Employment Litigation and Administrative Advocacy


Robinson+Cole’s employment litigators serve regional, national, and international organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, and represent corporate, governmental, and nonprofit entities.  If your organization has employees, we can help you.

Although proactive counseling, training, and policy development can help minimize litigation and legal risks, management decisions are frequently challenged in court or in administrative actions. While our lawyers regularly seek to achieve results for our clients through dispositive motions and favorable settlements, we are equally ready to bring cases to trial.

Our Services and Our Team

Robinson+Cole defends employers in employment claims before federal and state trial and appellate courts, administrative agencies, and in arbitrations and mediations. Our broad trial experience enables us to handle virtually any claim filed against our clients. We partner with our clients to avoid litigation exposure or to help them achieve a resolution in step with their business goals. Our employment litigation services including the following:

  • Defending discrimination and retaliation claims based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), and other federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity laws in federal and state court and before administrative agencies
  • Defending single plaintiff and multiplaintiff lawsuits, including collective actions and hybrid class actions, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state and local wage and hour laws, including exempt/nonexempt misclassification overtime claims and independent contractor misclassification claims in federal and state court and before the Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Defending common law claims based on public policy, contract, or tort, including the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, infliction of emotional distress, fraud, defamation, invasion of privacy, and negligent hiring and supervision in federal and state court
  • Defending free speech, whistleblower retaliation, and similar claims by single and multiple plaintiffs in federal and state court and before government agencies
  • Defending claims before federal, state, and local agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the New York Department of Human Rights (NYDHR), the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL), and many others
  • Enforcing, or preventing enforcement of, noncompetition, nondisclosure, nonsolicitation, and confidentiality agreements; protection of trade secrets; prosecution of misappropriation of trade secret claims; and other intellectual property disputes
  • Coordinating or managing counsel to oversee litigation in multiple forums to achieve cost-savings and minimize risks of inconsistent positions in strategy, discovery, and outcomes
    • Experience
      • Engineered plaintiff's withdrawal of all national origin, and religious discrimination claims in federal court following jury selection with no money paid in settlement.
      • Serving as outside employment counsel for national fluids testing company with laboratories across the US for all multistate employment matters including investigations, wage and hour compliance, individual terminations and mass layoffs, electronic record keeping issues, and all other risk-management matters.
      • 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. Positioned the cases for mediation that resulted in a favorable global settlement.
      • 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.

      • 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.
      • Counseled national insurer on mass layoffs, risks-management issues, and separation packages, resulting in no lawsuits despite laying off over 1,000 employees and closing two offices over two years.
      • Obtained summary judgment on all counts in a case involving a multicount gender and disability discrimination matter in federal court for a Fortune 500 managed health care company.
      • Defended human service provider in superior court claim involving "fixed salary for fluctuating workweek" overtime.
      • Defended community health center in wide range of discrimination claims, including claims of sexual harassment, race, and disability discrimination.
      • Defended community health center in MCAD claim brought by terminated doctor for age, national origin, sex and sexual harassment claims.
      • Represented a school board sued for violation of Connecticut's free speech statute, defamation, invasion of privacy, and infliction of emotional distress, receiving a verdict in the board's favor on all counts.
      • Defended a national hotel company from wage and hour claims relating to a claimed failure to properly pay tips for banquet employees over a 14-year period.
      • Defended human service provider in litigation brought by employer for alleged breach of oral promise.
      • Counseled and represented a satellite technology company in the formation of a new business that was wrongly accused of misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims.
      • Represented a governmental entity through planning, trial, and appeals of a legal challenge to the entity's ordered conversion of health insurance offerings for retirees who had retired under long-expired collective bargaining agreements. Developed and oversaw all legal aspects of the conversion and defense strategy, which resulted in a groundbreaking Connecticut Supreme Court decision permitting the conversion.
      • Defended a shoe design company in a lawsuit filed by a former employee alleging sexual harassment and hostile environment charges. A Connecticut U.S. District Court Judge dismissed the case and agreed with the defendant’s legal argument that the plaintiff’s allegations did not amount to a severe and pervasive hostile work environment as compared to established law in the Second Circuit.
      • Representation of the board of directors of the Housing Authority of the City of New London on executive personnel matters.
      • Achieved summary judgment for a New York City-based global management consulting firm in employment contract litigation brought by former executive.
      • Achieved summary judgment for a New York City-based global management consulting firm based on 8 of 12 counts of noncompetition litigation on behalf of client and several of its senior executives.
      • Representation of a New York-based direct media company, with offices in South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, in defending various employment-related discrimination claims before state and federal administrative fair employment agencies and courts. Representation includes employment counseling, employee policies, state and federal Department of Labor audits, and assistance in development and execution of several multiple-state reduction-in-force programs.
      • Representation of a federal defense contractor of submarines, and a key subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company, as lead counsel in a wrongful termination suit involving allegations of anti-kickback and related violations and several state and federal actions to compel arbitration of employment-related disputes pursuant to the company's comprehensive arbitration policy.
      • Business Litigation

      • Defended an international postal product manufacturer against Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination, constructive discharge, and wrongful termination claims. Resolved the case favorably before trial
      • Other Experiences

      • Defending a Global 500 international financial institution against Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation claims filed by a former executive-level employee.

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    • News
      • October 20, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present at AICUM Fall Symposium 2016

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      • April 15, 2016

        Ian Clarke-Fisher Presents at CLM 2016 Conference

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      • October 2, 2015

        Ian Clarke-Fisher Is Nominated for CLM Membership

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      • July 8, 2015

        Stephen Aronson Serves as Panelist at UConn Law School

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      • July 7, 2015

        Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson Presents to SHRM Western CT Chapter

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      • November 21, 2014

        New York Lawyers Present New Developments in New York City and State Employment Law

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      • November 20, 2014

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

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      • January 31, 2014

        R&C Attorneys Speak About Data Privacy and Security in the Workplace

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      • November 8, 2013

        Hartford Lawyer Elected to Board of UConn's Law School Alumni Association

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      • October 28, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Write Article for NYSBA Journal

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      • October 21, 2013

        Super Lawyers® Names 61 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2013 List

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      • September 13, 2013

        Nicole Bernabo Appointed to Lead CBA's Labor and Employment Law Section

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • May 17, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Write Article for Connecticut Lawyer

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      • March 5, 2013

        Steve Aronson and Ian Clarke-Fisher Write Article for Westlaw Journal

      • February 21, 2013

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

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      • December 21, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Appointed to Board of Directors of Nonprofits

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      • December 13, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Earn Additional Honors for Pro Bono Work

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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • July 11, 2012

        Labor & Employment Attorneys Discuss How to Navigate the Hiring Process

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      • June 30, 2012

        Theodore J. Tucci to Participate in the Metro Hartford Alliance’s Panel Discussion on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling on Health Care Reform

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      • May 31, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Expands Labor & Employment Practice with Addition of Three New Attorneys

      • May 31, 2012

        Wage and Hour Case Argued by Robinson & Cole Highlighted at Annual National Limousine Association Day on the Hill in Washington D.C.

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      • May 22, 2012

        Labor and Employment Attorney Coaches Fifth Graders in Mock Trial

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      • May 14, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Welcomes Twelve New Attorneys in Five Offices Expanding its Presence across the Northeast

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      • April 11, 2012

        Employment Law Partner on Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association Panel Discussion

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      • July 25, 2011

        Nicole Bernabo Moderates Panel on Arbitration in Employment Disputes

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      • March 30, 2010

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

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      • November 12, 2009

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

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "Scandal on Campus and the Modern Day Investigation: Harassment, Sexting, and Avoiding the 'Rabbit Hole'," co-presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson and Kathleen E. Dion, presented at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) Fall Symposium, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/14/2016)
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      "The Workplace Scandal and Modern-Day Investigations: Harassment, Sexting, and Avoiding the 'Rabbit Hole'," presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, presented to the Society for Human Resource Management in Danbury, Connecticut (6/16/2015)

      "Religious Accommodations for Employers in the Health Care Workplace," co-authored by Stephen W. Aronson and Pamela H. Del Negro (June 2015)

      "Use of Social Media Evidence in Labor and Employment Cases," at United States Law Firm Group's (USLFG) annual meeting in Philadelphia, presented by Stephen W. Aronson (10/24/2014)
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      "New York City and State Employment Law: Recent Developments," presented at Robinson+Cole's New York City office, co-presented by Ian T. Clarke-Fisher, Matthew T. Miklave, Katherine C. Glynn and Laura A. Torchio (10/23/2014)
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      "Practical Implications of the Revamped Connecticut Personnel Files Act," co-presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson and Nicole A. Bernabo, webinar (10/29/2013)

      "Check out our Manufacturing Law Blog" (09/10/2013)

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

      "2012 Employment Law Roundup," co-presented by Nicole A. Bernabo, Jean E. Tomasco and Andrea Donovan Napp, webinar (11/15/2012)

      "A Key Court Decision for Employers in Connecticut" (10/16/2012)

      "Supreme Court Holds Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Constitutional" (06/29/2012)

      "Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional" (06/04/2012)

      "Arbitration in Employment Disputes," presented by Nicole A. Bernabo, moderated panel at Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting (6/23/2011)

      "Social Media in the Workplace - What to Consider to Protect Your Company," co-presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Nicole A. Bernabo and Alice E. DeTora, webinar (3/30/2011)

      "Understanding & Applying Daubert Principles in Today's Cases," at West LegalEdcenter CLE Course, Iselin, New Jersey, presented by Rebecca Levy-Sachs (9/22/2010)
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      "States divided over asset purchases and non-competes," published in New England In-House, more details (1/2010)

      "The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: An Overview and Discussion of a Recent First Circuit Case," at Boston Bar Assocation (3/11/2008)

      "Common Benefits Mistakes (and How to Minimize Risk)," at the Hartford Chapter of W.E.B. (Working in Employee Benefits), a group of benefits professionals (2/28/2008)

      "Wrongful Termination and Exceptions to At-Will Employment," at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Seminar, cochair of seminar, contributing author to seminar handbook (6/15/2007)

      "Is an Employer Liable When Its Sales Employee Breaches a Noncompetition or Nonsolicitation Agreement with a Former Employer?" published in Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (2007)

      "Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements Against Out-of-State Employees," published in Connections: Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Newsletter (12/2006)
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      "Big Brother, Hidden Cameras & Other Surveillance in the Workplace," at Massachusetts Bar Association Luncheon Roundtable, presented by Jeffrey M. Feuer, Esq., and David R. Kerrigan, Assistant Attorney General (1/11/2006)
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      Labor and Employment in Connecticut: A Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices, authored by Jeffrey L. Hirsch (2006, 2007)

      "Challenges Facing Payroll Managers in an Electronic Workplace," at American Payroll Association, Hartford Chapter, quarterly meeting, presented by Stephen W. Aronson (6/23/2005)

      "Aetna v. Davila: A New Look at ERISA Preemption of Medical Malpractice Claims," published in The Brief, American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (5/24/2005)
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      ERISA Survey of the Federal Circuits, Health and Disability Insurance Law Committee, contributing author (2005 edition)

      "Practical Guidance for Drafting and Enforcing Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in Employment Contracts: Ensuring Arbitral Adherence to Agreed-Upon Procedural Rules," published in Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin (5/2003)

      "Deposing the Plaintiff in an Employment Lawsuit," at LEB in Practice, presented by Stephen W. Aronson (1/28/2003)

      "The Great Compromise: Where to Convene the Trial of the Suspects Implicated in the Pan Am Flight 103 Bombing Over Lockerbie, Scotland," published in Suffolk Transnational Law Review (Fall 1999)

Our Team