Following a denial of a request for an H-2A farm labor visa application, and denial of an administrative appeal, Maria Dwyer, Thomas Ragland and Patrick Taurel initiated a federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Department of Labor (DOL) from refusing to acknowledge the different farming operations of two large farming client companies. The two companies have nearly 100 acres of greenhouse crops which faced devastation without the benefit of the foreign farm labor program. The DOL took the position that because the two companies shared one parent, they were not separate companies (even though the companies submitted evidence supporting their distinct operations) and their combined hot house growing operations disqualified them from the program because they were not “seasonal.” After several months of litigation, the DOL agreed to a settlement which includes separate H-2A certifications for each company, time to align the growing seasons, allows for a 10 month growing season for each entity, and more workers than originally requested. Most importantly, the DOL will hand-hold the clients’ filings through 2018 to ensure compliance with the agreement.
Maria F. DwyerMaria Dwyer Clark Hill
Maria F. Dwyer
Maria Fracassa Dwyer is the Member in Charge of Clark Hill’s Detroit, Michigan office and is a Member in the firm’s Labor and Employment Group concentrating in employment defense litigation and counseling. Maria is a trusted advisor to senior management across a wide range of industries including public and private employers. Maria represents clients across the entire spectrum of employment and labor law. Her clients include the staffing, education, nonprofit and food industries. She is also the Co-Practice Leader of the Food, Beverage and Hospitality Team.
Maria defends employers in employment-related claims. Her expertise includes:
- Title VII, ADEA, ADA, FMLA, FLSA, and state law harassment, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation claims
- Extensive class action litigation
- Breach of contract, wrongful discharge, defamation, non-compete, and trade secret cases
- Complex business litigation
- Trying discharge and contract interpretation arbitrations
- Drafting high level executive employment and severance agreements and employment contracts
- Advising and training clients on personnel policies, documentation and supervisory relations
Maria is an ATIXA certified Title IX investigator and counsels universities and K-12 institutions in Title IX issues.
Maria currently serves as the Co-Chair of Clark Hill BOLD - Detroit, the firm's strategy to promote women within the firm, the legal profession, and the business community.
Maria has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer each year since 2013, was previously identified as a Rising Star in 2012, and identified by Hour Detroit Magazine as one of the top women attorneys in Michigan since 2013. Maria has also been repeatedly identified by DBusiness as a Top Lawyer.
Maria is a member of the faculty of ICLE and is a frequent speaker on EEO and employment issues before various groups, including the State Bar of Michigan. She also advocates for prevention through education and specializes in training her clients' workforces.
Maria is an active member of her community and is a Board Member for several non-profit Boards including the United Way of Southeastern Detroit, Dearborn Public Schools Education Foundation, Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, Women Celebrating Life Downriver, and is also an advisory board member for the Michigan Business and Professional Association Women and Leadership in the Workplace and the Michigan Food and Beverage Association. Maria is also an alum of Leadership Detroit Class XXXV. Maria also served two terms as a member of the Michigan State Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee and currently serves on Clark Hill’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.