Jonathan L. Sulds: Lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Jonathan L. Sulds

Shareholder; Co-Chair, Global Labor & Employment Practice; Co-Chair, Global Human Capital Solutions Practice; Co-Chair, Global Labor & Employment Litigation Group; Co-Chair, ERISA Litigation Group
New York,  NY  U.S.A.

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Practice Areas

  • Labor & Employment
  • Global Human Capital Solutions
  • ERISA Litigation
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Global Benefits & Compensation
Contact InfoTelephone: 212.801.6882
Fax: 212.801.6400
University Colgate University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1971 Phi Beta Kappa, Danforth Graduate Fellow, Herbert Lehman Fellow; Colgate University, M.A., with distinction, 1971
Law SchoolHarvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1974
Admitted1975, New York; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York

Professional & Community Involvement

•Member, Board of Trustees, Kaufman Music Center, New York City


Jonathan L. Sulds is Co-Chair of the firm's Global Labor & Employment and Global Human Capital Solutions Practices. He has been representing leading employers since 1974 in virtually every aspect of their engagement, protection, management and reward of workforce resources. Jon regularly represents employers in the areas of collective bargaining and traditional labor relations, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation, wage and hour matters, discrimination complaints, restrictive covenant, duty of loyalty and trade secret litigation, Dodd Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and other whistleblower matters, global and domestic executive employment arrangements, and corporate campaigns. Jon is also involved in the labor and employment aspects of corporate transactions and class and collective actions that arise in these contexts.

Since the 1970's, Jon has been involved in a variety of high profile matters. His recent representations include negotiating the project labor agreement for the new stadium for one of America's most famous sports franchises. He has been lead counsel for a leading national package deliverer in two nationwide wage and hour class and collective actions seeking to challenge the exempt status of nearly every managerial position at the company. For one of America's most watched television programs and its production companies and network, Jon gained EEOC dismissal of a multicomplainant charge targeting consideration of arrest records. Elsewhere, Jon represented the administrative committee of a retirement savings plan for a major energy company in the voting of company shares held in plan participants' accounts in a contested proxy contest, then represented that same committee in a parallel ERISA-based stock drop case. In addition, Jon gained dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the dominant player in a niche of the financing industry against a startup that had hired the plaintiff's founder and CEO, its CFO and a majority of the plaintiff's sale force. Jon also advised one of America's iconic brands on the strategy it used to end an Internet and regulatory agency-based corporate campaign that had sought to sully his client's reputation in order to pressure it into giving in to undisclosed parties' own institutional objectives. In another area, Jon led a 40-lawyer team spanning ten GT offices advising a major media company on personnel restructurings.

Recently, among other matters, Jon represented the nation's leading telecommunications company in several Blackberry wage and hour cases. He also represents an American specialty retailer in a nationwide collective action and the fiduciaries of a major pension plan in a class action lawsuit alleging conversion from a defined benefit structure violates ERISA's anti-cutback rule. Jon is the principal collective bargaining spokesperson for a leading magazine publisher faced with the print-to-Internet phenomenon. He is also advising on structuring the collective bargaining and multiemployer pension plan and health care strategies for a company with multiple collective bargaining agreements throughout the Country.

Jon is a frequent lecturer and writer. His breadth of experience is reflected in the treatise that he authors, New York Employment Law (Matthew Bender/LexisNexis, 2d Ed, updated annually).

Areas of Concentration

•Traditional labor law
•ERISA litigation
•Equal employment litigation
•Americans with Disabilities Act
•Discrimination and harassment laws
•Whistleblower matters
•Employee benefits proceedings
•Collective bargaining
•Wage and hours
•Plant closings and mass lay-offs
•Labor aspects of corporate/bankruptcy transactions
•Employer protective covenants
•Executive employment arrangements

Associated News & Events

Press Releases

12.02.15 Greenberg Traurig's Peter W. Zinober Elected to the Board of Governors of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
10.30.15 Greenberg Traurig's James Nelson and Jonathan Sulds Speak on ERISA Litigation at ACI's 10th National Forum
10.21.15 74 Greenberg Traurig New York Attorneys Recognized in 2015 Edition of New York Metro Super Lawyers
08.19.15 30 Greenberg Traurig New York Attorneys Included in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America
06.08.15 100-Plus Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2015 Guide to Outstanding Lawyers
05.22.15 Greenberg Traurig Attorneys, Practices Included in the 2015 Chambers USA Guide
09.24.14 65 Greenberg Traurig New York Attorneys Recognized in 2014 Edition of New York Metro Super Lawyers
09.08.14 Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Practice Receives Multiple Recognitions
08.21.14 29 Greenberg Traurig New York Attorneys Included in 2015 Edition of Best Lawyers in America
07.15.14 Greenberg Traurig Ranked in 2014 Legal 500 United States Guide

Published Articles

03.29.10 Independent contractors: Challenging times ahead for businesses in light of governmental attention


04.04.14 Welcome to ESTA: New York City's 'Earned Sick Time Act' Comes into Effect, DCA Proposes New Rules
03.24.10 The GT M&A Report, Vol. 2, Ed. 1
02.22.10 EEOC Issues Proposed Rule Defining 'Reasonable Factors Other than Age' Defense
07.21.09 Federal Minimum Wage Increases This Friday
07.02.09 Fear of Disparate-Impact Liability Does Not Justify Race-Based Employment Decisions After Ricci v. DeStefano
02.23.09 In the Crosshairs? New Decisions Change the Harassment Law Landscape for New York City Employers
08.13.08 EEOC Issues New Compliance Guidance on Religious Discrimination Under Title VII

Articles, Publications, & Lectures


•Co-Editor, GT LE Blog: National Developments in Labor & Employment Law
•Nominee, LexisNexis Top 25 Labor and Employment Law Blogs of 2011


•Quoted, When the CEO Has to Go: American Apparel as Case Study, Corporate Counsel, July 18, 2014
•Author, Trade Secret Protection, Security Management, November, 2011
•Quoted, Companies Fear Lawsuits, Higher Costs From Whistleblower Rules, Compliance Week, April 26, 2011
•Co-author, Independent Contractors, New York Law Journal, March 29, 2010
•Author, New Rules for Harassment Claims in New York City, New York Law Journal, April 13, 2009
•Co-author, New Wave of 401(k) Litigation, Pensions and Investments, November, 2002
•Co-author, State Employment Law Ruling Impacts Non-Compete Covenants, Washington Legal Foundation, November 12, 1999
•Co-author, Discrimination by Association, New York Law Journal, July 28, 1999
•Co-author, When an Employee's Absence From Work is Disability-Related, New York Law Journal, February 8, 1999
•Co-author, How (and whether) To Defend Corporation and Codefendant Employees, 12 ABA Course Materials Journal No. 3 at 65, December 1987


•Author, New York Employment Law (Matthew Bender/LexisNexis, 2d Ed, updated annually)
•Author, New York Employment Discrimination Handbook, 2001

Other Experience

•Speaker, Multiemployer Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability, ERISA Litigation 10th National Forum, American Conference Institute, New York, NY, October 27, 2015
•Speaker, Class Action Update: Managing and Defending Against ERISA Class Actions and Defeating Certification, ERISA Litigation 6th Annual Forum, American Conference Institute, October 24, 2013
•Panelist, Settlement and Mediation of Wage and Hour Cases, American Conference Institute's 18th National Forum on Wage and Hour Claims and Class Actions, May, 2013
•Speaker, National Business Institute, Whistleblower Law and Retaliation Claims Update, November, 2011
•Panelist, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Entertainment Law Committee, Social Media, November, 2011
•Panelist, 401(k) Fees & Disclosure, American Conference Institute's 3rd National Advanced Forum on Defending and Managing ERISA Litigation, 2011
•Panelist, Mitigating The Impact of Dodd Frank's Whistleblower Provisions, The Knowledge Congress, September 2011
•Instructor, ERISA's Enforcement Scheme, American Conference Institute's 2nd and 3rd National Advanced Forums on Defending and Managing ERISA Litigation, 2010-2011
•Faculty member of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1983-present
•Adjunct Professor at Cardozo Law School, teaching both Labor Law and Administrative Law
•Designated as JAMS Arbitrator in a set of commercial disputes between a franchisor and its franchisees

Reported CasesSignificant Representations: ADA/ADEA/Discrimination/Harassment; Sklar v. NY Life Insurance Co., 34 Fed. Appx 403 (2d Cir. 2002) [Affirming summary judgments - ADEA]; Priore v. NY Yankees, 307 A.D. 2d 67, 761 N.Y.S. 2d 608 (1st Dept. 2003) [Employer not liable where coworker harassment alleged; reversing trial court and granting summary judgment.]; Nieves v. Angelo Gordon & Co., 2007 US Dist. LEXIS 27006 (S.D.N.Y. April 10, 2007) [Summary judgment - ADEA]; aff'd 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 14584 (2d cir. 2009); Collective Bargaining/Traditional Labor Relations; Chief spokesperson for leading magazine publisher's restructuring of overtime, severance, work week; project labor agreement for sports venue; representing nation's primary installer of alarm systems resulting in full flexibility to compete on non-union basis.; Corporate Transactions/Bankruptcy; Deal structure for package delivery company's acquisition of freight companies (including MPPAA).; Collective bargaining and labor relations structuring as condition to asset/stock acquisitions and on behalf of debtors and committees of creditors and bondholders in connection with emergence from bankruptcy.; Corporate Campaigns; Advised one of America's iconic brands on the strategy it used to end an Internet and regulatory agency-based corporate campaign that had sought to sully the client's reputation in order to pressure it into giving in to undisclosed parties' own institutional objectives.; Litigation, labor relations and interface with governmental and public affairs, as well as strategic counsel to employers in various industries including consumer goods, defense, health care and utilities.; Duty of Loyalty/Employee Mobility/Restrictive Covenants/Trade Secrets; Counsel to investment banks, private equity funds, hedge funds, insurance brokerages, manufacturing and industrial concerns. Current/recent matters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Indiana and Texas.; ERISA Litigation; Class action challenging conversion from pension plan's defined benefit structure as violation of ERISA's anti-cutback provision, pending in New York federal court.; Montesano v. Xerox Corp Ret. Income etc., 256 F. 3d 86 (2d Cir. 2001) [Affirming grant of judgment on pleadings dismissing nationwide class of contingent workers' claims for benefits and pursuant to 510 ERISA]; Davenport v. Harry N. Abrams, 249 F. 3d 130 (2d Cir. 2001) [Affirming summary judgment - contingent worker failed to exhaust remedies]; Bakner v. Xerox Corp Employee Stock Ownership Plan, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21540 (W.D. Tex 2000); Lawrence v. Xerox etc., 56 F Supp. 2d 442(D. N.J. 1999) [Nationwide putative Varity class action; class certification denied, claims dismissed via motion]; I.A.P.E. v. Dow Jones, 671 F. Supp. 1365 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) [Plan sponsor not a fiduciary]; In Re Royal Dutch/Shell Transport ERISA Litigation, 04-1398 (D.N.J. 2005) [stock drop]; Executive Employment Arrangements; Design of global regimens; Negotiating and drafting executive employment and compensation arrangements for: Global head of structured finance for top tier investment bank; Americas managing director for top five private equity fund; Head of Capital Markets for leading middle market investment bank; General counsel for Fortune 100 global services company; President of cable television network.; In addition, represent employers in the chemicals, biotech, hedge fund and private equity industries in the structuring of executive employment agreements.; Independent Contractors/Contingent Workforce; Hertz Corp. v. C'mmr of Labor, 2 N.Y. 3d 733, 778 N.Y.S. 2d 743 (2004) [New York's Court of Appeals unanimously holds class of individuals are independent contractors and not employees, reversing administrative agency findings]; Montesano v. Xerox Corp Ret. Income etc., 256 F. 3d 86 (2d Cir. 2001) [Affirming grant of judgment on pleadings dismissing nationwide class of contingent workers' claims for benefits and pursuant to 510 ERISA]; Davenport v. Harry N. Abrams, 249 F. 3d 130 (2d Cir. 2001) [Affirming dismissal of contingent worker claim for benefits on exhaustion grounds]; Stock Grants/Carried Interests/Bonus Awards; Representing private equity and hedge funds in design and documentation; lead counsel in court and arbitration proceedings involving such arrangements.; Budet v. Tiffany & Co., 155 A.D. 2d 408, 547 N.Y.S. 2d 81 (1st Dept. 1989) [Employer free to choose employees whom it will include in management purchase of company shares in buy-out situation]; Wage and Hour; Counsel to telecommunications company in Blackberry collective actions.; Represents over 300 store specialty sports retailers in nationwide collective action.; Represented leading home furnishings retailer in nationwide class and collective action.; Acted as lead counsel for the nation's leading package deliverer in two nationwide wage and hour class and collective actions seeking to challenge the exempt status of nearly every managerial position at the company.; Lead counsel, putative nationwide class actions of all managerial employees for Fortune 50 Company.; Department of Labor (DOL) investigation of exempt status of financial planners; district determination to commence litigation reversed by regional solicitor.; Nationwide grocery chain off the clock and related ERISA prohibited transaction claims; Whistleblowers/SOX/Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).; Obtaining dismissal of SOX complaint filed by senior financial official of bus manufacturer who claimed safety issues had not been disclosed.; Dismissal of pilot's whistleblower claim against aviation services company and fund owner of airplane; Representing audit committee of biotech company charged by resigning general counsel with failure to make proxy disclosures with respect to research results.; Internal investigations in various industries including entertainment, oil production and financial services.; Some of the above representations were handled by Mr. Sulds prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig LLP.

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Office Information

Jonathan L. Sulds

200 Park Avenue
New YorkNY 10166


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