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Mental Stability in the Workplace: Assessments, Accommodations and Responses to Threats and Violence


Speaker(s): Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D.
Recorded on: Nov. 17, 2015
PLI Program #: 162773

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.


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, a prominent AMLAW 100 firm, 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.

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.

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.