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. His current class action cases involve an independent contractor misclassification claim under Massachusetts 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 two other class actions recently; one involving home health aides and the other involving car service drivers. For the past five 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. In addition, Mr. Reibstein has defeated numerous claims brought in court or threatening litigation for alleged use of trade secrets and breach of non-solicitation and non-compete clauses.
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.
Mr. Reibstein has secured dismissals and favorable judgments in more than 90 cases in the federal and state courts, including a number of trials. His last three jury verdicts resulted in the dismissal of 4 of 5 claims for sexual harassment and medical leave, the dismissal of a federal court lawsuit for sexual harassment and race discrimination, and the dismissal of 7 of 8 claims for retaliation and hostile work environment. 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 served as an expert witness in the area of workplace torts in an $80 million taxpayer refund case. He has also written a chapter in Leading Lawyers on Terms of Employment, Restrictive Covenants, Termination Provisions, and Other Key Elements titled “Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants.”