Joseph H. Harris

Partner
646-374-3069

Joseph Harris is a Partner at A.Y. Strauss and the Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.

Joe represents employers in state and federal court and before government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Department of Labor, and the New York State Division on Human Rights. His litigation practice focuses primarily on defending employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and the violation of wage-and-hour laws. He also represents employers in disputes involving the breach of post-employment restrictive covenants, such as non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements.

Additionally, Joe works with employers to proactively reduce their risk of employment lawsuits and government investigations. He does this by auditing their employment practices for compliance with local, state, and federal laws, advising on the development and implementation of legally compliant workplace policies and procedures, providing anti-discrimination and harassment training, conducting workplace investigations, and counseling on how to respond to internal employee complaints and resolve them before they trigger government investigations or lawsuits.

Joe also protects employers by drafting various employment-related agreements. Some of these include executive employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, confidentiality and proprietary rights agreements, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, commission agreements, arbitration agreements, and separation agreements.

Joe has presented numerous lectures on a variety of employment law topics, including at the Strategic Steps for Growth program at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Emory University School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, the Community Business Program of Columbia University, the Human Resources Association of New York, the New York State Society of CPAs, and the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education.

Prior to joining A.Y. Strauss, Joe was a founding partner in White Harris PLLC, a boutique employment law firm that focused exclusively on representing employers. Before that, he practiced employment law at Moses & Singer LLP, one of New York City’s oldest law firms.

Honors, Awards & Recognitions

  • New York Metro Super Lawyers – Labor and Employment Law, Thomson Reuters, 2020
  • New York Metro Rising Stars – Labor and Employment Law, Thomson Reuters, 2013-2019
  • AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell, 2015-2020
  • Top 40 Under 40 – Labor and Employment, State of New York, American Society of Legal Advocates, 2019
  • Attorney of the Year Award – Finalist, SmartCEO Magazine, 2014

Press

  • Quoted in “Employer Incentives Encourage Employees to Quit Smoking,” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), October 2018.
  • Quoted in “How to have a holly jolly holiday party: A guide for HR,” HR Dive, November 2015.
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  • Quoted in “Fired by Emoji? Unorthodox Ways Employees Have Been Terminated,” The Street, October 2015.
  • “Employee Hiring Questions That Will Land You in Court,” Business Breakthrough Podcast, May 2015.
  • Quoted in “4 Pieces of Legal Advice that Sound Good … But Small Business Owners Should Ignore,” National Federation of Independent Businesses, August 2014.
  • Cited in “Latest Worry for Owners: Overtime Pay for Managers,” The Wall Street Journal, April 2014.
  • Quoted in “What to Say to Your Job Applicant Rejects,” Fortune, July 2013.
  • Quoted in “How to Make Internships Pay Off,” The Wall Street Journal, March 2013.
  • Quoted in “Handling ‘Gross’ Things Tricky for HR Pros,” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), October 16, 2012

Professional Affiliations

  • New York State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • New York City Bar Association

Speaking Engagements

  • “Overtime and #MeToo: The Two Greatest Employment Law Risks for Growing Companies,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, April 2018.
  • “Worker Classification and Wage-Hour Law: Two Deadly Employment Law Traps for Start-Ups,” Fordham University School of Law, February 2018.
  • “3 Employment Law Developments that Every NYC Business Owner Must Know,” NYC Business Solutions, NYC Department of Small Business Services, December 2017.
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  • “Key Concepts in Employment Law Compliance,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, December 2016.
  • “Doing Deals: Contract Drafting,” guest speaker regarding the drafting and negotiation of employment agreements on behalf of employers, Emory University School of Law, November 2016.
  • “Employment Law Essentials for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, April 2016.
  • “Doing Deals: Contract Drafting,” guest speaker regarding the drafting and negotiation of employment agreements on behalf of employers, Emory University School of Law, November 2015.
  • “Unpaid Interns and Independent Contractors: Recent Legal Developments Affecting Businesses,” Columbia University Community Business Program, September 2015.
  • “Idea to Execution: Make or Break Your Business” (Panelist), the Small Business Expo, June 2015.
  • “Employment Law Tips for Small Business Owners,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, March 2015.
  • “Preparing Your Small Business for Success: Essential Legal, Accounting, and Strategic Considerations” (Panelist), the Small Business Expo, June 2014.
  • “Unpaid Interns: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You,” Lawline.com, June 2014.
  • “3 Employment Law Tips for Entrepreneurs,” New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, March 2014.
  • “Preventing Workplace Discrimination and Harassment,” New York State Society of CPAs, April 2013.
  • “Keeping Your Business Legal,” hosted by AXA Financial, February 2013.
  • “Complying with the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance: Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions,” Workplace Training Center, January 2013.
  • “What HR Executives Need to Update in HR Manuals for 2013,” ExecSense, December 2012.
  • “Employment Law for Business Attorneys,” National Academy of Continuing Legal Education, November 2012.
  • “Employment Law Tips for Business Owners,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, November 2012.
  • “Legal Dos and Don’ts of Employee Discipline,” Workplace Training Center, October 2012.
  • “Employment Law Essentials,” Lawline.com, July 2012.
  • “Most Common Pitfalls in Wage and Hour Law – and How to Avoid Them,” Management Training Resources, June 2012.
  • “Navigating Wage and Hour Laws: Tips and Tools for Human Resource Professionals,” Human Resources Association of New York, May 2012.
  • “Avoiding Three Employment Law Traps: Unpaid Interns, Independent Contractors, and Overtime,” New York Small Business Expo, May 2012.
  • “Employment Law and the Internet: Understanding and Managing the Risks to Businesses,” hosted by SyNet Solutions, February 2012.
  • “Employment Law Tips For Entrepreneurs,” New York University, Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, November 2011.
  • “Discrimination and Harassment In the Workplace: An Internal Audit for Businesses,” National Academy for Continuing Legal Education, October 2011.
  • “New York State Wage and Hour Law Compliance,” Lawline.com, October 2011.
  • “An Introduction to Employment Law for Business Managers,” New York Small Business Expo, October 2011.
  • “Employment Law 101 for Business Managers,” Cathedral Consulting, May 2011.

Education

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University (J.D., 2007)
Haverford College (B.A., 2004)
Oxford University, Pembroke College (2000-2001)

Bar Admissions

United States District Court, Southern District of New York
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
New York State

Practice Areas