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Jessica Golden Cortes is a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group of Davis & Gilbert. Ms. Cortes regularly counsels clients and actively litigates on their behalf in all aspects of employment law. 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, 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 states such as New York, Connecticut, California, Ohio and Michigan.

Ms. Cortes has been recognized as a leading lawyer for labor & employment law by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-2014). She has also been recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. in 2013 and 2014 in the labor and employment: workplace and employment counseling area. In addition, she has been selected as a Rising Star by New York Metro Super Lawyers in 2013. 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

Performance Management: Corrective Action and Conducting Investigations,” HR-PRO, May 13, 2014

Law at Work Primer, HR-PRO, March 20, 2014

"Managing Health-Related Requests for Accommodation and Leaves of Absence," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2014

"Legal Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 23, 2014

"The Impact of Post-DOMA on Employee Benefits and Human Resources," HR/NY's Legislative & Legal Conference, October 16, 2013

"Legal Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, May 22, 2013

"Hostile Work Environment, Health Care Reform, and New Legal Developments Impacting Your Daily HR Practice," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, May 2013

"Legal Briefs – Employment Law Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 30, 2012, April 24, 2012 and July 19, 2012

"Legal Update," The Human Resources Association of New York, March 13, 2012

"New Year, New Changes in the Workplace: Technology/Social Media and Key EEOC Initiatives - What You Need to Know NOW,"  Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2012

"The Powers and Pitfalls of Using Social Media in Business," Infosys Edge webinar, February 13, 2012

"Legal Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 30, 2012

"The Power and Pitfalls of Using Social Media in Business: Rules of the E-Road," Social Media Society, June 28, 2011

"Restrictive Covenants: An Effective Sword and Shield," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2011

"Legal Update," The Human Resources Association of New York, February 16, 2011

"Legal Briefs - Employment Law Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 28, 2011

"Fair Labor Standards Act: Demystifying Classifications," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2010

"Legal Update," The Human Resources Association of New York, February 17, 2010 and March 17, 2010

"Legal Briefs - Employment Law Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, February 18, 2010, May 20, 2010 and September 24, 2010

"The Supreme Court and Congress: Impacting Your Daily Human Resources Practices," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2010

Labor & Employment Negotiations,” Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, One-Day Negotiation Training Program, January 27, 2009

"What You Need to Know about Current Developments in Employment Law," Americans with Disabilities Act and Employee Leaves of Absence, Davis & Gilbert Seminar, December 2008

"What's on Your Mind Right Now," SHRM: HR Manager Forum, October 29, 2008

PUBLICATIONS

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

Co-Author, "New Gender Equity Notice Requirement for New Jersey Employers," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2013

Co-Author, "More States Bar Companies From Demanding Access to Employees' Social Media Accounts," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2013

Author, "Deadline Approaching: WTPA Annual Notice," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, January 2013

Co-Author, "NLRA Limits Employers' Use Of Social Media In Actions Against Employees," D&G Labor & Employment Newsletter, Winter 2012

Co-Author, "GINA Requires Immediate Update to EEO Posters and Policies and Possible Revision of Benefits Plans," D&G Benefits & Compensation/Labor & Employment Alert, November 2009

Co-Author, "New York Requires Written Disclosure of Pay Rates to New Hires," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, September 2009

Co-Author, "Restrictive Covenants And Other Techniques to Protect Customer Relationships," a chapter in Human Resources 2007: Answers To Your Top 25 HR Questions, published by Thompson, 2007

PRESS

Quoted, "Charting The Industry: When Social Networking Gets Personal," PR News, by Scott Van Camp, August 8, 2011

Quoted, BrooklynEagle.com, "Brain-Scans' Inadmissibility Due To Scientists' Skepticism, Brooklyn Judge Decides," by Samuel Newhouse, May 18, 2010

Mentioned, New York Law Journal, "Judge Rejects Use of Brain Scan to Assess Credibility of Key Witness," by Daniel Wise, May 18, 2010

Quoted, Wired.com, "Jury Reaches Decision in Brain-Scan Test Case," by Alexis Madrigal, May 14, 2010

Quoted, Wired.com, "Brain Scan Evidence Rejected by Brooklyn Court," by Alexis Madrigal, May 5, 2010

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
New York City Bar Association
Society For Human Resource Management
Human Resources Association of New York
Social Media Society, Advisory Board Member
Women in Media Mentoring Initiative, Diversity Committee

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

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

Performance Management: Corrective Action and Conducting Investigations,” HR-PRO, May 13, 2014

Law at Work Primer, HR-PRO, March 20, 2014

"Managing Health-Related Requests for Accommodation and Leaves of Absence," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2014

"Legal Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 23, 2014

"The Impact of Post-DOMA on Employee Benefits and Human Resources," HR/NY's Legislative & Legal Conference, October 16, 2013

"Legal Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, May 22, 2013

"Hostile Work Environment, Health Care Reform, and New Legal Developments Impacting Your Daily HR Practice," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, May 2013

"Legal Briefs – Employment Law Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 30, 2012, April 24, 2012 and July 19, 2012

"Legal Update," The Human Resources Association of New York, March 13, 2012

"New Year, New Changes in the Workplace: Technology/Social Media and Key EEOC Initiatives - What You Need to Know NOW,"  Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2012

"The Powers and Pitfalls of Using Social Media in Business," Infosys Edge webinar, February 13, 2012

"Legal Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 30, 2012

"The Power and Pitfalls of Using Social Media in Business: Rules of the E-Road," Social Media Society, June 28, 2011

"Restrictive Covenants: An Effective Sword and Shield," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2011

"Legal Update," The Human Resources Association of New York, February 16, 2011

"Legal Briefs - Employment Law Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, January 28, 2011

"Fair Labor Standards Act: Demystifying Classifications," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2010

"Legal Update," The Human Resources Association of New York, February 17, 2010 and March 17, 2010

"Legal Briefs - Employment Law Update," Council of Public Relations Firms, HR Roundtable, February 18, 2010, May 20, 2010 and September 24, 2010

"The Supreme Court and Congress: Impacting Your Daily Human Resources Practices," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2010

Labor & Employment Negotiations,” Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, One-Day Negotiation Training Program, January 27, 2009

"What You Need to Know about Current Developments in Employment Law," Americans with Disabilities Act and Employee Leaves of Absence, Davis & Gilbert Seminar, December 2008

"What's on Your Mind Right Now," SHRM: HR Manager Forum, October 29, 2008

PUBLICATIONS

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

Co-Author, "New Gender Equity Notice Requirement for New Jersey Employers," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, December 2013

Co-Author, "More States Bar Companies From Demanding Access to Employees' Social Media Accounts," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, May 2013

Author, "Deadline Approaching: WTPA Annual Notice," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, January 2013

Co-Author, "NLRA Limits Employers' Use Of Social Media In Actions Against Employees," D&G Labor & Employment Newsletter, Winter 2012

Co-Author, "GINA Requires Immediate Update to EEO Posters and Policies and Possible Revision of Benefits Plans," D&G Benefits & Compensation/Labor & Employment Alert, November 2009

Co-Author, "New York Requires Written Disclosure of Pay Rates to New Hires," D&G Labor & Employment Alert, September 2009

Co-Author, "Restrictive Covenants And Other Techniques to Protect Customer Relationships," a chapter in Human Resources 2007: Answers To Your Top 25 HR Questions, published by Thompson, 2007

PRESS

Quoted, "Charting The Industry: When Social Networking Gets Personal," PR News, by Scott Van Camp, August 8, 2011

Quoted, BrooklynEagle.com, "Brain-Scans' Inadmissibility Due To Scientists' Skepticism, Brooklyn Judge Decides," by Samuel Newhouse, May 18, 2010

Mentioned, New York Law Journal, "Judge Rejects Use of Brain Scan to Assess Credibility of Key Witness," by Daniel Wise, May 18, 2010

Quoted, Wired.com, "Jury Reaches Decision in Brain-Scan Test Case," by Alexis Madrigal, May 14, 2010

Quoted, Wired.com, "Brain Scan Evidence Rejected by Brooklyn Court," by Alexis Madrigal, May 5, 2010

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
New York City Bar Association
Society For Human Resource Management
Human Resources Association of New York
Social Media Society, Advisory Board Member
Women in Media Mentoring Initiative, Diversity Committee

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