Open menu
Photo of Megan P. Norris

Megan P. Norris

Principal
Chair, Managing Directors
Employment and Labor Group Co-Leader

Office

T:
+1.313.496.7594
O:
+1.313.963.6420
F:
+1.313.496.7500
Share

Education

University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1986

Wesleyan University, B.A. 1983

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. District Cour for the Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. District Court fot he Western District of Michigan

6th Circuit Court of Appeals

U.S. Supreme Court

Megan Norris has been representing employers for three decades.  An accomplished litigator who has been elected by her national peers to both the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers, Megan has expertise litigating all matters of employment law, including statutory claims under the ADA, FMLA and Title VII, as well as tort claims such as defamation, tortious interference with contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

Megan also advises employers on matters ranging from hiring to termination.  In addition, Megan advises clients on non-employment issues relating to both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

Megan has handled matters at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Department of Labor, Office of Civil Rights, State of Michigan Wage and Hour Division, Michigan Circuit Courts, Michigan Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and successfully defended against attempts to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Trial Experience

Megan has tried over 30 cases, including matters in Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw County Circuit Courts, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. First-chair trial cases have included claims of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, tortious interference, disability discrimination, retaliation, constructive discharge, violation of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, age discrimination, race discrimination, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Open Meetings Act and breach of contract.

Americans With Disabilities Act

Megan speaks nationally on the Americans With Disabilities Act for organizations such as the American Bar Association, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the National Employment Law Institute, and the Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education. She counsels employers on accommodation issues such as requests for leaves of absence, special equipment, modified job duties, and job assistants.  She also counsels education clients on accommodation issues such as requests for real-time captioning, alternative testing, and modified educational requirements.  In addition, she counsels clients on requests for medical information and medical examinations.

Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

Megan handles cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, including claims brought under Titles VI, VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. In addition, Megan conducts investigations into claims of violations of these statutes, as well as employer training on these issues.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Megan speaks nationally on the Family and Medical Leave Act and is the co-author of Family and Medical Leave and the Law, published by the Law Journal Press in 2012. She has provided training for scores of employers regarding the requirements of the law and its relationship to the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Megan frequently defends employers who have been sued for interference or discrimination in violation of the FMLA and successfully argued the case in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which held that even where an employer provided an employee with FMLA forms and granted leave, there was no FMLA violation where the employee was not eligible for FMLA protection and would have needed to take the medical leave regardless of the employer’s actions.

Higher Education

Megan represents numerous colleges and universities on matters involving both their employees and their students, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and failure to accommodate.  Megan is a frequent speaker for the National Association of College and University Attorneys, on topics such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, compliance audits, and the role of outside counsel. Megan also spent nine years serving on the Board of Wesleyan University, so she understands clients’ issues from the clients viewpoint.

Public Entities

In addition to public colleges and universities, Megan has provided services, including training, counseling, investigations, and litigation defense, for cities, townships, counties, public authorities, and school districts on matters including ADA accessibility, compliance with the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act, FERPA, and police oversight. Megan’s experience as Police Commissioner for the Detroit Police Department has provided her special insight into these issues.

Tort Claims

Megan has defended clients against numerous tort claims, including defamation, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with contract or business relations.

Representative Matters

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Obtained summary judgment on case brought by medical student who had been dismissed from the medical school but claimed that he had ADHD and dyslexia and therefore could not complete required curriculum in the usual manner. 

On behalf of a major public hospital system, counseled the employer through the accommodation process and then successfully vacated a temporary restraining order, defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction, and obtained dismissal of the lawsuit where a nurse sought an accommodation that would require that she avoid all exposure to radiation.

Counseled hospital regarding duty to accommodate CRNAs with restrictions on exposure to radiation, reviewing ways to measure exposure and limit exposure through protective clothing, determination of essential functions of the job.

Breach of Contract

In Branham v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 689 F.3d 558 (6th Cir. 2012), obtained successful result in first private university tenure case, establishing that tenure does not grant any right to continued employment or a removal procedure beyond that provided by contract. 

Successfully defended summary judgment on appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals in case brought by a school administrator who claimed that she was terminated in violation of a just cause employment contract. 

Worked with private academic institution to establish procedure for tenure hearings, then successfully defended claims of breach of contract, both at the trial level and on appeal, regarding both the tenured professor’s dismissal and the tenure hearing process.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Obtained no cause jury verdict in case of breach of fiduciary duty brought by neurosurgeon against a medical practice when she was removed from the practice after being terminated from her university medical school position for fraudulent use of the corporate credit card. 

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Prevailed on summary judgment and in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Dobrowski v. Jay Dee Contractors, Inc., 571 F.3d 551 (6th Cir. 2009), which held that plaintiff was not protected by the FMLA, even though he had been given FMLA forms, where the employer had fewer than 50 employees and plaintiff needed to take medical leave regardless of whether it was covered by the FMLA.

Successfully defended hospital against FMLA claim brought by a nurse who wanted to work a reduced schedule for a variety of personal and medical reasons.

Higher Education

Obtained summary judgment on case brought by medical student who had been dismissed from the medical school but claimed that he had ADHD and dyslexia and therefore could not complete required curriculum in the usual manner. 

In Branham v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 689 F.3d 558 (6th Cir. 2012), obtained successful result in first private university tenure case, establishing that tenure does not grant any right to continued employment or a removal procedure beyond that provided by contract. 

Obtained summary judgment on claims of sexual harassment, disparate treatment sex discrimination, violation of due process, and violation of the equal protection clause in case brought by student against a university. 

Overturned a $250,000 jury verdict and obtained dismissal on a claim of sexual harassment against a professor where student acknowledged that the alleged harasser did not harass her after she complained.

National Origin Discrimination

Defeated discrimination and retaliation claims of two physicians who claimed that they were passed over for promotion and terminated because they were of Indian descent, noting that a hospital administrator had referred to the facilities as “third world.”

Successfully defended summary judgment on appeal to Michigan Court of Appeals in case brought by professor who claimed that the university denied him laboratory space and teaching assignments because of his national origin.  

Successfully defended food producer against four race and national origin discrimination charges filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights alleging that black and non-Polish employees were given harder, less desirable work assignments and disciplined more harshly than white Polish employees.

Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act Litigation

Defended multiple clients against numerous Open Meetings Act and FOIA lawsuits brought by notorious plaintiff, developing defense strategy that kept legal fees low and obtained immediate dismissal of eight different lawsuits, despite plaintiff’s counsel’s tactics designed to drive up legal fees.

Race Discrimination

On behalf of a major utility company, obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, in multi-plaintiff case alleging race discrimination and retaliation.

Successfully defended food producer against four race and national origin discrimination charges filed with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights alleging that black and non-Polish employees were given harder, less desirable work assignments and disciplined more harshly than white Polish employees.

Sex Discrimination

Obtained no cause jury verdict on behalf of a manufacturer when plaintiff, the only female in the plant, alleged that the poor performance for which she was terminated was caused by male employees sabotaging her work.

Obtained summary judgment on claims of sexual harassment, disparate treatment sex discrimination, violation of due process, and violation of the equal protection clause in case brought by student against a university. 

Sexual Harassment

Obtained a no cause jury verdict on behalf of a company and its president against claims of sexual harassment and retaliation arising after president appeared at plaintiff's house, told her that he wanted  to  have an affair,  argued with her when she gave her reasons for declining,  and kissed her as he left.

Overturned a $250,000 jury verdict and obtained dismissal on a claim of sexual harassment against a professor where student acknowledged that the alleged harasser did not harass her after she complained.

Honors

College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

American College of Trial Lawyers

Best Lawyers in America, 2015 Detroit Employment Law-Management Lawyer of the Year; 2017 Detroit Employment Law-Management Lawyer of the Year; Labor and Employment Law 2003-2011; Employment Law-Management and Litigation-Labor and Employment 2012-present

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor & Employment, 2004-present

Who's Who Legal (International Who's Who of Business Lawyers), 2006

Lawdragon 500, New Stars, New Worlds, Summer 2006

Michigan Super Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers (2011-present); Top 25 Michigan Business Women, 2016; Top 50 Women Michigan Lawyers, 2006-present; Employment & Labor, 2006-present,

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Labor and Employment 2011-present

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2011 Leader in the Law

Professional Activities

United States District Court Local Rules Advisory Committee, 2013-present; Chair, July 2016-June 2019; Vice Chair 2015-2016

American College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow

Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow

American Bar Association, Litigation and Labor and Employment Sections

State Bar of Michigan, Labor and Employment Law Section Council, 2008-present

Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, President, April 2002-May 2003; Board of Directors, June 1993-May 1995, June 1996-May 2003; Secretary-Treasurer, 2000-2002

Detroit Barristers' Association, President, June 1994-May 1995; Board of Directors, March 1989-May 1995; President-elect, June 1994-May 1994; Secretary, June 1992-May 1993

National Employment Law Institute, Advisory Board, 2008-present

Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Labor Advisory Board

City of Detroit, Michigan, Detroit Police Commission, 2001-2005 (Appointed by Mayor Dennis Archer); Chair, July 2003-2004

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Wesleyan University, Trustee Emeritus, 2015-present; Co-Chair of the Wesleyan Fund, 2014-present; Chair of the Alumni Association, 2012-2014; Member of the Board of Trustees, July 2001-July 2004, July 2005-2011

Whitaker School of Theology, Board of Directors, February 1991-1994; President, January 1992-February 1994; Vice-president, January 1992-February 1993

Deaf, Hearing, and Speech Center, Board of Trustees, May 1991-January 1998; President, January 1996-January 1998; Vice-president, January 1992-December 1995;

Wayne State University Episcopal Chaplaincy, Board of Trustees, September 1992-1995; President, May 1993-1995;

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Standing Committee, May 1995-April 1998, Assistant Secretary, 1997-present; Ecclesiastic Court, January 1994-November 1995; Vice-chancellor, 2010-present

Speeches

"Title VII at Fifty: A Look Backward and Forward" (panelist), State Bar of Michigan Labor and Employment Law Section 2015 Mid-Winter Meeting, Detroit, MI, January 23, 2015

"Complex FMLA Issues," National Employment Law Institute 18th Annual Mid-Year Employment Law Conference, Washington DC, May 10, 2013

"Update on Complex FMLA Issues" (Panelist), NELI 2013 ADA & FMLA Compliance Update, Washington, D.C., April 19, 2013

"ADA/FMLA Case Study" (Panelist), NELI 2013 ADA & FMLA Compliance Update, Washington, D.C., April 19, 2013

"A Deposition Demonstration: How to Tell Your Story and Avoid Common Mistakes" (Panelist), ICLE 38th Annual Labor and Employment Law Institute Seminar, Plymouth, MI, April 5, 2013

"Eye of the Beholder: Discrimination Risks Created by Faculty Who Don't See the Rules Applying to Them," NACUA 2013 Spring CLE Workshop: Higher Education Discrimination Law, Nashville, TN, March 21, 2013

"Navigating Through The Perfect Storm: Managing Risks Under ADA, FMLA, and Worker's Compensation," NACUA 2013 Spring CLE Workshop: Higher Education Discrimination Law, Nashville, TN, March 21, 2013

"Complex FMLA Issues," National Employment Law Institute, 32nd Annual Employment Law Briefing, Orlando, FL., March 5, 2013

"Effective Use of Experts in ADA Litigation," Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 36th Annual Labor + Employment Law Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 15, 2011

"Advanced ADA and FMLA: ADA Compliance on your Campus," National Association of College and University Attorneys, New York, July 2008

"Recent Developments Under the FMLA," National Employment Law Institute, Washington D.C., May 2008

"Accommodating Mental Disabilities," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Michigan, April 2008

"Trends and Developments under the ADA," National Retail Federation, Chicago, IL, October 2007

"Update Regarding the FMLA," National Employment Law Institute, May 2005, May 2006, August 2006

"Update Regarding the Americans With Disabilities Act and the FMLA," National Association of College and University Attorneys, June 2002

Litigation Skills Workshop Faculty, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, May 1998, May 2002, May 2005

"The Americans With Disabilities Act and the FMLA," (Moderator), Institute of Continuing Education, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2004

"Untangling the ADA and FMLA," Stetson Conference, February 2000

"Workers' Compensation, the ADA, and the FMLA," Michigan College and University Professionals Association, May 1999

Deposition Skills Workshop Faculty, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, September 1998, May 2006

"Accommodation Issues under the ADA," Michigan Public Employers Association, May 1998

"Use of Expert Witnesses in Disability Cases," State Bar of Michigan, March 1998; American Bar Association, February 1998

"Approaching the Statutory Crossroads: Accommodations Issues under the ADA, the FMLA, and the Workers' Disability Compensation Act," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, January 1996

"The Americans With Disabilities Act: Where We Are and Where We Are Going," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, July 1995

"Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Employees: Discrimination Issues in the Workplace," Wayne State University, February 1995

"Difficult Accommodation Issues under the Americans With Disabilities Act," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, October 1994

"The Family and Medical Leave Act: A Look at the New Statute and Regulations," Employment Discrimination and Litigation Update, June 1994

"Updates on the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act," Michigan Personnel Directors' Conference, May 1994

"The Americans With Disabilities Act and the One-room Schoolhouse," Michigan Historical Society, May 1994

"The Americans With Disabilities Act: One Year Later," Michigan Association of Libraries, October 1993

"The Americans With Disabilities Act and Health Care," Tri-County Dental Professionals' Association, September 1993

"The Family and Medical Leave Act: Implications for County Government," Michigan Association of Counties, August 1993

"Can There Be Equal Justice for All?" Alumni College, Wesleyan University, June 1993

"The Impact of the Americans With Disabilities Act," Michigan Association of Work Study Coordinators, April 1993

"The Americans With Disabilities Act," Physicians Management Group, February 1993 annual conference

"Employment Law Update," American Association of Affirmative Action Officers, December 1992

"Hiring, Terminating, and Disciplining Employees," Michigan Home Health Association, November 1992

"The Americans With Disabilities Act," Macomb/St. Clair School Business Officials, November 1992

"Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act," Educational Administrative Computing Seminar, November 1992

"The Americans With Disabilities Act," Michigan Association of Educational Data Systems, October 1992

"The Americans With Disabilities Act and Patient Care," Michigan Home Health Association, July 1992

"Handling a Workers' Disability Compensation Lawsuit in Michigan," Federal Bar Association New Lawyers Seminar, December 1991, June 1992, and December 1992

"The Americans With Disabilities Act," Lenawee Training and Education Consortium, June 1992

"An Overview of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Michigan Handicappers' Civil Rights Act;" and "Defamation and Privacy Issues," Washtenaw Community College Labor and Employment Law Conference, April 1991

"Defamation in the Public Relations Context," Greater Detroit Public Relations Counselors' Public Relations and the Law Seminar, March 1991

Publications

"Family and Medical Leave Act," Michigan Chamber of Commerce Employment Law Handbook, 1995-2014 (Annual)

"Disability Discrimination," Michigan Chamber of Commerce Employment Law Handbook, 1995-2014 (Annual)

"Protecting Employer Rights" (Interview), Ingham County Legal News, December 9, 2013

"Attorney Spearheads Firm's Employment and Labor Group" (Interview), Oakland County Legal News, December 3, 2013

"Female Powerbrokers Q&A: Miller Canfield's Megan Norris," Law 360, November 201, 2013

"Family & Medical Leave and the Law,"(Co-Author), Law Journal Press, 2012  

"The Family and Medical Leave Act is Changing: Will you be ready?" Hot Points, Summer 2008

"Advising Closely Held Businesses in Michigan," author of Chapter 5 titled Employment Law, (ICLE, 2000)

"Disability Law" chapter (1998 supplement) and "Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA" chapter (2000 supplement), Employment Discrimination Law, published by Schlei and Grossman

"The Michigan Handicappers' Civil Rights Act and the American with Disabilities Act" chapter, MPELRA Labor Relations Manual, 1994 and 2004 editions

"The Americans With Disabilities Act," Cause, December 1992

"First Amendment Limitations on Employee Speech," Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 1991-2

"When Can You Insult Opposing Counsel–The Judicial Proceedings Privilege," Michigan Lawyers Mutual Quarterly Newsletter, June 1990

"Rehnquist is not Nixon's Revenge on the Press," Laches, June 1988

Articles