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Psychological Issues in Employment Law 2016

Speaker(s): Christopher J. Kuczynski, George Woods, Jr., M.D., L.F.A.P.A., John A. Beranbaum, Michele Press, M.D., Patrick W. Shea, Pearl Zuchlewski, Rebecca J. Osborne, Sandra Benjamin, Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Steven D. Hurd, Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D., Susan Ritz
Recorded on: Mar. 2, 2016
PLI Program #: 150318

Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D. is a psychiatrist specializing in Forensic Psychiatry and Traumatic Stress. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry, and serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and as an Adjunct Professor of Law, at Brooklyn Law School.

Dr. Kleinman has extensive experience assessing and treating the consequences of a wide array of trauma, including Asian piracy, Middle Eastern terrorism, urban sexual assault, and workplace harassment.  He helped found the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Asylum Program, was the first Medical Director of the Crime Victims Center, a mental health clinic which treats solely the psychological consequences of (violent) crime, and consulted for the New York State Crime Victims Compensation Board. After the 911 terrorist attacks, he assisted employees of companies perceived as particularly likely targets of additional attacks, including via anthrax and other biological agents.

Dr. Kleinman has written widely about posttraumatic stress, especially its intersection with civil and criminal legal issues, and vigorously worked to better mental health professionals’ understanding of such. He founded, and served as chairperson, of the Committee on Trauma and Stress, of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, and teaches about PTSD, and assessing emotional distress damages, to fellows training in Forensic Psychiatry in the Columbia-Weill Cornell Forensic Psychiatry fellowship program.

Dr. Kleinman’s experience working with those who have suffered serious assaults and threats provides him with a deep, nuanced appreciation of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the use and misuse of this diagnosis.

As a board certified forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Kleinman consults in a broad spectrum of criminal and civil matters, including regarding workplace harassment/discrimination, the ‘mindset’ of perpetrators of violent and non-violent acts, e.g., ‘white collar crime’, and workplace violence. He worked for over ten years at the Bellevue Hospital Forensic Psychiatry Clinic, examining individuals for the Court regarding competency to stand trial, and pre- and post-sentencing issues, consulted to the Special Victims Bureau of the Queens District Attorney’s Office regarding child victims’ psychological ability to confront their alleged abusers in courtroom proceedings, and consults for prosecutors and defense attorneys in criminal matters, and defense and plaintiff attorneys in civil matters.

Dr. Kleinman received his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. He subsequently trained in Psychiatry, at the Pennsylvania Hospital, Psychiatry and Law, at the Center for Social-Legal Studies, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Forensic Psychiatry at New York University/Bellevue Hospital.

Chris Kuczynski is Assistant Legal Counsel at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  During his career with EEOC, Chris has supervised the development of regulations, policy guidance, and technical assistance publications on Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  Chris regularly advises EEOC field and headquarters offices, including the offices of the Chair and Commissioners, on complex ADA and GINA issues.  Chris has worked on numerous EEO issues in addition to the ADA and GINA, including supervising the development of Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues (rev. June 25, 2015), issues affecting the rights of LGBT persons in the workplace, and religious discrimination and accommodation issues. 

Chris has made hundreds of presentations on the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, GINA, and other EEO issues  to diverse audiences, including human resources and EEO professionals, supervisors and managers in the public and private sectors, medical professionals, and plaintiff and defense counsel.  He has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CBS News, MSNBC, and National Public Radio.

From January to October 2003, Chris was a Special Assistant to former EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez, and from October 2003 through April 2004, he was Associate Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.  Chris was a trial attorney in the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice from July 1993 until February 1997, and was a litigation associate for three years with a major Philadelphia law firm. 

He has a B.A. in English from Villanova University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and from which he received the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2007 Alumni Medallion, a J.D. from Temple Law School, and an LL.M. from Yale Law School.  In November 2016, he became a member of the ABA College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Dr. George Woods is a licensed physician specializing in neuropsychiatry. His private practice focuses on neurodevelopmental disorders, acquired neurocognitive disorders, cognitive impairments secondary to neuropsychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injury, ethnopsychopharmacology and workplace safety. In addition to his clinical practice, George consults with legal teams dealing with complex criminal and civil litigation.

He has worked with Vulcan Industries, Microsoft, Walmart and other companies to develop employment practices, ADA compliance, Artificial Intelligence, and security measures. Dr. Woods is Chief Scientific Officer for Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc., a major provider of Behavioral Health services. Dr. Woods was appointed to the Governing Board of the Stanford University Medicare Shared Services Program (MSSP) University Health Alliance Accountable Care Organization, LLC.

Dr. Woods is President of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH).  This is his second term in 6 years.  He is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah Medical Center, the first psychiatrist to receive this honor. George also received the Historical Prixe from the University of Milan in July 2019.

Dr. Woods is a lecturer at Berkeley Law at University of California, and has taught at the University of Washington-Bothell, the University of California-Davis, and Morehouse School of Medicine. George has taught at PLI for 8 years.

Patrick Shea is the Global Chair of the Paul Hastings Employment Law Department, and leads a diverse group of more than 100 lawyers in 14 offices around the world. He is based in the firm’s New York office where he represents companies in a wide range of employment-related litigation, including matters involving employee benefits, employment discrimination, wage and hour claims, and wrongful discharge. His clients include major companies in the financial services, information technology, manufacturing, defense, and high-tech industries.

Recent Representations

Weber v. FujiFilm (D. Conn. 2012) (prevailed in three week federal jury trial brought by a senior executive alleging age and national origin discrimination)

Perkins v. Southern New England Telephone (D. Conn. 2011) (prevailed in three week wage and hour class action jury trial)

Christie v. General Electric (D. Conn. 2010) (prevailed in six-day age discrimination jury trial brought by employee with 20 years of service)

Eldridge v. Provident Life& & Accident Insurance Co., (Mass. Super. Ct. 2001) (defendant’s verdict in three-week jury trial of nationwide class action alleging breach of contract)

Flanagan v. General Electric Co., (2d Cir. 2001) (affirming summary judgment for defendants in ERISA class action challenging transfer of more than $1 billion in pension plan assets)

Prevailed in nine arbitrations before the AAA and FINRA.

Accolades and Recognitions

Chambers USA ranked in Band 1 among the top labor and employment lawyers in New York

Legal 500 notes “Patrick Shea ‘seems to win whatever he touches’”

Named in The Best Lawyers in America

Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Named one of “America’s Top 100 Employment Law Attorneys” by Lawdragon

Rated "AV Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell®


Speaking Engagements and Publications

Frequent speaker on topics in the employment law area


Professional and Community Involvement

Appointed by the Chairman of the EEOC to serve on a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee that developed regulations governing age discrimination releases under Title II of the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act

Member of the New York, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia Bar Associations

Admitted to a number of federal district and circuit courts

After graduating from law school, he served as law clerk to the honorable Raymond J. Pettine, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island



Yale Law School, J.D., 1981 – where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Yale Law Journal

University of Scranton, B.A., 1978

Pearl Zuchlewski is a partner in Kraus & Zuchlewski LLP where she primarily represents individual employees.

She is a former Chair of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) Labor and Employment Law Section and presently serves on the Section’s Executive Committee.  She also is a Section representative to the NYSBA House of Delegates.  In addition, Ms. Zuchlewski is a member of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Labor and Employment Law Section’s Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Association of the Bar in the City of New York (“ABCNY”). 

She has served on the FINRA task force which drafted the FINRA Code of Arbitration provisions for statutory discrimination claims and is former Chair of the FINR’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.  Ms. Zuchlewski most recently served as Chair of a FINRA employment task force which reviewed and consolidated the former NASD and NYSE Codes of Arbitration Procedure.

Ms. Zuchlewski has been recognized for several years as among the Best Lawyers in New York and in Superlawyers.  She is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the College’s Board of Governors.  She also is a member of the advisory boards of the New York University Law School Center for Labor and Employment, the Hofstra Law School, CPR Employment Disputes Committee and the New York City Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association; her other professional activities include membership in the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association.

Ms. Zuchlewski is a frequent speaker on alternative dispute resolution, sexual harassment and other employment related issues at various organizations including the ABA, NYSBA, ABCNY, Practicing Law Institute and New York University Judicial Conferences.  Her articles have appeared in the New York Law Journal, various proceedings of the New York University’s Annual Conferences on Labor, ABA, NYSBA and other publications.

Rebecca J. Osborne is a Partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., where she has worked since 2001.  She has represented employees in all aspects of employment law including:  discrimination and retaliation for opposing discrimination; compensation and employment contracts; wage and hour law violations; FMLA violations; ERISA violations; whistleblower discrimination; restrictions on competition; and employment-related torts.

Ms. Osborne graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a Bachelor of Arts in 1992 and Master of Arts in 1998 and from Northeastern University School of Law in 2001.  Prior to law school she worked as a Legislative Director in the New York State Legislature.  She has been the Chair of the New York City Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Committee, as well as a member of the New York Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Federal Bar Council.  She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, where she co-teaches "Gender and the Law."  She has spoken to numerous organizations about employment law.

Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Esq. has deep experience in understanding and resolving complex labor and employment disputes. Mr. Sonnenberg’s unique background, which allows him to understand both plaintiff and defendant concerns, comes from the practice of law, experience as a mediator, and prior experience as a psychotherapist. Mr. Sonnenberg is known for his attention to detail, thoughtful approach to emotion-laden disputes, and demeanor conducive to settlement.

Mr. Sonnenberg practiced labor and employment law at the highest levels for 25 years at Paul Hastings, and achieved a prestigious ranking from Chambers USA, within the Labor & Employment band. Leadership roles at the firm included a term as Chair of the New York Employment Law Practice (2014-2017), Vice Chair of the Employment Law Department (International) (2003-2014) and Co-Chair of the Employment Law Department’s national wage and hour law practice (2005-2014). Resident for an equal amount of time in the firm’s Los Angeles and New York offices, Mr. Sonnenberg represented and advised clients in a wide range of employment disputes, including wage and hour class and collective actions, retaliation, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenant, discrimination and harassment lawsuits. He has also overseen and conducted privileged internal investigations in response to complaints of misconduct.

Before practicing law, Mr. Sonnenberg devoted himself to a 15-year career as a clinical social worker in Michigan and California. Mr. Sonnenberg worked in diverse psychiatric settings and community organizations, assisting individuals with a wide range of emotional, vocational and financial challenges, including facilitating the resolution of disputes with family members, employers and other third parties.  Settings included psychiatric hospitals, a community mental health center, and the private practice of psychotherapy working with individuals, couples and families.

Mr. Sonnenberg has mediated numerous matters not only at JAMS but as a member of the Mediation Panels of the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He has taught employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center, has provided employment law training and advice in a variety of settings, and is an adjunct faculty member at Cardozo Law School.

Steven D. Hurd is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department at Proskauer Rose LLP where he serves as co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Practice Group and Media & Entertainment Industry Group.

Steve has extensive trial and appellate experience, in both federal and state courts focusing on claims of alleged individual and class discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, FINRA, whistleblowing and retaliation, defamation, fraud, breach of contract, wrongful discharge and other statutory and common law claims. Steve also advises clients on employment litigation avoidance, litigation strategy and alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Steve helps his clients stay in compliance with the ever-changing employment regulations with respect to FLSA and state law wage and hour requirements by providing advice and conducting comprehensive audits. Steve conducts investigations pertaining to reductions-in-force and individual employee terminations, and claims of gender, race, national origin, and disability discrimination.

Steve received a J.D. magna cum laude from Albany Law School of Union University and a B.A. cum laude from the University of Notre Dame. He serves as a member of the New York State Bar, New York City Bar, Federal Bar Council and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Steve has been recognized for his labor and employment work by The Legal 500 United States, Best Lawyers in America and New York Super Lawyers.

Susan Ritz is a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Ritz Clark & Ben-Asher LLP.  Ms. Ritz handles all forms of employment-related matters, including advising employees and partners regarding their rights, duties and entitlement to benefits; handling contract, severance agreement and partnership dispute negotiations; and representing employees and partners in negotiations, mediations, administrative proceedings, arbitrations and lawsuits encompassing a full panoply of employment-related issues, with special emphasis on claims of unlawful harassment, retaliation and employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, national origin, age, disability, religion, marital status, sexual orientation and other protected classes.  

Ms. Ritz provides neutral mediation services, and conducts impartial internal investigations on behalf of employers into alleged discriminatory conduct.  She also advises non-profits and employers on employment-related issues, reviews and revises Staff Manuals for employers, and represents employers in contract and severance negotiations.  She offers harassment and discrimination prevention training to management and employees, as well.

Ms. Ritz has received many accolades, including The Best Lawyers in America (every year beginning 1995), Super Lawyers (every year beginning 2006) and Lawdragon 500. She is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and was selected for its 2011 Inaugural Edition of the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. gives her a rating of ten out of ten.  She is also a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Litigation Counsel of America. Ms. Ritz has published articles and lectured widely, including for the National Employment Lawyers Association/NY, Practising Law Institute, ALI-CLE, American Bar Association, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association and at CUNY School of Law.  She serves as a pro bono mediator for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Before beginning her law practice, Ms. Ritz served as the law clerk to New York Supreme Court Justice Kristin Booth Glen.  Ms. Ritz graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar and a member of the Order of the Coif.  She graduated from Brown University with an Honors B.A. in Ethics and Political Philosophy.  Ms. Ritz is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of the state of New York, the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. 

Dr. Press has been in full-time private psychiatric practice for over 25 years. Her specialties include psychoanalysis, psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy and medication management of depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at NYULangone Medical Center where she teaches and supervises in the psychiatric residency program. Her area of expertise in in psychodynamic psychotherapy technique and theory. She is Training and Supervising Analyst at New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (NYPSI) where she teaches and supervises mental health professionals in the specialty of psychoanalysis and was recently elected to the NYPSI Board of Directors. She has been serving as Chair of the Committee on Confidentiality for the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Dr. Press completed her undergraduate and medical degrees at McGill University. She completed her residency training in psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine where she also completed a fellowship in forensic psychiatry. Subsequent postgraduate training was obtained at New York Psychoanalytic Institute.

She is Board Certified in Psychiatry and in Psychoanalysis.

Sandra is a Vice President in the Employment Law Group within the Legal Department at Goldman Sachs & Co.  Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Sandra was a member of the Employment Law Department at Paul Hastings LLP in Los Angeles and New York City, where she represented employers in employment discrimination, retaliation, wage-and-hour litigation, and advised on a wide variety of employment-related issues.

Sandra received a Bachelor of Science in Honors Psychology from Michigan State University, where she also volunteered as a crisis and sexual assault counselor and counselor trainer.  She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

John A. Beranbaum is a partner with the law firm of Beranbaum Menken LLP in New York City. He graduated from Yale College (A.B.) and NYU School of Law (J.D.). After law school, Mr. Beranbaum was awarded a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship by the Legal Services Corporation, with which he worked as a legal services lawyer in New Jersey. Mr. Beranbaum subsequently worked as a disability rights advocate with the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate, and as associate with a Philadelphia law firm representing injured workers. Since 1992, Mr. Beranbaum has represented employees in discrimination, whistleblowing, wage and hour and contract lawsuits and disputes  Among the cases he has litigated are two federal court race discrimination cases in which the jury returned seven-figure verdicts, and a $40 million qui tam action against a drug manufacturer for off-label marketing. Mr. Beranbaum has written extensively on employment law and spoken at, among other places, NYU School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, and the City University of New York School of Law. He was a long-time member of the NELA/NY Executive Board, is an active member of NELA National and serves as a mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Beranbaum’s work in the area of Employment Law is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and Martindale Hubble.