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    Known as a fervent advocate for her clients, Nelva Smith is a labor and employment attorney whose wide-ranging experience makes her an extremely effective advisor for her clients. From general day-to-day counseling, to litigation, workers' compensation, and safety and health issues, employers of all sizes rely on Nelva to guide them through the myriad challenges of labor and employment law.  Nelva is diligent and aggressive in defending her clients’ interests and is experienced assisting clients in the automotive, aviation, construction, and manufacturing industries.

    As a member of the firm’s Workplace Safety Team, she has defended employers in front of the Industrial Commission on a variety of issues that arise out of Ohio workers’ compensation matters, and she also has extensive experience in safety and health issues, with an emphasis on OSHA. She has presented on several occasions nationally on OSHA topics, and she has twice been a contributing editor to the national treatise on Occupational Safety and Health Law.

    Nelva has experience defending employers in general employment litigation, charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charges before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, charges before the National Labor Relations Board, and defending OSHA citations, and she has also successfully handled wage and hour audits before a state government agency.

    In addition, to her employment experience, Nelva is also on the firm’s Higher Education Team and actively represents several universities and colleges in the region against Title IX litigation. Nelva is a member of the Environment, Social, Governance ("ESG") group, a group of attorneys with experience and knowledge about how ESG impacts all aspects of business. 

    Memberships & Awards

    Columbus Bar Association
    Ohio State Bar Association
    American Bar Association
    Certified, OSHA 10 Hour General Industry

    Key Experience

    Defended OSHA violations for manufacturing clients in the aircraft and automotive industries resulting in reduced penalties and vacated citations
    Defended a manufacturer in the rubber mixing industry in Ohio in one of the first sets of citations under the combustible dust OSHA National Emphasis Program (NEP)
    Successfully represented rubber tire manufacturer in multiple OSHA citations involving combustible dust

    Work Experience

    2015 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
    2008-2015 Scott, Scriven & Wahoff LLP
    2005-2008 Legal Assistant, Scott, Scriven & Wahoff LLP

    Speaking Engagements

    Presenter: S&J: “Tri State Update: Cannabis in the Workplace” – August 4, 2021

    Presenter: Ohio Chamber: “OSHA and Employer Vaccination Programs” – June 24, 2021

    Presenter: ARPM: “From the Legal Perspective: PPE and Vaccinations in the Workplace” – May 26, 2021

    Trainer: Ohio Department of Higher Education: “Title IX Investigator Training” – January 12, 2021

    Presenter: PIOGA: “Navigating Employer Legal Responsibilities through the COVID-19 Pandemic” – November 12, 2020

    Presenter: ARPM: “Limits on How OSHA can Cite Employers for General Duty Clause Violations Using Industry Consensus Standards in a COVID-19 World” November 2020

    Presenter: Ohio Chamber: “Back to School – Rights and Responsibilities of Employers and Employees, with Additional COVID-19 Updates” – September 16, 2020

    Panelist: The Risk Institute: “Multi-Generational Mashup” September 2019

    Presenter: ARPM: “The Relationship of OSHA Proposed Penalty Cases and the Lockout/Tagout and Machine Guarding Standards” July 2019

    Presenter: AICUO: “#MeToo Movement Updates and Handling No Contact Orders” June 2019

    Presenter: “OSHA Inspection Issues,” March 2019

    "OSHA, Outside Consultants, and Business Development: A Podcast with Bentley Tolk," Legal Marketing Launch, November 2018

    Presenter: “Performance, Unemployment and Wage & Hour Issues in Ohio: What Happened to Employment at Will?,” November 2018

    Presenter: “Overview of OSHA Inspections,” November 2018

    Presenter: “Ten Management Mistakes to Avoid – OSHA and Workers’ Compensation Update,” August and September 2018

    Presenter: “Update on Labor Law Issues Under the Trump Administration,” July 2018

    Presenter: “Workplace Highs and Lows: OSHA, the ADA, and Medical Marijuana,” July 2018

    Presenter: “OSHA Compliance in the Healthcare Industry – Regulations Companies Must Comply With But Are Always Forgotten,” June 2018

    Presenter: “OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard,” April 2018

    Presenter, “HIPAA Best Practices for HR: Ensuring Confidentiality of Medical Information,” February 2018

    Presenter, “Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace: Marijuana and Other Considerations,” February 2018

    Presenter, “Medical Records Law in Workers’ Compensation Claims: Know What You Can Release,” January 2018

    Presenter, “Preparing For and Dealing With Campus Protests,” AICUO, October 2017

    Presenter, “Machine Guarding and Lockout/Tagout-Related OSHA Penalties So Far in The Trump Administration,” Ohio Chamber, September 2017

    Presenter, “Are You In A Confined Space, OSHA Requirements for Confined Space in General Industry and Construction,” Ohio Chamber, July 2017

    Presenter, “The New Landscape of the Department of Labor and OSHA in the Trump Administration,” Ohio Hospital Association, June 2017

    Presenter, “Top Ten Management Mistakes to Avoid,” Pataskala Chamber of Commerce, June 2017

    Presenter, “Recordability, Reportability, and Compensability,” Ohio Chamber, May 2017

    Presenter, “OSHA Primer,” ABA Occupational Safety and Health Committee Midwinter Meeting, March 2017

    Presenter, “Medical Records Law in Workers’ Compensation Claims: Know What You Can Release,” January 2017

    Presenter, “Finer Points of OSHA Recordkeeping and Recordability,” Ohio Chamber, October 2016

    Presenter, “Department of Labor New Overtime Rules with OSHA Bonus,” St. Clairsville Chamber of Commerce, September 2016

    Presenter, “Safety Incentive Programs Under 11(c) of the Federal OSH Act,” Ohio Chamber, September 2016

    Presenter, “Hot Wage and Hour Issues,” OSBA, September 2016

    Presenter, “The Ever-Changing Landscape of FLSA Wage & Hour Issues,” Sterling Education, September 2016

    Presenter, “Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio – NLRB,” AICUO, June 2016

    Presenter, “OSHA’s Multi-Employer and U.S. Department of Labor Joint Employee Doctrines,” Ohio Hospital Association, June 2016

    Presenter, “Train Your Supervisors and Managers About Your Ohio Workers’ Compensation Program,” Ohio Chamber, May 2016

    Presenter, “OSHA Primer,” ABA Labor & Employment Law Section Midwinter Meeting, March 2016

    “Are You In Compliance? Be Prepared! FLSA Rule Changes and OSHA Penalty Increases Will Happen in 2016,” Ohio Chamber, December 2015

    Presenter, “The Million Dollar Question: Are They Independent Contractors or Employees? What the Fair Labor Standards Act Could Cost Your Company,” Ohio Chamber, November, 2015

    Presenter, “Fair Labor Standards Act/Wage and Hour Critical Issues,” Sterling Education, September 2015

    Moderator, “Combustible Dust: When is a hazard really a hazard? What is the real potential for explosion/deflagration?,” ABA Labor & Employment Law Section Midwinter Meeting, March 2014

    Presenter, “Wage Issues for Workers’ Compensation,” 2011

    Chapter Editor, Occupational Safety and Health Law Treatise, Third and Fourth Edition