Wendy Johnson Lario

Wendy Johnson Lario

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Wendy Johnson Lario Chairs the New Jersey Labor & Employment Practice and represents employers in litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and whistleblowing, among others. She appears regularly in federal and state courts in New Jersey and New York and defends employers against charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (NJDCR) and the New York Division of Human Rights (NYDHR). Wendy also provides advice and training to management and in-house counsel on employment issues, including hiring, firing, harassment, misconduct, leave and attendance, employee accommodations, employment and severance agreements, executive contracts, independent contractors, internal investigations, background checks, employee handbooks and policies, social networking, reductions in force, and employer requirements under identity theft statutes. She has represented companies in the telecommunications, retail, automotive, pharmaceutical, consumer electronics and chemical industries, among others.

Wendy has appeared on national television, including CBS's The Early Show and CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight. She has commented on employment law issues in The Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, New Jersey Law Journal, Star-Ledger, The Record, the Courier News, New Jersey Business, NJ Biz and the Asbury Park Press.

Wendy lectures extensively and conducts seminars and training sessions concerning numerous employment law issues, including anti-discrimination laws, wrongful discharge, sexual and other harassment, and diversity training. She also trains and lectures on women's leadership, performance management, social networking, state and federal laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination, New York's Human Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), New Jersey's Family Leave Act, and New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act.

Concentrations

  • Employment litigation
  • Agency litigation (EEOC, NJDCR, NYDHR)
  • Employment counseling and training
  • ADA, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation
  • Employment and severance agreements 
  • Data privacy and protection
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Capabilities

Experience

 
  • Prevailed in 2018 on a motion to dismiss a complaint filed in the Superior Court, Mercer County, by a former employee alleging age and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Successfully defended a subsequent motion for reconsideration in 2019 and was further awarded attorneys’ fees.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a Major Hospital System in 2019 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County in a case filed by a former director against the Hospital System and several officers, claiming gender and age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and whistleblower retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
  • Representation of York Risk Services Group, in the Western District of Michigan, in a case involving an executive’s breach of his non-compete restrictive covenant. Initially awarded a temporary restraining order and, following an evidentiary hearing, prevailed on an order to show cause resulting in a preliminary injunction enforcing the restrictions in their entirety. 
  • Representation of a major package delivery organization in a nationwide class discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the US District Court of the Eastern District of New York. The EEOC claimed that the organization did not accommodate certain religious practices and was in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Successfully negotiated a settlement without trial.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of York Risk Services Group in 2017 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County in a case filed by a former executive claiming race discrimination and retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of York Risk Services Group in 2017 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County in a case filed by a former executive claiming retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a major package delivery organization and the individual defendants in an age discrimination matter in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.
  • Representation of a major package delivery organization in a military and age discrimination matter in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Obtained dismissal of the complaint.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a major package delivery organization and various individually named defendants in this race and disability discrimination and failure to accommodate matter in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County.
  • Obtained dismissal for a major package delivery organization based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction in connection with this race, age and national origin-based discrimination matter in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a major package delivery organization in a race-based harassment and discrimination matter in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
  • Representation of a major package delivery organization in trial where jury returned a no cause of action verdict in an age discrimination and hostile work environment harassment matter in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Givaudan in an age discrimination matter in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Sanctions were also obtained against plaintiff's counsel in connection with an expert deposition and report. Both orders were affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a major package delivery organization in a national origin and age discrimination matter in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
  • Obtained no cause determination for a major package delivery organization following a protracted public hearing before an administrative law judge in this New York Division of Human Rights action alleging sexual harassment.
  • Obtained no cause of action ruling for a major package delivery organization in this age discrimination arbitration at the American Arbitration Association.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a major package delivery organization in ADA disability discrimination and failure to accommodate case in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
  • Established the legal standard requiring petitioners seeking an award of workers’ compensation temporary disability benefits to prove actual wage loss due to the disability. (Cunningham v. Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., 386 N.J. Super. 423 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 188 N.J. 492 (2006))
  • Representation of a major package delivery organization in jury trial where jury returned a no cause of action verdict in a race-based hostile work environment harassment matter in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
  • Representation of AT&T Corp. in jury trial where jury returned a no cause of action verdict in a disability discrimination matter in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County.
  • Representation of Ford Motor Co. in jury trial involving race discrimination and retaliation where a jury returned a no cause of action verdict in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Frontier Communications/Global Crossing, Inc., in pregnancy discrimination matter in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.
  • Representation of Bosal USA in a multi-plaintiff national origin and race discrimination case in Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County. Settled case on the eve of trial.
  • Obtained summary judgment for P.C. Richard in race discrimination case in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County.
  • Representation of Knoll Pharmaceuticals in a trial of public policy wrongful termination matter in Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County. Appellate division upheld trial court's dismissal of claims against Knoll Pharmaceuticals.

°The above representations were handled by Ms. Lario prior to her joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

  • Adjunct Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America
    • Employment Law - Management, 2013-2020
    • Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2017-2020
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2011-2019
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2013-2019
  • Honoree, New Jersey Law Journal, “Top Women in Law,” 2018
  • Listed, Lawdragon and Human Resources Executive® magazine, "The Nation's Most Powerful Employment Lawyers - Top 100," 2018-2019
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2005-2009, 2011-2019
    • Corporate Counsel edition, 2010
  • Honoree, WILL Platinum Gala, New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, 2017 
  • Recipient, "Trustees of Justice Award," Tri-County Scholarship Fund, 2015
  • Recipient, "Alice Paul Equality Award," Alice Paul Institute, 2013
  • Team Member, Lexology’s Client Choice Award USA & Canada, United States: New Jersey, 2013
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011 & 2013
  • Recipient, "Salute to the Policy Makers Award," Executive Women of New Jersey, 2012
  • Listed, NJBIZ, "Best 50 Women in Business," 2012
  • Selected, "Professional Lawyer of the Year," NJ Commission on Professionalism in the Law, 2010
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, 2014-Present
  • Board Member, SOMERSET COUNTY YMCA
  • Member, Seton Hall University School of Law, Board of Visitors
    • Vice Chair, 2018-Present
    • Secretary, 2017-2018
  • Member, New Jersey Women Lawyers Association
    • Immediate Past President and Nominations Chair, 2012-2013
    • President, 2011-2012
    • President-Elect, 2010-2011
    • Secretary, 2009-2010
    • Board Member, 2007-2009
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Trustee, Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., Seton Hall University School of Law, 1992
  • B.A., Duke University, 1986
Clerkships
  • Hon. David S. Baime, New Jersey Appellate Division, 1992-1993
Admissions
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan