Kristen works with employers to help ensure compliance with the complex maze of labor and employment laws. She provides practical, tailored advice to help clients avert costly and damaging employment-related claims.
Kristen joined Bond in 2005 as a labor and employment lawyer. In 2018 she was appointed by Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh as Corporation Counsel for the City of Syracuse. After Mayor Walsh’s first term, Kristen returned to Bond in 2022.
As Corporation Counsel, Kristen oversaw all legal affairs for the city, supervising a law department of 18 attorneys. She directly advised the Mayor, Common Council and department heads (including the police and fire chiefs) on wide ranging legal issues, with a particular focus on employment and labor issues including employee relations and discipline, labor contract interpretation and compliance, civil service compliance, labor negotiations, workplace investigations and employment litigation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped negotiate concessions with the city’s labor unions to avoid widespread furloughs and ensure the continuation of critical city services.
As the head of the law department, Kristen implemented major staffing, organizational and performance improvements to the department and improved responsiveness and efficiency of its Freedom of Information Law process. She also made significant contributions to police-reform initiatives, negotiated the city’s acquisition of its street-light network and helped Syracuse earn its designation as New York’s Flagship Smart City.
Prior to her legal career, Kristen worked in human resource management with several large corporations (including Exelon and Bose). This, combined with her years as Corporation Counsel, gives her a unique and helpful perspective into the day-to-day realities of being an employer. She merges this practical knowledge with her legal experience to provide each client with a realistic, pragmatic approach to solving employment law challenges.
At Bond, Kristen helps both private and public sector employers solve difficult employee accommodation, disciplinary and leave issues; conducts employment policy audits; and oversees workplace investigations. Some of the laws that she counsels employers on include:
When employers, despite their best compliance efforts, are faced with employment-related claims, Kristen also defends these claims. Kristen is an experienced employment litigator, defending employers before the New York State Division of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the New York State Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Division. She also defends employment-related lawsuits filed in state and federal court and has successfully defended multiple suits before the Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. She also participates in the mediation of employment claims. Some of her representative employment litigation matters include:
- Obtained summary judgment dismissing federal court action in its entirety against a large healthcare client. The matter involved allegations of sexual harassment, race and age discrimination, and retaliation. Successfully argued the appeal before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the dismissal of the case.
- Was granted summary judgment for school district in a case filed in federal court and involving allegations of gender-based discrimination and harassment, as well as constitutional due process violations.
- Secured dismissal of a disability discrimination and Family Medical Leave Act lawsuit against a large healthcare client prior to discovery, saving the client thousands in litigation costs.
Kristen works with both non-union and union employers and has experience in the arbitration of labor relations disputes and the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.