Joseph H. Harris


Joseph Harris defends businesses in employment lawsuits involving the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, failure to pay overtime, discrimination, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment. He practices in New York State and federal courts, as well as before administrative agencies, such as the Department of Labor.

In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Harris also advises business on how to proactively reduce their risk of employment lawsuits and government investigations. To that end, he audits his clients’ compensation and payroll practices for compliance with state and federal wage laws; counsels businesses on how to engage independent contractors; helps companies design legally-compliant internship programs; drafts employee handbooks, employment agreements, and independent contractor agreements; and advises businesses on how to develop and implement employment policies, such as leave-of-absence policies, sick leave policies, social media policies, criminal background check policies, religious accommodation policies, and disability accommodation policies.

Mr. Harris has presented numerous continuing legal education courses for attorneys, as well as workshops and seminars for corporate executives and human resource professionals, on topics including the proper drafting of employee handbooks, compliance with wage-and-hour laws, preventing discrimination and harassment lawsuits, and employee discipline. Since 2011, he has served as a guest lecturer on employment law for the Strategic Steps for Growth Program at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Mr. Harris was named a “Rising Star” in labor and employment law by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters publication, in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2015, he was featured in “Legal Leaders: New York’s Top Rated Attorneys,” and, in 2014, he was selected by SmartCEO Magazine as a finalist for the “Attorney of the Year Award.” He has been rated “AV Preeminent,” the highest rating available, by Martindale-Hubbell.

Presentations, Articles & Press


  • “Unpaid Interns and Independent Contractors: Recent Legal Developments Affecting Businesses,” Columbia University Community Business Program, September 2015.
  • “Idea To Execution: Make Or Break Your Business” (Panelist), the Small Business Expo, June 2015.
  • “Employment Law Tips for Small Business Owners,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, March 2015.
  • “Key Concepts in Employment Law for Small Business Owners,” New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, March 2014
  • “Preparing Your Small Business for Success: Essential Legal, Accounting, and Strategic Considerations” (Panelist), the Small Business Expo, June 2014.
  • “Unpaid Interns: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You,”, June 2014.
  • “3 Employment Law Tips for Entrepreneurs,” New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, March 2014.
  • “Preventing Workplace Discrimination and Harassment,” New York State Society of CPAs, April 2013.
  • “Keeping Your Business Legal,” hosted by AXA Financial, February 2013.
  • “Complying with the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance: Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions,” Workplace Training Center, January 2013.
  • “What HR Executives Need to Update in HR Manuals for 2013,” ExecSense, December 2012.
  • “Employment Law for Business Attorneys,” National Academy of Continuing Legal Education, November 2012.
  • “Employment Law Tips for Business Owners,” New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Strategic Steps for Growth Program, November 2012.
  • “Legal Dos and Don’ts of Employee Discipline,” Workplace Training Center, October 2012.
  • “Employment Law Essentials,”, July 2012.
  • “Most Common Pitfalls of Wage and Hour Law — and How to Avoid Them,” Management Training Resources, June 2012.
  • “Navigating Wage and Hour Laws: Tips and Tools for Human Resource Professionals,” Human Resources Association of New York, May 2012.
  • “Avoid Three Common Employment Law Traps: Unpaid Interns, Independent Contractors, and Overtime,” New York Small Business Expo, May 2012.
  • “Employment Law and the Internet: Understanding and Managing the Risks to Businesses,” hosted by SyNet Solutions, February 2012.
  • “Employment Law Tips For Entrepreneurs,” New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, November 2011.
  • “Discrimination and Harassment In the Workplace: An Internal Audit for Businesses,” National Academy of Continuing Legal Education, October 2011.
  • “New York Wage and Hour Law Compliance,”, October 2011.
  • “An Introduction to Employment Law for Business Managers,” New York Small Business Expo, October 2011.
  • “Employment Law 101 for Business Managers,” Cathedral Consulting, May 2011.



  • Quoted in “How to have a holly jolly holiday party: A guide for HR,” HR Dive, November 2015.
  • Quoted in “Fired By Emoji? Unorthodox Ways Employees Have Been Terminated,” The Street, October 2015.
  • Interviewed on the Business Breakthrough podcast for segment, “Employee Hiring Questions That Will Land You In Court,” May 2015.
  • Quoted in “4 Pieces of Legal Advice that Sound Good … But Small Business Owners Should Ignore,” National Federation of Independent Businesses, August 8, 2014.
  • Cited in “Latest Worry for Owners: Overtime Pay for Managers,” the Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2014.
  • Quoted in “Dangers of Playing Favorites with Staffers,” Medical Office Today, March 13, 2013.
  • Quoted in “How To Make Internships Pay Off,” the Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2013.
  • Quoted in “Handling ‘Gross’ Things Tricky for HR Pros,” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), October 16, 2012.
  • Quoted in “How Legal Is Your Unpaid Internship Program?” American Express Open Forum, June 8, 2012.


Tel: 212.518.3997

Fax: 212.457.6131

Professional Affiliations

• Co-Chair, Business Lawyers’ Forum

• New York State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section

 Bar & Court Admissions

• United States District Court, Southern District of New York

• United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

• New York State


• Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, J.D.

• Haverford College, B.A.

• Oxford University, Pembroke College