Theresa is a labor and employment adviser representing employers across New York State. Her relationship with clients is paramount to her practice, as she strives to assist employers in a practical, cost-effective way.
Theresa’s practice includes counseling employers in all aspects of legal compliance. She has experience in the following areas:
- Conducting workplace investigations into employee complaints encompassing harassment and discrimination, unlawful surveillance, theft (including theft of time) and others.
- Advising employers on employee leave laws, including New York Paid Family Leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the New York Paid Sick Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and federal and state COVID-19 leave laws.
- Presenting trainings to employees and supervisors on a wide variety of relevant employment topics, including sexual harassment prevention trainings, gender identity harassment prevention, disability accommodation and discrimination prevention, common employee leave issues, drugs and alcohol in the workplace, and conducting workplace investigations.
- Advising employers on reductions in force, WARN Act notice requirements, employee separations and terminations.
- Counseling employers regarding wage and hour matters under the New York Labor Law and the Fair Labor Standards Act, including issues such as minimum wage, overtime pay, spread of hours pay, call-in pay and the Wage Theft Prevention Act.
- Crafting effective restrictive covenants, including non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.
- Creating workplace policies to ensure compliance with New York Paid Family Leave, New York Sexual Harassment, New York Paid Sick Leave law, the New York HERO Act and a diverse array of other policies designed to reflect the culture of the employer’s workforce and enhance employee compliance.
Theresa also represents employers in court, at arbitrations, and before administrative agencies. Her recent matters include the following:
- Obtained several “No Probable Cause” determinations from the Division of Human Rights regarding disability discrimination involving COVID-19 (2021).
- Obtained a dismissal of a class action federal court litigation involving failure to pay overtime claims for a healthcare entity (2020).
- Obtained a dismissal of retaliation claims under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act before OSHA for a transportation company (2020 and 2019).
- Settled a disability discrimination claim for a transportation entity sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2018).
- Settled an administrative complaint from the New York Department of Labor regarding the independent contractor status of certain individuals working with a transportation company (2018).
- Prevailed in a National Labor Relations Board union election at a power and electric entity (2018).
Finally, Theresa is a member of the firm’s Health Care practice, where she focuses on assisting consumer directed personal assistance programs with the labor and employment matters particular to those entities, including wage and hour issues, joint employment and policy compliance.
Events and Webinars
Honors & Affiliations
- Listed in:
- Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Labor and Employment Law - Management, 2022
- New York Super Lawyers®, Upstate New York Rising Star, Employment and Labor, 2020-2021
- New York State Bar Association
- Monroe County Bar Association
- National Human Resources Association, Rochester Affiliate
- Articles Editor, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics
- "IRS Updates American Rescue Plan Act Guidance," Central New York Business Journal, August 23, 2021
- Quoted, "Cuomo’s No Stranger to Scandal: Why is This Moment Different?," syracuse.com, August 6, 2021
- "COVID-19 Vaccinations: Can Private Sector Employers Require Employees To Be Vaccinated?," nsyba.org, February 4, 2021
- "DOL Issues Temporary Regulations on Families First Coronavirus Response Act," Central New York Business Journal, April 17, 2020
- Theresa E. Rusnak and Tyler T. Hendry, "Survey: Labor and Employment Law," Syracuse Law Review, Spring 2019
- Interviewed for "SCOTUS decisions could impact unions," Rochester First, June 27, 2018
- Interviewed for "What the Janus decision means for New York's workforce," Spectrum News Rochester, June 27, 2018
- Interviewed for "#MeToo movement is changing how companies deal with harassment," Rochester Business News BizCast, March 22, 2018
- Interviewed for "#MeToo is changing HR approach," The Daily Record, March 21, 2018
- Theresa E. Rusnak and James Holahan, “No Help Wanted: The Regulation and Elimination of Retail Positions,” New York Law Journal, February 26, 2018
- “How Do You Spell P-A-I-D F-A-M-I-L-Y L-E- A-V-E?: An Exploration of New York’ s Paid Family Leave Act,” New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Journal, Fall 2017
- Theresa E. Rusnak and James Holahan, “Increasing State and Local Government Activism Creates Compliance Minefield,” New York Law Journal, February 27, 2017
- An Interview with Theresa Rusnak, Gender Identity, Legally Bond Podcast, June 14, 2021
- The Impact of Legalized Marijuana on New York State Employers, CNY SHRM, April 15, 2021
- NYS Paid Sick Leave, Greater Rochester Chamber HR Professional Forum, February 9, 2021
- Recruiting in a Pandemic, Professional Recruiters of Rochester, January 28, 2021
- Panelist, Employment Litigation in the Wake of COVID-19, NYSBA, January 22, 2021
- New York Paid Sick Leave: Impact for Employers, MACNY, September 15, 2020
- The Impact of the New State Sick Leave Law for New York Employers, CNY SHRM, July 29, 2020
- COVID-19 In the Workplace: Where We Are and Where We Are Headed, Monroe County Bar Association, May 7, 2020
- 2019 Legal Update, Finger Lakes Tourism Association, January 28, 2020
- 2019 Legal Update, Thompkins County SHRM, January 22, 2020
- 2019 Legal Update, GAPA, November 25, 2019
- 2019 Legal Update, Southern Tier Human Resources Association Crossover Event, November 6, 2019
- 2019 Legal Update, JSEC, October 24, 2019
- Gender Identity in the Workplace, Human Resources Association of the Twin Tiers, October 10, 2019
- Gender Identity in the Workplace, Rochester Chapter of the National Human Resources Association, September 10, 2019
- “Marijuana: Impacts on the Workplace,” QUEST HR, June 27, 2019
- "Marijuana: Impacts on the Workplace,” ARC Collaborative, May 8, 2019
- “Preventing Sexual Harassment in an Evolving Legal and Cultural Landscape,” New York State Rotary Club Chapter Meeting, April 14, 2019
- "Sexual Harassment in Not-for-Profit organizations," Multi District President Elect Training Seminar, March 15, 2019
- “Training The Trainer: Everything You Need to Know for the New Harassment Training Required by Law,” Central New York SHRM, January 24, 2019
- “New York’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Training Requirements,” GAPA Human Resource Association, November 7, 2018
- “9 to 5 No More: Regulating Employee Off- Duty Conduct,” New York State Public Housing Authority Association, October 24, 2018
- “2018 Legal Update, GAPA Human Resource Association,” October 8, 2018
- “Continuing Paid Family Leave,” Independent Bankers Association, June 12, 2018
- “Navigating Sexual Harassment in an Evolving Legal and Cultural Landscape,” Manufacturing Association of Central New York, May 5, 2018
- “New York Paid Family Leave: Are You Ready?” New York State Automobile Dealers Association, February 22, 2018
- “Sexual Harassment After Harvey Weinstein: Options for Navigating and Evolving Legal Landscape,” New York State Automobile Dealers Association, January 11, 2018
- “New York Paid Family Leave: Top Five Tricky Issues,” Job Service Employer Committee, Inc., October 18, 2017
- Hope for Two … the Pregnant with Cancer Network, Board Member