Jones Stephen J

Stephen J. Jones



Steve Jones is a trusted advisor and experienced trial attorney representing employers of every size. Steve leads the firm’s Labor & Employment Class Action Team and is regularly called upon to defend “bet the company,” high-stakes litigation. His experience includes defense of approximately 100 class actions and collective actions under the FLSA, ERISA, FCRA, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. His practice also includes extensive non-competition and trade secret litigation and defense of whistleblower, discrimination, and sexual harassment claims in state and federal courts and before the EEOC, DOL, and state human rights agencies. Steve has developed innovative auditing methodologies in wage-hour and EEO areas (including statistical pay equity analysis), thereby reducing or eliminating his clients’ exposure to class action litigation and EEOC systemic discrimination enforcement actions.

Steve has been named to the 2017-2018 editions of Best Lawyers in America (Litigation-Labor and Employment) and to the 2014-2018 editions of Super Lawyers (Employment Litigation Defense) based on peer review and professional achievement. In 2014, the New York Law Journal chose Steve for its Rising Stars Award—the only Rochester attorney to receive the award that year, based on his contributions to the practice of law. His practice has been profiled by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. To read more, click here. Steve is recognized as an industry thought leader, regularly providing commentary to the news media on legal developments, presenting CLEs, and publishing articles advocating for specific legislative or legal reforms.‎

Steve served for over a year on special assignment as in-house counsel to Eastman Kodak Company, where he was responsible for managing external counsel and counseling business units. This experience has proven invaluable in understanding the pressures and budgetary constraints placed on his in-house clients.

Mission

My mission, above all else, is to achieve my clients’ business objectives while pursuing excellence in the practice of law. I don’t just “represent” my clients; I partner with them. I believe clients are entitled to “no surprises.” Accordingly, I dedicate my practice to constant client contact, transparency and accountability.

I understand that the most efficient way to resolve litigation is not always the most obvious. It is critical from the outset, therefore, to develop a defense strategy that is carefully calibrated to achieve trial and/or settlement advantage while remaining attentive always to my clients’ overall business objectives. It’s the foundation of any successful defense and my personal promise to clients.

Community Activity

Steve is highly active in community leadership. He has served for six years on the Board of Directors of Volunteers of America, Upstate New York (“VOA”), holding at various times the positions of Vice Chair, Corporate Secretary, and Chair of the Governance Committee. Steve recently completed the Board Leadership Program, Center for Community Engagement, St. John Fisher College. Prior to VOA, Steve served for three years as the President of the Board of Directors of Step by Step, a Rochester-based organization dedicated to assisting and rehabilitating incarcerated women. Steve led this organization through the Great Recession, at a time when government funding and private donations dropped precipitously. He also helped spearhead a merger between Step by Step and VOA in 2012. He has served on the Judiciary Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association. In 2009, Steve was selected to the Rochester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award in recognition of his civic and professional achievement. Steve also served as a coach and mentor to high school students in the Monroe County Law Explorers Program for over five years. He actively represents several community-based, nonprofit organizations on a pro bono basis.

Recent Representative Litigation

  • Defending international financial services company in nationwide wage-hour class action in the S.D.N.Y. alleging misclassification of IT employees as independent contractors (2017-present).
  • Obtained TRO and preliminary injunction on behalf of international photonics company involving customer solicitations and theft of trade secrets (2016).
  • Defended supermarket chain in nationwide FCRA class action and negotiated terms favorable to the employer (2017).
  • Defended $100M+ pension withdrawal liability matter under ERISA on behalf of national supermarket chain (2014-2016).
  • Defending international technology company in nationwide class and collective action alleging misclassification of IT employees under the FLSA and state laws originally venued in California District Court, Los Angeles (2015-present).
  • Defended international food company in the first case ever filed under the whistleblower provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act and obtained successful resolution (2016).
  • Defended NYC university in ERISA class action in the S.D.N.Y. and obtained complete dismissal (2016).
  • Represented New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in ERISA case in the S.D.N.Y. and obtained complete dismissal (2016).
  • Defending major New York City hospital system in wage-hour class action in the E.D.N.Y. involving claims of rounded time under the New York Labor Law (2015-present).
  • Represented two regional financial institutions in class actions alleging misclassification of underwriters under the FLSA and state laws and obtained successful resolution (2016-2017).
  • Defended international financial services company in nationwide wage-hour class action in the S.D.N.Y. alleging exemption misclassification of IT positions, and achieved successful resolution (2014-15).
  • Defending several upstate NY hospitality, restaurant chain, and food companies in class actions involving service charges, minimum wage claims, tip credits, uniforms, and spread of hours under the NY Labor Law (2015-present).
  • Defended international business services company in nationwide race discrimination class action under Title VII and state laws alleging claims of pay disparities, denial of promotional opportunities, and unfavorable sales territories, and negotiated settlement on terms favorable to the employer (2001-2009).
  • Defended international technology company in nationwide race discrimination class action alleging claims of pay disparities, denial of promotional opportunities, and racial harassment under Title VII and state laws and obtained successful resolution (2004-2011).
  • Defeated class and collective action certification of meal period claims on behalf of major Buffalo hospital systems (2014).
  • Obtained temporary restraining order on behalf of national payroll services company against three former salespersons who violated non-competition agreements, including recovery of attorneys’ fees (2014).
  • Represented IT communications company in non-competition, alleged trade secret litigation involving unified communications technologies utilized by the U.S. Department of Defense and dissolved TRO (2012).
  • Obtained dismissal of a claim for retirement plan benefits based on ERISA preemption on behalf of major Rochester hospital system (2015).
  • Defended multinational engineering company in alleged exemption misclassification class action and twice defeated plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification under the FLSA (2010).
  • Obtained affirmance of summary judgment dismissal from 2d Circuit Court of Appeals on claims of sexual harassment and retaliation on behalf of international technology company (2014).
  • Obtained dismissal of alleged ERISA claims for retiree health benefits on behalf of major hospital system (2012).
  • Representing national retail company in wage-hour class and collective action and defeated conditional FLSA certification for operations consisting of thousands of employees (2010-present).
  • Obtained Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of alleged USERRA retaliation claims on behalf of major Rochester research university (2013).
  • Obtained affirmance of summary judgment dismissal from 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on claims of retaliation under the False Claims Act (2013).
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissal of age discrimination claims under the ADEA and NYHRL on behalf of international business services company (2013).
  • Obtained Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of complaint alleging nine common law causes of action with prejudice on behalf of national financial services company (2013).
  • Obtained affirmance of summary judgment dismissal from 2d Circuit Court of Appeals on claims of disability discrimination and FMLA interference and retaliation on behalf of international engineering company (2012).
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of FLSA claims in class and collective action against major Long Island hospital system from 2d Circuit Court of Appeals (2013)
  • Obtained affirmance of summary judgment dismissal from 2d Circuit Court of Appeals on claims of race and national origin discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation on behalf of national retail company (2014).
  • Representing international news media company in multiple actions for long-term disability benefits claims under ERISA (2015-present).
  • Negotiated dismissal of New York City-based hospital system from multi-defendant class action alleging meal period and off-the-clock claims under the FLSA and New York Labor Law (2010).
  • Obtained dismissal on the pleadings of sexual harassment claims against multinational restaurant franchise (2011).
  • Defeated motion for preliminary injunction in breach of restrictive covenant, unfair competition and trade secret litigation (2009).
  • Defended Boston-based hospital system in class action alleging meal period and off-the-clock claims under the FLSA and Massachusetts Wage Act until successful settlement (2010).
  • Obtained decision from Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirming summary judgment dismissal of racial discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation claims under federal and state law (2009).
  • Defended multinational retailer in class action alleging misclassification of store managers under the FLSA and multiple state laws and negotiated settlement on terms favorable to the employer (2010).
  • Defended national retailer in alleged misclassification of IT and financial positions in class action under the FLSA and New York Labor Law and negotiated settlement on terms favorable to the employer (2009).
  • Defended multinational technology company in alleged exemption misclassification class action under the FLSA and New York Labor Law and negotiated settlement on terms favorable to the employer (2009).

Landscape is in flux for non-compete agreements

Rochester Business Journal | June 10, 2016

Rochester labor and employment partner Steve Jones is quoted in this article about recent changes to the New York laws surrounding non-compete agreements.

State Legislation Increases Wages, Mandates Family Leave

Rochester Business Journal | May 13, 2016

Rochester partners Jeff LaBarge and Steve Jones, counsel Todd Shinaman, and associates Joe Carello and Kim Harding co-authored this column discussing New York’s landmark legislation raising the minimum wage and mandating paid family leave.

Interns: To pay or not to pay, that is the question

Democrat & Chronicle | August 02, 2015

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Steve Jones authored this column in Sunday’s Democrat & Chronicle discussing summer internships and what employers need to keep in mind.

Scrutiny, Awareness Raise the Stakes for Employers

Rochester Business Journal | May 01, 2015

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Steve Jones is quoted throughout this article about trends in wage hour legislation and compliance. Click here to read the full article.

Confusing Wage Laws Trip Up Businesses

Democrat & Chronicle | April 15, 2015

Rochester Labor & Employment partner Steve Jones discusses how labor law violations, penalties and accusations can impact employers. Click here to read the full article.

Contact

Stephen J. Jones

Partner

Rochester

Phone: 585-263-1386

New York


Fax: 585-263-1600

Syracuse University School of Law, J.D., cum laude

St. John Fisher College, B.A., cum laude

New York

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

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

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

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

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Stephen was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 in the field of Litigation - Labor and Employment. Stephen has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2017.

In 2014, the New York Law Journal chose Mr. Jones as one of its Rising Stars—the only attorney in Rochester to receive this award. A panel of 20 esteemed judges reviewed more than 230 nominations of attorneys 40 and under and chose 42 recipients who have established a record of accomplishments and demonstrated that they are top contributors to the practice of law and their communities. In 2009, Mr. Jones received the 40 Under 40 Award from the Rochester Business Journal in recognition of his civic and professional achievement. He is also peer rated as a Super Lawyer, Employment Litigation Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Mr. Jones is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the Monroe County Bar Association.

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