Stephen W. Aronson

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Stephen Aronson defends employers in federal and state court and before administrative agencies in class actions, multiplaintiff, and single plaintiff employment law claims.

    Employment Litigation and Administrative Advocacy

    Mr. Aronson has extensive experience leading the defense of companies facing Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) misclassification claims, including hybrid claims under federal and state law. He frequently wins summary judgment on discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower, free speech, and other employment claims. He is hired by employers and insurance carriers seeking experienced trial counsel to defend cases being brought to trial. 

    Mr. Aronson also handles hearings on injunctions in noncompete cases for both former employers and new employers, including related claims such as misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and employee theft. 

    He won a defense verdict in a lawsuit filed in Connecticut state court by the former vice president of human resources of a specialty chemical company alleging that he was not paid certain amounts for two bonus awards and claiming breach of contract, promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. He also recently prevailed in two court trials, one defending an aerospace company from wage and hour claims and the second defending a municipal employer from race discrimination, hostile environment, and retaliation civil rights claims.

    Health Law

    While Mr. Aronson represents employers in many industry sectors, he often represents the health care industry. He regularly defends hospitals, health care systems, and physician groups from discrimination, wage and hour, whistleblower retaliation, and free speech claims as well as compliance actions. He also works with senior management on implementing best practices, risk avoidance, investigations, and litigation oversight. In addition, Mr. Aronson contributes to the firm's Health Law Diagnosis blog.

    Counseling, Compliance, and Training

    Drawing from his experience as in-house employment counsel, Mr. Aronson also counsels companies and human resources professionals on litigation avoidance techniques, investigations, policies, discipline and performance management, governmental and internal audits, employment contracts, contingent worker liabilities, severance and separation agreements, workplace safety, individual terminations and reductions in force, and noncompete, nondisparagement, nonsolicitation, and confidentiality agreements.

    Mr. Aronson often presents seminars on employment law topics, including litigation strategies, personal liability, wage and hour claims, COBRA, ERISA, employment at will, wrongful discharge, employment contracts, handbooks, defamation, privacy rights, reductions in force, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and workplace violence. He has authored articles on the Dodd-Frank Act and whistleblower retaliation claims, damages under the FLSA, Title VII damages, contingent worker liabilities, wage and hour claims procedures, discrimination litigation, and other topics.

    Mr. Aronson has been selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list in 2006, 2007, 2010, and from 2013 to 2016.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Won summary judgment in an age discrimination case under the ADEA where a 64-year-old employee sued his employer, an aerospace technology company, after his 34-year-old supervisor decided to lay him off rather than his 20- or 34-year-old coworkers.
      • Defended a global specialty chemical company in a lawsuit filed in Connecticut state court by its former vice president of human resources alleging that he was not paid certain amounts for two bonus awards and claiming breach of contract, promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. As part of his claims, the former employee alleged that the company's chairman and CEO committed fraud, made material misrepresentations, and acted in bad faith. A jury in Danbury Superior Court returned a verdict in favor of our client on all claims.
      • Represented a national truck rental company in lawsuits filed by two current and six former employees alleging discrimination based on sex, race, color, and national origin, and retaliation for having opposed discrimination in the workplace in violation of Title VII, Section 1981, and Connecticut law. The plaintiffs also sought to have their claims certified as a class action. Successfully positioned the cases for mediation that resulted in a favorable global settlement.
      • Served as local counsel to Dominion Resources Inc. in acquisition in Connecticut and continued as employment counsel. Counseled acquirer and local human resources professionals on due diligence, hiring and termination issues, wage and hour compliance, and other employment-related matters.
      • Successfully obtained dismissal of ADA disability discrimination and retaliation claims filed against company and two managers by former employee who underwent eye surgery and had scheduled back surgery at the time of his termination.
      • Defended property management company from claims by the Connecticut DOL seeking damages, fines, and penalties for allegedly misclassifying independent contractors and for unpaid wages for employees subject to call while away from the properties.
      • Successfully defended national insurer in a four-day trial from precedent-setting claim by the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) seeking compensatory and liquidated damages for unpaid sales commissions to managers based on an agreement used nationally for all managers.
      • Defended lumberyard and its president from common law claims for breach of an implied employment agreement and for unpaid bonuses (minimal jury verdict resulted in plaintiff recovering nothing).
      • Successfully defeated appeal of summary judgment on claims of race discrimination in violation of Title VII and Section 1981 and disability discrimination and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
      • Obtained summary judgment for employer on all claims where former employee alleged breach of contract, wrongful discharge in violation of right to freedom of speech, violation of whistleblower statute, negligent misrepresentation, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
      • Successfully defended state municipal oversight board from challenge to board and municipality's conversion of retirees from indemnity health plans to preferred provider plans, resulting in substantial cost savings to municipality.
      • After a trial, defeated claims by a former employee for breach of an employment contract, for failure to pay wages under Connecticut's wage payment statutes, and for failure to pay severance.
      • Representing a developer and general contractor in connection with the development and net leasing of 300 new family housing units constructed at a U.S. Air Force base utilizing governmental incentives and funded with Department of Air Force lease collateralized revenue bonds.
      • After a three-day trial, a federal court jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, a municipal corporation, against an employee claiming race discrimination, hostile environment, and retaliation under Sections 1981 and 1983 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts.
      • Represented client in all aspects of due diligence, risk management, permitting, site remediation, the transaction, and development of a $250 million global development facility.

      • Investigated and prosecuted former president, vice president, and plant manager in claims alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, theft, and breach of fiduciary duties for establishing and running a competitive business using our client's employees. Worked with private investigators, forensic accountants, and police officers to gather evidence establishing claims. Served as temporary in-house employment department, handling terminations, payroll, benefits, security, communications, and other matters.
      • Representation of the board of directors of the Housing Authority of the City of New London on executive personnel matters.
      • Defended national construction company in six related lawsuits. The first lawsuit was an FLSA hybrid collective action filed by five former employees claiming failure to pay overtime pay on behalf of themselves and a nationwide class of current and former employees. We successfully dismissed all of the class action wage and hour claims. We also successfully limited the plaintiffs from conducting nationwide discovery, saving significant expenses. Although the Court allowed the plaintiffs to issue a class solicitation notice, only one former employee opted into the lawsuit. We also successfully defended the company from five single-plaintiff lawsuits alleging discrimination and retaliation claims, breach of implied contract claims, equal pay claims, and wrongful termination claims. We filed motions to dismiss by which we dismissed two of the lawsuits in their entirety and limited the claims in the remaining three lawsuits. Having significantly reduced the scope of the plaintiffs' claims, we positioned the case for settlement, and after two mediations, we entered into a confidential global settlement of all claims.  

      • Represented national chemical company from claims by a former internal auditor alleging race, sex, and religious discrimination; retaliation for complaining about discrimination; and intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy by false light. We first successfully dismissed the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress and false light invasion of privacy claims. We next won summary judgment on all claims. Finally, we won our request for reimbursement of discovery costs and an award of attorney's fees.  

      • Noncompetition Agreements

      • Representation of Connecticut-based chemical manufacturing company in a lawsuit commenced in North Carolina against a former salesman who left for a competitor for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with business relations, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair trade practices, and conversion of property. Based on forensic examination of the former employee’s hard drive and investigation with local police surrounding the alleged theft of a laptop, Robinson & Cole achieved a prompt settlement returning all company property and nonsolicitation covenants. As part of the same matter, Robinson & Cole also squelched the hiring of our client's employees by a New Jersey-based chemical company, who Robinson & Cole had threatened with litigation for employee raiding in violation of the Sherman Act and unfair trade practices.
      • Representation of a Massachusetts mortgage broker in enforcing a noncompete agreement against a Connecticut mortgage originator. Robinson & Cole's investigation enabled the client to prevail on claims of breach of a noncompete agreement, breach of a duty of loyalty, tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair trade practices and defeat the former employee’s claims of nonpayment of commissions.
      • Representation of home health care organizations to prosecute claims for breach of a noncompete agreement, breach of fiduciary duties, tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair trade practices, conversion of company property, and statutory theft. Robinson & Cole's investigation resulted in a prompt settlement, including payment of attorney’s fees.
      • Representation of a physician group to enforce noncompete agreement against physician who took the group’s patient list and opened a practice within the restricted area. The main contested issue was the scope of the geographic restriction. Robinson & Cole positioned our expert witness to overcome any challenges and succeeded in achieving a quick settlement at the injunction hearing.
      • Representation of a salesman in concert with high-tech employer to defend against claims of breach of a noncompete agreement, breach of a nondisclosure agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair trade practices where employee went to work for a competitor.
      • Representation of an insurance agency in defeating action to enforce three noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements against newly hired employees.
      • Representation of a health maintenance organization in defeating action to enforce a noncompete, nondisclosure, and nonsolicitation agreement against a newly hired sales manager. Robinson & Cole positioned the case at the injunction hearing so well that the judge essentially cut off testimony and ruled from the bench to deny the injunction.
      • Representation of a Connecticut-based marketing company in prosecuting claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of a noncompete agreement, breach of a confidentiality agreement, conversion, and statutory theft involving a current officer of our client, unbeknownst to our client, who was working for two other employers at the same time and sharing her work product with her other employers in New York and Vermont. Successfully obtained return of all work product at the two other employers, immediate termination of the officer, and prompt settlement of the lawsuit favorable to our client.
      • Representation of several principals and staff members of a business unit of a financial services company in effecting a separation from their employer to set up a competing business despite noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements.
      • back to top
    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Anti-Defamation League
      Connecticut Civil Rights Committee

      American Inns of Court
      Former Secretary

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Labor and Employment Law Section, Professional Discipline Committee

      Anti-Defamation League, Connecticut Chapter

      Society for Human Resource Management
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list in 2006, 2007, 2010, and from 2013 to 2016.

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Yachad Greater Hartford Jewish Community High School
      member of the Board of Trustees
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Religious Accommodations for Employers in the Health Care Workplace," co-authored with Pamela H. Del Negro (June 2015)

      "Employee Free Speech in Connecticut: The Unsettled Landscape of Connecticut General Statutes § 31-51q," published in Connecticut Lawyer, co-authored with Ian T. Clarke-Fisher (04/2013)

      "Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements under the FAA May Shield Employers from FLSA Class Actions," published in Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (10/2002)

      Human Resources Guide to Recruiting, Retaining, and Rewarding Employees (Spring 2002)

      "Front Pay is Not Subject to Title VII Damages Cap," published in Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (7/1/2001)

      "Paying Employees for Travel Time," published in CBIA News, a publication of the CBIA (5/2001)

      "Professional Discipline Digest," published in Connecticut Lawyer Magazine (1994 to present)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Employment Litigation," panelist at University of Connecticut School of Law class on employment litigation (4/15/2015)

      "Use of Social Media Evidence in Labor and Employment Cases," at United States Law Firm Group's (USLFG) annual meeting in Philadelphia (10/24/2014)
      • » more info

      "Connecticut State Law Update," at United States Law Firm Group's (USLFG) annual meeting in Philadelphia to USLFG members (10/24/2014)
      • » more info

      "In the Workplace," appeared on this radio talk show to discuss social media and employment litigation (10/23/2014)
      • » more info

      "Employment Law Overview: Workplace Harassment and Violence – Minimizing the Risks," at annual managers program at client headquarters (2/12/2013)

      "Managing Employment Litigation: Claims By Current Employee-Plaintiffs," at Robinson & Cole's Managing Litigation for In-House Counsel Breakfast Series (2/12/2013)

      "Managing a Mobile Workforce: Complying with Wage and Hour Laws and Protecting Company Interests," co-presented with Jean E. Tomasco and Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, webinar (5/25/2011)

      "Recent Trends in Employment Law Claims: Update for Petroleum Marketers," (6/10/2008)

      "Noncompetition Agreements and Trade Secret Protection: Current Trends, Tips, and Best Practices," (1/16/2008 and 11/12/2008)

      "Protecting ECHN from Liability: E-Mails and Electronic Discovery," a seminar presented for the senior leadership team of client Eastern Connecticut Health Network (10/18/2007)

      "Employee or Independent Contractor? Managing the Risk," at Truck Conference 2007, sponsored by the Motor Transportation Association of Connecticut (10/4/2007)
      • » more info

      "Protecting Your Organization from Liability for Breaches of Data Privacy and Other Burgeoning Privacy Issues," (5/16 to 5/17/2007)

      "Recent Developments in Employment Law 2007," at COEM (5/16 to 5/17/2007)

      "Advanced FMLA: Strategies to Solve Your Most Complex FMLA Challenges," at COEM (3/15/2007)

      "Challenges Facing Payroll Managers in an Electronic Workplace," at American Payroll Association, Hartford Chapter, quarterly meeting (6/23/2005)

      "Guidelines for the Generation, Retention, and Destruction of HR Records in an Increasingly Electronic World," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association's (CBIA) Human Resources Conference at the new Connecticut Convention Center, co-presented with Jean E. Tomasco (6/3/2005)

      "E-Discovery, Litigation Holds and Best Practices," at "Tour of the Electronic Workplace, Business Environment and Litigation Protocols," an executive roundtable (5/11/2005)

      "Do You Know Where Your Electronic Records Are Located?" at Robinson & Cole Employment Roundtable (3/2005)

      "Trial Presentation Technology for Today's Lawyers," at Annual Meeting of United States Law Firm Group, Hartford, Connecticut (6/4/2004)

      "Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law for Connecticut Employers," at Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, Inc., Innovative Expo 2003 (10/7/2003)

      "Proposed Changes to the Federal Wage and Hour Laws and Recent Changes to the Connectict Personnel Files Act," at Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (6/19/2003)

      "Deposing the Plaintiff in an Employment Lawsuit," at LEB in Practice (1/28/2003)

      "Alternative Careers for In-House Lawyers: Going Into Private Practice," at Inaugural Careers Evening Seminar, sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Corporate Counsel Section of the Connecticut Bar Association (9/19/2002)

      "Benefiting from Diversity," (2/2001)

      "Employee or Independent Contractor?" at Truck Conference 2000 Seminar, sponsored by the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, Inc. (10/2000)

      "An Overview of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service Reform Proposal," (6/2000)

      "OSHA Compliance and Your Lawyer," at EH&S Compliance and Inspections, sponsored by the Briarwood Summer Institute and the CBIA (6/2000)

      "Minimizing Your Personal Liability When Implementing Terminations," at Progressive Discipline, Coaching, and Termination Law Seminar, sponsored by the Council on Education in Management (2/24 to 2/25/2000)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • July 15, 2015

        Stephen Aronson Honored by Jewish Teen Learning Connection

        • » more info
      • July 8, 2015

        Stephen Aronson Serves as Panelist at UConn Law School

        • » more info
      • July 1, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Write Article for Journal of Health & Life Sciences Law

        • » more info
      • November 20, 2014

        Stephen Aronson Appears on Talk Show, Participates in Presentations at USLFG Annual Meeting

        • » more info
      • October 28, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Write Article for NYSBA Journal

        • » more info
      • May 17, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Write Article for Connecticut Lawyer

        • » more info
      • February 21, 2013

        The Connecticut Law Tribune Publishes Article by Steve Aronson and Ian Clarke-Fisher

        • » more info
      • June 5, 2012

        Stephen Aronson Comments on Supreme Court Ruling in Hartford Courant

        • » more info
      • June 3, 2011

        Labor and Employment Attorneys Discuss Legal Considerations of Telework Arrangements

        • » more info
      • May 25, 2011

        Stephen Aronson Writes Professional Discipline Digest

        • » more info
      • May 20, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Featured in Health Care Reform Book

        • » more info
      • April 28, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Speaks at Regional Economic Development Forum

        • » more info
      • March 30, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Speaks at Continuing Legal Education Seminar on the Discovery Process in Employment Litigation

        • » more info
      • November 30, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Receive Spotlight Award for Community Work

        • » more info
      • November 20, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Speaks at Educational Seminar on the Impact of Smoking on Businesses

        • » more info
      • November 12, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Present on Employment Program to Connecticut Chapter of American Institute of Architects

        • » more info
      • April 7, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Present Webinar to Fuel Industry

        • » more info
      • January 23, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Partner Authors "Digest" for Connecticut Lawyer Magazine

        • » more info

      R+C News Releases

      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

        • » more info
        • View article