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James A. Vagnini



Bar Admissions: New York State Bar
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
New Mexico State Bar

Education: Hofstra University School of Law, J.D. 1998
— Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal
University of Connecticut, B.A. 1995

Classes/Seminars Taught:
Panelist: People of Color, Women and the Public Corporation: Conference on Racial and Gender Equity in the Business Setting Symposium
Guest Lecturer: Race/Gender & Corporate America and Race & Corporate Governance at St. John’s University School of Law

Throughout his career, James’ focus was and remains the advocacy and litigation of civil and human rights relating to fair and equal treatment of employees in the private and public sectors.

James first began his career while in law school when he worked for the New York State Division of Human Rights assisting with the investigation and prosecution of violations of state anti-discrimination statutes. In private practice, James began by representing clients in individual litigation.  However, soon after his start, he dedicated his practice to group and mass litigation, including class and collective action work.  As a result of this concentration, James also dedicated countless hours to the development and practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

James has represented over 10,000 clients working in small and large businesses nationwide who have suffered various forms of discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge and unlawful pay practices.  To date, he’s recovered over $100 million in negotiated settlements for his clients. James has been specifically sought out by aggrieved employees nationwide for his expertise in handling individual and multi-plaintiff actions against private and governmental employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in Federal Courts throughout the country.

James has also successfully litigated Title VII mass and class actions.  Most notably, James acted as co-lead counsel in a mass action co-counseled with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Dallas, Texas.  James and his firm recovered nearly $2 Million in a Consent Decree for 15 litigants in the matter of EEOC and Eric Mitchel, et al. v. Allied Aviation Services.  Early in his career, James was a primary attorney in Warren, et al. v. Xerox Corp., a Title VII racial steering and harassment class action which settled for $12 Million.  He then tackled classwide age discrimination as one of the lead attorneys in the collective age discrimination lawsuit Colabufo, et al. v. CNA Financial Corp., which resulted in a significant settlement for plaintiffs.  He, along with co-counsel also represented hundreds of employees who raised various racial discrimination and harassment claims across multiple job sites at Turner Industries. They first successfully achieved classwide EEOC findings on behalf of his clients and went on to play an integral part in a bellwether trial in Taylor, et al. v. Turner Industries Group that resulted in an over $4 million verdict for two plaintiffs in East Texas.  The verdict then led to a significant recovery for the additional plaintiffs with pending claims against Turner Industries. James is currently lead attorney in the Lindsley, et al. v. Omni Hotel Management Corp. gender discrimination class action wherein it is alleged women employed in particular divisions of the hotel giant are paid significantly less than men and women are subjected to disparate treatment and harassment on account of their gender. James represents clients by advocating for their LGBT rights in the workplace and has successfully prosecuted such claims under state and federal laws.  

James has also represented thousands of clients who are subjected to unlawful wage violations in individual, mass and class action claims.  Specifically, he fights for employees who are (i) misclassified and denied proper overtime pay, (ii) forced to work “off-the-clock” and denied minimum wage/overtime pay, (iii) paid unlawful shift or day rates, (iv) undocumented and paid unlawfully,  (v) improperly paid through the use of comp time, and (vi) tipped employees who are denied their proper wages. In 2017 and 2018, James represented hundreds of NYC parking production assistants who were denied proper overtime compensation and alleged their employer maintained improper wage and pay records in violation of the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act.  James and his team filed 11 federal lawsuits against all the major television and film production companies which resulted in over $30 million dollars in recovery to his clients and the ultimate unionization of the workers.

James’ cases and practice have been the focus of several panels, discussions, textbooks and lectures, as well as national news publications and specials.  He is a regular guest lecturer at St. John’s University Law School where he highlights the litigation aspects of representing workers in America.  Specifically, he has lectured on the role of race and gender in corporate governance. He is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association, Employment Law Division.

James currently represents workers alleging various violations of their rights across the country and in cities such as New York City, Newark, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Albuquerque, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, Los Angeles, St Louis, and Washington D.C.