Employment Law – U.S.

The firm’s U.S.-based Employment Law group advocates for employers and executives in state and federal court actions as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights.  We have successfully handled matters centering on restrictive covenants, trade secrets, wrongful termination, discrimination, wages and benefits, and whistleblowing and retaliation claims.

Our attorneys also have significant experience counseling employers and executives on contractual and business matters.  We regularly provide advice regarding reductions in force, separation and termination, employment contracts, executive compensation, confidentiality agreements, restrictive covenants, consulting and work for hire agreements, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and ERISA litigation.  We also counsel employers on employment policies and practices to help our clients limit risk, avoid litigation, and increase efficiencies, including drafting employment handbooks, social media and privacy policies, and incident response plans.

The firm was also appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to monitor the Fire Department of New York and is helping address its hiring and employment practices, including overseeing the recruitment, testing, hiring, training, and promotion of entry-level firefighters.

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Employer-Related Representations

Represented global financial institution in defeating class action litigation relating to alleged employment discrimination.

Defended cosmetics company against claim of discrimination on basis of race in selection of preferred vendors brought by preferred vendor applicant; matter settled on favorable terms after filing of pre-discovery motion for summary judgment.

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Executive and Employee Representations

Represented former chief financial officer with respect to a complex options dispute with his former employer. Client prevailed both before the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Advised group of physicians in connection with departure from former practice and association with new hospital; reviewed and evaluated non-compete, shareholder, and employment agreements related to previous practice.

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Negative employee attitudes, chronic complaining, insubordination and gossiping are bad for the workplace. They can impact employee morale and productivity and if spread outside of the organization, reflect very poorly on that company. While employers should have appropriate written polices and promptly address employee griping and rudeness head on -- through investigations, frank discussions, performance reviews, enforcement of clearly delineated policies and procedures and disciplinary measures when necessary --- employers must tread carefully. Not all gripes are created equal . Some complaints constitute legally protected activity, and efforts to curb them could run afoul of labor laws. If your managers are not properly trained to handle employee complaints and negative attitudes, they may quite literally turn annoying but manageable situations into federal cases.

With the growing trend toward legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, New York companies should carefully evaluate their workplace policies to adhere to the latest legal developments impacting employees.

This article addresses the existing Fair Labor Standards Act and  the June 2015 proposed amendments to the Act concerning the “white collar” exemptions under the FLSA including increased salary and compensation thresholds.  These proposed revisions to the FLSA could impact nearly 5 million white collar workers within the first year of implementation.  

Melissa H Maxman spoke on a panel, titled “At The Intersection of Labor and Antitrust: New Trends in Non-Poaching Litigation,” at an Antitrust Economics Workshop at the 46th Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy hosted by Fordham University School of Law.