Associate

Benjamin K. Steffans

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For Ben Steffans, being a lawyer has offered an unexpected opportunity for personal connection.  Ben’s down-to-earth approach makes him easy to talk to and allows him to work closely together with his clients through what is often a difficult and stressful time.  Ben spends a majority of his time representing employers and employees in workplace disputes, something that gives Ben a unique perspective on employment law.  Ben began his career at a large national law firm based in Detroit, where he gained experience working with international entities on employment litigation and counseling issues, as well in commercial litigation.  Ben is the creator and editor of CKVC Works, a blog containing up-to-date information on employment law, which allows him to remain current on that field’s ever-changing landscape of employment law. 

Ben’s employment law practice includes counseling employers of all sizes and in various industries on day-to-day employment issues including wage-and-hour compliance, best practices for discipline and termination, accommodating disabilities, engaging in the interactive process, and how to avoid liability for discrimination, sexual and other harassment, and retaliation.  Ben has written countless employee handbooks, employment agreements, and non-compete agreements for employers of all types and sizes. Ben routinely conducts internal investigations into alleged sexual and other harassment, and audits employers’ wage-and-hour practices for compliance.  Ben frequently holds seminars on various employment law topics, including preventing discrimination, best practices for disciplining employees, and best practices for minimizing wage-and-hour exposure.  He also regularly advises individuals on non-compete, nondisclosure, non-solicit, and trade secret agreements.

Ben also has considerable experience in all types of employment litigation, representing both employers and employees in claims of sexual and other harassment and discrimination based on gender, race, disability, age, and sexual orientation, and on retaliation for reporting unlawful activity. Ben also has represented individuals and employers on group and individual bases on wage-and-hour claims, including claims for unpaid overtime, unpaid commissions, and unpaid bonuses.  Since 2014, has recovered over $2,250,000 for individuals claiming workplace discrimination, workplace harassment, workplace retaliation, unpaid overtime, and violation of wage and tip acts, on individual and group bases.

During his career, Ben has represented businesses of all sizes and in numerous industries regarding compliance with employment law, including employers in education, healthcare, retail, food service, construction, banking, light and heavy manufacturing,  personnel staffing, accounting and financial, entertainment, recreation, seasonal, not-for-profit, automotive, information technology, media and publishing, real estate, and housing.

Ben also has extensive experience in handling all types of commercial litigation and has appeared in state and federal courts on behalf of companies in the construction, manufacturing, healthcare, banking, real estate, education, and retail industries in connection with contract, property, antitrust, fraud, and trade secret claims. 

An avid runner, Ben’s goal is to run a half marathon in all 50 states. He is the co-owner and co-founder of Detroit City FC, a minor-league soccer team in Michigan.  Ben is a 2016 graduate of 1Berkshire’s Berkshire Leadership Program, a program comprised of local leaders dedicated to develop leadership skills designed to address community challenges and improve the quality of life in the Berkshires.

Current Representations

  • Regularly advises employers on a variety of employment law issues, including hiring, firing, disciplining, accommodating disabilities, payment practices, claims of harassment, claims of discrimination, and claims for retaliation arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Massachusetts Wage Act, Title VII, the American with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Massachusetts Sick Leave Law, and the Family Medical Leave Act
  • Representing group of employees in class action alleging overtime violations in retail industry. 
  • Representing food-service business in defense of claims brought under Massachusetts Tip Act.
  • Representing technology business in defense of age discrimination and retaliation claims.
  • Representing individuals in claims alleging disability, age, gender, and racial harassment.
  • Representing individuals in claims alleging unlawful retaliation and violation of the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law.

Experience Highlights

  • In February 2017, tried a 4-day jury trial alleging disability discrimination to verdict. 
  • In December 2016, won a jury verdict on behalf of an employee in an employment dispute.
  • Recovered over $200,000 for group of food service workers for violation of the Massachusetts Tip Act.
  • Since 2014, has recovered over $2,250,000 for individuals claiming workplace discrimination, workplace harassment, workplace retaliation, unpaid overtime, and violations of tip acts, on individual and group bases.
  • Recovered over $200,000 for group of transportation workers for overtime violations.
  • Recovered over $300,000 for group of financial workers for overtime violations.
  • Pre-suit recovery of $125,000 for employee alleging racial harassment.
  • Pre-suit recovery of $125,000 for employee alleging sexual harassment.
  • Pre-suit recovery of $90,000 for employee alleging disability harassment.
  • Regularly advises employers on a variety of employment law issues, including hiring, firing, disciplining, accommodating disabilities, payment practices, claims of harassment, claims of discrimination, and claims for retaliation arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Massachusetts Wage Act, Title VII, the American with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Massachusetts Sick Leave Law, and the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Regularly drafts variety of employment documents, including handbooks, separation agreements, hiring documents, employment agreements, and non-compete agreements.
  • Extensive experience in performing wage-and-hour audits to ensure employer compliance with state and federal wage-and-hour statutes and to develop strategies to minimize overtime exposure. 
  • Regularly defends employers in employment cases before state courts, federal courts, and administrative agencies involving claims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wage-and-hour violations arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Massachusetts Wage Act, Title VII, the American with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Massachusetts Sick Leave Law, and the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Since 2014, has recovered over $1,750,000 for individuals claiming workplace discrimination, workplace harassment, workplace retaliation, unpaid overtime, and violations of tip acts, on individual and group bases.
  • Secured summary judgment for large automotive supplier in connection with contract-based claims. 
  • Successfully represented state university in arbitration concerning denial of tenure.
  • Successfully defended construction company in action brought under Massachusetts False Claims Act.
  • Defeated class certification on behalf of an international manufacturer in claims brought by direct and indirect purchasers price collusion and market allocation in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. 
  • Secured dismissal of claim against home contractor against claims alleging overbilling for services.
  • Represented over 50 automotive suppliers in proceedings concerning bankruptcies of Chrysler Automotive and General Motors. 

Education

  • Michigan State University (highest honors)
  • Boston College Law School, J.D.

Areas of Practice

  • Employer Counseling
  • Employment Litigation
  • Business Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Contract Disputes

Bar Admission

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • State of Michigan

Professional Recognition

  • Super Lawyers “Rising Star” 2014-2016

Recent Presentations/Publications

  • March 21, 2017:  Presentation on drugs in alcohol in the workplace at 1Berkshire Seminar 
  • March 1, 2017:  Presentation to client on progressive discipline
  • October 25, 2016:  Presentation on Department of Labor overtime regulations at 1Berkshire Seminar
  • September 14, 2016:  Presentation on Department of Labor overtime regulations at Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Seminar
  • CKVC Works, Creator and Editor
  • Butzel Long’s Labor and Employment Seminar, Presenter, 2006 – 2011