Small Business Counseling

According to the Level Playing Field Institute’s recent Corporate Leaver’s Survey, the cost of employee turnover caused by unfair or discriminatory workplace conduct costs the U.S. economy $64 billion annually. That figure encompasses the cost of voluntary employee departures, the search for replacement employees, and associated opportunity costs, but not litigation.

Litigation relating to employment-related disputes is very expensive, particularly for small business owners. According to a 2013 report from the National Center for State Courts based on information gleaned from civil cases filed in state courts, the average cost of legal fees for an employer who must defend against an employment-related lawsuit is $88,000.

In my experience, litigating an employment case through to the end of trial costs much more and attorneys who routinely represent employers agree. In a recent Huffington Post Live segment on at-will employment and the costs associated with employment-related litigation, one defense-side attorney estimated that the average cost of attorneys fees for an employer ranges from $75,000-125,000 to defend a case through discovery and to litigate a motion for summary judgment, and up to $250,000 to litigate the case through to the end of trial. These figures are similar to what I see in my own practice.

Employers can minimize their risk of employment-related litigation by doing a few simple things. Adopt policies and practices that strictly prohibit discriminatory conduct. Provide substantive training to your employees on anti-discrimination policies and practices on a regular basis. Respond to complaints when they arise. Take prompt and meaningful action to end any unfair workplace conduct.

Businesses that operate in New York City should regularly consult with an employment lawyer to understand how developments in the law may effect their operations. From increases in the minimum wage to automatic liability for employers whose managerial employees harass others, the legal landscape in New York City is constantly evolving.

My small business practice is focused on providing effective, affordable legal counsel to employers throughout New York City. I have experience writing equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination policies, complaint procedures and employee handbooks. I also have experience investigating discrimination and harassment complaints for employers.

I come to the table with a perspective that is different from most attorneys who represent employers in disputes. Because I will not represent an employer in litigation against an employee, I am primarily concerned with helping my small business clients prevent discrimination from happening in the first instance, and when it does, I minimize their exposure by assisting them in remedying the situation as quickly as possible.