Brian S. Cousin is leader of Dentons' legacy global Employment and Labor practice, with more than 450 lawyers, as well as the leader of the Firm's legacy Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Benefits Litigation practice and a member of the Firm’s Commercial Litigation group. He focuses on employment litigation and counseling, ERISA and benefits litigation, commercial and financial litigation, executive contract negotiations and international arbitration.
Brian has extensive experience in class action and complex commercial litigation, employment litigation, close corporation and partnership disputes, real estate litigation, workouts and arbitration matters throughout the country. These matters have involved such claims as theft of trade secrets, fraud, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, defamation, violation of noncompetition agreements and other restrictive covenants, unfair competition, discrimination and retaliation and securities law violations, as well as violations of ERISA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act statutes and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Brian advises US and multinational companies and executives on all aspects of employment, labor and corporate compliance, including drafting and negotiating employment and separation agreements, corporate restructurings and reductions in force, corporate transactions, internal corporate investigations, handbooks and policy manuals, sexual harassment and other sensitivity training, protecting against employee raiding and theft of trade secrets and other confidential information, and compliance with all federal, state and local discrimination laws. Brian has successfully litigated just about every type of employment-related case possible, including cases involving claims under Title VII, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and state leave laws, the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine, state discrimination and retaliation statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws.
Brian is also an experienced ERISA and benefits litigator, having successfully handled numerous class action and single plaintiff cases over the last 28 years. Brian's ERISA litigation experience includes class action cases involving claims for breaches of fiduciary duty related to excessive fees and precipitous stock drops, as well as many cases in the health care industry. Brian has also represented a number of ERISA plan fiduciaries and trustees in connection with ERISA- and benefits-related investigations conducted by the US Department of Labor.
Brian has extensive experience advising both corporations and executives with respect to rights of indemnification and advancement of legal fees and costs.
With respect to alternative dispute resolution, Brian regularly represents clients in arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS and FINRA, and in mediations before the AAA, JAMS, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the courts.
This article reviews the impact of the #MeToo movement, and other corporate culture concerns, on employers and its connection with the Supreme Court's decision in Epic Systems. There is concern that the court's decision will, in many cases, deprive women and men who have been victims of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace of their right to bring collective or class actions, as Epic Systems has forced employees to bring their claims through one-on-one arbitration.
One year after the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Epic Systems – which paved the way for employers to force employees to waive their right to bring class actions – this article revisits the court's decision and the pros and cons of mandatory arbitration programmes with class action waivers.