Summary Judgment Motions in Employment Discrimination Cases: Procedural and Substantive Strategies

Pursuing or Defending Against Motions for Summary Judgment; Assessing Impact of Summary Judgment on Trial and Settlement Strategy

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, April 27, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to employment litigators for strategically pursuing or defending against summary judgment motions in employment discrimination cases. The panel will discuss considerations and best practices for drafting and arguing for or against summary judgment motions. The panel will also explain how summary judgment motions can impact trial strategy and settlement posture.


To help curtail costly discovery, substantial verdicts/judgments and exorbitant attorney’s fees, counsel representing employers in discrimination litigation often pursue summary judgment motions as a strategy to defeat claims early on. For plaintiffs’ counsel seeking damages on behalf of workers that suffered alleged discrimination, defeating a summary judgment motion is a critical juncture in employment discrimination cases.

Employment counsel must have an advanced understanding of summary judgment motions practice specific to employment discrimination cases. This includes being strategic about the timing of bringing a motion and the content of the motion. Counsel should weigh the risk of revealing important elements of a case that could impact trial and settlement outcomes in a summary judgment motion against the likelihood of success on the summary judgment motion.

Counsel should also take discovery and evidentiary issues into account when planning for summary judgment, including assessing the admissibility of evidence and determining whether to address such issues in the summary judgment motion.

Listen as our authoritative panel of employment litigators examines how to strategically raise or defeat summary judgment motions in employment discrimination cases. The panel will outline their perspectives and approaches to refine and improve summary judgment motion practice.


  1. Procedural framework for summary judgment motions
  2. Strategic considerations for employers’ counsel pursuing summary judgment in discrimination cases
    1. Summary judgment on liability only or damages only?
    2. Summary judgment on supplemental state claims?
    3. Timing of motion
    4. Content of motion
    5. Discovery and evidentiary considerations
  3. Strategic considerations for plaintiffs’ counsel defending against summary judgment in discrimination cases


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What is the procedural framework for pursuing summary judgment motions?
  • What strategic considerations should employers’ counsel take into account when evaluating whether and when to file a summary judgment motion?
  • What are some best practices when drafting summary judgment motions in employment discrimination actions?
  • What strategies have been effective for plaintiffs' counsel to defeat motions for summary judgment in employment discrimination cases?


Robin E. Shea, Partner
Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Ms. Shea has more than 20 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act; and class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-hour laws; defense of audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and labor relations. She conducts training for human resources professionals, management, and employees on a wide variety of topics. She is Editor in Chief of the Firm's blog Employment & Labor Insider.

A. Jonathan Trafimow, Partner
Moritt Hock & Hamroff, Garden City, N.Y.

Mr. Trafimow chairs the Firm's Employment Law Practice Group and co-chairs the Firm's Cybersecurity Practice Group. He represents employers in all areas of workplace discrimination, retaliation, harassment and civil rights claims, and class actions. He also provides advice and counsel to employers on discrimination and retaliation policies and prevention, harassment training and prevention, wage and hour matters, handbooks, severance packages, employment agreements and other employment-related documents. In addition, he has trial experience in the class action context.

Jordan M. Kam, Partner
The Roth Law Firm, New York

Mr. Kam focuses his practice in business, employment, and securities litigation. Through his diverse experience, he represents public companies, financial institutions, broker-dealers, small-businesses, investment advisors and individuals in federal and state trial and appellate courts, before regulatory bodies, in internal investigations and in arbitration and mediation proceedings.

Lawrence M. Pearson, Partner
Wigdor, New York

Mr. Pearson represents both individuals and corporate clients in legal matters involving discrimination, retaliation, harassment, whistleblowing, severance negotiations, employment law, contracts, workplace policies and compliance, internal investigations, employee discipline, entertainment law and civil rights law. He has litigated many dozens of employment, contract and tort cases to resolution in federal and state courts, as well as arbitrations in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and American Arbitration Association (AAA), among other forums. 


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Customer Reviews

Great information from all the speakers.

Nick Mackris

Kelly Services - Employee Screening Dept

I found the webinar to be very informative and liked having different perspectives on all of the issues.

Carolyn Purwin

Kent & McBride

I appreciated the clear nature of the presentation slides, as well as the Q&A section at the end.

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Alston & Bird

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Vestcom International

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Reed Elsevier

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Employment & ERISA Advisory Board

Susan E. Bernstein

Special Counsel

Schulte Roth & Zabel

Judith (Jude) Biggs


Holland & Hart

Joshua Davis


Goulston & Storrs

Barbara E. Hoey


Kelley Drye

Jeffrey Hollingsworth


Perkins Coie

Diana L. Hoover


Hoover Kernell

Paul J. Kennedy


Littler Mendelson

Marcia Nelson Jackson


Wick Phillips

William C. Martucci


Shook Hardy & Bacon

Laura Foote Reiff


Greenberg Traurig

Eugene Scalia


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Peter Steinmeyer


Epstein Becker & Green

Teresa R. Tracy


Freeman Freeman Smiley

Todd D. Wozniak


Greenberg Traurig

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