© Copyright 2019 Robert B. Davis, Esq. , All rights reserved.

 

35 YEARS OF ADVOCACY:

FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION

& FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

My experience has shown it is critical for me to comprehend, as much as possible, the pain and complexity faced by a client who has been harassed, denied promotion, fired, or otherwise discriminated against because of who they are. Understanding what my client has experienced and in what context is necessary to present my client's employment discrimination claims - how their rights were violated. It is also critical to achieving their goals. Social justice has been the focus of my law practice since 1985. At first I represented  tenants and immigrants. Since the early 90s most of my practice has been representing clients who were harassed or discriminated against in the workplace. 

  UNPAID COMPENSATION

I have successfully prosecuted the claims of individuals denied commissions and overtime pay they were legally entitled to. Federal and State laws offer incentives for offending employers to resolve wage and hour claims rather than risk having to pay double damages and the employee's attorney fees.

     SEVERANCE NEGOTIATION

If your employment has been terminated and you have been offered severance pay, then there may be leverage to negotiate more favorable severance terms, including severance pay.  An example of leverage is having been discriminated against, such as being treated less well because of your gender,  as an employee. Discrimination can take the form of racial or sexual or other form of harassment, unequal pay or other work conditions, a promotion denied or being fired for unlawful reasons. My client and I explore possible legal claims in the context of  their history with that employer, while I explain the severance agreement terms in plain English, before advising as to a course of action.  

     REAL ESTATE MATTERS

Throughout my law career of some thirty-five years, I have represented clients selling or purchasing a home, whether coop or condo apartment, or a house.  I advise clients applying  for financing, understanding the title report and insurance, general home ownership issues, through closing, which is the meeting where ownership is transferred.  

 

R E S U L T S

The following are outcomes selected from employment matters I have handled, whether discrimination, harassment or compensation claims. If my client and their former employer agree on essential terms a settlement agreement is drafted and negotiated. Typically, settling employment claims ends the proceeding or lawsuit, provides for payment to client and myself, and prevents future lawsuits on those claims.  In order to resolve a claim the former employer nearly always insists on confidentiality and non-disparagement language - which require the former employee's silence about the settlement and what happened, and agreement not to disparage the former employer.  In some instances it is equally important to require the former employer (key supervisor(s)) not to disparage them.  In order to guard the privacy of former clients, while not violating confidentiality provisions, most of the outcomes below are summarized anonymously. Each client's situation is specific.  Variations in narrative and particular employer,  all contribute to different outcomes.  Prior results are not provided to suggest similar outcomes.

 

  • A secretary's sexual harassment lawsuit against her supervisor and public employer settled for $435,000.

  • A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against a private employer settled for $60,000.

  • An African American female professor's race and gender discrimination claims with her employer resolved for $270,000.  

  • Federal appellate decision established right of union member who prevails on duty of fair representation claim against union to have the union pay the prevailing plaintiff's attorneys' fees. Eight plaintiff-union members received a jury verdict in their favor against their union. (Co-counsel at trial and on appeal)  Cruz, et al v. Local Union 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 34 F. 2d 1148 (2d Cir. 1994)

 

  • Jury verdict entered in favor of client on his retaliatory termination claim against the Port Authority, resulted in judgment for plaintiff of $171,885. (Lead counsel)  Altman v. Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J., 879 F. Supp. 345 (SDNY 1995).

 

  • A maintenance worker settled her sex harassment/hostile work environment claims against the municipal employer at EEOC mediation for $49,000.

 

  • An African American women settled her employment discrimination lawsuit against a private employer at court-sponsored mediation, based on race, gender, hostile work environment and retaliatory termination claims for $250,000.

 

  • An African American man settled his race and disability discrimination and retaliatory termination claims against a private employer for $87,500.

 

  • An African American professor settled her race discrimination and constructive discharge claims for $108,000.

 

  • After EEOC found probably cause that the private employer discriminated against my client on the basis of his age, his claim settled for $99,500

 

  • A Black African immigrant settled her race and national origin discrimination and hostile work environment lawsuit against a private employer for $180,000.

 

B I O G R A P H I C - V I S I O N  S T A T E M E N T

Why specialize in anti-discrimination law?  A central motivation in my work is social justice.  Before law school I was a community organizer and since have been active in several social change / protest movements.  Early in my law career I represented immigrants fleeing persecution from El Salvador, Haiti and Iran, who sought political asylum in the U.S.  I also fought for the rights of low and moderate income tenants in Housing and State Court. 

The realities and issues confronted by clients are not simply my profession – they involve values I believe in.  Many of my relatives immigrated to the U.S. to escape persecution, and many of my clients with discrimination claims are immigrants.  Therefore,  discrimination my clients experience is not always completely outside my personal experience.  

I have practiced law since 1985.  I was a founding member of the law firm of Davis & Eisenberg, which was in practice through 2000.  In the 1990s I changed the central focus of my law practice to fighting employment discrimination – representing employees subjected to workplace discrimination.  I represent individuals with claims under local and federal anti-discrimination laws.  These claims are typically on the basis of the client’s race, ethnicity, national origin, gender (including sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination), and age.  My work is exclusively employee-side.

 

What is unlawful discrimination in employment?  One example is being subjected to a hostile work environment because of who you are - what anti-discrimination laws refer to as being a member of a "protected class" - for example race, religion or gender, among other classes.  Discrimination also includes individuals subjected to sex harassment, promotions denied based on race, age or gender, or being fired for objecting to discriminatory treatment - which is unlawful retaliation.  I also represent individuals denied pay, commissions and overtime compensation.

 

My solo practice focuses primarily on employment and to a lesser extent on coop, condo and house closings.  The majority of my work is prosecuting discrimination claims in administrative (usually EEOC), and trial and appellate proceedings in State and Federal court.  Most of my litigation is in federal court.  When feasible, I contact offending employers to explore resolution of my client's claims to avoid administrative proceedings and litigation.  

I have been a member of the Committee on Minorities and the Law of the New York County Lawyers’ Association for over twenty years, and served as Committee Co-Chair.  This Committee coordinates an annual paid summer judicial internship program for minority law students, and has presented forums on topics ranging from affirmative action to litigating police brutality claims.  I have also served on the Board of a not for profit arts group, the Lower Eastside Printshop. 

Since 2016, I have served on the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association, New York chapter (“NELA NY”), and since 2017 on its Executive Committee as Vice-President.  NELA NY is a bar association with several hundred attorney-members who represent, primarily or exclusively, the rights of employees.  Among other activities, we advocate for laws more favorable to employees, do extensive continuing legal education forums, operate a brain-storming listserv community for members, administer a legal referral service, print an employee rights newsletter of which I am co-editor, and are proud of an expanding roster of employee rights committees.  

 

I am a graduate of Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. (now the David A. Clarke School of Law which is part of the University of the District of Columbia), and have a BA in philosophy from the State University of New York at Binghamton.  I have a working knowledge reading and speaking French.

 

BIOGRAPHIC STATEMENT

Why specialize in anti-discrimination law?  A central motivation in my work is social justice.  Before law school I was a community organizer and since have been active in several social change / protest movements.  Early in my law career I represented immigrants fleeing persecution from El Salvador, Haiti and Iran seeking political asylum in the U.S.  I also fought for the rights of low and moderate income tenants in Housing and State Court. 

I have practiced law since 1985 and was a founding member of the law firm of Davis & Eisenberg, which was in practice through 2000. In the 1990s I changed the central focus of my law practice to representing employees subjected to workplace discrimination and harassment.  My clients are individuals primarily with claims under local and federal anti-discrimination laws.  These claims are typically based on the client’s race, ethnicity, national origin, gender (including sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination), and age.  My work is exclusively employee-side.

What is unlawful discrimination in employment?  One example is being subjected to a hostile work environment because of who you are - what anti-discrimination laws refer to as being a member of a "protected class," such as race, national origin, religion, gender (including pregnancy), and sexual orientation, among other classes.  For example, unlawful discrimination includes individuals subjected to sexual harassment, promotions denied based on race, age, gender, religion or other class, or being fired for objecting to discriminatory treatment - which is age unlawful retaliation.  I also represent clients denied pay, commissions and overtime compensation.

My solo practice focuses primarily on employment and to a lesser extent on coop, condo and house closings.  The majority of my work is prosecuting discrimination/harassment claims in administrative (EEOC) and trial and appellate proceedings in New York State and local federal courts.  Most of my litigation is in federal court.  When feasible, I contact offending employers to explore resolution of my client's claims to avoid administrative proceedings and litigation.  

The realities and issues confronted by clients are not simply my profession - they involve values I believe in.  Many of my relatives immigrated to the U.S. to escape persecution, and some of my clients with discrimination claims are also immigrants for a variety of reasons.  Therefore, the discrimination my clients experience is not always completely outside my personal experience.

I have been a member of the Committee on Minorities and the Law of the New York County Lawyers Association for over twenty years, and served as Committee Co-Chair.  This Committee coordinates an annual paid summer judicial internship program for minority law students, and has presented forums on topics ranging from affirmative action to litigating police brutality claims.  I have also served on the Board of a not for profit arts group, the Lower Eastside Printshop.

Since 2016, I have served on the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association, New York chapter ("NELA NY"), and since 2017 on it Executive Committee as Vice-President.  NELA NY is a bar association with several hundred attorney members who represent, primarily or exclusively, the rights of employees.  Among other activities, we advocate for laws more favorable to employees, organize extensive continuing legal education forums, operate a brain-storming listserv community for members, administer a legal referral service, print an employee rights newsletter of which I have been co-editor, and are proud of an expanding roster of employee rights committees.

I am a graduate of Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., now the David A.Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia, and have a BA in philosophy from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Please do not communicate with my office using your employer's computer or phone line.  For privacy, it is necessary to use only secure private phone and private electronic mail addresses.  Sending an email to my office does not create an attorney-client relationship.