Biography

For businesses and not-for-profits grappling with employment and labor relations issues, Allen Roberts is a creative, collaborative partner. He helps clients anticipate challenges and limit risk. Whether defending a company in a high-stakes whistleblower case or providing due diligence for a major transaction, Allen brings a comprehensive mix of experience to the table. His track record as a litigator, transactional counselor, and compliance advisor aids his analysis and guidance concerning the financial and reputational impact of key decisions. Allen’s precise drafting and litigation sensitivity guard against unwanted surprises in transaction representation, executive employment negotiations, and union relations.

Allen has earned the respect and trust of not only his clients—but adversaries, judges, and arbitrators—who value his ability to work productively with all parties involved. He has defeated a wide range of high-exposure matters, including collective and class actions, whistleblower claims, and discrimination and retaliation claims. Companies seeking strategic investments rely on him to uncover potential employee, union, and benefits liabilities—all with the goal of helping avoid future litigation exposure.

Allen and his wife, Heidi, founded the U.S. Friends of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to wildlife conservation, research, medical treatment, innovation, and anti-poaching initiatives. They have raised over $2 million in donations since 2007. He is also a collector of art ranging from modern and contemporary paintings to Tang and Han Dynasty, other Asian, and Neolithic works.

Experience

  • Defended a large New York-based wine and spirits distributor against putative collective and class action claims brought by daily “shape-up” employees seeking compensation for time spent waiting for work to be assigned on an as-needed basis. After successfully advocating targeted discovery instead of class certification, Allen obtained a summary judgment dismissal, enabling his client to avoid extensive motion practice and risk.
  • Defeated a $75 million complaint brought against one of the largest independent beer distributors in the United States involving the calculation of overtime pay for delivery drivers and helpers. Allen established that the Federal Motor Carrier Act grants overtime pay exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York State labor law. He also managed litigation risk and cost by averting both conditional certification of an FLSA overtime pay collective action and a motion for class-wide discovery of claims asserting unlawful payroll deductions.
  • Defeated a breach-of-contract claim brought by an ordained minister employed in an executive role of a major church organization. In this groundbreaking case, Allen argued that the United States Constitution denied a secular court any authority to analyze a church organization’s governing documents to determine the merit of a contract breach claim.
  • Defended an industry-leading real estate owner and management firm against sexual harassment and emotional distress claims. Allen helped his client avoid a jury trial by enforcing an arbitration agreement and then won dismissal in arbitration through cross-examination showing that the plaintiff was not credible and had altered key diary entries logging alleged incidents of harassment and reports to the employer.
  • Represented a large New York-based wine and spirits distributor in an action before the National Labor Relations Board and enforced by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in which a union sought to retain jurisdiction over work assignments. Allen established that the employer was not liable for its employees’ lost work opportunities resulting from a supplier’s policy change to include product delivery in its pricing. The union’s efforts to enforce a contractual work preservation clause in arbitration were held to be unlawfully coercive.
Education
  • Temple University School of Law (J.D., 1971)
  • The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania (B.S., 1966)
Court Admissions
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Bar Admissions
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
Recognition
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Employment Law—Management and Labor Law—Management (2006 to 2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell, “AV Preeminent” rating in the Judicial Edition and the Peer Review Edition
  • New York Metro Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor and Employment Litigation: Defense (2006 to 2020)