Employment Practice

Kontnik | Cohen offers exceptional employment representation to individuals and small businesses. We have experience handling a variety of employment issues such as employment discrimination, retaliation, harassment claims, and wage and hour violations. We also have experience consulting with businesses to help them implement best practices. Representing both individuals and businesses, gives us a comprehensive understanding of employment law issues allowing us to be best negotiators and litigators for you.


When you are having problems at work, those concerns can permeate every aspect of your life. Losing a job, not receiving just compensation, or struggling to survive under unfair work conditions, not only affects your income and ability to provide, but it also can take an extreme toll on your well-being. On the other hand, as a small business the stress and expense of litigation can sidetrack you from focusing on the work you are passionate about and disrupt the functioning of your business.

The attorneys at KONTNIK | COHEN are here to help! We can help you find solutions to your precarious and difficult situation. We want to understand your situation, so we can lift some your burden. You don't have to carry that weight alone.

Employment discrimination

Employers are prohibited under federal and state laws from discriminating against employees. Employers are cannot take adverse employment action (hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, job assignment, benefits or disciplinary decisions) based on a protected category including an individual’s: race, color, national origin, creed, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation (including gender identity), and disability (physical and mental). If an employee is treated differently than other employees based on their membership in any of those categories, they may have an employment discrimination claim. Additionally, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who have spoken out against unfair employment practices.

Situations giving rise to employment discrimination claims are often subtle and complex. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and ready to help guide you through these complicated and stressful situations. If you think you have been the victim of discrimination, you must meet strict deadlines to preserve your claim. It is important to contact an attorney immediately to ensure you preserve your claim.

If you must make difficult decisions affecting the terms, conditions or privileges of employment for employees, we can help you implement best practices and document the legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for your employment decisions to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation down the road.

Below is a list of common categories giving rise to employment discrimination claims. This list is not comprehensive, so contact us about your unique situation.

  • Age Discrimination—The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and state laws provide extensive coverage to employees 40 years and older.
  • Gender/sex discrimination—Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, state and local laws provide coverage for sex and gender related issues including equal pay or wage discrimination case, and cases based on sex stereotyping.
  • Color/race and national origin discrimination—Title VII and state and local laws provide coverage based on color, race and national origin including both disparate treatment and disparate impact claims.
  • Disability discrimination—The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state laws not only prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their disability status—which includes both physical and mental disabilities—it also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations.
  • Religious discrimination—Title VII and state laws provide coverage to employees based on religion including allowing employees to follow their faith's normal religious practices, and requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations.  
  • Pregnancy discrimination—The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and state law prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and other associated medical conditions, and employers may have to provide reasonable accommodations due to pregnancy.


It is illegal for employer to retaliate against an employee who has spoken out against employer’s wrongdoing.  When issues surrounding potential discrimination arise, some employee activities—such as filling a complaint, cooperating in an investigation, refusing to participate in discriminatory activities, requesting reasonable accommodations or making inquiries to unveil potentially discriminatory wages—are protected. These complex and sensitive issues can be difficult to navigate as an employer or employee, and it is important to act quickly when a situation arises.


Harassment, including sexual harassment, in the workplace is illegal and prohibited by Title VII, ADEA, and ADA. Harassment is unwelcome behavior based on a protected category. While not all behavior will rise to the level of harassment legally speaking, offensive conduct may include behavior such as offensive jokes, slurs or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, and other behavior causing interference with employees work performance. There are generally two overarching types of harassment, but we understand every situation is unique. We want to hear your story and help you through this difficult situation.

  • Quid pro quo—where the offensive, unwelcome behavior becomes a condition of continued employment.
  • Hostile work environment—conduct that is so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would consider the work environment intimidating, hostile or abusive. 

Wage and Hour Violations

Employees are entitled to timely payment, minimum wages, and payment for the hours they worked. They may further be entitled to overtime pay, meal and rest periods, and pay for travel time.



Are you an employee who is not being paid for all the hours you work? Are you receiving the overtime pay you are entitled to? Have you been misclassified? Do you need to take family or medical leave? We are here to help you get just compensation for time and work.

  • Collective actions—these suits are like class action suits, by allowing multiple employees to sue for unpaid minimum wage or unpaid overtime on a collective basis.
  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to provide employees job-protected unpaid leave for qualifying medial and family reasons.


Are you a business figuring out how to classify your employees? Are you struggling to determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor? Do you need help understanding if an employee is entitled to overtime? KONTNIK | COHEN offers consulting and aggressive litigation representation to business. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your responsibilities to your employees. Consulting can help you correctly classify your employees, understand the breaks and unpaid leave your employees are entitled to, and understand who is entitled to overtime pay under what conditions before issues even arise. As a litigation law firm, our attorneys are trial tested and prepared to aggressively litigate claims.