Stephen D. Hans
New York Employment Defense Attorney
Stephen D. Hans has practiced law in Queens County, New York for over 35 years. His legal career began at a general litigation firm in New York City in 1977.
In 1979, he was presented with an opportunity to represent a NYCTA bus operator who was suspended for refusing to drive an unsafe bus. The bus operator prevailed at that hearing and was restored to his job. Mr. Hans’s successful representation of the bus operator did not go unnoticed.
In 1979, the bus operators’ union in Queens and the sister local in Staten Island retained Mr. Hans as their General Counsel for all employment and labor matters.
In 1980, both the subway and bus unions decided to strike throughout New York City.
Mr. Hans served as General Counsel to the unions not only in the daily collective bargaining sessions but also before the New York Supreme Court where the unions were facing contempt charges for engaging in an illegal strike. Mr. Hans was successful in keeping the union leaders out of jail and substantially limiting the financial penalties that were imposed by the New York Supreme Court. As a result of that representation, Mr. Hans continued representing the bus unions for a decade which included hundreds of grievances, arbitrations, and various disciplinary matters. The representation included a variety of lawsuits in both state and federal courts.
As time went on, the practice began to focus entirely on employment/labor law matters. While employment cases were not as abundant as they are today, the firm handled a diverse case load of employment matters.
Mr. Hans met Frank Cerniglia in those early years, and they joined forces primarily focused on employment law and personal injury law. By the late 90’s, the firm was established as an employment/labor firm and began increasing representation of clients in this area. The practice began phasing out other areas of representation.
Mr. Hans primarily represented employees during these years in a variety of issues such as discrimination, sex harassment, union matters, and disability claims. He also negotiated and drafted many separation and severance agreements for both employees and employers.
The Climate Changed in Business: Employment cases increased
By early 2000, the reputation of the firm had dramatically grown and this resulted in a change of representation. Numerous small and midsize businesses sought out the firm as employment cases increased tremendously. Employees began to routinely sue their employers for many different claims. The economic climate in the early 2000’s tightened and businesses were not earning what they were in prior years. Employers were routinely audited by municipal; agencies and numerous law suits were being filed in the federal court. Private law firms were formed to address the multitude of employees who sued their employers.
Wage and hour lawsuits
Wage and hour lawsuits were filed at an astounding pace. Small businesses with only several employees were subjected to a multitude of claims concerning unpaid wages. The firm began to address these lawsuits in two fundamental ways:
First, the firm took the position that these lawsuits needed to be resolved at the early stage, if possible, since small to midsize businesses could not afford the cost of protracted litigation.
Secondly, the firm developed a plan to have small to midsize businesses compliant under federal and state law. This included teaching, providing forms, analysis, visits to the business, and answering questions as they developed. The result was that these businesses who could never withstand costly lawsuits, would resolve the lawsuit expeditiously and discover how they could completely avoid them in the future.
Employment and Labor Law Claims by Employees
The firm has represented employers before both the Eastern and Southern Districts of the United States District Court; NYS and U.S. Department of Labor; NYS Division of Human Rights; the EEOC, and a variety of other municipal and federal agencies involving employment and labor law claims by employees.
Over the years, the firm has represented many restaurants, construction companies and retail businesses throughout the New York City metropolitan area. The firm’s goal is to resolve costly claims expeditiously when they are filed by employees, and thereafter assist the business owners in implementing procedures that help prevent such claims. The firm realizes that a productive and prosperous business is one in which the employees are viewed as the best asset and where the business operates seamlessly with time-tested procedures and forms that comply fully with the ever-changing array of employment and labor laws.
Areas of Practice
- Workplace Discrimination
- Wage & Hour Litigation
- US/NYS Dept. of Labor Investigations & Proceedings
- Retaliation/Whistleblower Claims
- Human Resource Counseling
- Employment & Severance Agreements
Bar & Court Admissions
- New York State Bar, 1977
- U. S. District Court; U. S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. Supreme Court
Professional Associations & Activities
- Queens County Bar Association, Board of Managers; 2001-2006
- Queens County Bar Association Labor Relations Committee Chairperson; 1998-Present
- Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Labor Law Panel
- Appellate Division, 2nd Department, Grievance Committee
- 1999- Commentator – Johnnie Cochran TV show as a legal commentator on various employment law topics including commenting on the sex harassment lawsuit with Paula Jones and President Clinton
- Developed a variety of Continuing Legal Education courses for the Queens County Bar
- Author of numerous articles on a variety of employment law topics, such as wage and hour violations, discrimination, severance agreements, and disability issues in the New York area
- Lecturer on employment law topics for business owners
- University of Mississippi Law Center, Oxford, MS; J.D.
- St. John’s University; B.A.
- Board member and Counsel – Chamber Orchestra of New York
- Counsel and former Board member – Queens Botanical Garden
- Board member – Boys & Girls Club of New York; Queens, New York
Located in Long Island City, Queens, New York, the attorneys at Stephen D. Hans & Associates represent clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Manhattan, Wall Street, Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island; and throughout Westchester County and Nassau and Suffolk. The firm also represents businesses in Astoria, Maspeth, Woodside, Sunnyside, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Woodhaven, Middle Village, Jackson Heights, Ridgewood, Flushing, College Point, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Richmond Hill, Jamaica, Whitestone, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, Little Neck, Douglaston, Hollis and St. Albans.