Brian S. Cousin focuses on employment litigation and counseling, ERISA and benefits litigation, executive contract negotiations, complex commercial litigation, and international arbitration. He is head of the Firm’s International Employment Practice Group and co-head of the Firm’s ERISA and benefits litigation practice.
Brian has more than 30 years of experience handling class action and complex commercial litigation, employment litigation, close corporation and partnership disputes and arbitration matters. Brian has successfully handled many types of litigation and arbitration matters involving such claims as theft of trade secrets, fraud, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, defamation, violation of restrictive covenantsn(including non-competition and non-solicitation provisions), unfair competition, discrimination and retaliation, indemnification and advancement of legal fees, and violations of the following federal statutes: ERISA, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Sarbanes-Oxley, and the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Brian has successfully litigated a wide variety of employment-related cases, including claims under Title VII and Title IX, 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 30 years. Brian’s ERISA litigation experience includes class action and US Department of Labor 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 represented ERISA plan fiduciaries and trustees in connection with ERISA- and benefits-related investigations conducted by the US Department of Labor.
Brian advises US and multi-national 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 frequently represents companies on multi-national counseling projects by engaging and coordinating lawyers from a vast network located in more than 80 countries.
Brian has extensive experience advising both corporations and executives with respect to rights of indemnification and advancement of legal fees and costs. Brian also has unique experience drafting, negotiating, and litigating force majeure provisions in contracts relating to many different industries, including entertainment, healthcare, hotel and tourism, insurance, and real estate.
With respect to alternative dispute resolution, Brian regularly represents clients in arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association (AAA), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS), and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and in mediations before the AAA, JAMS, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the courts.
Brian authors and regularly updates two chapters in the Lexis Nexis treatise Corporate Compliance Practice Guide, The Next Generation: (1) “Specific Corporate Compliance Challenges by Practice Area: ERISA” and (2) “Background Checks and Their Importance for the Compliance Program;” and a chapter in the Practising Law Institute’s treatise International Corporate Practice: International Law Firm Network.
During law school, Brian was a member and symposium editor of the Rutgers Law Review.
Previously, Brian led the global employment and labor practice and the ERISA and benefits litigation practice at another AmLaw 100 firm.
States have imposed their own obligations on employers as part of their reopening plans. Employer requirements and best practices depend on the employer's locations of operation and type of business but, at a high level, there are general trends with respect to state-imposed employer obligations, including maintaining safe working conditions and monitoring employee health, undertaking sanitisation efforts, requiring the use of personal protective equipment and promoting telework.
COVID-19 safety plans are a way for employers to demonstrate to their employees, the public (for public-facing businesses) and, in certain cases, state governments that they have considered the risks associated with COVID-19 in their respective workplaces and have developed a response to these concerns. This article answers FAQs for employers regarding COVID-19 safety plans, including whether state-specific guidance exists and when such plans should be updated.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect every facet of life, businesses have much to consider. This article covers the provisions available to employers in the United States and the key questions that they are asking, including topics such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, furlough, access to the workplace, reductions in hours and employers' obligations concerning employees who are experiencing symptoms.
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.