Areas of Focus
“It is my job to carefully lay out all potential benefits and risks to ensure my clients make decisions with their eyes open to potential reactions and consequences. I strive to stay actively in touch with clients to best assess their needs and ensure they are well informed on key legal developments at the federal, state and local level.”
Jessica Golden Cortes provides clients with comprehensive employment counsel, ensures their regulatory compliance, and resolves workplace disputes when they arise. Her clients include businesses of all sizes from startups to established multinational corporations in industries such as advertising, marketing public relations, finance, fintech and architecture, and nonprofit religious and education-focused organizations.
Jessica is well known for her ability to analyze issues from a legal, practical and business perspective and for devising creative, cost-effective solutions to workplace issues. Business managers and human resources professionals rely on her for guidance on day-to-day issues such as hiring, terminations, reductions in workforce, restrictive covenants, wage and hour issues, federal and state family and medical leave laws, and a host of other employment-related matters. She drafts customized employment policies and handbooks, and structures and enforces employment and separation agreements.
Clients from across the nation call on Jessica to conduct employment trainings on respect in the workplace, diversity, equity and inclusion, eliminating unconscious bias, manager best practices, and many other topics. When issues arise, Jessica manages internal investigations of employee complaints, represents her clients in hearings before administrative agencies, and asserts and defends their interests in federal and state courts, and in mediation and arbitration proceedings. Jessica has prevailed in wide-ranging employment cases including race, sex, age, disability, failure to hire, and other discrimination cases, and breach of contract disputes.
Recognizing that avoiding problems in the first instance is the best strategy, Jessica crafts client-specific workplace policies and procedures, and works proactively with clients to help them foster a work environment where employees thrive, workplace conflicts are addressed constructively, and the risk of employee claims is minimized.
Defended a leading social media platform in a pregnancy discrimination litigation initiated by third-party employee, resulting in settlement in our client's favor on the indemnification claim and efficient resolution of the underlying matter.
Represented a company in an investigation of same-sex harassment claim resulting in the termination of a senior executive. Partnered closely with third-party crisis public relations experts to mitigate fallout both internally and externally.
Selected by the Associate General Counsel of a city municipality to conduct mandatory anti-harassment trainings for all elected council members; also conducted a one-on-one anti-harassment training for member accused of sexual harassment.
Conducted an anti-harassment training and provided general employment counseling to an iconic independent New York bookstore, including relating to the impact of the pandemic on staffing.
Negotiated settlement of high-profile separation of Executive Director of prestigious school following extensive internal investigation, accomplishing swift resolution without detrimental impact to school's reputation.
Counseled nationwide advertising agency in diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, including designing and conducting customized employee survey and interviews following Black Lives Matter protests.
Represent a high-profile event space in all aspects of employment law, including issues related to hosting Fashion Week and implementation of gender-neutral dress code for event staff.
Insights + Events
- Demystifying COVID-19 Complexities and Thriving in Uncertain Times Danos Group | “Supporting Mental Health Practices in the Workplace”
May 17, 2023
- Demystifying COVID-19 Complexities and Thriving in Uncertain Times Wesleyan Lawyers Association | “Navigating Mental Health Accommodations in the Workplace”
May 9, 2023
- Alert New York State Department of Labor Releases Updated Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy and Training Guidance
April 25, 2023
- Event Davis+Gilbert Webinar | Navigating Mental Health Accommodations in the Workplace
February 7, 2023
- Podcast New York County Lawyers Association Amicus Curiae Podcast | A Conversation Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act of 2021
October 24, 2022
- Report Davis+Gilbert Public Relations Industry 2022 Survey Trends and Highlights
October 24, 2022
- Event Practising Law Institute | Gender Issues in the 2022 Workplace
October 12, 2022
- Building Connections: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion The Women in Law Summit Series: The Inclusion & Equity Summit: East | Did You Really Just Say That? Recognizing and Managing Microaggressions
November 17, 2021
- Building Connections: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion The Women in Law Summit Virtual Series: The Inclusion & Equity Summit: East | Did You Really Just Say That? Recognizing and Managing Microaggressions
November 17, 2021
- Demystifying COVID-19 Complexities and Thriving in Uncertain Times New York City SHRM Legislative and Legal Conference
October 28, 2021
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- Fordham University School of Law (J.D., 2001)
- Wesleyan University (B.A., with high honors, 1998)
- The Best Lawyers in America® 2024, Employment Law: Management
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business® 2012-2016, New York Labor & Employment
- The Legal 500 United States® 2013-2021 and 2023, Labor and Employment: Workplace and Employment Counseling
- New York Metro Super Lawyers® 2018-2022, Employment & Labor
- New York Metro Super Lawyers® “Rising Stars” 2013-2016, Employment & Labor
- SmartCEO Magazine’s CPA & ESQ Awards 2015, Esquire Industry Practice: New York
- New York
- U.S. District CourtSouthern District of New York
- U.S. District CourtEastern District of New York
- U.S. Court of AppealsSecond Circuit
Member, Davis+Gilbert Growth and Planning Committee
Member, Davis+Gilbert Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Member, Society for Human Resource Management
Member, NYC Society for Human Resource Management
― Chair, Legal & Legislative Committee
President, Wesleyan Lawyer’s Association