Overview

Margaret L. Watson has more than 25 years of experience in employment litigation, internal investigations and alternative dispute resolution. She has litigated numerous cases in federal and state courts as well as in arbitrations (FINRA, AAA, JAMS) and agency proceedings. She regularly defends employers and individual managers in cases involving discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII, Section 1981, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA and related New York State and City laws, as well as common law tort and contract claims. Representative cases during her extensive career also include common law claims of fraud, breach of contract, defamation, tortious interference, as well as the review and enforcement of restrictive covenants. Margaret has substantial experience with strategic initiatives around increasing diversity in the workplace and she is dedicated to partnering with clients to proactively prevent employment claims and enhance employee performance. 

Prior to joining Littler, Margaret was of counsel to, and the sole employment law counsel for, the New York City office of a large East Coast regional law firm. Margaret previously served as a director and senior counsel in the legal department of a large national wealth management and financial services company, and she successfully designed and managed the first corporate ombudsman office for the broker-dealer business of that company. She has also played a leadership role in evaluating and developing strategies for best in class diversity and inclusion programs and policies.

Margaret began her career as a law clerk to the Hon. Whitman Knapp in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and has practiced in the areas of white-collar criminal defense as well as civil litigation. She was formerly a partner in a law firm where she represented employees as plaintiffs in discrimination matters; she subsequently served as in-house counsel and counsel to management.

She is a trained mediator and has served as a trained neutral.

Selected Matters

  • Barry Friedland v. UBS AG, 16-cv-0687 (E.D.N.Y. February 2016) (Scanlon, J.), motion to dismiss ERISA claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) (6) or in the alternative for summary judgement pursuant to Rule 56 sub judica.
  • Courtnaye Charley v. Total Office Planning Services, Inc., and John Doe, 14 Civ. 0085 (S.D.N.Y. August 23, 2016) (Buchwald, J.). Motion for summary judgment dismissing claims under 42 U.S.C. §1981 granted.
  • In re: Rafael Diamond, 15 Civ. 10317 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York). Motion for relief from bankruptcy stay and separate motion to dismiss petition in bankruptcy granted. See also, UBS Financial Services Inc. v. Rafael Diamond, Index No. 650140/2016 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County, July 14, 2016). (Petition to confirm arbitration award granted and judgment entered in favor of UBS); Rafael Diamond v. UBS Financial Services Inc., FINRA Case No. 13-00609 (Feb. 2, 2015) (Arbitrators’ Award granting summary judgment in favor of UBSFS on all claims and counterclaims).
  • UBS Financial Services Inc. v. Gary T. Padussis, No. 15-2148 (4th Cir. 2016) and UBS Financial Services Inc. v. Gary T. Padussis, 127 F.Supp.3d 483 (D. Md. 2015) (Quarles, Jr. J). Petition to vacate arbitration award on grounds arbitrators lacked authority to decide matter denied and decision of District Court affirmed on appeal.
  • Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co. v. Ronald Rogers, Harvey M. Spear and Ruth A. Spear, 13 Civ. 101 (D.N.D. November 12, 2014) (Erickson, Chief Judge). Motion for judgment on the pleadings granted in this interpleader action brought under ERISA, resulting in award to our clients of life insurance proceeds.
  • Kelly Codrington v. CARCO Group Inc., 13 Civ. 2780 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (Feuerstein, J.). Motion for summary judgment dismissing pregnancy discrimination claims filed, and matter was resolved while that motion was sub judica.
  • Trapps v. Jett Industries et al., 12 Civ. 02133 (S.D.N.Y. May 31, 2013) (Koeltl, J.). Motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part, dismissing Title VII retaliation claims.
  • Williams v. Skyline Automotive Inc., 11 Civ. 4123 (S.D.N.Y., May 30, 2012) (Scheindlin, J.). Motion for summary judgment granted, dismissing plaintiff’s wage law claims under federal and state law.
  • Williams v. Skyline Automotive Inc. et ano., 11 Civ. 8318, 2012 WL 4857509 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 9, 2012) (Forrest, J.). Motion for partial summary judgment dismissing state and city law discrimination and retaliation claims granted. See also Williams v. Skyline Automotive Inc., 11 Civ. 8318 (S.D.N.Y., March 2013) (motion to enforce settlement agreement granted dismissing remainder of action).
  • Costello v. New York State Nurses Association et al.,783 F.Supp.2d 656, 2011 WL 1560971 (S.D.N.Y., April 25, 2011) (Scheindlin, J.). Motion for summary judgment granted, dismissing claims of age, gender, race and national origin discrimination and alleged unlawful retaliation under federal, state and city law.
  • Cooper v. New York State Nurses Association et al., 847 F.Supp.2d 437, 2012 WL 913080 (E.D.N.Y., March 16, 2012) (Hurley, J.). Motion for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part, resulting in dismissal of plaintiff’s gender discrimination and retaliation claims, but leaving claim of alleged violation of FMLA for trial.
  • Sussex Commons Associates, LLC et ano v. Rutgers, The State University; Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic; and Rutgers University Custodian of Records, 210 N.J. 531 (2012). Petition for certiorari granted resulting in Supreme Court ruling in defendants’ favor exempting defendant Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic from obligations of New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act.
  • Shah v. RBC Capital et ano., Index No. 151482/13 (Sup. Ct. New York County, June 11, 2013) (Kenney, J.). Motion to dismiss complaint granted dismissing retaliation claims arising from termination of employment.
  • Real Estate Mortgage Network, Inc. v. Carnegie Mortgage, LLC et al., Dkt. No. 651842/2012 (Sup. Ct. New York County, Feb. 5, 2013) (Schweitzer, J.). Motion to dismiss complaint alleging claims of fraudulent inducement, rescission and negligent misrepresentation granted.
  • Celentano v. MetLife Inc. et al., Dkt. No. 12694/11 (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co., Apr. 3, 2012). Motion to dismiss complaint alleging claims of fraud granted.
  • Goldstein v. Drew University, Index No. 101944/2010 (Sup. Ct. Richmond County, October 2010 ) (Maltese, J.). Motion to dismiss complaint for lack of jurisdiction granted.

* Note: Representation in Selected Matters was prior to employment with Littler.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member

American Bar Association

Member

New York State Bar Association

Member

Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Member

HLS Women's Alliance of New York

Member

National Association of Women Lawyers

Recognition

Named, Super Lawyer

Super Lawyers

2016-2019

Named, Top Attorneys in Metro New York

The New York Times Magazine

2016-2019

News, Analysis & Press

Speaking Engagements

The Form U-5: Best Practices in How to Minimize Litigation Exposure and Reduce Potential Damages

CLE

March 28, 2017

Best Practices in Preserving Privilege in Internal Investigations and When Providing Guidance to Business

CLE

March 2, 2017

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law Schoolcum laude
  • B.A., Swarthmore CollegePhi Beta Kappa

Bar Admission

New York

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York