Lecturer in Law
Michael J. Puma is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice. Mr. Puma's practice includes the full spectrum of labor and employment law matters, including single-plaintiff, class, and collective action litigation (both wage/hour and discrimination claims); employee benefits litigation; wage/hour and other employment counseling; traditional labor work; counseling and litigation related to the protection of trade secrets and unfair competition; and occupational health/safety counseling and litigation.
Mr. Puma has focused his practice on complex litigation, including dozens of wage/hour class and/or collective actions and race and gender discrimination class actions in jurisdictions across the country in the entertainment, retail, financial services, insurance, food services, and telecommunications industries. Mr. Puma also teaches a course at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on litigating employment class and collective actions. Representative results from Mr. Puma’s complex litigation include:
- Class certification defeated in both race and gender discrimination class actions.
- Class or conditional certification defeated in wage/hour class and collective actions.
- Motions for summary judgment or motions to dismiss granted as to the claims of the named plaintiffs in class and collective actions, thus mooting the classwide claims.
- Litigated wage/hour class or collective actions to voluntary dismissal by the named plaintiffs without payment of compensation.
- Successfully enforced class/collective action waivers in arbitration agreements signed by named plaintiffs in wage/hour class and collective actions.
- Settled wage/hour and discrimination class and collective actions on a classwide basis on favorable terms.
In addition to his litigation background, Mr. Puma has advised clients in a broad range of industries with respect to compliance with the requirements of the FLSA and state law wage/hour and wage payment requirements. He also has conducted a number of comprehensive internal wage/hour audits to assist clients in properly classifying employees as exempt or nonexempt and to revise other wage/hour and wage payment practices as necessary, and he has worked with employers to manage financial and employee relations issues associated with reclassification projects. He has also represented clients in federal and state Department of Labor (DOL) audits and negotiated favorable settlements of violations.
Mr. Puma also has counseled employers on reductions in force, decisions regarding adverse employment actions, compliance with OSHA's standards for health and safety in the workplace, and compliance with a broad spectrum of other federal, state, and local regulations.