Richard J. Reibstein
Richard Reibstein is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the New York office.
Mr. Reibstein has more than 25 years of experience in private practice representing employers and senior management in all areas of employment and labor law, preceded by two years of government service with the National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Department of Labor. He was selected for inclusion in the 2014 New York Super Lawyers list.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Reibstein was a partner in WolfBlock’s Employment Services Practice Group and headed the firm’s labor and employment practice in the New York office.
Mr. Reibstein regularly counsels and defends employers in claims involving employment discrimination (including sexual harassment, hostile work environment and disability claims), wrongful discharge and workplace torts (including defamation, fraud, invasion of privacy, tortious interference and negligent hiring and retention), and ERISA litigation. He represents management at NLRB proceedings, arbitrations and collective bargaining negotiations, and counsels employers on remaining union free. He also defends employers in the areas of family and medical leaves, benefit disputes, workplace investigations, and the specialized areas of construction and health care labor laws.
Mr. Reibstein counsels private educational institutions with regard to student issues and disputes raised by parents, faculty and staff; advises on their policies and procedures; and defends them in claims by teachers, parents and alumni.
In the area of independent contractor and wage/hour compliance, Mr. Reibstein designs programs for companies to enhance compliance with such laws at the federal and state levels, and defends businesses before administrative agencies and the courts in single plaintiff and class action employee misclassification lawsuits and claims seeking unpaid benefits, overtime, and other types of wage payments. He co-heads Pepper’s Independent Contractor Compliance Practice Group, an interdisciplinary team of more than 30 labor, tax, employee benefits, and class action attorneys. He also co-publishes a blog on the subject at www.IndependentContractorCompliance.com, including a monthly update of IC Compliance News. His most recent class action cases involved the defense of an overtime claim with more than 1,500 class members brought under state law, and the dismissal of a federal class action independent contractor misclassification case involving car service drivers and a five-figure resolution of the class action when re-filed in state court.
In addition, Mr. Reibstein crafts corporate protection plans and negotiates and drafts state-of-the-art non-compete agreements, confidentiality pledges, and other types of restrictive covenants. He counsels clients on securing compliance with such agreements by departing employees and their new employers and, conversely, how to lift-out key employees of competitors who have signed these types of agreements. Where necessary, he litigates controversies across the country involving non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, trade secret obligations, and employees’ fiduciary duty of loyalty. He has obtained a number of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions and secured final relief including provisions that restrained a client’s former employees and their new employer from doing business with certain customers, required payment of damages for unfair competition, and ordered reimbursement of the former employer’s legal fees and expenses. Most recently, Mr. Reibstein defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to restrain a client from soliciting customers of a competitor and secured the voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit after filing a motion for summary judgment on all nine counts of the complaint. Mr. Reibstein is co-chair of Pepper’s Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Practice team.
Mr. Reibstein has represented clients with nationwide operations as well as employers based in Europe, Canada, Latin America and the Pacific Rim. He has secured dismissals and favorable judgments in more than 90 cases in the federal and state courts, including an increasing number of trials. His three most recent jury verdicts resulted in the dismissal of a federal court lawsuit for sexual harassment and race discrimination, the dismissal of 7 of 8 claims for retaliation and hostile work environment, and the dismissal of 4 of 5 claims for sexual harassment and medical leave. Mr. Reibstein’s most significant accomplishments, though, are the hundreds of threatened and anticipated lawsuits he has avoided for clients that have sought his advice and counsel before being sued.
Mr. Reibstein has lectured and written extensively in the areas of labor and employment law and is a recognized authority in the area of workplace torts. He co-authored two books on the subject, Employer’s Guide to Workplace Torts (Bureau of National Affairs, 1992) and Negligent Hiring, Fraud, Defamation and Other Emerging Areas of Employer Liability (Bureau of National Affairs, 1988), and has written a number of articles on recent developments in the law of workplace torts and how employers can minimize legal exposure to such claims. He also served as an expert witness in the area of workplace torts in an $80 million taxpayer refund case.
Mr. Reibstein is regularly quoted in local and national newspapers and publications as well as legal and employee relations publications. Some of his most recent writings and presentations have dealt with independent contractor compliance, non-compete agreements and restrictive covenants, avoiding workplace defamation claims, disability discrimination, and construction labor law.
Mr. Reibstein’s book chapters and selected articles include:
- “1099ers Exposing Startups, Private Equity Firms to Costly Liability,” Law360 (Lexis/Nexis), September 24, 2014
- “Transportation Law: Major Change in Law of Independent Contractors,” New York Law Journal, November 27, 2013
- “Ironing Out the Wrinkles in NYC’s Earned Sick Time Act,” Law360 (LexisNexis), July 9, 2013
- “A Look at the Toughest Unemployment Discrimination Law,” Law360 (LexisNexis), March 20, 2013
- “Hidden Due Diligence Risk in Mergers, Acquisitions, and Investments: Independent Contractor Misclassification Oftentimes Overlooked by Private Equity Firms, Hedge Funds and Other Investors,” American Bar Association’s Business Law Today, January 23, 2013
- “How Companies Can Minimize the Risks of Independent Contractor Misclassification,” BNA's Compensation Planning Journal, August 3, 2012
- “Update on Independent Contractor Misclassification: The States Have Taken the Lead in Cracking Down,” HR Specialist, June 25, 2012
- “NYS Construction Industry Fair Play Act: An End to Independent Contractors?,” New York Law Journal, September 9, 2010
- “Bill Addresses Independent Contractor Misclassification,” National Law Journal, May 24, 2010
- “Construction Industry Misclassification of Workers,” Construction Accounting & Taxation, July/August 2008
- “The Risk of Using Independent Contractors: Government Initiatives, Employee Challenges Make Companies Review Classification Practices,” New York Law Journal, GC New York Section, May 15, 2008
- “Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants,” Leading Lawyers on Terms of Employment, Restrictive Covenants, Termination Provisions, and Other Key Elements, Aspatore Books Div. of Thomson-West Publishing, April 2008
- “Independent Contractor High Alert - The IRS and State Labor Departments Take Aim at Employee Misclassifications: How Employers Can Minimize Their Liability Risks,” HR Advisor, January/February 2008
- “Life After Indeck: What It Means to You,” Constructor - The Magazine of the Associated General Contractors of America, November/December 2007
- “Non-Competes CAN Be Worth the Paper They Are Written On,” IndustryWeek.com, November 7, 2007
- “Unlawful Employee Internet Use: Is It Your Company's Problem?,” Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, April 2006
- “Defamation-Proof Your Workplace,” HR Advisor, July/August 2005
- “Key 2d Circuit Case Broadens ADA Claims for Mental Disabilities But Imposes Narrow Standard for Relief,” Employment Litigation Reporter, February 1, 2005
- “Provisions of New York Laws are Likely to Diminish Impact of High Court Disability Decisions,” New York State Bar Association Journal, October 2002
- “Not So Fast: Supreme Court’s ADA Decisions May Not Be So Favorable After All,” Employment Litigation Reporter, August 20, 2002; (Also reprinted in AIDS Litigation Reporter, September 2002).
Mr. Reibstein’s presentations include:
- “Two Frequently Overlooked Employment Law Issues: Independent Contractor Misclassification and Ineffective Non-Competes,” presented by New York Law Journal, October 2013 (New York) and Pepper Hamilton LLP, September 2013 (New York)
- “How Much Is Your Exposure for Independent Contractor Misclassification? What Tools Are Available to Help You Avoid or Minimize Liability for 1099ers?”, jointly presented with BDO USA, LLP (Accountants and Consultants), May 2012 (Boston and Washington, D.C.) and June 2012 (New York, Princeton, Philadelphia, and Berwyn, PA)
- “Independent Contractor Compliance 2010-2011: How to Eliminate or Minimize Misclassification Liability in the Face of Heightened Risks of Using Independent Contractors," jointly presented with Kelly Services, Inc., January 2011 (Detroit and Pittsburgh); and jointly presented with Marcum LLP Accountants and Advisors, November 2010 (Boston) and July 2010 (New York City, Philadelphia, Princeton, and Berwyn, PA)
- “The New Risks of Using Independent Contractors, Consultants and Other Contingent Workers: How To Minimize or Eliminate Liability Arising From Misclassification of Employees,” Headway Corporate Resources, New York City, June 4, 2008; 24 Seven Inc., New York City, July 16, 2008; Tax Executives Institute, Harrisburg, PA, September 19, 2008; Marquis Agency, Woodbridge, NJ, October 23, 2008
- “Legal Issues in Promoting and Protecting Your Corporate Reputation and Competitive Advantage,” IncreMental Advantage, November 6, 2007
- “Non Competes and Restrictive Covenants: Seven Steps to Turn Losses into Wins,” Workplace HR & Safety Magazine Audio Conference, September 27, 2007
- “Background Screening for the Global Marketplace: U.S. Law and Human Resource Challenges,” Human Resource Roundtable of British American Business Inc., June 20, 2006
- “Protect Your Compensation Department Against Costly Litigation: Tips and Strategies to Avoid Legal Claims,” Institute of Management and Administration (IOMA), New York City, September 20, 2004
- “Workplace Torts,” New York University Diploma Program in Human Resources Management, November 12, 2003
- “Contingent Worker Liabilities: Suggestions to Avoid or Minimize Your Exposure,” Headway Corporate Resources, New York City, September 17, 2003
- “Creating a Corporate Protection Program,” Lenox Advisors, New York City, March 27, 2003.
B.A. 1973, with distinction, University of Rochester
J.D. 1976, with honors, George Washington University Law School
Admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey