Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Avi Kumin was quoted in a Law360 article, “How to Respond When Workers Say They’ve Been Mistreated.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been under fire over the past couple of weeks not only because of the scandals surrounding his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his alleged sexual harassment of subordinates, but also because of how he reacted in public statements. Avi Kumin spoke with Law360 about how high-profile companies and individuals can best respond to public allegations made in the press.
"Defendants in these types of highly public employment cases need to be cautious about what they say in press statements or comments to the press," said Mr. Kumin. "In many cases, these comments can have the unintended consequence of worsening the problem."
First, it’s important to have multiple people review any statement that goes out to the public, and preferably someone outside of the organization who is removed from the emotions of the matter and can provide objective perspective. Secondly, it is generally a bad idea to attack the accusers. A couple of years ago, Jones Day took this ill-advised approach after two former firm associates accused the firm of having an unfair parental leave policy. "The Jones Day statement really seems to go overboard in attacking the plaintiffs," Mr. Kumin said. "To me it comes across like an internal email that someone who was angry and upset about the allegations might write, not like a press statement."
Finally, Mr. Kumin advises against trying to fully defend yourself in the press, and to instead save your defenses for court. This likely protects you from both a retaliation claim, and a defamation claim.
"Generally speaking, if you make explosive allegations in a court filing, you are protected in doing that," Mr. Kumin explained. "If you do it outside of court, there's a possibility of a defamation claim."
Read the full article here.