Harold L. Lichten

Biography

Harold Lichten is a founding partner of the firm and has been practicing labor and employment law for 40 years. His practice now focuses on employment related class actions and individual litigation involving the misclassification of employees as independent contractors; failure to pay wages and overtime; discrimination; and wrongful termination. Since the beginning of his career as a legal services lawyer fighting for the rights of low-income workers, Mr. Lichten has been deeply committed to the field of civil rights and equal employment opportunity. He has been lead or co-counsel in landmark employment discrimination, wage and hour, and independent contractor misclassification cases throughout the United States. He has successfully argued appeals before the Supreme Court’s of Maine, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New Jersey, and in the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Third, Seventh, Sixth, Eleventh and Ninth Circuits. In 2003 and 2015 he was named a Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year for his work in challenging the discriminatory hiring practices of police and fire departments within the state. Bradley v City of Lynn et al 443 F. Supp. 2d 145 (D. Mass); Smith v City of Boston 144 F. Supp. 3d 177 (D. Mass. 2015).

In 2017, his case Gannon vs City of Boston 476 Mass. 786  (2017), established that employers could not discriminate against disabled workers, unless they could prove the worker posed a significant risk of harm to themselves or others. In 2015, in the landmark case of Hargrove vs  Sleepy`s , he successfully argued for the adoption of the strict ABC test in New Jersey for determining independent contractor misclassification, and later succeeded in having the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, reverse the denial of class certification in that same case.  947 F3d 467 (2020).

In a series of cases, before the US Courts of Appeal for the Seventh, Third, First and Ninth Circuits, he successfully defended state wage act claims, against arguments that they were preempted by federal law, or subject to arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. Bedoya v. Am. Eagle Express Inc., 914 F.3d 812, 815 (3d Cir. 2019), Waithaka v. Amazon.com, Inc., 966 F.3d 10 (1st Cir. 2020).

Mr. Lichten and his firm, are currently actively involved in litigating cases across the country, on behalf of delivery drivers, cable and satellite TV installers, salespersons, and marketers improperly classified as independent contractors, and thereby denied wages and overtime. They are also litigating cases involving chain stores and service stations which have improperly classified their store managers as exempt from overtime.

Mr. Lichten currently splits his time between New England and South Carolina and actively litigates cases  across the United States.

Major Cases

Pace v. City of Lynn, Case No. 11-01360, slip op. (Essex Super. Ct., June 6, 2014) (whistleblower case involving city employee with a multi-million dollar verdict won for plaintiff)

Martins, et al. v. 3PD, Inc., 2013 WL 1320454 (D. Mass 2013) (won class certification and summary judgment that appliance delivery drivers were employees, not independent contractors)

Sam Hargrove, et al. v. Sleepy’s, et al., Case Nos. 12-2541/12-2542 (3rd Cir. 2013) (won reversal and remand of decision finding New Jersey truck drivers to be independent contractors, not employees of Sleepy’s)

Scantland, et al. v. Jeffry Knight, Inc., et al., 721 F.3d 1308 (11th Cir. 2013) (reversing trial court ruling that cable installers were properly classified as independent contractors)

Lopez, et al. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 463 Mass. 696 (2012) (Supreme Court of Massachusetts reversed lower court decision and held that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may be held liable under state discrimination law for constructing discriminatory promotional exams)

In The News

Mr. Lichten was named a 2003 and 2015 Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Boston police lieutenant exam discriminated against minorities, judge says
The Boston Globe | July, 2017

Judge rules Boston police exam discriminated against minorities
The Boston Globe | November, 2015

Court suspends probation officer demotions
The Boston Globe | August, 2015

MCAD ruling supports black Worcester officers passed over for promotion
Telegram & Gazette | July, 2015

NJ’s Definition of ‘Employee’ Revives Sleepy’s Class Suit
New Jersey Law Journal | May, 2015

Fired official wins suit vs. city
The Boston Globe | June, 2014

Black police officials sue city
The Boston Globe | February, 2012

Police hit with bias decision; Two officers may be due ‘millions’
Worcester Telegram | November, 2011

Endo Sales Reps Win Conditional Cert. For OT Suit
Law 360 | June, 2011

Sebring men sue MasTec for OT pay
Tampa Bay Online | June, 2010

Contractors cry foul over benefit-excluding system
St. Petersburg Times | December, 2009

Independent contractor decision has lawyers wary
Mass Lawyers Weekly | December, 2008

Judge says firefighter tests biased and unfair
The Boston Globe | August, 2006

Organized labor of love
The Boston Globe | February, 2005

Education

New York University School of Law, J.D., 1977
University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1974

Professional Affiliations

Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
Member, AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, since 1987
Member, State Bar of Maine, since 1978

Admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, U.S. District Court of Maine, the U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits.

Practice Areas

Labor unions, wage and hour class actions, wrongful termination, employment discrimination