Labor & Employment
Employers regularly find themselves in need of counseling with respect to their efforts to comply with myriad federal, state and local laws governing the workplace. Equally often, they need competent, effective representation in litigation that arises from those workplaces. Ward Greenberg combines those skills well, and its Labor and Employment team represents national, regional and local employers, including Fortune 100 companies, smaller employers in numerous fields, universities, hospitals and academic medical centers, and charitable and religious not-for-profit organizations, in all types of employment-related litigation and pre-litigation counseling. Our lawyers regularly defend claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and its state and local counterparts, alleging age, race, gender, disability, national origin, ethnicity, religious and sexual orientation bias, as well as sexual harassment and retaliation claims. We also represent employers and supervisors in matters involving ERISA, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, HIPAA, the Fair Housing Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, COBRA and Titles VIII and IX of the Civil Rights Act, as well as parallel provisions under state and local anti-discrimination and wage and hour laws, such as the New York State Human Rights Law, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the Violence Against Women’s Act, the New York Labor Law, the New York City Administrative Code and the Rochester City Code. We also have extensive experience in the enforcement of non-competition and other restrictive covenant claims, and the prosecution and defense of unfair competition claims generally.
In preparation for potential litigation, we have conducted internal investigations related to charges of harassment or other violations of workplace policies. We also handle various governmental investigations, including investigations undertaken by the Department of Justice, the New York State Attorney General, the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education, the Commission on the Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled, the EEOC, the New York State Division of Human Rights, OSHA, the Department of Labor, the New York State Department of Health and similar regulatory agencies. We regularly counsel colleges and universities in connection with tenure review, tenure denial, tenure revocation, academic and scientific misconduct proceedings, and related faculty and student disciplinary proceedings. We also provide training with respect to harassment issues and anti-discrimination policies, and counseling on a variety of human rights and labor-related matters. The Labor and Employment team members prepare, review and update employee handbooks, and employer policies related to labor and employment issues.
We litigate and arbitrate matters before all federal and state courts, as well as federal, state and local administrative agencies such as the EEOC, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York and Pennsylvania Departments of Labor, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the federal Office for Civil Rights, among others.
Representative labor and employment engagements include:
- Representing employer at the New York Court of Appeals and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in case of first impression, considering availability of Faragher-Ellerth affirmative defense to claims brought under New York City Administrative Code.
- Representing employers in multi-plaintiff collective actions alleging FLSA, gender bias, sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
- Defending manufacturing firm in multi-plaintiff race discrimination action.
- Representing employer in breach of contract, tortious interference, state whistleblower, qui tam and retaliation lawsuit.
- Assisting in the defense of one of the nation’s largest retailers in a collective action alleging violation of wage and hour laws.
- Defending housing agency in class action brought by minority families alleging racial discrimination and segregation in administration of housing and assistance programs.
- Defending manufacturing firm in multi-plaintiff age discrimination and retaliation litigation.
- Representing university in class action alleging violations of the ADA.
- Representing university in disability discrimination action under Title VII and the ADA, and state counterparts to those statutes.
- Defending at trial investment management firm in a case alleging age, gender and retaliation claims under federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws.
- Defending franchisee of multi-national firm with respect to EEOC litigation alleging systemic gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation.
- Representing employer in case alleging national origin and religious discrimination.
- Defending landlord in litigation alleging housing discrimination in violation of Title VIII of Civil Rights Act.
- Representing academic medical centers in scientific misconduct investigations and litigation.
- Representing hospitals in qui tam and whistleblower proceedings, including governmental investigations and litigation in both federal and state courts.
- Defending university in lawsuit brought by former employee and graduate student alleging scientific misconduct, and variety of tort and contract claims arising from her dismissal.
- Defending large privately-held company in action alleging disparate race-based treatment in termination resulting from internal investigation.
- Representing international hospitality company in action alleging constructive discharge and age discrimination.
- Representing colleges and universities in numerous tenure denial and tenure revocation proceedings, and related disciplinary proceedings involving tenured and non-tenured faculty members.
- Assisting employers in “probable cause” investigations conducted by EEOC, New York State Division of Human Rights and New York City Commission on Human Rights, among others.
- Counseling employers regarding disability discrimination issues, reasonable accommodations of disabled employees, employee termination and discipline, and their obligations under FLSA, other wage hour issues, and various additional federal, state and local employment laws.
- Counseling and training managers and supervisors with respect to various employment issues, such as sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.