The Ottinger Firm, P.C.

Employee Rights Lawyers

Case Evaluation

New York Office

401 Park Avenue South
New York, 10016
Phone: 212-571-2000

San Francisco Office

930 Montgomery Street
San Francisco , 94133
Phone: 415-262-0096

Employment Law, Done Differently™

When is the last time you left a law office feeling good?

World Class Lawyers

Passionate about helping employees

Thoughtful and caring

Focused on employment law only

Responsive & Reliable

We actually return phone calls

Meetings that start on time

Frequent case updates

Organized & Effective

Weekly case meetings

Rigorous case analysis

Millions recovered for clients

Your Employment Lawyers

Robert Ottinger

Ariel Graff

George Vallas

Ori Edelstein

Denise Glatter

"I was very fortunate to be represented by Robert Ottinger recently during my severance negotiations from a long time employer. Mr. Ottinger’s counsel was extremely helpful in reaching an expedient and favorable result. I found his expertise, professionalism, attention to detail and accessibility extremely reassuring during a stressful and difficult time."
"I have known Ari since law school. He is one of the smartest, most determined lawyers I have ever met. I selected him because I trusted him as a personal friend, but I stuck with him and kept using his services after I got to experience what an excellent attorney he truly is."
"The situation I brought to the Ottinger Firm was upsetting. When I walked in to the firm a sense of comfort came over me. I knew I was at the right place getting the right help I needed."
"The Ottinger Firm is a top tier employment law firm. The Firm's attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff are courteous, intelligent, dedicated, and professional."

From Our Blog

Ottinger Files: Working 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Living

January 29, 2015 Quote of the Day: "Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits."  Anonymous. Why Good Employment Reviews Matter  What Happened? A federal judge in an employment law suit recently refused to dismiss a sex discrimination suit because the employee had a history of positive employment
Read More

Employment Background Check – Know Your Rights 

Recent developments have made employment background checks a big issue for employees and employers to deal with.  Employees of many large retail establishments have begun filing class action lawsuits against their employers for abusing the protections provided to employees by federal, state, and local laws.  This recent article in Fortune magazine
Read More

Ottinger Files: Baby its Cold Outside

January 27,2015 Quote of the Day: "The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches."  E.E. Cummings Getting Fired for Being High What Happened?  The pot you smoke is for medical purposes.  Your doctor prescribed it.  Perfectly legal.  Then you get fired over it.  That can't be legal, can
Read More

Sexual Harassment In California – Is Blake Griffin Guilty?

  This recent video making the rounds (here, here, here...) shows NBA superstar Blake Griffin inappropriately grabbing the head of a team trainer and simulating oral sex. While it appears to have been done in jest, it still raises the question of whether he was sexually harassing the trainer or not. Is thi
Read More

Ottinger Files: The Times They are A-Changin’

(MLK Edition) January 22, 2015 Quote of the Day:  "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."    Martin Luther King, Jr. He Had a Dream What Happened? Martin Luther King, Jr. day is different
Read More

On Call Pay Ruling in California – Pay for Sleep Time

On call pay is now required for employees who are required to sleep on the job site.  We expect this ruling to impact nurses, home healthcare workers, security guards and other workers who are required to spend several days on a job site. On call pay can add up for
Read More

The Ottinger Files

The Ottinger Files is a bi-weekly newsletter about employment law and related issues

Ottinger Files: Working 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Living

January 29, 2015

Quote of the Day: “Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits.”  Anonymous.

Why Good Employment Reviews Matter 

What Happened?

A federal judge in an employment law suit recently refused to dismiss a sex discrimination suit because the employee had a history of positive employment reviews.

Why does it Matter?

We all know that employment reviews are like proctology exams, a necessary evil of life. However, if done openly and honestly, a performance review can be a valuable tool for employee and employer alike.  In any event, we thought you might want to know that there is an unintended benefit of having positive employment reviews.   In the nasty world of employment law suits, these reviews can be a powerful weapon.  In most employment suits, the employers primary defense is that the employee was fired for poor performance.  A history of positive employment reviews can cut off this line of defense and put you in a stronger position.

The File

Do all you can to keep your reviews positive.  If you would like to see how a corporate defense lawyer views this subject, see the Ohio Employers Law Blog.

 We are Not Robots

What Happened?

Silicon Valley is an exciting place to be, unless you are one of the thousands of “on demand” workers who feel like underpaid robot.  New technology ventures like Uber, Handybook and TaskRabbit do not use traditional employees.  Instead, they label their workers independent contractors.

Why does it Matter?

Independent contractors are not entitled to the legal protections employees enjoy.  For example, the right to earn a minimum wage and overtime pay.   These crafty new ventures are able to drastically lower their overhead by making a few tweaks to the relationship they have with their workers.   As a result, these companies make Uber profits and their workers make less money and have fewer legal protections.   Class action law suits have been filed challenging this system of on demand employees.

The File

The laws will probably need to be modified before on demand workers get any meaningful relief.


What to think about airing your real thoughts about your boss anonymously

App’s seem to come out about everyday about everything.  NOT A BIG SURPRISE – a new one has been released titled MEMO.  This app allows employees to speak openly about their boss, what’s happening in their workplace, how they feel about business and much more.  There are a few other sites that exist that are similar Yik Yak, Whisper and Glassdoor.  The Memo app is designed for employees to review their boss “truthfully.”  Memo deletes identifying information about the employee, hence the anonymity.  Do you have a review to write anytime soon about your manager?  If so, have you downloaded Memo to tell the real story???

What to think about making a pregnant employee stay home

A donut franchise in Houston forced a woman to stay home from work because they suspected she was pregnant.  This violated pregnancy discrimination laws.  The employee was cleared by a doctor to work regardless of her pregnancy.  The employee attended a surprise meeting with the owner where she was asked intrusive personal questions – “are you pregnant?”  The employee refused to respond and the next day was taken off the work schedule.  The owner also stated she could not return to work and would not get paid until she provided a doctor’s note allowing her to work.  This note would assure the owner that she did not have a “high risk pregnancy.”  The employee filed suit with the EEOC for Pregnancy Discrimination and Retaliation.  The Supreme Court has made it clear that the employee is responsible for making decisions that affect her and her future offspring.  The donut franchise who forced the pregnant employee to leave violated federal law.  Take that Donut Hole – pay up as back pay is due in this case as well!  Read more at The Employer Handbook.

What to think about dealing with difficult bosses


Dealing with a difficult boss is not easy.  Managing the situation is the test you put yourself through everyday.  There are some approaches you can take to hopefully make your life easier for you and the difficult boss.  Start with just talking to your boss.  Discuss with your boss what you need in terms of direction and feedback on your performance.  Make sure you ask your boss how can you help him reach his goals.  This will create a team dynamic.  Be strong, focused and polite.  Definitely do not point out your bosses weaknesses, bad attitude or negativity.  This will get you nowhere.  If you have taken these steps and things are still really bad between your boss and yourself, then it’s time to go to your bosses supervisor.  If that doesn’t work, elevate to the next level, which is Human Resources.  (Side note, document everything from your 1st meeting.).  Lastly if you’ve done all these steps, the problem still exists, an internal transfer doesn’t seem possible – then start looking for a new job ASAP!  Get out of the company – life is too short to work for unhappy people.  See the Evil HR Lady for more on bad bosses.