Kasowitz’s Employment Practices and Litigation Group brings a feared and respected presence to negotiations, the boardroom, and the courtroom. Our arrival as counsel often generates quick and favorable outcomes, and deters frivolous claims.
Our group is comprised of trial-seasoned former prosecutors and other talented litigators who leverage their employment litigation know-how and experience to achieve extraordinary results early in cases, or by taking the case through discovery to trial and verdict.
Our lawyers have significant experience in all areas of employment litigation, including discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims; enforcement and defense of non-competition agreements, confidentiality agreements, and breaches of fiduciary duty; wage and hour issues under the FLSA, New York Labor Laws and other statutes; disciplinary matters before FINRA and other regulators; and disputes under executive employment, consulting and severance agreements.
We handle complex issues across a broad range of industries, including banking; health care; real estate brokerage, development and management; private equity and hedge funds; retail; luxury fashion; securities trading; journalism and entertainment; advertising and marketing; manufacturing and transportation.
- The New York Law Journal named our group as its 2019 Labor and Employment Litigation Department of the Year.
- We are recognized as leaders in employment litigation by Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation.
- Mark W. Lerner, the head of our practice, is recognized as a leading lawyer by both Chambers USA and The Legal 500. He has been named a Northeast Labor and Employment Star by Benchmark Litigation and one of the Most Powerful Employment Lawyers in the U.S. by Lawdragon. Mr. Lerner has also been recognized by Super Lawyers in the area of Employment.
- Partner Jessica Taub Rosenberg has been shortlisted as a 2019 Labor & Employment New York Attorney of the Year and recognized as a New York Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, included on Benchmark Litigation’s Under 40 Hot List, named a Woman Worth Watching by Diversity Journal, and shortlisted for Euromoney’s Americas Rising Stars Awards. She has also been recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in the area of Employment.
- The 2019 Burton Awards recognized Mr. Lerner and Ms. Rosenberg for exceptional legal writing for their article “When Sexual Harassment Is Also a Crime,” published by the New York Law Journal.
Non-Competition Agreements and Restrictive Covenants
mGage, a global mobile messaging company, in obtaining a preliminary injunction from the Southern District of New York enforcing restrictive covenants and enjoining former employees from working for any competitor and from soliciting any employees, clients, suppliers, customers or business prospects of mGage.
Berdon, a top-35 U.S. accounting firm, in a successful suit enabling Berdon to enforce its restrictive covenants to prevent key staff from poaching clients and valuable, confidential client data when those employees moved to a competitor.
Douglas Elliman Realty in a successful suit against one of Elliman’s former managers and a competitor firm involving a wrongful scheme to move a dozen agents to the competitor firm. Kasowitz won a $3.8 million jury verdict on behalf of Elliman, including $2.5 million in punitive damages.
Celebrity real estate broker Ryan Serhant – of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing TV show - in his separation from Nest Seekers, his prior employer, and in founding his new independent brokerage and media company, “SERHANT.”
Northwell Health, one of the largest hospital systems in the U.S., in a lawsuit to enforce employment agreements, including covenants not to compete.
XPO Logistics, a Fortune 200 company, in enforcing non-competition agreements.
Geneva Energy Markets in defense of claims that the firm hired employees with enforceable non-competition agreements.
Perella Weinberg Partners, a leading independent global financial services firm, in navigating issues involving post-employment non-competition and non-solicitation covenants.
Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Defense of an employee at Dentons, the international law firm, against sexual harassment, in a highly publicized purported “#MeToo” claim.
Easy Spirit and Marc Fisher in actions brought in Federal court alleging that the companies’ websites were not fully accessible to the visually impaired, violating the ADA, NYSHRL and NYCHRL.
The New York Post in defense of a race discrimination lawsuit brought by reporters, in which we obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims.
HedgeServ, a major fund administrator, in discrimination and other employee matters. Kasowitz obtained dismissal of an EEOC matter and settled another discrimination claim.
Godiva, the international chocolate company, against disability discrimination claims based on the alleged inaccessibility of Godiva’s website to sight-impaired individuals. Kasowitz favorably settled the matter for Godiva.
Peter Marino, founder of Peter Marino Architect PLLC, the world-renowned architectural firm whose designs include stores for Armani, Barney’s, Chanel and Louis Vuitton and hotels such as the Four Seasons, in an employment discrimination case.
A board member of Tikun Olam, an Israeli-licensed company that grows and supplies medical marijuana, in the defense of claims of sexual harassment under New York State and New York City Human Rights law, filed in New York Supreme Court.
Phillips-Van Heusen, a major global apparel maker and retailer, in a pregnancy discrimination claim.
Private Equity Compensation and Other Disputes
Saw Mill Capital in defense of claims for carried interest and other compensation by a former partner, resulting in a complete victory for Saw Mill Capital after a trial.
John Brice, former Chief Investment Officer and board member of private equity fund CarVal Investors in a case against CarVal after it terminated Mr. Brice’s employment and threatened to withhold $230 million in compensation. After winning a preliminary injunction, Kasowitz settled the matter favorably.
Bridgewater Associates in employment matters involving protection of Bridgewater’s intellectual property.
Senior Managers of Och-Ziff Capital in their dealings with the company’s founding partners and board of directors.
A prominent former managing director at Neuberger Berman, an independent investment management firm, in negotiating terms of separation and compensation.
Wage and Hour Litigation
Douglas Elliman Realty in defeating a two-stage federal and state lawsuit in which a real estate sales agent claimed to be an “employee” and not an independent contractor under the FLSA and NY Labor Law. At stake was the classification of Elliman’s 6,000 agents. Kasowitz defeated all claims.
A Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in defense of putative class and collective action claims for overtime, off-the-clock work, tip-pooling violations and misclassification of employees under the FLSA and NY Labor Law.
Other Employment Issues
Three former executives of a $1 billion public international company in securing a $11.2 million arbitration award against the company. The executives claimed that they were entitled to additional payments associated with their departure. The $11.2 million includes amounts for severance, interest, attorneys’ fees and arbitration fees.
Elie Tahari, Ltd. in multiple litigations involving contract disputes.
Celebrity real estate broker Ryan Serhant in his successful defense against litigation brought in the SDNY concerning allegations of fraudulent conduct asserted by three NYC property purchasers. The SDNY dismissed all claims twice - alleged in the original and amended complaints. Judge Liman’s second order bars plaintiffs from refiling their claims. The decision provides important protection for New York real estate brokers against liability for certain types of statements made during the sales process.
H.I.G. Capital, a private equity firm, in defense of a WARN Class Action brought by former employees of a bankrupt portfolio company.