Stephanie M. Caffera - Labor & Employment lawyer - Nixon Peabody LLP

Stephanie M. Caffera

Stephanie Caffera provides strategic legal advice and counsel exclusively to management in a wide variety of industry sectors. She helps clients navigate the ever-changing tangle of employment-related laws and regulations. When disputes occur, Stephanie represents clients before federal courts and state and federal administrative agencies.

What do you focus on?

My clients range in size from Fortune 500 international corporations to small local businesses and include hospitals and healthcare providers, food and beverage, manufacturing, educational institutions, technology and life sciences companies, and nonprofit organizations. I counsel these employers and others on all aspects of labor and employment law, but my practice today has three main focuses:

Preventative Counseling and Training

My primary focus is prevention. I consider my role to be that of a business partner and teacher. I have over 20 years of experience in advising clients on lawful and effective employment practices in all types of employment issues, including workplace harassment/sexual harassment, managing leaves of absence and disability accommodation, substance abuse, mental health issues, retaliation, wage and hour compliance, and workplace violence. I am passionate about creating better workplace environments. I provide training and advice to senior leaders, managers, and human resources professionals to help them do their jobs better. Training topics include supervisory skills, harassment prevention, conducting workplace investigations, wage and hour compliance, performance management, and reasonable accommodation. I work as an extension of senior leadership and human resources to take a results-oriented approach to employee relations and legal compliance.

Union Avoidance and Labor Relations

Most employers that are union-free wish to remain that way. I work with these clients to develop and maintain union avoidance strategies and positive employee relations. If a union organizing campaign occurs, I represent clients before the National Labor Relations Board, help devise strategy, and educate managers on their role and responsibilities under the law. For clients with existing union representation, I partner with management in ongoing labor relations activities, including collective bargaining and grievance and arbitration.

Defense of Claims

Sometimes litigation is inevitable — even when the employer does everything right. When clients are faced with administrative claims or federal court litigation, I help them assess the issues and work with them to determine the best approach to achieve their desired result. Each client’s culture, approach, and risk tolerance is different. I recognize this and work with clients to craft the best possible solution.

What do you see on the horizon?

Transgender rights — and a possible conflict with religious belief — will be issues employers will need to be ready to address, along with increasing instances of mental health, substance abuse, and disability accommodations and related issues of safety and undue hardship.

Power 20 Labor & Employment Law: Stephanie Caffera

The Daily Record | April 28, 2022

This Q&A features Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera, who was named to the publication’s list of 20 leading labor & employment attorneys in the region. The paper notes that the “people on this list help companies navigate countless employment challenges that can present difficulties even in the best of times.”

Is COVID-19 surcharge for unvaccinated workers looming?

Rochester Business Journal | September 02, 2021

This article, which covers the growing shift among employers to take more forceful measures when incentivizing workers to get vaccinated, extensively quotes Rochester Corporate partner Brian Kopp, of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation team, and Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera on the prospect of charging unvaccinated employees to compensate for health care costs, and the rules employers must abide by if they decide to pursue this path.

It's time for a four-day workweek, America

Democrat & Chronicle | July 14, 2021

This article on the pandemic’s disruption of the conventional workweek quotes Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera for her thoughts on worker productivity, which continued while working from home, and how it’s opening up the conversation around restructuring the workplace.

Breaking down the HERO Act

Rochester Business Journal | June 11, 2021

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera and associate Conor Tallet contributed this article analyzing New York’s first of its kind law, the Health and Essential Rights Act, and the new burdens on employers to protect employees from COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases in the workplace.

Business leaders: Get ready for new union-friendly labor policies

Rochester Business Journal | March 19, 2021

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera contributed this article highlighting employer considerations related to the Biden administration’s union organization changes. Stephanie developed the article with Providence senior counsel Andrew Prescott and Long Island associate Rose Nankervis, both of the Labor & Employment group.

Attorneys predict employment litigation cases will gain traction post-pandemic

Rochester Business Journal | March 05, 2021

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera is quoted in this article, as part of the publication’s “Litigation“ special report, for her outlook on the relationship between employment litigation and an economic downturn, areas that could pose challenges for employers, and possible federal OSHA guidance specifically for COVID-19.

New York state mandates paid sick leave starting in 2021

Rochester Business Journal | August 21, 2020

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera contributed this column on a recently enacted New York law that requires employers across the state to provide paid sick leave to workers. The column was adapted from a prior NP alert written by Stephanie and Rochester Labor & Employment associate Michael Caputo.

New NLRB test makes employee discipline easier

Daily Record | August 12, 2020

This article on a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board extensively quotes Rochester Labor & Employment partner Stephanie Caffera for her related outlook and the application of protected concerted activity on social media.

Major ruling protects sexual orientation, gender identity

Rochester Business Journal | July 10, 2020

Rochester Corporate partner Jeremy Wolk contributed this column on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent determination—notably during Pride Month—that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under federal law. The column was adapted from an NP alert by Rochester partner Stephanie Caffera, Providence office managing partner Andrew Prescott, Boston department attorney Aimee Bierman, and Long Island associate Christopher Moro, all of the Labor and Employment group.


Stephanie M. Caffera



Phone: 585-263-1066

Fax: 585-263-1600

Syracuse University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude

Cornell University, B.A., magna cum laude

New York

U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

Stephanie is a 2020 ATHENA International Award finalist. The ATHENA International Award honors professional female leaders who demonstrate significant achievements in business, community service, and the professional advancement of women.

Stephanie was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 in the fields of Employment Law—Management and Labor Law—Management. Stephanie has been listed in Best Lawyers each year since 2009, and was the 2016 Rochester “Lawyer of the Year” in Labor Law—Management.

Stephanie was selected to the Upstate New York Super Lawyers list in 2008 and 2012-present.

Stephanie serves on the President’s Council of Cornell Women, a worldwide advisory group to the president of Cornell University, whose mission is to promote and sustain the involvement of women at Cornell. Stephanie is also a member of the New York State (Labor and Employment Law Section) and Monroe County bar associations, serves on the Executive Committee and is Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Geva Theatre Center, and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Women's Council of the Rochester Business Alliance.

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