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Jessica Golden Cortes is a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group of Davis & Gilbert. Ms. Cortes regularly counsels and actively litigates on behalf of her clients in all aspects of employment law, and frequently conducts employment trainings across the country, educating her clients in subjects such as respect in the workplace, unconscious bias and manager best practices. Representative counseling services include:

  • Conducting internal company investigations of discrimination complaints;
  • Advising clients on:
    - Hiring, terminations and reductions in force
    - Restrictive covenants 
    - Wage and hour issues 
    - Federal and state family and medical leave laws
  • Drafting employment policies, handbooks and employment and separation agreements.

In addition, Ms. Cortes represents employers in federal and state courts, federal, state and local administrative agencies and in arbitrations and mediations nationwide in the areas of race, sex, age, disability, failure to hire and other discrimination claims, and in breach of contract disputes arising primarily from alleged breaches of continuing post-employment obligations and for cause terminations.  She has successfully defended several of the firm’s clients against claims of discrimination before the EEOC and state agencies in multiple states, including New York, Connecticut, California, Ohio and Michigan.

Ms. Cortes has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of labor and employment: workplace and employment counseling area for six consecutive years (2013-2018). She has also been recognized as a leading lawyer for labor & employment law by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-2016). In addition, she has been selected as a Super Lawyer (2018) and Rising Star (2013-2016) by New York Metro Super Lawyers, and named a winner in the Esquire Industry Practice category for SmartCEO’s 2015 CPA & ESQ Awards. Before joining Davis & Gilbert, Ms. Cortes was a litigation attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Successfully compelled arbitration of a former employee’s claim on behalf of a major financial institution in a ruling that was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Represented Specific Media in certain aspects of its acquisition of music and social media platform MySpace.
  • Successfully defended a nationwide advertising agency in a bench trial where a staffing agency claimed entitlement to a fee for placement of an employee.
  • Successfully defended a nationwide temporary staffing agency against claim of retaliation and won unanimous jury verdict, including winning pre-trial motion to exclude expert testimony relating to controversial fMRI lie detection evidence.
  • Successfully defended a worldwide software solutions company against claims of national origin and race discrimination in arbitration proceeding and won full dismissal of all claims.
  • Successfully obtained a judgment from the New York Supreme Court, First Department, on behalf of an advertising agency, affirming summary judgment in a constructive discharge/breach of contract case.
  • Represented a nationwide consulting firm as third-party in arbitration involving restrictive covenant and breach of contract issues, including successfully arguing discovery-related motions, and defending witnesses at depositions and hearing.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

"Gender and Transgender Issues in the Workplace," Practising Law Institute's Employment Law Institute 2018, October 18, 2018

"How to Navigate Harassment Claims in the "MeToo" Environment," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, April 2018

"New York Paid Family Leave and Remote Work Arrangements," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, October 2017

"Key Strategies for Effective Internal Investigations," Practising Law Institute's Employment Law Institute 2017, October 19, 2017

"The All-Day Legislative & Legal Conference," New York City SHRM's Legislative & Legal SIG, October 18, 2017

"In-House Think Tanks on Employment Discrimination," American Conference Institute’s 9th Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation, September 26-27, 2017

"Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law: The Trump Administration, Upcoming NY State and City Law Changes, Benefits Regulations and More," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2017

"Workplace Equality: Addressing Transgender, Gender, and Pay Issues," NYC Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Legal & Legislative Conference, October 26, 2016

"New Federal Rules Affecting Overtime," Public Relations Global Network Webinar, October 6, 2016

"How to Prepare for the New Overtime Regulations," ClickTime Breakfast Seminar, September 22, 2016

"The Latest Trends in Litigation and Practical Guidance for Employers of LGBT Employees," American Conference Institute’s 8th Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation, July 28-29, 2016

"The Proposed New Federal Overtime Regulations and What They Mean for Your Firm," PRSA Counselors Academy Webinar, March 17, 2016

"How to Prepare for 2016: Proposed New Federal Overtime Regulations, New Employee-Friendly Laws in NYS and NYC, and Joint Employer Issues," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2016

"Compensable Time in the Modern Day Workplace," American Conference Institute’s 26th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims & Class Actions, January 28-29, 2016 

"Internal Investigations," Practising Law Institute’s Employment Law Institute 2015, October 22-23, 2015

"Social Media and Employment Law," Society for Human Resource Management: HR-PRO, July 14, 2015

"Consultants, Temporary Workers, and Shared Employees: The Changing Legal Landscape," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2015

"Claims Relating to Employee Use of Social Media: Social Networking, and the Recent Trend of Using Social Media for Class Action Notices and Class Member Recruitment," American Conference Institute, January 29-30, 2015

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, "Second Circuit Rules That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2018

Co-Author, "New Jersey Enacts New Equal Pay Protections Effective July 1, 2018," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2018

Co-Author, "California Enacts New Employer Requirements Effective January 1, 2018," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2017

Author, "New Rights For New York City Freelancers Effective May 15, 2017," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, March 2017

Co-Author, "Complying with California Cities' Recently Enacted Paid Sick Leave Ordinances," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2016

Author, "New Overtime Rules Temporarily Blocked by Nationwide Preliminary Injunction," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, November 2016

Author, "How to Prepare Your Managers for the New Federal Overtime Regulations," ClicktimeBlog, July 15, 2016

Co-Author, "What Employers Need to Know About New York State's New Paid Family Leave Law," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2016

Co-Author, "NYC Enacts Law Prohibiting Caregiver Discrimination," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, January 2016

Co-Author, "NY Governor Signs Bills Expanding Workplace Protections Against Sex Discrimination and Promoting Wage Equality," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2015

Co-Author, "Beginning July 1: California Employers Must Provide Paid Sick Leave," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2015

Co-Author, "NYC Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Related Medical Conditions," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, January 2014

PRESS

Quoted, PR Daily, "Is It All Right to Swear on the Job?" June 18, 2018

Quoted, Communications Leadership Council, "8 Things to Know Before You Use an Employee's Photo," June 5, 2018

Quoted, Law360, "DOL To Appeal Invalidation Of White Collar Overtime Rule," October 30, 2017

Featured, PRCouncil, "New York and California Minimum Exempt Salary Obligations in Effect," January 9, 2017

Quoted, Ragan.com, "Free Guide: Powering Your Internal Email Communications," December 6, 2016

Quoted, PR Council, "New Overtime Rules Temporarily Blocked by Nationwide Preliminary Injunction," November 23, 2016

Quoted, PRWeek, "Temporary Injunction Throws Wrench in Agencies' Overtime Plans," November 23, 2016

Quoted, Ragan.com, "10 Tips for Avoiding Legal Problems in Emails," November 7, 2016

Quoted, PRWeek, "Hiring Cutbacks. Less Travel. Benefit Reductions. How Agencies Will Deal With The New Overtime Rules," October 7, 2016

Featured, InsideCounsel, "Women Influence & Power in Law's "Executive Leadership Library"," November 4, 2014

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
Society For Human Resource Management
St. Francis Friends of the Poor, Board Member

BAR ADMISSIONS

New York
U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

EDUCATION

Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 2001
Wesleyan University, B.A., with high honors, 1998


    The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms    The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Successfully compelled arbitration of a former employee’s claim on behalf of a major financial institution in a ruling that was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Represented Specific Media in certain aspects of its acquisition of music and social media platform MySpace.
  • Successfully defended a nationwide advertising agency in a bench trial where a staffing agency claimed entitlement to a fee for placement of an employee.
  • Successfully defended a nationwide temporary staffing agency against claim of retaliation and won unanimous jury verdict, including winning pre-trial motion to exclude expert testimony relating to controversial fMRI lie detection evidence.
  • Successfully defended a worldwide software solutions company against claims of national origin and race discrimination in arbitration proceeding and won full dismissal of all claims.
  • Successfully obtained a judgment from the New York Supreme Court, First Department, on behalf of an advertising agency, affirming summary judgment in a constructive discharge/breach of contract case.
  • Represented a nationwide consulting firm as third-party in arbitration involving restrictive covenant and breach of contract issues, including successfully arguing discovery-related motions, and defending witnesses at depositions and hearing.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

"Gender and Transgender Issues in the Workplace," Practising Law Institute's Employment Law Institute 2018, October 18, 2018

"How to Navigate Harassment Claims in the "MeToo" Environment," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, April 2018

"New York Paid Family Leave and Remote Work Arrangements," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, October 2017

"Key Strategies for Effective Internal Investigations," Practising Law Institute's Employment Law Institute 2017, October 19, 2017

"The All-Day Legislative & Legal Conference," New York City SHRM's Legislative & Legal SIG, October 18, 2017

"In-House Think Tanks on Employment Discrimination," American Conference Institute’s 9th Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation, September 26-27, 2017

"Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law: The Trump Administration, Upcoming NY State and City Law Changes, Benefits Regulations and More," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2017

"Workplace Equality: Addressing Transgender, Gender, and Pay Issues," NYC Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Legal & Legislative Conference, October 26, 2016

"New Federal Rules Affecting Overtime," Public Relations Global Network Webinar, October 6, 2016

"How to Prepare for the New Overtime Regulations," ClickTime Breakfast Seminar, September 22, 2016

"The Latest Trends in Litigation and Practical Guidance for Employers of LGBT Employees," American Conference Institute’s 8th Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation, July 28-29, 2016

"The Proposed New Federal Overtime Regulations and What They Mean for Your Firm," PRSA Counselors Academy Webinar, March 17, 2016

"How to Prepare for 2016: Proposed New Federal Overtime Regulations, New Employee-Friendly Laws in NYS and NYC, and Joint Employer Issues," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2016

"Compensable Time in the Modern Day Workplace," American Conference Institute’s 26th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims & Class Actions, January 28-29, 2016 

"Internal Investigations," Practising Law Institute’s Employment Law Institute 2015, October 22-23, 2015

"Social Media and Employment Law," Society for Human Resource Management: HR-PRO, July 14, 2015

"Consultants, Temporary Workers, and Shared Employees: The Changing Legal Landscape," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2015

"Claims Relating to Employee Use of Social Media: Social Networking, and the Recent Trend of Using Social Media for Class Action Notices and Class Member Recruitment," American Conference Institute, January 29-30, 2015

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, "Second Circuit Rules That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2018

Co-Author, "New Jersey Enacts New Equal Pay Protections Effective July 1, 2018," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2018

Co-Author, "California Enacts New Employer Requirements Effective January 1, 2018," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2017

Author, "New Rights For New York City Freelancers Effective May 15, 2017," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, March 2017

Co-Author, "Complying with California Cities' Recently Enacted Paid Sick Leave Ordinances," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2016

Author, "New Overtime Rules Temporarily Blocked by Nationwide Preliminary Injunction," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, November 2016

Author, "How to Prepare Your Managers for the New Federal Overtime Regulations," ClicktimeBlog, July 15, 2016

Co-Author, "What Employers Need to Know About New York State's New Paid Family Leave Law," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2016

Co-Author, "NYC Enacts Law Prohibiting Caregiver Discrimination," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, January 2016

Co-Author, "NY Governor Signs Bills Expanding Workplace Protections Against Sex Discrimination and Promoting Wage Equality," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2015

Co-Author, "Beginning July 1: California Employers Must Provide Paid Sick Leave," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2015

Co-Author, "NYC Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Related Medical Conditions," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, January 2014

PRESS

Quoted, PR Daily, "Is It All Right to Swear on the Job?" June 18, 2018

Quoted, Communications Leadership Council, "8 Things to Know Before You Use an Employee's Photo," June 5, 2018

Quoted, Law360, "DOL To Appeal Invalidation Of White Collar Overtime Rule," October 30, 2017

Featured, PRCouncil, "New York and California Minimum Exempt Salary Obligations in Effect," January 9, 2017

Quoted, Ragan.com, "Free Guide: Powering Your Internal Email Communications," December 6, 2016

Quoted, PR Council, "New Overtime Rules Temporarily Blocked by Nationwide Preliminary Injunction," November 23, 2016

Quoted, PRWeek, "Temporary Injunction Throws Wrench in Agencies' Overtime Plans," November 23, 2016

Quoted, Ragan.com, "10 Tips for Avoiding Legal Problems in Emails," November 7, 2016

Quoted, PRWeek, "Hiring Cutbacks. Less Travel. Benefit Reductions. How Agencies Will Deal With The New Overtime Rules," October 7, 2016

Featured, InsideCounsel, "Women Influence & Power in Law's "Executive Leadership Library"," November 4, 2014

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
Society For Human Resource Management
St. Francis Friends of the Poor, Board Member

BAR ADMISSIONS

New York
U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

EDUCATION

Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 2001
Wesleyan University, B.A., with high honors, 1998


    The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms    The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms