has assisted retailers with assessments of their stores, hotels with assessments of their properties and reservations systems, brewers with ensuring that their public tours are accessible, and well over 100 companies across a broad range of industries with accessibility issues with their websites and mobile applications.

In addition to his work on leaves of absence and disability accommodation, as part of Mark’s focus on compliance, he works extensively with employers across the country to ensure that their incentive compensation plans and commission plans provide proper incentives to their employees and that their plans comply with various state laws. Mark revises plan documents to not only ensure that they are legally compliant, but also to ensure that employees understand how their pay plans work and what behavior is being rewarded.

He defends employers when they face individual claims and class and collective actions over how they pay their employees and when overtime pay is due. He defends companies in class and collective actions and in U.S. Department of Labor audits, and he works with companies to prevent future litigation. For example, in recent years, Mark helped two companies, each with over a dozen subsidiaries, review their pay practices and policies to ensure that they comply with federal and state law in over 30 states.

As co-chair of Littler’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, Mark devotes a good deal of his time working on the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. He works with clients to ensure that their diversity and inclusion initiatives are both effective and comply with the law.

Mark is a frequent lecturer on leaves and disability accommodations, employment and pay practices, and diversity and inclusion. He also regularly publishes articles on developments relating to accommodations for individuals with disabilities, leaves of absence, diversity and inclusion, and LGBTQ-related workplace issues. He is a frequent commentator in both trade and legal publications.

As an undergraduate, Mark studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and received an Organization of American States grant to study at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In law school, he was executive and production editor of the Journal of Law Reform.

In 2018, Mark was inducted as a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and he has been listed in the Best Lawyers of America© since 2017.