How to Handle an Employment Discrimination Case – Part 2
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Learn from a panel of experts how to handle an employment discrimination case. Part 2 will cover the following topics:
- Mediation in Employment Discrimination Cases
- Pre-Trial and trial Strategy from the Plaintiff’s Perspective
- Pre-Trial and trial Strategy from the Defendant’s Perspective
Susan D. Friedfel is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department,
resident in the New York office.
Susan represents employers and management in sexual harassment, age
discrimination, gender discrimination, retaliation, disability discrimination and
wrongful termination claims before federal and state courts. She counsels
clients in various industries, including, but not limited to, law firms, financial
institutions and not-for-profit organizations on a wide array of issues.
Susan has substantial experience in the academic context, representing
colleges and universities. She provides day-to-day practical advice on matters
such as employee recruiting and hiring practices; family and medical leave;
reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religion; preventing and
investigating harassment, discrimination and whistleblower claims; discipline
and termination of employees; and designing and implementing reductions-inforce.
In addition, Susan has an active pro bono practice, advocating for children in
the foster care system with respect to a variety of issues.
STEVEN I. LOCKE
Steven is the principal attorney of the Law Offices of Steven I. Locke P.C. with extensive experience
representing clients in federal and state court litigation, ranging from complex commercial litigation
to single plaintiff business tort cases, to restrictive covenant claims and contract litigation. Steven
also provides counseling to new and developing businesses as they seek to evolve and grow in an
ever changing marketplace.
Prior to founding LOSIL, Steven was a partner Carabba Locke LLP, and before that an associate at
the firms Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in New York and Fox and Grove, Chartered in
Chicago. Steven also served as law clerk to the Hon. Arthur D. Spatt in the United States District
Court of the Eastern District of New York.
In his practice, Steven has represented clients at all levels of the trial and appellate courts in the State
of New York as well as before various administrative agencies at the federal, state and local levels.
Steven is a certified mediator and a member of the federal mediation panel for the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He has also served as a special master in the
In addition to his litigation and counseling experience, Steven is a member of the Association of the
Bar of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association where
he has recently been made a presenter at Continuing Legal Education forums.
Steven is admitted to practice before all courts of the states of New York and Illinois, the United
States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States District Courts for the Southern
and Eastern Districts of New York and the Northern District of Illinois. He has also represented
clients in the federal trial courts for the Districts of New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Steven earned his J.D. from the Hofstra University School of Law in 1993 where he served as Editorin-
Chief of Volume 10 of the Hofstra Labor Law Journal. While at Hofstra, Steven wrote and
published two articles, Board of Education v. Dowell: A Look at the New Phase in Desegregation
Law, 21 HOFSTRA L. REV. 537 (1992), and Keeping Sections 2(5) and 8(a)(2) of the NLRA Intact, a
Fresh Look at the Worker Participation Committees Through Electromation, Inc., 10 HOFSTRA LAB.
L.J. 375 (1992).
In addition, Steven has published four other articles: The Fair Labor Standards Act Exemptions and
the Pharmaceuticals Industry: Are Sales Representatives entitled to Overtime?, 13 BARRY L. REV. 1
(2009) (cited in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 635 F.3d 383, 395 n.8 (9th Cir. 2011));
Family Responsibilities Discrimination and the New York City Model: A Map for Future
Legislation, 51 S. TEX. L. REV. 19 (2009); Language Discrimination and English Only Rules in the
Workplace: the Case for Legislative Amendment of Title VII, 27 TEX. TECH L. REV. 33 (1996) and
Fine Tuning Preemption in Labor Law, or Rewriting the Market Participant Exception?, 45 LAB. L.J.
Merrick T. Rossein
Merrick (Rick) Rossein, Professor, served as the Acting Dean of CUNY Law School in 1994-95, teaches the Equality Concentration and courses on employment discrimination, employment law, and trial practice, and is a faculty member of the Law School's Worker, Employment, Labor Program (WELP). He earned a B.A. from Alfred University and an M.P.A. degree from Wagner School of Public Policy, New York University before joining the founding class of Antioch Law School. His extensive background in civil rights and employment law includes work at the National Employment Law Project, Queens Legal Services, Employment Law Unit, New York City Bureau of Labor Services, and New York City Commission on Human Rights.
In addition, he litigated numerous race, sex, age and disability discrimination cases, including the landmark sexual harassment case of EEOC v. Sage Realty Corporation. Prior to filing in federal district court, this case was the first sexual harassment case heard and decided by the full U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In another case of first impression, Leibovitz v. New York City Transit Authority, U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein wrote: "Counsel [Rossein] …is an extraordinarily able attorney specializing in discrimination litigation. *** Counsel was dealing with a difficult area in this field. He showed extraordinary skill." He litigated Bruneau v. South Kortright Central School District one of the first school peer-to-peer sex harassment cases under title IX of the 1972 Educational amendments, which received widespread media attention nationally and internationally.
He drafted legislation, an executive order, and model sexual harassment regulations, published a three-volume treatise, Employment Discrimination Law and Litigation (Thomson Reuters West), and edited Employment Law Desk Book for Human Resource Professionals. He drafted an affirmative action plan for the City of New York and was appointed by Mayor David N. Dinkins to a four-year term as Commissioner of the City of New York Equal Employment Practices Commission, by Governor Mario Cuomo to serve on his Task Force on Sexual Harassment, and was appointed by Chair Congresswoman Bella Abzug as a Member of the City of New York Commission on Woman Sexual Harassment Task Force.
Professor Rossein was selected and served as the Independent EEO Consultant based on a U.S. District Court decision and remedial order in U.S. and the Vulcan Society v. the City of New York. The decision found that the New York City Fire Department's hiring practices discriminated based on race and ordered major reforms, which included that a consultant develop compliance reforms along with the Court Monitor and the City. Prof. Rossein was responsible for developing a compliance program to ensure that the FDNY and the City address and eliminate discriminatory hiring practices based on race and build a diverse and inclusive firefighting workforce.
Professor Rossein was engaged by the Assembly of the State of New York to develop a harassment policy and procedure and training program and was appointed by the Standing Committee on Ethics as the independent neutral investigator counsel to investigate claims of harassment and discrimination by Members of the Assembly.
Professor Rossein is a member of the ABA Section on Labor and Employment, Equal Employment Opportunity and ADR Committees where he was named Scholar-in-Residence (2007) (inaugural scholar) and the New York State Bar Association Section on Labor and Employment, where he served as Secretary and on the Executive Committee. He is an arbitrator and mediator on the American Arbitration Association's National Employment Disputes Panel and has been a consultant on equal employment opportunity to the Greater London Council, the Working Women's Institute, the Women's Law Center in Cape Town, South Africa and the City of San Francisco, which enacted a statute based on his recommendations, as well as private sector employers, and has trained recently-appointed U.S. federal judges on employment discrimination law for the National Judicial Center in Washington, D.C.
Louis Pechman represents both employers and employees before federal
and state courts and government agencies in all areas of workplace law,
including employment discrimination, union-management relations,
employment contracts, ERISA, non-competition agreements, independent
contractor issues, and wage/hour disputes. As a practitioner for over twenty
years in the labor and employment field, Mr. Pechman offers both individual
employees and employers practical guidance on improving the employment
relationship and, where appropriate, terminating that relationship.
Prior to forming his partnership ten years ago with Laurie Berke-Weiss,
Mr. Pechman has worked as a labor and employment attorney at three
Manhattan law firms, as in-house labor counsel with the New York Daily News,
and as a Field Examiner with the National Labor Relations Board. Admitted to
the New York and New Jersey Bars, he is a graduate of the Cornell University
School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Fordham University School of
A frequent contributor to the New York Law Journal and other business
and legal publications, Mr. Pechman often gives presentations on employment
law topics, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, sexual harassment,
and the development of human resource policies and procedures. He has
lectured at the Fordham University School of Law, New York University, the
Extension Division of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor
Relations, and the American Bar Association. From 1994 through 1998, he was
Chair of the New York County Lawyers' Association Committee on Labor
Relations and Employment Law. Since 1996, Mr. Pechman has developed and
moderated NYCLA's annual program on "How to Handle an Employment
Joan is a Partner whose practice focuses on
representation of management in employment litigation
and complex commercial litigation. Joan enjoys a
distinguished reputation for successfully representing
employers in employment litigation and notable
experience in employment practices counseling. Her
practice also includes insurance coverage disputes and
professional liability defense. Practicing law since
1987, Joan has obtained extensive pre-trial, trial, and
appellate experience in both individual and class
actions in federal and state courts throughout the
country. She has been admitted on a pro hac vice
basis in numerous state courts throughout the country
and often manages complex litigation on a national
Joan is a frequent lecturer for various organizations
and clients including the Practicing Law Institute;
Tillinghast Towers Perrin; The Professional Liability
Underwriting Society; and The New York State Trial
Lawyers Association. Joan participated in a panel
presentation for human resource professionals on the
topic "Mitigating Organizational Risk through Effective
Employee Investigation Strategies"; Society for Human
Resource Management; Garden State Council
on October 25, 2011
Joan is also a frequent author of articles and recently
published Pre-Trial Motions and Trial Strategy from the
Defendant’s Perspective for the New York County Bar
Association and the Practicing Law Institute. She has
authored numerous articles on employment issues,
such as the “same-actor” defense and attorneys’ fees
in Title VII actions, as well as topics of interest to the
defense bar and employers, such as amendments to
the professional malpractice statute of limitation, which
have appeared in the International Insurance Law
Review (9 Int. L.R. 1996) and the New York Law
Journal (Oct. 29, 1998; Aug. 27, 1997; Oct. 30 1996).
Joan has been featured in the "And The Defense Wins"
section of The Voice, DRI's weekly eNewsletter:
March 31, 2010
Joan was named by New York Super Lawyers as one
of the top attorneys in employment law in the greater
Metropolitan New York area for 2009 through 2012.
Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are named
by Super Lawyers.
Roger Jacobs, Esq.
Roger Jacobs is the managing member of Jacobs Law Offices, LLC, located in Roseland, New Jersey. He had represented management in all aspects of labor and employment law. He is currently serving as an arbitrator and mediator and founded The Jacobs Center for Justice and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mr. Jacobs is currently on the labor and commercial panels at the American Arbitration Association; FINRA; Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; New York State Public Employment Relations Board; United States District Court; and New Jersey Superior Courts. He is an Accredited Business and Commercial Mediator at the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
In June 2003, Mr. Jacobs was appointed to serve as a member of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. He has served as Chairman of the Authority since May 2010. Mr. Jacobs also served as a Commissioner of the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority and served two terms on the Supreme Court Committee on Character.
Mr. Jacobs graduated with honors from Cornell University (Phi Kappa Phi) and New York University School of Law where he obtained his Juris Doctor and a Masters of Law in Labor Law. He was the Elias Lieberman Fellow in Labor Law and has received many awards and accolades throughout his professional career including being named a New Jersey "Super Lawyer" in 2010, 2011, and 2012. He maintains an "AV" rating with Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating.
A past charter member of the Editorial Board of the New Jersey Lawyer Newspaper, Jacobs is a current member of the Editorial Board of the Labor Law Journal and the Employee Relations Law Journal. His published works include Fits and Starts for Mandatory Arbitration, 29 Hof. Lab. & Emp. L.J. 547 (Spring 2012); Realities of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 37 Employee Rel. L.J. 35 (Summer 2011); Supreme Court Tips Against Individual Rights - Again, 27 Hofstra Lab & Emp. L.J. 267 (2010); Say When: An Analysis Of Post-Ledbetter Continuing Violations, 36 Employee Rel. L.J. 19 (Autumn 2010); and Labor and Employment in New Jersey, Lexis Publishing, 2nd Edition 2000.
In his private life, Mr. Jacobs has been dedicated to numerous civic and philanthropic causes.
Jacobs is married to Robin Hodes Jacobs, a CPA, and has two children, Joshua and Rachel, both of whom are also graduates of Cornell.
Amber C. Trzinski
AMBER C. TRZINSKI is an associate at Outten & Golden LLP, where she represents
employees in litigation and negotiation in all areas of employment law. Before joining the firm
she clerked for the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis of the Southern District of New York, then
litigated on behalf of individuals and organizations at Legal Aid of Western Missouri. Ms.
Trzinski received her B.S. in international business from the University of Southern California
and her J.D. from the University of Denver, where she was a Chancellor’s Scholar.
During law school, Ms. Trzinski litigated constitutional claims in federal court through her
school's Civil Rights Clinic. She also litigated class action cases at the Disability Rights Legal
Center in Los Angeles, and asylum cases at the Rocky Mountain Survivor Center. She was an
editor on the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy. In 2008, she received the United
Nations Association of Colorado Human Rights Award for advancing global human rights.
Ms. Trzinski is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and its
New York affiliate; the American Bar Association; and the New York City and State Bar