Susan K. Lessack
Susan K. Lessack is a partner in the Berwyn and Philadelphia offices of Pepper Hamilton LLP. She concentrates her practice in employment counseling and employment litigation.
Ms. Lessack’s experience includes counseling employers on matters related to compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws, employee discipline and separations; conducting investigations of employee conduct, including harassment; training employers on their obligations under employment laws and litigation avoidance; and developing employment policies. She defends employers in litigation of employment discrimination claims, wrongful discharge claims, and claims under federal and state employment-related statutes, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.
Examples of the types of representative engagements in which Ms. Lessack has participated include:
Ms. Lessack writes extensively about developments in employment law, and she is a regular contributor and editor for HR Specialist: Pennsylvania Employment Law. Her publications include:
- successful defense of litigation and administrative claims involving allegations of race, gender, age, disability, national origin and religious discrimination
- successful defense of an arbitration under Malaysian law involving the termination of a plant manager for gross misconduct
- defense of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act involving claim of overtime compensation for hours worked at home
- summary dismissal of a claim by a paramedic alleging retaliatory discharge based on filing a workers’ compensation complaint
- summary dismissal of a disability discrimination claim by an employee of a food service company who worked at client’s facility
- advice concerning the appropriate classification of workers as employees or independent contractors
- negotiation and drafting of executive employment and separation agreements
- counseling concerning the design and implementation of reductions in force
- advice and training concerning the investigation and remediation of sexual and other harassment claims
- counseling regarding the proper classification of employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- advice and training on affirmative action compliance resulting in successful audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Ms. Lessack also speaks on various issues in employment law, including employment law trends, performance management, off duty conduct and discrimination laws.
- “EEOC Files Its Second Complaint Challenging an Employer’s Wellness Program,” Pepper@Work (October 2014)
- “Philadelphia Passes Breastfeeding Bill” (co-author), Pepper@Work (September 2014)
- “EEOC Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination,” Pepper@Work (July 2014)
- “President Obama Takes Two Executive Actions Aimed at Promoting Equal Pay for Employees of Federal Contractors,” Pepper@Work (April 2014)
- “Game Changer: NLRB Approves Unionization of Northwestern University Football Players” (co-author), Pepper@Work (March 2014)
- “Carrot or Stick? When Does a Voluntary Wellness Program become Involuntary?” The HR Specialist (September 2013)
- “OFCCP Echoes EEOC’s Recommendations on the Use of Criminal Records in Making Hiring Decisions,” Employee Relations Journal (Vol. 39, No. 1, Summer 2013) and Pepper@Work (April 2012)
- “Considering Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions,” Employee Benefit Plan Review (January 2013)
- “You Can’t Say That! Or Can You? Discussing Politics at Work,” The HR Specialist (October 2012)
- “Dive into 2012: Getting Your Employment Policies in Shape for the New ear,” The HR Specialist (January 2012)
- “The EEOC Takes Aim at Systemic Discrimination,” The HR Specialist (August 2011)
- “EEOC to Provide Guidance on Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Pepper@Work (June 2011)
- “City of Philadelphia Passes ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinance Prohibiting Employers from Asking About Criminal Convictions on Job Applications and in First Interviews,” Pepper@Work (April 2011)
- “As More Employers Try to Curb Worker Smoking, Questions About Employee Rights Remain,” The HR Specialist (January 2011)
- “EEOC Issues Final GINA Regulations,” Pepper@Work (November 2010)
- “EEOC Focuses on Credit Histories,” Pepper@Work (October 2010)
- “How Employers Can Respond to Increasingly Stressed Workers,” The HR Specialist (October 2010)
- “Wellness Programs: The Clash Between GINA and Health Care Reform,” The HR Specialist (September 2010)
- “Where There’s Smoke: Employer Policies on Smoking” (co-author), Employee Relations Law Journal (Winter 2006).
Ms. Lessack is a member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section and that Section’s Subcommittees on Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Rights and Responsibilities. She also is a member of the labor and employment section of the American Health Lawyers Association.
B.B.A. 1983, with distinction, George Washington University; member, Beta Gamma Sigma (the business honor society)
J.D. 1988, with highest honors, George Washington University National Law Center; Order of the Coif; associate, The George Washington University Law Review
Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania