“Employment Law for the Employer & the Employee”

Representing Employers and Employees for More than 20 Years

SANDRA B. REISS “Sandy” is a 1993 graduate of the Emory University School of Law.  She spent the first year after graduation, clerking for the Honorable Judge Robert Propst of the Northern District of Alabama.  The next seven years of her career, she worked as an Associate at the law firm of Gordon, Silberman, Wiggins and Childs developing case law under the newly-enacted Americans with Disabilities Act.  During that time, she represented some of the first plaintiffs alleging discrimination on the basis of HIV, and she served as second-chair on a landmark case before the United State Supreme Court regarding state employees with disabilities.

 

For the next nine years of years of her career, Ms. Reiss moved to the other side of the aisle and represented employers. Ms. Reiss was both an Associate and Shareholder at the Birmingham office of the national employment law boutique firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart where she represented international, national and local clients on all manner of employment issues, including collective actions and Reductions-in Force.

 

 

Experience

 

Principal Attorney

The Reiss Firm LLC

December 2013 – Present

P. O. Box 660121, Vestavia Alabama 35226

sbrlaw@outlook.com; www.reissfirm.com; 205-637-1388

 

Senior Counsel

John D. Saxon P.C.

May 2011 – November 2013

2119 3rd Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203

 

Shareholder

Ogletree Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

September 2001 – November 2010

Birmingham, Alabama

 

Attorney

Gordon, Silberman, Wiggins and Childs

September 1994 – July 2001

Birmingham, Alabama

 

Federal Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge Robert Propst

United States District Court for Northern Alabama

August 1993 – September 1994

Birmingham, Alabama

 

 

Education

 

Emory University School of Law

J.D., Law 1990 – 1993

Awarded the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate of the 1993 Class, Served as an Editor on the International Law Review, Received the Dean's Public Service Award and the Am Jur Award for Constitutional Law and the Jack Boozer Internship Award

 

Auburn University

M.H.S., Masters, Hispanic Studies 1986 – 1988

Spent the summer quarter of 1987 in Cordoba, Argentina, on an independent study, living with the family of the exchange student who attended my high school; While in Graduate School, I taught Auburn undergraduates Spanish I and II in lieu of tuition and as part of my studies.

 

Auburn University

B.A. magna cum laude Majors: Political Science, Spanish; Minor, History - Concentration Latin America 1982 – 1986

GPA: 3.75/4.00 Phi Kappa Phi, Graduate Honor; University of Madrid, Auburn Study Abroad Program; Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honorary); Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary) President, Auburn Chapter Amnesty International

 

 

Honors & Awards

 

**AV Rated Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell;

 

*Graduate

Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum 2007

Co-Chair of the Special Projects Committee

 

*B-Metro's Top Women Lawyers 2015;

*Life Member, National Registry of Who’s Who, published 2000 ed.;

*Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, Emory University 1993;

*Dean’s Public Service Award;

*Founders’ Award for Excellence in Legal Research;

*American Jurisprudence Award, Constitutional Law;

*Jack Boozer Internship Award;

 

 

Notable Cases

 

Plaintiffs:

University of Alabama Board of Trustees v. Garrett, et. al.

The United States Supreme Court, 121 S.Ct. 955 (2001)

 

Served as second chair for this and a companion case from their inception through argument at the U.S.  Supreme Court regarding whether state employees with disabilities could sue state entities.  Assisted with all appellate briefs and over 10 amicus briefs including one from former President George H.W. Bush.  Responded to the majority of media inquiries including NPR and ABC  News.

 

Ability Plus, Inc. v. City of Huntsville

Case No. 5:14-cv-01476-AKK (2015)

 

Sued the City of Huntsville pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and the Fair Housing Act due to multiple issuance of zoning citations in possible violations of the law. The City of Huntsville settled the case for $70,000 dollars.

 

John Doe v. Fred’s Stores of Tennessee,

N.D. Alabama, Judge Lynwood Smith

 

One for the first trials regarding a person with HIV arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Case resolved during trial.

 

 

Defendants:

Carraway Methodist Health Systems and Carraway Management Foundation, Inc., Appellant vs. William D. Wise,

Supreme Court of Alabama, Case No:  1041483, November 30, 2007

 

Presented an argument before the Alabama Supreme Court on the issue of allowing testimony on mental distress damages for breach of employment contract and the issues of first impression regarding the Alabama Non-Profit Corporation Act.  The Court decided to overturn the 2 million dollar verdict.

 

Tammy M. Stevens, et al. vs. SimplexGrinnell, LLP ,

190 Fed. Appx. 768, *; 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 17345, **  (Ct. App., 11th Circuit) (2006)

 

**Numerous bench and jury trials with defense verdicts in cases alleging retaliatory discharge (clients Linden Lumber, Stallman College, Tyco Inc.) and all types of discrimination cases (clients represented include C.H. Robinson, G.E., Citibank, Alabama Telco, Rock-Tenn, Publix, etc.)

 

 

Volunteer Experience

 

President, Board of Directors

Legal Aid Society of Birmingham 2003 – 2005

Served on the Board of Directors for Legal Aid for three years, the last serving as the President. We instituted a lot of changes for the organization, including an evaluation system.

 

Board Member

PATHWAYS INC.

January 2014 – Present

Currently serve on the Governance Committee as well as the Board, working on amending the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. Also serve as employment counsel for Pathways.

 

Board Member

Laps for CF

Served on the Board for three years, for this wonderful organization that raises funds for Children's Hospital including laptops for patients, new health technology and additional staff for this unit, as well as people in need with children with the illness. Now, Children's Hospital and UAB are one of the leaders in caring for children and adults with Cystic Fibrosis.

 

Birmingham Bar Association

Member, Bulletin Committee 2014-15; Chair, CLE Committee (2013); Grievance Committee (2006-2008), Historian, Women's Section (2012, 2013), Chairperson Impact Committee (2002)

 

Member

The Women's Network

 September 2012 to present

 

Vestavia Chamber of Commerce

December 2014 to present

 

 

Recent Publications

 

“Bullying in the Workplace: Business as Usual or Bad Business”

Birmingham Bar Association Journal, Winter 2016, Vol. 37, N0.1

 

“Transitioning to the Transgender Workplace, What Lawyers and Their Client Need to Know

Alabama Lawyer

November  2016

A comprehensive summary of the history, terms, legislature, status of federal law and pointers for employers

 

 “Four Valuable Reasons Why Your Workplace Needs An Employee Handbook”

Birmingham Bar Bulletin, Birmingham Bar Association

June 2015

This article discusses four important, many times, overlooked or unknown reasons employers need an Employee Handbook, including the fact that the law may punish your business if certain policies are not published to employees.

 

“New and E-X-P-A-N-D-E-D Americans with Disabilities Act” Alabama Lawyer (January 2009)

 

Interests

 

Travel to all continents, total foodie, and always reading, cooking, history nut

 

 

 

© 2015 The Reiss Firm

P.O. Box 660121

Birmingham, AL. 35226

205-637-1388