Christopher A. Parlo represents and counsels management clients in all aspects of labor and employment law. As co-leader of the firm’s wage and hour litigation and counseling practice and its independent contractor team, Chris focuses on the defense of US federal and state wage and hour class and collective actions. He also defends employers in individual and complex employee litigation, including as lead trial counsel in both jury and bench trial settings. Chris is also a co-leader of the firm’s insurance industry team, which focuses on thought leadership in the industry and coordinated representation of clients across all of the firm’s practice areas.
Chris has served as lead counsel in more than 110 wage and hour class and collective actions in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States, and has had a role in dozens more.
Chris opposes and has defeated efforts to certify classes and/or to send notice of the actions, and has experience in the decertification of actions. He has successfully compelled individual named plaintiffs into arbitration, thereby defeating class status, and obtained summary judgment on individual named plaintiff claims and on claims of the class.
Chris also has experience in the determination of complicated class-based damages and limitation of class discovery. He helps clients avoid class discovery disputes, supervises paperless electronic discovery systems involving millions of documents, and litigates privilege issues. Chris has successfully mediated and settled hundreds of actions, drafted numerous complicated settlement documents and settlement implementation processes, and supervised settlement administration in many multi-thousand-plaintiff actions.
Clients rely on Chris’s counsel on wage and hour compliance and audit issues, including maintenance and enhancement of white collar, outside sales, and other exemptions; defense of independent contractor, statutory employee and franchise models; development of proactive solutions to wage and hour problems; and review and redesign of compensation and expense reimbursement policies and programs. He provides advice and counsel in connection with client self-audits and US Department of Labor (DOL) and state wage and hour audits and investigations. Chris is a frequent speaker on Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issues, including how to avoid and defeat class and collective actions, and how to avoid—and if needed, litigate—independent contractor challenges. He has also participated with clients in presenting positions to the DOL to seek relief from and to change aspects of the FLSA, including through new opinion letters.
Chris also handles discrimination cases, including matters involving traditional and newly evolving employee claims against employers and corporate officers. He also represents employers in cases involving wrongful discharge, retaliation, breach of contract, and employment-related torts.
In the employee benefits context, Chris has handled major class action cases in both the nonbargaining and collective bargaining contexts. His experience includes complex litigation challenging employer plan design decisions, and individual claims of denial of benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, and benefits discrimination.
Also a seasoned trial lawyer, Chris has tried numerous bench and jury trials, and represents clients in arbitrations and administrative proceedings at the local, state, and federal levels.
University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1988, J.D.
State University of New York at Albany, 1985, B.A.
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, Leading US Corporate Employment Lawyer, Lawdragon 500 (2020, 2021)
Recommended, Labor and employment: Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense, The Legal 500 US (2020, 2021)
Recognized, Litigation – Labor and Employment, New York, The Best Lawyers in America (2020–2022)
Ranked, Labor & Employment, New York, Chambers USA (2019–2021)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Recipient, M.H. Goldstein Memorial Prize, Labor Law