Attorney Debbie Cannavino leverages her more than 30 years of experience as a labor and employment lawyer in Connecticut to assist employers with the full spectrum of issues affecting the workplace. Her work includes:
- Representing clients in a wide variety of employment law matters, including the defense of all forms of discrimination claims, wage and hour violations, sexual harassment, restrictive covenants/trade secrets, breach of contract, and common law tort claims
- Regularly appearing on behalf of employers before all Connecticut state and federal courts, including arguing an appeal before the Connecticut Supreme Court
- Routinely appearing before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and representing employers in trials before its Office of Public Hearings
- Conducting labor arbitrations, handling matters before the National Labor Relations Board, including trials and appeals, and representing federal government contractors in audits as well as individual and class discrimination claims before the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
- Counseling employers on litigation avoidance and compliance with state and federal laws, including harassment investigations, wage and hour, family and medical leave, disability, discrimination, housing, and labor laws
- Drafting and analyzing employment policies, employee handbooks, employment contracts, restrictive covenants and confidentiality agreements, hiring documentation, and severance agreements
- Conducting training sessions for supervisors and human resources professionals on various employment topics, such as sexual harassment prevention, managing leave issues, and wage and hour laws
- Representing housing providers in defending housing discrimination claims before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and before the Connecticut state and federal courts
- Conducting fair housing training for housing providers as one of only three fair housing trainers certified by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
In addition, Debbie frequently presents seminars on employment-related topics, such as preventing and investigating complaints of sexual harassment, ensuring effective employee discipline, accommodating employees with disabilities, conducting pre-employment inquiries, and avoiding discrimination complaints.
Prior to joining Epstein Becker Green, Debbie was a Shareholder at a global employment and labor law firm and co-founded its Connecticut office.
Among her notable career accomplishments, Debbie was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to the 2001 and 2002 United States delegations to the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, where she represented the U.S. employer position in the Application of Standards and the Resolutions Committee. In 2004, she was appointed as an expert on workplace violence by the International Organization of Employers and represented U.S. business interests in developing an international code of practice, which was subsequently adopted by the International Labor Organization.
Debbie was cited by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business among the “Leaders in Their Field,” in the Connecticut—Labor & Employment category (2020 to 2023). She was recommended by The Legal 500 United States in the areas of Labor and Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense (2017 to 2021, 2023), and Workplace and Employment Counseling (2017 to 2020). Her peers selected her for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© (2021 to 2024) in the field of Litigation – Labor and Employment. Debbie was also selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list (2016 to 2018), in the areas of Employment & Labor: Employer and Employment Litigation: Defense.
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D., 1990)
- Northwestern University (B.A., with honors, 1987)
- District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Professional & Community Involvement
- Fairfield County Bar Foundation, President