Michael F. O’Connor

Michael F. O’Connor has represented victims of unlawful employment practices in state and federal courts in New Jersey and New York for over 20 years. Michael prides himself on his unparalleled commitment to his clients, their cases and their well-being. Losing a job and then having to go to court against a well-heeled employer and its team of corporate lawyers can feel overwhelming. Michael’s clients take comfort in his understanding of what they are going through and the undivided attention Michael gives their case each step of the way. Michael’s clients are confident in the knowledge that, because of his experience and determination, Michael will outfight and outwork the other side until he has achieved the best possible result.

Michael’s commitment to his clients has resulted in a number of multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements. He is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which is limited to attorneys who have won multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements. Fewer than 1% of attorneys in the United States are members. Michael’s peers have selected him as one of the Best Lawyers in America for labor and employment law since 2006. Michael has also been named one of the Top Employment Lawyers in the New York Area and a New Jersey SuperLawyer.

The types of cases Michael regularly handles include cases of unlawful discrimination, retaliation for whistle-blowing, sexual harassment, shareholder oppression and breach of contract. He has successfully litigated cases against large, medium and small private and public employers in various industries, including pharmaceutical and medical device companies, large banks and insurance companies. In addition to his trial success, Michael has also participated in a number of precedent-setting decisions, including:

–Aicher v. IBEW Local Union No. 269 Joint Funds Office, et als., 2017 WL 234191 (D.N.J. May 31, 2017) (summary judgment granted to plaintiff on claim for pension benefits)
–Lippman v. Ethicon, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, Inc., 432 N.J. Super. 378 (App. Div. 2013) (New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act protects Chief Medical Officer who objected to continued marketing of products he believed were unreasonably unsafe in the course of performing his job), certif. granted, 217 N.J. 292 (2014)
–Nair v. Pfizer, Inc., 2009 WL 1635380 (D.N.J. June 10, 2009) (ERISA-governed separation benefit plan may not defend failure to pay separation benefits after change in control based on post hoc justification for denial of benefits)
–Carton v. Choice Point and Choice Point Services, Inc., 482 F.Supp.2d 533 (D.N.J. 2007) (in class action, New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act protects consumers from fraudulent heir hunter scheme)
–Hebela v. Healthcare Ins. Co., 370 N.J. Super. 260 (App. Div. 2004) (D&O carrier obligated to defend Chief Financial Officer against counterclaim filed by employer in wrongful termination action)
–Ackerman v. The Money Store, Inc., 321 N.J. Super. 308 (Law Div. 1998) (employer violated New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by requiring employee to sign arbitration agreement as condition of continued employment).

In addition to his litigation practice, Michael frequently negotiates employment contracts and independent contractor agreements and counsels employees, small businesses, and non-profit organizations on a wide variety of employment law issues, including issues arising from non-competition, confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements.

Michael has served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Model Civil Jury Charge Committee since 2013. Mr. O’Connor is a frequent lecturer on employment law for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the NJSBA Labor & Employment Section and on the Workplace Investigations Subcommittee.

He is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross and Fordham Law School.