Since founding Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 1977, Joe Garrison has become the leading employment lawyer in Connecticut and one of the most prominent employee rights advocates in the United States. His current practice draws upon his vast experience as a trial lawyer and negotiator, and combines the representation of individuals in litigation with an expanding focus on mediation and arbitration.
Joe has received virtually every award and honor available to a trial lawyer. Since 2007, he has been ranked as one of the top 10 Connecticut Super Lawyers, as voted by his 20,000 fellow lawyers in the state. In the 2011 rankings, Joe had the highest point total of any lawyer in Connecticut; in 2012, 2013, and 2014, he had the second-highest. In addition, for the past 25 years, Joe has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America, which includes only the top 5% of lawyers in their respective fields. Because of his jury trial work, Joe is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates, invitation-only organizations representing the nation’s most experienced and distinguished trial lawyers.
As a standard-bearer for the plaintiff’s employment bar, Joe served for three years as President of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and for 15 years on NELA’s Executive Board. He is now NELA’s representative to the Federal Rules Advisory Committee, the legislative body charged with drafting the procedural rules for the nation’s federal courts. He was a Charter Fellow in the Board of Governors of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and later served as its national President. And as an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI), Joe has been substantially involved in drafting the highly-influential Restatement (Third) of Employment Law, which was published in 2014.
For the past 10 years, Joe has increasingly acted as a mediator and arbitrator of employment and commercial cases. Since 2009, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Joe’s ADR docket ranges from significant multi-plaintiff cases, including class actions, to individual lawsuits involving discrimination, breach of contract, or other claims. His experience with mediation and arbitration has further enhanced his ability to represent clients at all levels of employment in negotiations and other settlement processes.
Joe is a nationally-known speaker and a frequent author on the topics of employment law and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Among many other publications, he edited the Connecticut Employment Law Form book, published by the Connecticut Law Tribune. Recently, he was a contributing editor for the ADR in Employment Law, 2017 Supplement, published by the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and Bloomberg Law’s Book Division.
- Bowens v. CRT Capital Group
Successfully represented an investment professional in an arbitration under the rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). When the defendant, a Connecticut-based hedge fund, recruited our client, it guaranteed him the opportunity to earn the deferred compensation that he forfeited by leaving his then-employer to join the defendant fund. The defendant terminated our client without cause, thus depriving him of a meaningful opportunity to earn that compensation. Our client claimed breaches of his contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The arbitrators awarded our client approximately $3 million in damages.
- Arthur Rosenfield v. Yale University
Dr. Rosenfield had been disciplined and demoted because of his patient care advocacy. After a seven-week trial, a jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages, which eventually totaled approximately $6.3 million. See the coverage in the New York Times.
- Sol Hicks v. Chesebrough-Ponds
Race discrimination case on behalf of African-American lead chemist who was wrongly accused of misconduct by his white co-workers. The all-white jury awarded $600,000, almost all in emotional distress damages.
- Michael Kuselias v. SNET
Wrongful termination and defamation case resulting in jury award of $580,000 for infliction of emotional distress and damage to reputation.
- Kim Persky v. Cendant Corp.
Interference with rights under Connecticut and federal family medical leave laws when employer refused to restore client to her previous position and failed to find any equivalent job. The Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed the Connecticut Department of Labor’s award of $500,000 and affirmed an employee-friendly burden of proof in this case of first impression.
- Maria D’Ullise-Cupo v. Notre Dame High School
Persuaded the Connecticut Supreme Court to recognize a new cause of action in Connecticut employment law — the tort of negligent misrepresentation.
- Brian Smith v. Cox Radio
Arbitration award of contract damages and $300,000 for defamation to high-profile morning radio talk show host. The award was affirmed in state court.
- Damages in Common-Law Employment Cases (with Joshua R. Goodbaum), in The Comprehensive Guide to Economic Damages (N. Fannon & J. Dunitz eds., 5th ed. 2018)
Words cannot adequately express my appreciation for your recent assistance in a personal legal matter. Your professionalism, sensitive response to my concern and the support of your office provided me with the sense of advocacy that significantly reduced the stress I was experiencing. The successful resolution of my concern would not have been achieved without your support and guidance. — C.S., West Haven, CT
During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. As the situation escalated, I always felt Mr. Garrison was patient and tried to support me fully. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. He was sympathetic to my situation and recognized that it had spun out of my control; he gave careful advice that recognized my history of good work. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. — J.C., New Haven, CT
A family member had a serious employment problem, and we knew we needed compassion, support, and understanding. We thought immediately of Joe Garrison to help us. He handled our case not only with expert legal advice resulting in a positive outcome, but also with unmatched emotional support, warmth, and compassion, for which we are ever grateful. — S.S., Orange, CT
Joe Garrison is a true professional and champion for his clients. Although he empathizes with the emotional challenges his clients face during a case, he never takes his eyes off the facts and provides clear, concise direction and counseling in order to attain fair and realistic results. He is a master at setting priorities and knowing exactly when to take action to protect his clients’ best interests. Based on my experience, Joe Garrison is the best of the best in his field. — L.H., Oxford, CT
For an uncomfortable and painful situation requiring an employment lawyer, Joe Garrison came very highly recommended. Never having needed the services of a lawyer before, I was apprehensive. But Attorney Garrison was respectful, listened attentively, asked questions, offered suggestions, and guided me to a fair resolution. He was professional, accessible, empathetic, and understanding throughout the process, always providing options and answering my questions. — C.W., Westport, CT
Attorney Garrison’s years of legal experience, knowledge, professional awards, and recognitions are a testimony to his legal stature. As I worked through an employment case with Attorney Garrison, I found him to be very respectful, attentive, accessible, and responsive. He is able to always see the big picture in the myriad of complicated detail. He is a patient listener who is willing to answer questions and is skilled at providing excellent guidance, which happily led to a successful outcome. I am very fortunate to have worked with Attorney Garrison and will remain grateful for his pleasant and professional counsel. — D.P., East Haven, CT