LEWIS M. STEEL works on a wide range of class actions and individual cases, generally involving racial and sexual discrimination matters as well as labor law violations. Presently, as a member of an Outten & Golden team, he has been ligating class action claims challenging the invalidated use by employers of criminal records to deny applicants jobs, including the ground breaking Gonzales v. Pritzker settlement against the United States Census Bureau, for which Mr. Steel and the team received the 2017 Public Justice Award. Mr. Steel has also been listed in Best Lawyers in America for more than twenty years.
Before joining Outten & Golden, Mr. Steel handled a wide range of civil rights cases involving housing and zoning discrimination, as well as police brutality and criminal cases. He served as co-lead counsel in the Rubin Carter/John Artis case for which he was honored by the New York Criminal Bar Association in 2000. Moreover, New York Law School has awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his civil rights work and he has been an adjunct professor of law there.
Mr. Steel’s precedent-setting employment discrimination decisions include Sumitomo Shoji America, Inc. v. Avagliano, 457 U.S. 176, which established that American subsidiaries of foreign corporations must obey American civil rights laws. In the Sumitomo case and other employment discrimination class actions he has negotiated far-reaching settlements and monitored the companies’ performance. He now works on a range of class action cases involving sexual and racial discrimination, overtime claims, and tipping issues. Mr. Steel recently negotiated a ground-breaking settlement of pay, promotion, and retaliation claims for a class of African-American and Hispanic New York City Department of Parks and Recreation employees.
Mr. Steel graduated from Harvard College in 1958 and from New York Law School in 1963, where he was the Editor in Chief of the Law Review.