Seward & Kissel’s employment lawyers are experienced practitioners who possess the tenacity and legal skills needed to win difficult disputes, the sound judgment required to help clients avoid expensive and unnecessary fights and the drafting and negotiating skills to fully protect the interests of our clients. As a result, we have an enviable record of success in this area.

We handle all types of employment disputes in federal and state courts and also represent clients in proceedings before administrative and regulatory agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and state divisions of human rights, and in arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), and other arbitration tribunals, such as the American Arbitration Association and JAMS. We also represent our clients, including major financial institutions, in unfair competition, breach of contract and employee raiding cases that have involved applications for injunctive relief.

We have considerable experience and success in litigating all aspects of employment cases, from motion practice to trial, and in taking on the most well-known firms of the plaintiff’s bar. Our practice also includes representing executives, portfolio managers and other senior personnel in negotiations with their employers as well as in disputes that may arise. Additionally, we offer highly responsive and seasoned counsel with judgment and perspective in employment matters and regularly advise our clients on compliance with the law and strategies to avoid litigation. We are equally proud of our accomplishments in mediating sensitive and potentially very expensive and distracting employment disputes arriving at positive outcomes for our clients.

We represent a wide range of principal players in the financial industry, including domestic and foreign banks, investment banks, broker-dealers, investment companies, investment advisers, private equity firms, publicly-held corporations and individuals. We have expertise in all areas of employment law and monitor and analyze all significant developments in the area. Our experience and the depth of the Firm’s practice in the securities industry and regulatory issues provide us with a unique edge in employment matters facing the industry. We are a leading adviser to hedge fund managers in the employment issues they encounter, including those who are building their businesses and others who are more established.

Types of Matters We Handle

  • Discrimination claims of all types, including race, age, disability, national origin, pregnancy and gender as well as sexual harassment and retaliation claims arising from complaints of discrimination
  • Equal Pay Act cases
  • Employee raiding claims
  • Breach of contract cases, wrongful termination and compensation related claims
  • Fraudulent inducement and promissory estoppel claims
  • Fair Labor Standards Act cases
  • Americans with Disabilities Act claims
  • Stock option claims
  • Claims for severance benefits under ERISA
  • Whistleblower claims brought under state and federal law, including the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and related proceedings before the Occupational Health & Safety Administration
  • Enforcing and defending against restrictive covenants and related applications for preliminary injunctive relief
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act claims
  • Defend Trade Secrets Act claims
  • Defamation
  • Representing executives, portfolio managers and other senior personnel in disputes with their employers

Advisory Services

We strongly believe that many employment-related disputes can be avoided altogether with appropriate legal guidance at an early stage. At Seward & Kissel, our seasoned litigators have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that frequently helps our clients avert costly and distracting litigation related to employment disputes.

We advise our clients on all facets of employer-employee relations, including issues that arise from hiring decisions, the application of discrimination laws, investigating harassment complaints, the scope and enforcement of restrictive covenants, the employee’s duty of loyalty, whistleblower claims, staff reductions, employment terminations, assembling business teams and compensation matters. We develop employee handbooks, employment contracts, complex compensation arrangements and bonus pools, restrictive covenants, severance plans and other employment policies and procedures. Together with the Firm’s Employee Benefits and Taxation lawyers, we handle executive compensation matters, including incentive and deferred compensation arrangements, stock options, employee stock ownership plans and benefits issues both for management and executives. Further, our employment team regularly advises our clients on employment matters involved in mergers and acquisitions transactions.

Representative Experience
  • Defending a registered investment advisor in an equal pay act and gender discrimination claim in federal court
  • Representing an asset management firm in an arbitration where claimant seeks make whole payments forfeited when he departed a former employer
  • Representing an asset management firm before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case of same sex sexual harassment
  • Defending an asset management firm in a declaratory judgment action where a former employee sought to invalidate a non-competition restriction
  • Obtaining summary judgment in defending an asset management firm in an arbitration involving claim for bonus compensation
  • Representing an investment management firm in a claim for deferred compensation
  • Obtaining a defense verdict in a federal race discrimination suit against a prominent not-for profit organization
  • Prevailing on an appeal resulting in the dismissal of claims arising from alleged oral promises of bonus compensation and severance payments
  • Obtaining an arbitration award against a former employee of an asset management firm for breach of the duty of loyalty and breach of contract
  • Representing an independent research and advisory firm in its action against a direct competitor and two former employees that involved a misappropriation of confidential information along with claims of breach of contract and interference with contractual relations
  • Representing a foreign bank against claims including corporate raiding and defeating an application for injunctive relief to prevent a change in management by a CDO fund
  • Enforcing a non-solicitation and non-interference covenant in federal court against a former business partner of a home products company
  • Enforcing a “garden leave” notice period against a departing Managing Director of an investment bank
  • Suing on behalf of a U.S. broker-dealer accused of fraud and mismanagement in an article in The Wall Street Journal against the trader who was the source and defending against the trader’s counter-claims that he was a “whistleblower” under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Obtaining an award dismissing claims brought by a former employee against an asset management firm under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
  • Defending a hedge fund and its partners against a multi-million dollar claim of age discrimination brought by a marketing professional
  • Defending a prominent Russian investment bank against claims including breach of contract and fraudulent inducement brought by a senior executive hired to open its New York office
  • Defending a Japanese investment company against claims of reverse national origin and race discrimination
  • Obtaining summary judgment for a shipping company that was sued for gender and disability discrimination
  • Representing a broker-dealer before FINRA in which an executive sought compensation in a “for cause” termination