Elizabeth concentrates her practice in Labor and Employment Law on behalf of management. Elizabeth has successfully defended management before state and federal courts, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Department of Labor and state agencies in discrimination, sexual harassment, FMLA, wrongful discharge, whistleblower, ERISA and wage and hour matters. In addition, Elizabeth counsels companies on personnel issues, employment policies, restrictive covenants and compliance with state and federal employment laws.
Elizabeth also practices general liability defense with a concentration in Construction/Labor Law claims. Elizabeth is a Member of the New York State Bar Association and has lectured on its behalf, as well as for Metropolitan Women’s Bar Association sponsored programs.
Diane L. Houk joined the firm as Counsel in 2009. Her practice focuses on representing individual and organizational plaintiffs in housing discrimination matters, including Broadway Triangle Community Coalition v. New York City; National Fair Housing Alliance v. Facebook, Inc; Fair Housing Justice Center v. M&T Bank; Kneer and Long Island Housing Services v. German American Settlement League, Inc., and L. C. v. LeFrak City. Prior to joining the firm, Diane co-founded the New York City-based Fair Housing Justice Center in 2004 and served as its first Executive Director until 2009.
Ms. Houk previously worked at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in the Housing & Civil Enforcement Section from 1991 to 2004. During her tenure as a Senior Trial Attorney, Ms. Houk served as lead counsel in more than thirty housing discrimination cases filed by the United States in federal courts throughout the country. Her docket included systemic “pattern and practice” cases, as well as individual complaints referred by HUD, involving allegations of race, national origin, familial status, sex, and disability discrimination. These included rental discrimination cases based on “testing” investigations and local land use cases, such as United States v. Yonkers, NY; United States v. Parma, OH; United States v. City of Jacksonville, FL; and United States v. Pooler, GA.
In 2000, Ms. Houk was named Special Litigation Counsel by the Division. In that role, she oversaw the development and litigation of race, national origin, and religious discrimination cases involving land use and zoning, redevelopment plans, building and occupancy codes, and affordable housing programs.
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Houk was in private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for seven years litigating civil rights cases alleging race, national origin, disability, sexual harassment, and sexual orientation discrimination in housing and employment. She served as General Counsel to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and handled numerous cases utilizing evidence obtained from “fair housing testing.”
Ms. Houk co-taught the Housing Discrimination Seminar at Columbia Law School from 2005 to 2014 and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on housing discrimination law.