Wendi S. Lazar - Executive Employment Law Lawyer New York City, NY

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Wendi S. Lazar

Partner
New York Office
(212) 245-1000

About

WENDI S. LAZAR is a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York where she co-heads the firm’s Individual Practice and the Executives and Professionals Practice Group. Ms. Lazar practices in many areas of employment law with a focus on executive agreements, including retention, expatriate, non-competition, talent, severance, and compensation arrangements. She also represents teams of executives, founders and partners transitioning during a sale, merger and acquisitions and other corporate transactions. Ms. Lazar’s practice is international in scope, and she advises clients and attorneys in the U.S. and abroad on employment, contract, and often related immigration issues. Ms. Lazar represents individuals, partners, and management teams at portfolio and public companies, financial institutions (including banks, hedge funds, private equity companies), and entertainment, advertising and media companies. She also represents law partners and associates, accounting professionals, doctors and medical practitioners in all transactional matters. Ms. Lazar was appointed as a commissioner by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women, where she heads the Sexual Harassment and Gender Based Bullying Committee.

Ms. Lazar is the Diversity Co-Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Labor & Employment Section, and is an active member of NELA, ABA and NYSBA committees. She is former Employee Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section’s International Labor and Employment Law Committee.

Ms. Lazar writes a quarterly column for the New York Law Journal entitled “Employees in the Workplace.” She regularly lectures on employment issues to bar associations and industry groups and has had numerous legal articles and book chapters published. She co-authored as Co-Editor In-Chief, "Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey," published in 2010 by the BNA and its supplements through 2013, which includes the chapter “Confidentiality, Trade Secrets, and Other Duties and Restrictive Covenants in a Global Economy.” In addition, she is also the author of the chapter “Negotiating and Drafting Expatriate Employment Agreements," in the 3rd Edition of Vol. 1B of International Labor & Employment Law, published in 2009 by the BNA.

Martindale-Hubbell recognizes Ms. Lazar as an AV “Preeminent” rated attorney. She was named to Best Lawyers in America 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 in the field of Employment Law – Individuals. Ms. Lazar was also recognized by Super Lawyers in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Ms. Lazar has been selected as a 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyer. In 2014, Ms. Lazar was elected as a Fellow to the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers. Ms. Lazar was named a New York Law Journal: Top Women in the Law 2016. She is also a Board Member of Work Life Law, UC Hastings College of the Law. Before she began practicing law in 1993, Ms. Lazar was a film and television producer. Her ten years of experience in that field include many television and feature film credits as well as an Emmy Award. Ms. Lazar graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College and received her J.D. cum laude from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she received a Ford Foundation Fellowship in International Law and was an Alexander Fellow, participating as a federal judicial law clerk.

    Press (Abbreviated List)

    • Quoted: Emma Jacobs, Lessons from the Litigants, Financial Times, March 31, 2010, at 14.
    • Quoted: Amy Engeler, Older And Out!, MORE, Nov. 2008, at 104, 105, 171.
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    Bar Admissions & Professional Activities

    • Ms. Lazar is admitted to practice in New York, the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

    • Commissioner, American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession

    • Member, International Bar Association

    • Co-Chair, Diversity Committee, New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Labor & Employment Section

    • Executive Committee, NYSBA Labor & Employment Section, International Labor and Employment Committee

    • Former Chair, International Women's Rights Committee of the Women's Bar of the State of New York

    • Chair, National Employment Lawyers Association's (NELA) Executives and Professionals Committee

    • Former Co-Chair, International Labor and Employment Law Committee, American Bar Association (ABA), Labor and Employment Law Section

    • Former Member, International Human Rights Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York

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    Speaking Engagements

    Ms. Lazar frequently lectures on employment issues to bar associations and industry groups, and appears as an expert in the news media.

    2018

    • Moderator: "The College of Labor & Employment Program: Setting the Bar: The Elimination of Unprofessional Conduct Toward Women and Minorities," ABA Labor & Employment Section, 12th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, San Francisco, CA
    • Speaker: "TBA," New York State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Fall Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • Panelist: "Protecting Business Interests in International Team Moves – Pursuing Litigation, and Enforcing Orders and Awards Across Borders," Global Business Protections 2018 One Day International Restrictive Covenants and Confidential Information Conference, London, UK
    • Panelist: "ABA Forum: #MeToo, Time's Up—Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," American Bar Association, Office of the President and the Commission on Women in the Profession, Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL
    • Moderator: "#Metoo, #QuellaVoltaChe, #YoTambien, #BalanceTonPorc: Examining Global Policies and Regulations in the Wake of the Sexual Harassment Scandal," American Bar Association Section of Labor & Employment Law, International Labor and Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting, Milan, Italy
    • Panelist: "Embracing Transformation in the Legal Industry," Thomson Reuters: The Early Careers Network and the Technology Practice Group, New York, NY
    • Moderator: "International Executive Compensation Hot Topics," Practising Law Institute, Cross-Border Employment Law 2018, New York, NY
    • Keynote Speaker: "The Future of Work in the Second Machine Age," Georgetown University Law Center, The Changing Nature of Low-Wage Work: How Automation & the Gig Economy Impact the Future of Work, Washington, DC

    2017

    • Panelist: "The Challenges of Globalizing Corporate Diversity Initiatives and Overcoming Cultural Impediments," ABA Section of Labor & Employment, Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, Washington, DC
    • Panelist: "Please Mind the Gap: A Cross-Border Comparison of New Laws and Initiatives to Equal Pay," ABA Section of International Labor & Employment Law Committee, Midyear Meeting, Dublin, Ireland
    • Panelist: "The History and Modification of ABA Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(g) and Best Practices for Compliance," The Seton Hall University School of Law Legislative Journal and Circuit Review, Diversity and Inclusion: Shaping an Ethical Practice, Newark, NJ
    • Conference Co-chair, Moderator, and Panelist: "Employment issues in the gig economy in the US/UK," ELA, Fifth Transatlantic Conference: Programme, London, UK

    2016

    • Speaker: "Bias, Prejudice & Harassment in the Legal Profession: A Proposal for a New Rule (E)," ABA, Labor & Employment Law Section, ABA Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, Chicago, IL
    • Speaker: "Understanding the Employment and Immigration Implications of Terminating Expatriates: At the Journey’s End," American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment,, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Midwinter Meeting, New Orleans, LA
    • Speaker: "Federal Privacy Laws: International Employment Issues and the Impact on Your Practice," 2016 National CLE Conference, Vail, CO

    2015

    • Speaker: "Managing Expatriates in the U.S. and Overseas," Practising Law Institute, International Employment Law 2015, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "Restrictive Covenants and Labor Mobility: A Case Study of Non-Competes, and Choice-of-Law Provisions, in the Legal Profession," American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment Law, International Labor and Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting, Barcelona, Spain
    • Speaker: "Representing the “Sweat Equity” Worker in a Startup or Early-Stage Venture," “Sweat Equity” in Startups and Early-Stage Businesses, Legal, Tax and Employment Issues for Founders, Key Executives and Independent Contractors," NYSBA, Employment Law Issues for the Startup Venture, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "Pre-Emption Claims Under the UTSA," National CLE Conference - Labor & Employment, Vail, CO
    • Moderator: "Learning to Lead: Facing Today's Challenges," American Bar Association, 2015 Women of the Section of Litigation Conference: Leading, Litigating, Connecting, Chicago, IL
    • Speaker: "Restrictive Covenants and Unlawful Competition in Employment Law," IBA, Annual Employment and Discrimination Law Conference: The dynamics of a globalised workforce: challenges and solutions in the modern labour landscape, Rome, Italy
    • Speaker: "Representing the Start-Up Venture Institute," New York State Bar Association, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "Running a Cross Border Restrictive Covenant Case," ELA Conference, London, UK
    • Speaker: "Retaining & Promoting Women & Minorities in the Legal Profession: Getting It Right," NYSBA, Annual Meeting, Plenary One, New York, NY
    • Panelist: "What Works for Women at Work: Navigating Workplaces Shaped by Subtle Bias," UC Hastings WorkLife Law, UCHastings Leadership Academy for Women, San Francisco, CA
    • Speaker: "Noncompetes on the Cutting Edge," National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, Vail, CO
    • Panelist: "Private Equity CEO Compensation Structures," Hypatia Capital Group, Luncheon, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "International Employment Issues and the Impact on Your Practice," National CLE Conference, Vail, CO

    2014

    • Panelist: "Professional Responsibility and Gender Equity," Committee on Women in the Law, of the New York State Bar Association Program Annual Meeting, Edith I. Spivack Symposium, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "What Works for Women," New York City Bar, Committee on Women in the Legal Profession & Committee on Career Advancement and Management, Women Lawyers 2014 Book Club Series, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "FMLA, ADA, PDA Update," National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, Vail, CO
    • Speaker: "Challenges Facing Women Lawyers in a Global Practice," American Bar Association Section of Labor & Employment Law, International Labor & Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting
    • Speaker: "International Compensation Challenges," Practising Law Institute
    • Panelist: "Mediation Strategies in Executive Employment Disputes," New York Law Journal Labor & Employment Law breakfast, New York, NY
    • Speaker: "Effective Strategies for Drafting Executive Employment Contracts," NELA, Annual Convention: Blazing the Trail, Courage, Challenge, Change, Boston, MA
    • Panelist: "Mediation Advocacy Strategies in Executive Employment Disputes," JAMS and the New York Law Journal, Insights and Strategies on the Effective: Mediation of Employment Disputes, New York, NY
    • Moderator: "Doing Business in the Asia Pacific: Pitfalls and Advantages for Employers and Employees," ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, 8th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, Los Angeles, CA

    2013

    • Panelist: "Where Have all the Women Gone?," International Bar Association, IBA Employment and Discrimination Law Conference, Boston, MA
    • Panelist: "It's as Easy as a Day at the Beach: Basics of Restrictive Covenants and Duties," American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment Law, International Labor & Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting
    • Speaker: "Tips for Successful Negotiations," American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Webinar
    • Panelist: "The Changing Landscape of Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants," American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, and the Center for Professional Development, Webinar
    • Speaker: "What's Love Got to Do With It? Work Romances and Sexual Favoritism," National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, Vail, CO
    • Moderator: "ABA Panel: Team Moves and Restrictive Covenants," ELA, Third Transatlantic Conference, London, UK
    • Speaker: "Cross-Border Assignments & Employment Agreements," Practising Law Institute, International Employment Law 2013, Seminar/Webcast
    • Speaker: "Settling the Case and Wrapping Up Employment: Negotiating Strategies, Drafting Realities," 46th Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Law Conference, Seattle, WA

    2012

    • Speaker: "Foreign Companies Doing Business in the U.S.: Special Challenges," Practising Law Institute, International Employment Law Conference
    • Speaker: "Global Trade Secret Protection and Drafting Global Policies," American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment, International Labor & Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting
    • Speaker: "International Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets," American bar Association International Law Section, Spring Meeting
    • Speaker: "Negotiating and Drafting Expatriate Employment Agreements (Cross-border Litigation)," International Bar Association, The Paradigm of Employment Law Conference
    • Speaker: "Drafting Expatriate Agreements," American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section, 6th Annual Section of Labor & Employment Law Conference, Atlanta, GA
    • Speaker: "Trade Secrets from the Employment Lawyers Point of View," American Law Institute and American Bar Association, Video Telecast
    • Speaker: "Retaliation in the Context of Discrimination," Practising Law institute, International Employment Law
    • Speaker: "Executives Gone Wild: Special Employment Law Issues," National Continuing Legal Education Conference
    • Speaker: "Retaliation Claims: Don't Get Mad, Don't Get Even, Don't Get Sued," Practising Law Institute, Employment Discrimination Law and Litigation

    2011

    • Commentator: "Economic Dismissal Legislation in Other Countries," New York University, New York University 64th Annual Conference on Labor, New York, NY
    • Co-Moderator: "Restrictive Covenants in Employment Contracts," American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Labor & Employment Law, International Labor & Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting, Berlin, Germany
    • Moderator: "Are You Protected? Privacy, Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets and Non-Competes in Web 2.0," American Bar Association, National Symposium on Technology in Labor & Employment Law, New York, NY
    • Lecturer: "Innovative Ways to Incentivize Employees," International Bar Association Conference, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    • Lecturer: "Drafting Non-Competition & Non-Solicitation Agreements: Supporting the Agreements & Avoiding the Pitfalls," American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Webcast
    • Lecturer: "Non-Competition Clauses and Restrictive Covenants," New York State Bar Association, Annual Meeting
    • Lecturer: "International Restrictive Covenants in a Global Workplace," 28th Annual National CLE Conference in Labor and Employment Law, Vail, CO

    2010

    • Lecturer: "Enforcing Post Employment Restrictions Across Borders," ABA International Labor & Employment Law Committee, Midyear Meeting
    • Lecturer: "Around the World in 90 Minutes: Highlights of Current Peculiarities and Pitfalls of Individual Transnational Employment Contracts," ABA Section of Labor & Employment 4th Annual Law Conference, Chicago, IL
    • Lecturer: "Sex Discrimination Behind the Camera: How to Deal With Harassment in the Industry," New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), New York, NY
    • Lecturer: "International Labor and Employment Law: A Bootcamp for U.S. Attorneys," American Conference Institute (ACI), New York, NY
    • Lecturer: "How to Retain Talent And Survive in a Challenging Economy," Five O'Clock Club, New York, NY
    • Lecturer: "Keeping up with the Competition and Keeping the Taxman at Bay: Employment Contracts, Severance Agreements, and 409A," American Bar Association, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA
    • Lecturer: "The Changing Landscape of Discrimination Law: New Developments in Privacy and Technology," Practising Law Institute, Employment Discrimination Law and Litigation
    • Lecturer: "Obama's Employment & Labor Rulings, Laws and Enforcements: An Update," Five O' Clock Club, New York, NY
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    Publications & Articles

    Zero Tolerance: Best Practices For Combating Sex-Based Harassment In The Legal Profession, Editor

    Zero Tolerance: Best Practices for Combating Sex-Based Harassment in the Legal Profession is a comprehensive update to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession's previous sexual harassment material. The primary goal of this manual is to provide all too necessary tools to legal organizations and victims of harassment and bullying. It strives to enhance the common understanding of workplace abuse and expand it to include non-sexual abusive behavior, while introducing protections for individuals with a range of sexual orientations, genders, and racial and ethnic identities.

    The Gig Economy: A Threat To Basic Employment Rights

    Wendi S. Lazar in the NYLJ - Employees in the Workplace column, May 2, 2017

    The State of Equal Pay in the 21st Century

    Co-written by Wendi S. Lazar and Kerry C. Zaroogian, NYSBA Journal, May 2017.

    Will Trump Companies’ Employment Lawsuits Be Barometer For Presidency?

    Wendi S. Lazar, New York Law Journal, January 10, 2017

    Building Momentum For The Pay Equity Movement In BigLaw

    Wendi Lazar, Stephanie Scharf, and Michele Coleman Mayes write about pay equity for women in big law. (Law360, December 21, 2016.)

    An Office Romance Gone Wrong (Harvard Business Review Case Study And Commentary)

    Outten & Golden LLP partner Wendi S. Lazar is quoted in this Harvard Business Review case study about office romance.

    When star salesperson Elizabeth starts dating Brad, the CFO of her company, she has high hopes for the relationship. She doesn't report to him, so there's no conflict there, and he's a smart, interesting guy. But when he dumps her for another coworker and flaunts the new relationship, Elizabeth finds herself in what now feels like a hostile workplace. Her boss tells her to "get over it," but she's not sure she can. Commentators Karen Firestone, author of "Even the Odds: Sensible Risk-Taking in Business, Investing and Life," and Wendi S. Lazar, partner of the employment law firm Outten & Golden, weigh in on whether Elizabeth should stay in her lucrative job or call back the headhunters who've been pursuing her and move on. (Harvard Business Review, September 2016 issue.)

    Will New Legislation Cure The Gender Pay Gap?

    Wendi S. Lazar, New York Law Journal, August 10, 2016.

    Sexual Harassment In The Legal Profession: It’s Time To Make It Stop

    Wendi S. Lazar, New York Law Journal, March 4, 2016

    Outten & Golden LLP partner Wendi S. Lazar writes about "Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession: It’s Time to Make It Stop".

    Undocumented Immigrant Workers: Enforcing Rights

    Wendi S. Lazar and Olivia J. Quinto write about the rights of Undocumented Immigrant Workers. By Wendi S. Lazar, (Olivia Quinto, assisted with writing and research of the article.), New York Law Journal, October 28, 2015

    "1984" In 2015: Protecting Employees' Social Media From Misuse

    Outten & Golden LLP partner, Wendi S. Lazar, provides commentary in her NYLJ column 'Employees in the Workplace' on social media and protecting employees rights. (July 7, 2015)

    Mandatory Arbitration: Searching For Fairness

    Outten & Golden LLP partner Wendi S. Lazar's Employees in the Workplace column on Mandatory Arbitration. (March 6, 2015)

    Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey, Volume I, with 2015 Cumulative Supplement

    Wendi S. Lazar, Co-Editor In-Chief, Katherine Blostein, Associate Editor Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., 2015.

    Employment And Labor Law In 2014: Has The Workplace Improved?

    Wendi S. Lazar comments on the past year in Employment & Labor Law, NYLJ, December 11, 2014. Have things improved or gotten worse for employees in the workplace in 2014? All told, it is not as bad as the U.S. Supreme Court would likely have us believe and of course, there are always executive orders that empower people to continue to strive for change and a better life. However, with forced arbitration still a reality and a religious exemption clause that can set in motion discrimination and bigotry in the workplace for years to come, employee advocates cannot rest on some of the positive achievements in the year we leave behind.

    Negotiating Executive Employment Agreements: Cutting A Path Through The Regulatory Thicket

    Wendi S. Lazar and Katherine Blostein write about negotiating executive compensation agreements, and current issues. The landscape of executive compensation has changed significantly since the financial crisis of 2008. As a result of the ensuing downturn and increased public scrutiny, executives’ leverage in negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment and equity agreements has decreased. The overwhelming outcry about excessive pay from shareholders and the public following the downturn resulted in new legislation that limits executive pay for top executives at public companies and imposes compensation restrictions and disclosure requirements on large companies generally. However, in the intervening years, the Securities and Exchange Commission still has not enacted rules implementing a significant portion of the new legislation, and therefore much uncertainty remains. In addition, the past several years have seen a return to performance-based compensation, as well as a movement towards eradicating excessive guaranteed bonuses on Wall Street and among other bonus-based businesses. Wendi S. Lazar and Katherine Blostein write about negotiating executive compensation agreements, and current issues. Bloomberg BNA, Pensions and Benefits Daily. Reproduced with permission from Pension & Benefits Daily, 127 PBD, 07/02/2014. Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

    Fathers Have Protected Rights To Care For Their Children

    Outten & Golden LLP partner Wendi S. Lazar writes about fathers' rights and Family Responsibility Discrimination, in her column 'Employees in the Workplace', in the New York Law Journal. In President Barack Obama’s January 2014 State of the Union Address, he spoke about the rights of parents to care for their children—a right that seems self-evident. He said, “A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship, and you know what? A father does too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.” Outten & Golden LLP partner Wendi S. Lazar writes about fathers' rights and Family Responsibility Discrimination, in her column 'Employees in the Workplace', in the New York Law Journal, June 26, 2014.

    New York's Post-Employment Restrictions Limit Mobility

    Outten & Golden LLP partner, Wendi S. Lazar, writes about post-employment restrictive covenants, in her column, Employees in the Workplace, in the New York Law Journal, March 21, 2014.

    U.S. Employees Need A Federal Data Protection Law

    Outten & Golden partner, Wendi S. Lazar, writes about the need for Federal Data Protection Law for employees. Employees in the Workplace, New York Law Journal, January 30, 2014.

    Pay And Promotion Equity Of Women On Wall Street: Does Litigation Help?

    Wendi S. Lazar and Jennifer L. Liu, New York Law Journal, October 15, 2013. On September 6, court papers announced that Bank of America had agreed to pay $39 million to settle Calibuso v. Bank of America Corp., a nationwide gender discrimination class action on behalf of female stockbrokers.  No. 10 Civ. 1413, Docket No. 1 (E.D.N.Y. filed Mar. 30, 2010).  In the lawsuit, filed in 2010, the plaintiffs alleged that the bank paid them less than male stockbrokers and gave them fewer opportunities to build their books of business.  While the settlement is a great “win” for the plaintiffs, it raises an important question:  do lawsuits really help remove barriers to women getting ahead on Wall Street? 

    Settling The Case And Wrapping Up Employment: Negotiating Strategies, Drafting Realities

    Wendi S. Lazar, Settling the Case and Wrapping Up Employment: Negotiating Strategies, Drafting Realities, 46th Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference, Seattle Washington, April 25-26, 2013.

    For the employee, even the high level executive, separation or settlement agreements are often the first
    legal document that they have had to sign in regard to employment and often the first circumstance in
    which they have needed to hire counsel outside of a closing or a divorce. Negotiating and drafting these
    agreements can be a challenge for employee counsel. This is especially true for attorneys who
    represent executives. With the amount of recent regulation in this area and the reluctance of
    companies to commit to employment agreements and severance plans, it is increasingly more difficult
    to protect the at‐will employee ahead of a downsizing or other termination event, leaving the employee
    vulnerable when her employment ends.

    Even when a contract of employment exists, there are other issues that may arise on account of the
    settlement or separation that were unforeseen, such as new tax or other government regulations or
    conditions on incentive compensation equity or new restrictive covenants.

    Once the monetary package has been negotiated, issues of drafting become paramount and
    understanding the underlying case and statutory laws that guide certain provisions including those
    relevant to waivers and releases is key to achieving a balanced and equitable agreement for the client
    and giving her the best chance at re‐employment.

    Settling the Case and Wrapping Up Employment: Negotiating Strategies, Drafting Realities. By Outten & Golden partner, Wendi S. Lazar, 46th Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference, Seattle Washington, April 25-26, 2013.

    Choice-of-Venue Clause Bites U.S. Expatriate Executive

    Wendi S. Lazar, O&G Employment Law Blog, August 24, 2012

    A Pink Slip Before Christmas Likely Means No Bonus in Your Stocking

    Wendi S. Lazar, O&G Employment Law Blog, December 12, 2011

    Executive Pay: Skydiving With A New Parachute

    Wendi S. Lazar and Katherine Blostein. Bloomberg BNA, Reproduced with permission from Pension & Benefits Daily, PBD, 11/02/2011. Copyright 2011 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

    The financial crisis of 2008 and the ongoing down-turn in the economy has had a significant effect on executive compensation and on executives’ leverage in negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment and equity agreements. The overwhelming outcry about excessive pay from shareholders and the public has resulted in federal regulations that limit executive pay for top executives at public companies and impose compensation restrictions and disclosure requirements on large companies generally. In addition, there has been a return to performance-based compensation, as well as a movement toward eradicating guaranteed bonuses on Wall Street and among other bonus-based businesses.

    However, because of a need for top talent in tough times, companies are adjusting to the newly imposed restrictions and, where possible, are finding creative ways to structure compensation packages for employees. Unfortunately, public opinion is not as easily assuaged. The current challenge for companies and their counsel negotiating executive agreements is to balance the need for attracting and compensating top talent against potential negative public opinion. How hard and where to push becomes a concern in order to ensure that these agreements pass muster with the companies’ shareholders.

    With these considerations in mind, attorneys representing executives should be aware of the most recent trends, developments, and regulations that will affect negotiations in the current economy.

    Executive Pay: Skydiving With a New Parachute; Recent regulations affecting Executive Compensation.

    Employee Privacy Rights: Limitations To Monitoring, Surveillance And Other Technological Searches In The Private Workplace

    Wendi S. Lazar and former associate Lauren Schwartzreich, PLI Institute, June 23, 2011

    This article by O&G partner Wendi S. Lazar and former associate Lauren Schwartzreich surveys the current law related to employee privacy and technology in the workplace. As technology and employees' uses of it have developed, so have employers' surveillance of and intrusion into those uses. The article reviews the legal system's response, considering federal statutes and cases as well as state law, and discusses likely future developments in this area. 

    Executive Employment Agreements

    Wendi Lazar and Katherine Blostein survey the new laws and regulations associated with the current economic downturn and the resulting shifts in the form, nature, and timing of executive compensation. Recently enacted laws like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, impose firm restrictions on the compensation of top executives; the restrictions vary based on the size of the employer and whether it is publicly traded. This article concludes that “the days of paying excessive executive compensation unchallenged by regulators and shareholders [are] over.” The authors emphasize the need for attorneys negotiating executive employment agreements to be aware of these and other developments and their impact on the type of compensation packages employers are offering their top executives. Attorneys also must ensure that all agreements about compensation are memorialized in an employment agreement or other contract, including provisions for the treatment of deferred compensation in the event of termination.

    *Originally published as Wendi S. Lazar and Katherine Blostein, “Changing Economy Impacts Executive Pay,” BNA Pension & Benefits Daily, 172 PBD, Sept. 09, 2009.

    Reproduced with permission from Executive Compensation Library on the Web, XCLW, 06/06/2011. Copyright

    What's Private In The Private Workplace? Social Networking Sites, Background Checks And Employee Rights

    Wendi S. Lazar, Law Journal Newsletters, Employment Law Strategist, Volume 18, Number 12, April 2011

    Employees, employers and courts have long wrestled with concepts of privacy, protected speech, and personal history in the workplace. The debate continues as new technologies and social networking sites enable employers to easily access employees’ personal lives. Unlike their public sector counterparts, private-sector employees have historically enjoyed little protection against unreasonable property searches by their employers. Is the legal landscape changing? Employees and their counsel should review new federal and state laws and avenues of protection and enforcement when employers step over real and virtual boundaries.

    Internet Searches of Applicants May Violate Employment laws

    In today’s job market, employers can easily screen job applicants through basic Internet searches and, increasingly, by viewing their social networking site profiles. A frequently cited 2009 survey by CareerBuilder.com found that 45% of the 2,600 hiring personnel surveyed screen job applicants by viewing their social networking site profiles. How is this information being used and is its use permissible? This survey also found that 35% percent of these individuals reported that content found on social networking sites caused them not to hire the candidate. Is the access and use of such information permissible? And if so, what are the limitations, if any?

    Unlike their public sector counterparts, private-sector employees have historically enjoyed little protection against unreasonable property searches by their employers. Is the legal landscape changing?

    Avoiding Pitfalls of Waiving Privilege, Creating Discoverable Evidence and Other Technological Liabilities: An Attorney/ Client Checklist

    Wendi S. Lazar, Co-Author, Article for National Employment Lawyers Association 2011 Annual Convention

    Lessons from Conan

    Wendi S. Lazar, The Financial Manager, May/June 2010, at 12-14.

    Employees' Privacy Rights in the Digital Age

    Wendi S. Lazar and Lauren E. Schwartzreich, New York Law Journal, April 2010

    Confidentiality, Trade Secrets and Other Duties and Restrictive Covenants in a Global Economy—A Comparative Overview of the Treatise

    In Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey, Volume I, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, published by BNA Books 2010 — Wendi Lazar and Gary R. Siniscalco, Editors-in-Chief

    Employment Agreement And Cross Border Employment—Confidentiality, Trade Secret, And Other Restrictive Covenants In A Global Economy

    Outten & Golden partner Wendi S. Lazar's article canvasses the differences between the U.S. and foreign countries in defining and enforcing some of the common restrictive covenants and privacy clauses in employment agreements for expatriate executives and professionals. The article contrasts post-employment duties of confidentiality and non-competition in the U.S., where the duties arise under common law, to foreign jurisdictions, where such duties must be created by contract and even then may be struck down as contrary to public policy. The article includes a treatment of the mechanisms available for enforcement of restrictive covenants. In Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey, Volume I, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, published by BNA Books 2010 — Wendi Lazar and Gary R. Siniscalco, Editors-in-Chief.

    Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey

    Wendi S. Lazar and Katherine Blostein 2010 Contributor, treatise, published by BNA

    United States

    In Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey, Volume II, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, published by BNA Books [2010] — Wendi Lazar and Gary R. Siniscalco, Editors-in-Chief

    Expatriate Employment Agreements

    Expatriate employment agreement benefits checklist. Wendi S. Lazar, Outten & Golden LLP, October 2009

    Expatriate employees have a unique relationship with the companies they work for. They have particular needs and requirements because there is little separation between their professional and personal lives. Therefore, as companies become increasingly multinational and transfer U.S. employees to different countries abroad, companies have greater and far more complex responsibilities to those employees and their families, including increasing the risk of their liability. For the expatriate employee and her counsel, the great challenge in negotiating expatriate benefits is to ensure that the economic and personal living needs of her and her family are satisfied and that they remain “whole” throughout the assignment. If this is achieved, the expatriate experience is a win‐win for both the company and the employee.

    Multiple Issues in Corporate Raiding of Employees

    Wendi S. Lazar, New York Law Journal, May 1, 2009

    Multiple Issues In Corporate Raiding Of Employees: Outside Counsel

    Wendi S. Lazar and Katherine Blostein, New York Law Journal (online), May 1, 2009

    Now that bankruptcy proceedings have replaced mergers and acquisitions, poaching key employees rather than buying a division can be cost effective. Corporate raiding of employees, however, raises serious legal and financial concerns for everyone involved, but particularly for employees and their counsel.

    Poaching a coveted employee or raiding a team is bound to leave behind an angry employer who wants revenge. The hardest job for employee-side counsel is to keep the client from becoming a defendant in a lawsuit against both the employee and the new employer.

    Knowing how to prevent or minimize an employee's liability in this situation is critical. Counseling employees on terms and conditions to be negotiated with the new employer before departure will protect them from economic loss and protracted and costly litigation.

    Breaking Up Is Hard To Do—the Plight Of The H-1B Employees And The Challenges For Those Who Represent Them

    Wendi S. Lazar, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP, describes the unsettling state of the laws governing H-1B visas and the resulting difficulties for attorneys advising clients who hold these visas. Both the BCIS and the Department of Labor have jurisdiction over various aspects of H-1B visas, and the two agencies have produced some conflicting and inconsistent guidance and regulations regarding the duration and portability of H-1B visas after an employee has been terminated. In other areas neither agency has offered any guidance at all, leaving visa holders to choose a course of action and hope for the best, with no certainty that it is legally correct.

    Changing Economy Impacts Executive Pay

    Wendi S. Lazar, Pension & Benefits Daily, published by Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA), 2009, with Co-Author, Katherine Blostein.

    Negotiating and Drafting Expatriate Employment Agreements

    in International Labor & Employment Laws, Third Edition, Vol. 1B, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, published by BNA Books (2009) — Wendi S. Lazar and Gary R. Siniscalco

    Representing Physicians With Non-Competition Pacts: Is The Law Changing?

    Outten & Golden Partner Wendi S. Lazar's article reviews the history of courts' treatment of physician non-competition agreements. Lazar documents the evolution of the law from upholding restrictive covenants that prohibited physicians from working in certain geographical areas to more recent opinions recognizing the public's interest in having a choice of physicians and the American Medical Association's ethical guideline against restricting where physicians practice. Lazar also offers tips for attorneys involved in physician non-competition cases.

    Expat Or Local? What German Employees Must Know When Coming To Work In The U.S. (Parts 1 & 2)

    Employment attorney Wendi S. Lazar, with Ian M. Maywald, German American Trade, Volume 18, Number 9, November 2007. Discussion of possible terms of employment contracts for German workers coming to work in the U.S.

    Most German employees who come to work in the U.S. are either transferred from a U.S. or foreign corporation on temporary assignment (“expatriates”) or are here in the U.S. seeking new employment (“locals”). In both of these situations knowing the differences between German and U.S. employment law is important. These differences are significant and working with an employment attorney to memorialize the relationship into a binding and explicit agreement is critical for job security and asset protection for these employees and their families.

    The Big Chill: Performers And Athletes Received A Cold Reception After 9/11—But Are Things Getting Warmer?

    Wendi S. Lazar, a partner at O&G, and her co-author Gretchen Van Deusen describe the perils and pitfalls of applying for visas for entertainers and athletes. Beginning with a review of the visa application process before September 11, 2001, and the changes that ensued afterwards, the authors continue with concrete advice for visa applicants and their representatives for maximizing their chances of obtaining a visa as quickly and easily as possible.

    This article will explore the ways in which PPS and security delays have impacted American arts and athletic venues since the summer of 2002, and will take a look forward at what might be expected for the summer of 2007 and beyond. Employment attorney Wendi S. Lazar. Summer 2007.

    Representing Executives and Employees after 409A: The Final Chapter on Deferred Compensation and Separation Pay

    Wendi S. Lazar, New York Law Journal, May 17, 2007

    §409A: Rules On Deferred Compensation, Severance Pay

    In this article Wendi S. Lazar, counsel at Outten & Golden, reviews the final regulations adopted to implement Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code ("409A"), which imposes complex taxation rules on executives' deferred compensation. (May 17, 2007). 409A applies to compensation of employees, equity pay arrangements, bonus and other kinds of deferrals and to separation pay. The article emphasizes the importance of 409A to employees' attorneys: if a compensation package violates it, it is the employee who is liable for substantial tax penalties. It is therefore crucial for executives to retain their own attorneys or tax experts to review compensation packages before they agree to them and not to rely on employers to perform this due diligence for them.

    IRC §409A: New Rules on Deferred Compensation and Severence

    Wendi S. Lazar, New York Law Journal, March 9, 2006

    Counseling Multinational Employees: Their Rights And Remedies Under US Law

    This article by Outten & Golden partner Wendi S. Lazar sketches a map through the convoluted terrain of representing multinational and expatriate employees. Simply determining whether there may be a cause of action can require careful parsing of the laws of multiple jurisdictions and the employer's corporate structure as well as the usual inquiries into the employee's and employer's conduct and relevant contracts. Using a case study of one employee's circumstances and potential legal claims, Lazar outlines the important issues an attorney must resolve in order to best counsel a client. (2006, with significant contributions from Wayne Outten and Anjana Samant.)

    Negotiating Out Of Restrictive Covenants

    Authored by employment lawyer Wendi S. Lazar. Negotiating restrictive covenants has become an essential part of practicing employment law as companies aggressively move, in a still faltering employment market, to restrict their employees' right to compete in the workplace. Whether employees are bound by a confidentiality agreement, restricted from working in a particular industry or prevented from bringing clients with them in a career move, these restrictions impose "real life" as well as legal consequences.

    In negotiating these agreements, employee's counsel must consider the relevant facts and law. Analysis of New York law, both common and case law, and the criteria for enforcement are critical to any effective negotiation. Just as important is knowing your client's needs when employment ends and understanding the employer's goals in imposing these restrictions.

    Representing Employees In The Brave New World Of 409A: New Rules On Deferred Compensation And Severence

    Wendi S. Lazar, 2005. After the release of the Senate Finance Committee's Enron Report, which detailed the ability of executives to cash out deferred benefits even while their company was sinking, President Bush signed into law Section 409A of the IRS Code as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. While recent IRS guidance and proposed regulation are not yet final, it is clear that traditional deferred compensation arrangements are no longer suitable for rewarding executives and other employees. Moreover, while employers (and other plan providers) have an obligation to comply, the law's onerous tax penalties fall upon employees, if their employers' plans and agreements do not comply.

    As a result, attorneys who represent employees in negotiating employment and severance agreements must be familiar with 409A and understood how it affects cash and equity compensation arrangements and severance pay. Attorneys may also want to review their clients' existing plans and agreements and to discuss alternative arrangements, if the pre-409A arrangements are no longer appropriate under the new rules.

    H-1Bs - Out of Work and Out of Status? Still Unresolved

    Wendi S. Lazar, ILT Monthly, ACBNY April 2001

    WBASNY International Women's Rights Committee Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary in Montreal

    Wendi S. Lazar, Women's Bar News, June 1998

    Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Wendi S. Lazar and Deborah I. Volberg

    Authored by Wendi S. Lazar and Deborah I. Volberg, Sexual Harassment In Employment Law, 1997 Supplement.

    Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, Mitsubishi, Tailhook, Senator Bob Packwood, the Citadel, Eve Bruenau, Paula Jones, the Army Hearings. Employment discrimination claims—and sexual harassment cases in particular—are unquestionably increasing, some say exponentially.

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    Awards & Recognition

    • Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers, 2018

    • Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2013 - 2018

    • Best Lawyers: 2012 - 2019

    • Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2018

    • New York Law Journal: Top Women in the Law 2016

    • AV-Preeminent Rated Attorney, Martindale-Hubbell, 2015

    • New York Metro Super Lawyers Top Women 2015

    • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Law, Inducted in 2014
    • Ford Foundation Fellowship in International Law

    • UC Hastings College of the Law, Work Life Law Board Member

    • Alexander Fellow, Cardozo Law

    • Emmy Award, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

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