Richard Reibstein is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the New York office, where he heads that office’s labor and employment law practice.
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 (NLRB) and the U.S. Department of Labor.
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.
In the area of independent contractor and wage/hour compliance, Mr. Reibstein has designed programs for more than 40 companies to enhance compliance with such laws at the federal and state levels. He also defends businesses across the country 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. Mr. Reibstein 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 recently secured a Final Judgment in favor of a large snack food company, including a declaratory judgment that the named plaintiff in a class action misclassification case in Massachusetts was an independent contractor. His current class action cases involve an independent contractor misclassification claim by on-demand couriers under California law, a claim for unpaid hours by over 4,000 New York live-in home health aides, and an overtime claim in a Pennsylvania federal court by 2,000 route sales persons located in 16 states. Mr. Reibstein disposed of four other class actions recently; three involving home health aides and the other involving car service drivers claiming they were misclassified as independent contractors. For the past six years, Mr. Reibstein has co-published the only legal blog dedicated to independent contractor compliance and misclassification, including a monthly update of judicial, administrative, and legislative developments in the area.
In addition, Mr. Reibstein is co-chair of Pepper’s Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Practice team. He 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 multiple cases with injunctions 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 legal fees and expenses. Mr. Reibstein has also defeated numerous claims brought in court or threatened litigation for alleged use of trade secrets and breach of non-solicitation and non-compete clauses.
Mr. Reibstein has secured dismissals and favorable defense judgments in more than 95 cases in the federal and state courts, including a number of trials. 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 is co-author of two books published by the Bureau of National Affairs on the subject of workplace torts, Employer’s Guide to Workplace Torts and Negligent Hiring, Fraud, Defamation and Other Emerging Areas of Employer Liability. He has also written a chapter entitled “Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants” in Leading Lawyers on Terms of Employment and Restrictive Covenants. His recent publications and quotes in numerous business and legal publications are accessible under “Insights” above. Mr. Reibstein was named a “Top Author” by a leading trade publication for 2016 in the areas of “Employer Liability” and “Class Actions."