Reflecting with Marie-Joëlle Khouzam

Reflecting with Marie-Joëlle Khouzam

a constructing is venerated whilst its call refers to its age—two times. Marie-joëlle khouzam works inside the vintage, vintage publish office, a romanesque revival masterpiece constructed in downtown columbus in 1887, then accelerated in 1912. Several places of work in the constructing, occupied by means of bricker & eckler due to the fact 1984, function walk-in vaults with spin dials. On the 1/3 floor, khouzam suggests off a prison mobile hardly ever huge enough to preserve a cot. A fixed of handcuffs dangles from the iron bars. “we put our misbehaving customers in there,” she jokes. The actual comic story is the idea that she’d have a disagreement with a client, because khouzam is a grasp at listening lengthy earlier than she weighs in. A control-aspect employment lawyer, khouzam’s tools are reflection and dialogue, which she places to use even as counseling employers on the entirety from dealing with discrimination claims to managing the eventual implementation of the nation’s medical marijuana law. Khouzam has emerge as well-versed in the latter issue, which has come to be a situation to ohio employers since the nation legislature exceeded a 2016 law allowing adults with a diffusion of health situations—21 in all—to use medical marijuana. She offers bar and enterprise group speeches with titles like “o-high-o: administrative center issues of marijuana legalization.” her clients paintings in industries starting from health care to training; the provider zone to era. “what i truly love doing is advising clients, supporting them be proactive,” says khouzam. “i like the term ‘counselor and adviser’ as opposed to ‘attorney;’ i don’t recognise why we were given far from the usage of those phrases.” fellow employment attorney kimberly callery shumate, an partner vice chairman inside the office of human sources at ohio state college, says those phrases practice to khouzam. “she is distinctly empathetic and a actual hassle-solver,” says shumate. “she’s no longer like, ‘let me restoration that for you,’ but, ‘permit me help you get to the answer to help you first-rate.’ that takes some proper counseling talents, as well as legal talents, to get humans to recognize what's in their nice interest and then assist them get there.” khouzam says it allows that clients have turn out to be greater pragmatic. “they recognize it’s now not approximately prevailing, or concepts, whenever,” she says. “it’s also about what's the exceptional way to deal with people always and fairly.” on her cellphone, khouzam has saved a own family portrait of herself at age three, a smile stretching from ear to ear, on a sunday experience together with her parents to visit the temple of jupiter. The roman empire-generation structure is located inside the lebanese city of baalbek, within the bequaa valley. Khouzam grew up in beirut, wherein she went to a catholic church and attended a german school. “my mother and father were a little eclectic and believed in training,” says khouzam, who is fluent in three languages and knows a smattering of 3 others. Her circle of relatives spoke french at home. This turned into within the years straight away earlier than civil warfare broke out in 1975, while beirut become a pricey global holiday spot—a glamorous coastal town with a energetic highbrow scene. “it became a lovely, stunning area,” she says. “it is a very small us of a; you may go from the mediterranean sea to the mountains in a brief ride.” her father was an architect in beirut. “i have fond memories of developing up there,” she recollects. “there were plenty of journeys to the seashore, sledding, snowboarding, and trekking inside the mountains. Sincerely correct times. The whole thing targeted round family sunday dinner with grandparents.” however, there have been signs of unrest, and her extended own family left beirut whilst she became 8. “we have been the remaining ones [in the family] out of lebanon, however the move wasn’t made in panic,” she says. As tensions have been mounting, khouzam’s father had regarded into employment distant places; he visited childhood buddies who lived in toledo and got some activity offers whilst there. “it’s a top notch region to elevate a own family,” khouzam says. “toledo doesn’t necessarily have all the bells and whistles of metropolitan towns, but it is a solid and down to earth location.” multiculturalism wasn’t some thing that needed to be recommended there; it was—and nevertheless is—part of lifestyles in toledo. “you don’t think about variety as a buzzword there; all of us simply comes from some other place,” she explains. “there can be a hungarian pageant one weekend and a jamaican one the following, and also you loved them all, without wondering in a political context.” even these days, khouzam defines herself because the fabricated from an overlay of cultures. “surely, i often assume i’m form of stuck in a subculture-chasm. I genuinely feel american and prefer i’ve grow to be americanized in many methods, however i still cost such a lot of, many stuff my family valued,” she says. Leader amongst them: non secular and culinary traditions, as well as “doing quite a lot whatever for own family, even when it might be less complicated to mention no or ‘now not again.’” the direction to a criminal career became approximately as long as the only from beirut to toledo. The regulation become in no way an alternative mentioned in her residence, and he or she majored in german and political technology as an undergraduate at bowling green, graduating in 1985. A fulbright scholarship led her to austria, in which she studied the political structure of the divided u . S . Put up-world war ii. Khouzam implemented for a state department job, anticipating the release of a diplomatic career with the overseas carrier. Intervening time, she took a job as a paralegal at a global firm that become present process instances, which includes divestment, that brought about responsibility beyond the ordinary duties for khouzam. “sooner or later, working with so many lawyers, i had a mild bulb moment,” she says. “this isn't always rocket science; it’s exciting, and you have to work difficult”—she snaps her arms—“however i may want to see going through law college and getting right at this.” what appealed to her turned into the problem-fixing element, taking reputedly big tasks and systematically breaking them down. “what’s that saying about ‘how do you eat an elephant? One chunk at a time.’” she graduated from the college of toledo’s law faculty in 1991. Khouzam’s first complete-time law activity become with emens, hurd, kegler and ritter in columbus, in which she handled workers’ comp claims for 3 years. She worked for 18 years at carlile patchen & murphy, then moved to bricker 3 years in the past. In the early days, says shumate, “columbus had a bar more progressive [than average] about accepting women and encouraging them to excel, but it was nonetheless difficult. She truely did quite a lot to earn her region in her firm and in her place of the profession. … you need to be surely exquisite whilst you are one of the few, and she met that preferred easily.” khouzam’s workplace within the old, vintage put up office (the single-adjective vintage post office turned into built a lot later) is high-ceilinged and filled with mild, which pours in via wooden-framed bay home windows. Matisse paper cutout posters decorate the wall. On her desk, khouzam has a tumbler dice proclaiming, “carpe that diem.” “my dad always stated, ‘a second never comes back; neither does a minute, so don’t squander your time,’” she says. “and he was so right.” khouzam remains worried within the network through sitting on severa boards, taking up seasoned bono cases, and organizing food, ebook and garb drives. Maximum of all, she keeps song of a discipline of law this is ever in transition. Invoice nolan, with barnes & thornburg in columbus, has recognised khouzam for greater than a dozen years. He calls her a “calming” impact. “there’s a completely even demeanor, which is not usually found in employment regulation—which may be very emotional on both facets,” he says. Nolan additionally praises her adaptability, an vital first-rate of their exercise location. “one aspect i really like about employment regulation is that it is constantly developing,” he says. “truly, within the final 10 years, that’s likely been greater the case.” the primary law barack obama signed became the lilly ledbetter truthful pay act, which made it less complicated for girls to sue their employers for identical pay. Federal businesses aggressively enforced employee-friendly guidelines, while states and municipalities exceeded innovative laws regarding problems together with sexual orientation. However the panorama has shifted. “and now,” provides nolan, “we're discussing what an business enterprise can do while you find out one among your personnel seems to be a nazi. Sincerely, it’s an interesting time within the regulation.” khouzam looks at those thrilling times as a threat to preserve learning, as with the difficulty of medical marijuana. In ohio, drug-free place of business rules nonetheless prevail. Nothing inside the regulation requires employers to permit medical marijuana use. “if an employee gets tested post-coincidence, or randomly, and assessments wonderful,” khouzam explains, “the organisation can take some thing action it generally takes primarily based on a wonderful take a look at end result, irrespective of whether or not the marijuana was medically encouraged or whether or not it changed into fed on off-obligation—if the enterprise’s policy has been up to date to reflect that mm is successfully tested similar to prescription substances that can impair one’s capability to safely perform their activity.” the law has induced many groups to update guidelines to clarify that clinical marijuana is still among their prohibited materials. “depending at the kind of work, there's chance associated in knowingly permitting use and having humans probably be impaired,” she says. “there's a restrained quantity of hard scientific statistics at the lengthy-time period results available proper now, and there doesn't appear to be any dispute that marijuana use can affect brain features like judgment, memory and so on.” khouzam has been operating with clients on revising the ones employee handbooks; and explaining how an uptick in intake may have an effect on the potential to recruit people who can skip pre-employment monitors. “i suppose a mistake employers can also fall sufferer to is whether or not or how to accommodate the underlying circumstance the person is using scientific marijuana for,” she says. “if the worker says, ‘i’m now not capable of do my process with out taking clinical marijuana for the back ache i’m experiencing,’ the company might not need to accommodate [the usage] but can also ought to accommodate the underlying circumstance.” she advises employers about the capability responsibility to interact in an “interactive manner” to determine whether or not any lodging might be in order. Possibly a employee with again pain, for example, can take scheduled breaks. Khouzam sees her function as helping clients look at situations from all angles. “frequently we commend leaders, whether or not political or network leaders, who make tough decisions [quickly]—being visionary, shifting forward and leaving it as much as other human beings to execute the details,” she says. “when i'm advising clients and speaking approximately potentially firing someone, normally they’ve given it a number of concept and considered how it'll effect family and livelihood. … but once in a while clients simply get uninterested in somebody and want to make your mind up. You don’t want to trade their thoughts, however you want to make sure they’ve idea it through, considered all the portions before they make the ones decisions. “my aim is never to trade their minds, but i need to make sure they apprehend with each choice comes some hazard. On the give up of the day, my process is to help them control threat.”