When financial services, technology, retail, health care, real estate, security services, entertainment, and hospitality businesses, among others, from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies, need practical advice to address wage and hour, HR, and other employment law issues, they turn to attorney Jeff Ruzal.
Clients view Jeff as a business-focused “partner” who helps them achieve employment best practices and risk mitigation without sacrificing their business objectives and goals.
Jeff assists employers with all issues related to wage and hour laws, a focus he developed when he served as a Trial Attorney for the Office of the Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers rely on Jeff to conduct exempt employee and independent contractor misclassification audits, handle federal and state departments of labor investigations, and prepare incentive pay, commission, and equity participation agreements. Jeff also drafts wage and hour policies, offers management training to achieve best practices (including avoidance of off-the-clock work), and assesses compensable activities (such as certain on-call and travel time).
While compliance and litigation avoidance are always the aim, employers rely on Jeff for class and collective action wage and hour litigation.
For in-house employment attorneys and HR directors, Jeff helps them solve a variety of everyday employment-related issues, including general employment law and HR compliance; mitigating the risk of actual and alleged discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace; and employee redundancy issues and reductions-in-force exercises. He also assists their employers in fortifying the workplace with sound, workable policies, practices, and training.
Jeff has been interviewed and quoted by NPR News, Law360, Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report, and the Society for Human Resource Management. He has also written numerous articles on significant employment law issues that have been included in, among other leading publications, Law360, Thomson Reuters Practical Law, and Bender’s Labor & Employment Bulletin. Jeff frequently speaks at national conferences and webinars on a variety of important employment law topics.
Jeff is a main contributor to Epstein Becker Green’s award-winning Wage and Hour Defense Blog. He is also a contributing author to Lexis Practice Advisor and the ABA FLSA Mid-Winter Report.
- Assists a global bank with almost 50,000 employees across departments with all wage and hour counseling needs and litigation, including classification audits, compensation and incentive plans, compensable work policies, and all ad hoc legal inquiries and issues related to wage and hour. Jeff’s business-focused counseling ensures comprehensive compliance with all employment laws and regulations.
- Advises a national web-based consumer packaged goods company valued at $1 billion on daily employment and HR issues. Jeff’s cost-effective and strategic counseling has helped achieve compliance, avoid litigation, and mitigate risk. In addition to day-to-day counseling, Jeff has assisted the client in avoiding potential litigation with respect to non-compete, wage and hour, workplace policy, compensation and benefits, and discrimination and harassment issues.
- Mitigated potential total exposure in a novel wage and hour class action that affected thousands of a national retailer’s workforce located in New York State. Upon investigating and confirming that the client had inadvertently violated the statute at issue and faced approximately $25 million in exposure, Jeff strategically focused on mitigation by pursing mediation. Through creative arguments, he successfully resolved the matter for less than $2 million.
- Helped a health care/nursing home company avoid potential wage and hour liability in connection with multiple, complex, and multifaceted federal and state department of labor investigations. Jeff leveraged relationships in federal and state departments of labor and mitigated potential substantial exposure with respect to back wages and penalties.
- Defended a national restaurant group in various, significant class actions and individual litigations, including wage and hour (over 500 employees), discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. Jeff successfully resolved a major class and collective action for a fraction of the potential $15 million exposure; resolved a single federal court litigation involving wage and hour, discrimination, and retaliation for a small fraction of the overall potential exposure; and successfully defended multiple trials before an administrative law judge for the New York State Human Rights Division.
- The Legal 500 United States, Workplace and Employment Counseling (2018)
- The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law - Management (2023 to 2024)
- New York Law School (J.D., cum laude)
- Hofstra University (B.A.)
- New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- 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