Richard Reibstein




Richard Reibstein is a Partner in the New York office of Locke Lord LLP where he represents employers and senior management in all areas of labor and employment law. He began his legal career with the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., before going into private practice.

Richard’s practice covers five areas of the law: employment law (including discrimination, sexual harassment, employment agreements, wage and hour disputes, and terminations); independent contractor compliance and misclassification claims (including defense of class actions and administrative proceedings); non-competes and trade secrets (representing companies seeking to protect their key personnel and confidential information as well as businesses trying to lift out talent); labor-management relations (including practice before the NLRB); and commercial litigation and defense of individual and class actions including claims involving public accommodations.

Richard regularly counsels employers how to comply with the law and avoid lawsuits that could arise under an array of labor and employment laws. He also defends employers in claims involving employment discrimination (including workplace harassment, hostile work environment and disability claims), wrongful discharge and workplace torts (including defamation, fraud, invasion of privacy, tortious interference and negligent hiring and retention) as well as ERISA litigation. Richard represents management at NLRB proceedings, arbitrations and collective bargaining negotiations and advises employers on remaining union-free. He also defends employers in the areas of family and medical leaves, benefit disputes, workplace investigations and the specialized areas of construction and health care labor law.

In the area of independent contractor and wage/hour compliance, Richard has designed programs for more than four dozen companies across the country to enhance compliance with independent contractor laws at the federal and state levels, using IC Diagnostics™, a proprietary process developed and refined over the past 10 years. He also defends businesses across the country before administrative agencies in unemployment and other regulatory proceedings and before the courts in single plaintiff and class action employee misclassification lawsuits and claims seeking overtime, unpaid benefits, unpaid expenses and other types of wage payments. Richard recently secured a Final Judgment for a large snack food company, including a declaratory judgment that the named plaintiff in a class action misclassification case in Massachusetts was an independent contractor.

His current class action cases involve an independent contractor misclassification claim by on-demand couriers under California law, a claim for unpaid hours by over 4,000 New York live-in home health aides, and an overtime claim in a Florida federal court seeking collective certification of 800 route sales persons located in the Southeast and Gulf Coast. Richard has recently disposed of five other class actions; one involving 1,800 route sales persons located in 16 states, three involving home health aides and the other involving car service drivers claiming they were misclassified as independent contractors.

Beginning in 2010, Richard has published the only legal blog dedicated to independent contractor compliance and misclassification and written more than 200 comprehensive posts, including a monthly update of judicial, administrative, and legislative developments in the area. He wrote and periodically updates the seminal “White Paper” on how companies can minimize the risk of independent contractor misclassification, one of the most viewed legal resources for companies and lawyers seeking information about independent contractor misclassification and compliance. Since 2008, he has written over three dozen articles and has made over two dozen presentations to businesses and industry associations on the subject. 

In addition, Richard has extensive experience in the area of non-compete and trade secret law. He crafts corporate protection plans and negotiates and drafts state-of-the-art non-compete agreements, confidentiality pledges and other types of restrictive covenants. He counsels clients on securing compliance with such agreements by departing employees and their new employers and, conversely, how to lift-out key employees of competitors who have signed these types of agreements. Where necessary, Richard litigates controversies across the country involving non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, trade secret obligations and employees’ fiduciary duty of loyalty. He has obtained a number of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions and secured final relief, including multiple cases with injunctions that restrained a client’s former employees and their new employer from doing business with certain customers, and required payment of damages for unfair competition and reimbursement of legal fees and expenses. Richard has also defeated numerous claims brought in court or threatened litigation for alleged use of trade secrets and breach of non-solicitation and non-compete clauses.

Richard has secured dismissals and defense judgments in more than 95 cases in the federal and state courts, including a number of trials. His most significant accomplishments though, are the hundreds of threatened and anticipated lawsuits he has avoided for clients that have sought his advice and counsel before being sued.

He is co-author of two books published by the Bureau of National Affairs on the subject of workplace torts, Employer’s Guide to Workplace Torts and Negligent Hiring, Fraud, Defamation and Other Emerging Areas of Employer Liability. He has also written a chapter entitled Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants in Leading Lawyers on Terms of Employment and Restrictive Covenants.

Richard has been quoted on the subject of independent contractor law and other timely labor and employment issues by the media and legal and business press including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, New York Law Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, and Law360. He was named the “Top Author ” by JD Supra in the area of “Employer Liability” in 2017 and one of the “Top Authors” in 2016 for “Class Actions” and “Employer Liability.”

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Selected for inclusion in the New York Super Lawyers lists (2014-2019)
  • Named the “Top Author” in JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards (2017) for his thought leadership on the topic of employer liability issues
  • Named the “Top Author” in JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards (2016) for his thought leadership on the topics of employer liability and class actions