Esther Lander


Washington, D.C.

Esther Lander is a partner in our Washington, D.C., office. She focuses her practice on high-stakes workplace internal and government investigations and complex employment discrimination claims and has experience representing clients in the retail, finance, technology and other industries, across all areas of employment law. She is a strategic and skilled litigator and has represented employers in connection with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) systemic pattern or practice investigations, as well as litigation involving challenges to hiring, compensation, promotion and other practices alleged to cause class-wide disparate impact or disparate treatment discrimination.

Esther also regularly advises on diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as pay equity studies, intentional recruiting and lawful affirmative action plans and goals.

In addition to her litigation practice, she counsels clients on all areas of federal, state and local employment law, including executive terminations; severance agreements; workforce reductions; and compliance with federal and state obligations such as the WARN Act and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act.

She also provides advice regarding the proper validation of employment selection procedures to ensure compliance with Title VII and other applicable employment laws. Esther has specific expertise in testing validation and she routinely reviews validation and adverse impact studies to provide clients with strategic advice regarding the defensibility of selection devices, including algorithmic decision-making tools used to assess applicants and employees.

She previously served as the principal deputy chief of the Employment Litigation Section within the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.

    • Conducted a civil rights audit and targeted diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) best practices reviews for Fortune 500 companies, including employers in the technology, retail and transportation industries.
    • Successfully resolved, on an individual basis, a nationwide race discrimination class action challenging an employer’s point-based attendance policy.
    • Successfully resolved, on an individual basis, and pre-suit, threatened multi-plaintiff gender discrimination class action involving six plaintiffs asserting systemic pay and promotion discrimination against a multistate advertising company.
    • Obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice of an Equal Pay Act lawsuit against a large consulting firm.
    • Successfully conciliated and resolved an EEOC Commissioner’s charge alleging nationwide race, color and national original discrimination against a multinational retail chain.
    • Successfully conciliated and resolved an EEOC pattern or practice investigation into alleged discriminatory hiring and discharge practices and work assignments by a large restaurant franchisee.
    • Successfully conciliated and resolved an EEOC pattern or practice charge involving alleged discriminatory promotions practices against women by a division of a multinational retailer.
    • Successfully obtained a dismissal of an EEOC pattern or practice charge against a transportation company which has operations in 22 states and the District of Columbia involving the company’s use of an employment test.
    • Successfully obtained a dismissal of pattern or practice claims against a leading communications company in connection with an EEOC sexual harassment charge. The class claims were dismissed.
    • Obtained dismissals of charges against a multinational home improvement retailer in several cases involving background check systemic claims.