PETER M. PANKEN is Of Counsel in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm's New York office. He represents management in a wide range of industries on all aspects of employment and union-related matters as well as disability issues.

A life member of the American Law Institute in recognition of his decades of service, Mr. Panken has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© (1989 to 2018) in the fields of Employment Law—Management and Labor Law—Management, as well as in The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, Who's Who Legal, and Who's Who in the World. Mr. Panken was also named to the New York Metro Super Lawyers list (2006 to 2017) in the areas of Employment & Labor and Employment Litigation: Defense.

Mr. Panken:

  • Litigates before federal and state trial and appellate courts, arbitrators, and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, state and local employment discrimination agencies (New York, New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, etc.), and the U.S. Department of Labor (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Wage and Hour Division; the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)
  • Has negotiated or arbitrated under collective bargaining agreements with the following unions: TWU, IATSE, IBEW, IBT, UFCW, ILGWU, UAW, RWDSU, SEIU, UNITE, UNITE-HERE, BCTWU, District 65, ACTWU, AGMA, ATU, AFM, AFT, and OPEIU
  • Advises employers and HR officials on dealing with particular employee problems and compliance with laws
  • Prepares employee manuals
  • Devises grievance procedures
  • Conducts training for managers and employees
  • Drafts and administers Affirmative Action programs
  • Drafts employment contracts for executives and other employees

Mr. Panken publishes and speaks extensively on a wide variety of labor and employment topics, including federal and state employment laws and regulations, retaliation, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, alternative dispute resolution, other federal and state anti-discrimination and employment regulation laws, drafting employee manuals, drafting work rules, drafting executive employment contracts, creating employment applications, and avoiding liabilities in employee terminations and reductions in force.

A former Editor of the Harvard Law Review, Mr. Panken is the Editor-in-Chief of American Law Institute-American Bar Association Committee on Continuing Professional Education's Labor and Employment Law: Resource Materials (a 2,500-page volume of practical materials). He is the author and editor of A State-by-State Survey of the Law on Religion in the Workplace, and the author of the chapter "Americans with Disabilities Act" published in the Employment Law Deskbook for Human Resources Professionals. He is a contributing editor to The Developing Labor Law, and he serves on the Board of Advisors of Employment Law Counselor, published by Thomson West. Mr. Panken regularly authors articles in numerous publications, including Employment Relations Today (Wiley), Prentice Hall Employment Law Services, Nation's Business, the American Management Association Journal, The Practical Lawyer, The Practical Litigator (where he served on the Editorial Board), ALI-ABA Business Law Course Materials Journal, and industry trade journals. Topics have included the following:

  • Employment discrimination (Title VII, ADEA, ADA, sexual harassment, drugs, state and local discrimination laws)
  • Retaliation
  • Federal and state wage and hour litigation
  • Personnel relations (drafting personnel manuals, affirmative action plans and executive employment contracts, structuring grievance procedures and alternative dispute resolution procedures, and planning and implementing reductions in force)
  • Drafting employment contracts
  • Defending against union organizing attempts
  • OSHA
  • Litigation techniques (before courts and administrative agencies)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility suits
  • ERISA and employee benefits law

Mr. Panken regularly chairs ALI-ABA, ALI CLE, and other Bar Association programs on labor and employment law, including "Employment and Labor Relations Law for the Corporate Counsel and the General Practitioner," "Advanced Employment Law and Litigation," and "Employment Law in Financial Institutions - Insurers, Bankers, and Brokers." He also served on the advisory Committees for the American Law Institute Restatements of Agency and Employment Law.

Mr. Panken's representative cases include the following:

  • Alexander v. Turner Construction Company, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Charley et al. v. Liberty Lines Transit Inc., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Glozman v. Zabar's, Inc., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Hemingway v. Pelham Country Club, State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department
  • Healy v. New York Life Insurance Company, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Fannizzi v Society for the Preservation of Putnam County Antiquities and Greenways Inc., Supreme Court Putnam County

Mr. Panken has represented employers in the following industries:

  • Banking
  • Brokerage
  • Charitable (Not For Profit) organizations
  • Country Clubs
  • Construction
  • Distribution
  • Education
  • Entertainment (Broadway theaters)
  • Finance
  • Government
  • Health care
  • Hospitality (hotels, restaurants, and country clubs)
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing (chemicals, electronics, food, garment, jewelry, metals, textiles, etc.)
  • Professional firms (accounting and law)
  • Public utilities
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Real estate
  • Rehabilitation agencies
  • Transportation

Among his clients over the years have been retail chains; a potato frier that processed over two million pounds of potatoes into frozen french fries each day; over 30 golf and country clubs; restaurants; the operator of the public transit bus system in a suburban New York county; a not-for-profit vocational rehabilitation agency that evaluates, trains, and places thousands of individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment; home health care agencies; the operators of call centers; the owner of Broadway Theaters; as well as construction companies, manufacturers, and a federal government agency.


  • Harvard Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 1962)
    • Editor, Harvard Law Review
  • Haverford College (B.A., cum laude, 1957)

Court Admissions

  • 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. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Bar Admissions

  • New York


  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, CLE Committee, EEO Committee, NLRA Committee
  • American Law Institute, Consultative Committees for the Restatement of Agency, and Advisory Committee for the Restatement of Employment Law
  • Boardroom Reports, Legal Expert Panel
  • Executive Forum, Top Level HR Executives of Major New York Companies
  • Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, Director and Former President - Recipient of the Milton Cohen Award for Outstanding Achievement to the Goals of Federation of the Handicapped
  • New York Chamber of Commerce, Employment Law Committee
  • New York State Bar Association, Labor Law section, CLE Committee
  • Society for Human Rights Management, Former President of New York Chapter - Recipient of the Lazarus H. Breiger Award for Outstanding Contribution to the New York City SHRM Chapter