Emily M. Tortora

Tortora Emily

Emily Tortora's practice focuses on employment litigation and counseling, and general commercial litigation, on behalf of clients in the hospitality, education, healthcare, and consulting industries, among others.

Emily’s experience includes:

  • Frequently representing clients facing discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims under federal, state, and city laws—including Title VII, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the New York State Human Rights Law—in litigations in state and federal courts, and before various administrative agencies
  • Advocating for clients accused of violating the leave provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act and applicable wage and hour laws
  • Defending against claims by state entities for unemployment insurance contributions and prevailing wage payments
  • Representing educational institutions in litigation brought by employees and former students
  • Providing guidance to employers in connection with employment and severance agreements, including agreements involving senior-level executives
  • Drafting and updating employee handbooks and various employment policies, including arbitration agreements, sexual harassment policies, and travel time compensation protocols
  • Conducting employment-based due diligence for corporate transactions, keyed into evaluating risk associated with a target entity's employment practices
  • Advising clients concerning meal and rest break requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act and related New York law
  • Counseling employers regarding their obligations under the New York City Earned Sick Time Act and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
  • Defending against restrictive covenant and breach of contract claims, and responding to charges before the National Labor Relations Board

While attending law school, Emily served as a legal intern with the New York State Office of the Attorney General, in the Litigation Bureau. She also served as a judicial intern in the Eastern District of New York. Prior to attending law school, Emily worked as an assistant paralegal in a corporate immigration firm, preparing visa applications for employees of various corporate entities.


Representative Matters

  • Secured a victory in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of an educational institution accused of retaliation under Title IX and deceptive business practices, after obtaining initial dismissal of certain claims and eventual summary judgment in the Southern District of New York
  • Drafted successful summary judgment memoranda for a consulting company in a litigation involving pregnancy-based discrimination, retaliation, and violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act in the Southern District of New York
  • Prepared various briefings for a hospitality industry client facing claims of disability, race, and gender discrimination in New York State Court, and successfully argued for dismissal and other favorable determinations in the litigation
  • Defeated an appeal in the New York State Court of Appeals in a litigation involving claims of disability-based and race-based discrimination
  • Composed successful summary judgment memoranda on behalf of a healthcare industry client facing disability, race, age, and gender discrimination claims in the Eastern District of New York, after deposing the plaintiff in the litigation
  • Secured dismissal of a number of employment-based claims brought by a former employee against a hospitality industry client in New York State Court
  • Drafted a motion that resulted in the dismissal of wage claims against a construction industry client
  • Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a healthcare institution into claims of discrimination and harassment, including the preparation of a comprehensive investigation assessment
  • Drafted numerous submissions that resulted in favorable determinations from the New York State Division of Human Rights, New York City Commission on Human Rights, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Prepared a position statement for a hospitality industry client that secured the dismissal of charges before the National Labor Relations Board
  • Composed a submission that resulted in a positive outcome in a prevailing wage matter involving a New York City contractor
  • Participated in the defense of a municipality in a multi-plaintiff litigation involving discrimination and retaliation claims emanating from the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, and Title VII
  • Assisted in the successful representation of an educational institution in connection with a suit brought by former students alleging reliance on purportedly misleading post-graduation employment data
  • Successfully represented a pro bono asylum applicant as primary counsel in a hearing before the U.S. Department of Justice's Immigration Court




  • J.D. cum laude Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 2011
    • Notes editor, Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal
  • B.A. summa cum laude Bucknell University 2006
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York


Pro Bono

  • Provided pro bono employment guidance to a nonprofit children’s organization on a variety of issues, including independent contractor arrangements, wage and hour laws, and employee performance management
  • Represents clients seeking asylum before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on a pro bono basis
  • Secured asylum for a firm client after serving as primary counsel at an asylum hearing before the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Immigration Court, advocated for him in connection with his subsequent permanent residence interview, and manages issues relating to his post-asylum relative visa applications