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Keya Denner's legal practice is devoted to the counsel and defense of employers in labor and employment law, executive compensation, and cannabis law.

Keya's primary goal in representing his clients is to help them avoid litigation through sound company policies and counsel them in fine tuning those policies as laws evolve. He frequently provides training for his clients' executives, HR managers, front-line managers, and employees on topics like harassment awareness and prevention, the impact of the #metoo movement on business operations, and best workplace practices for managers and supervisors. He is also adept in counseling employers faced with challenging employee leave entitlement issues under both the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When litigation is unavoidable, Keya is a formidable employment law litigator, representing management in a breadth of employment law issues including defending against claims of violations of statutes related to non-compete and trade secrets protections, discrimination, disability, and wage and hour regulations, under both federal and state laws. He appears on behalf of clients before state and federal courts as well as state and federal human rights agencies in New York and New Jersey.

Keya has extensive experience helping companies navigate the new and evolving laws and regulations related to medical and recreational marijuana. He provides regular counsel to employers faced with marijuana-related employment issues, including advising on accommodation concerns for employees who use medical marijuana pursuant to the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), and drafting and refining employers' drug testing and enforcement policies. Keya's experience in cannabis law is not limited to employment-related issues, however, as he has advised numerous clients looking to enter the growing cannabis industry on the interplay between federal and state laws regarding both the sale and the marketing of marijuana and industrial hemp. Keya is often asked to speak on these and other related issues and has assisted clients in the licensing process to establish and operate alternative treatment centers under CUMMA.

As a member of FordHarrison's Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation practice group, Keya also has a deep understanding of employment compensation and employee benefits issues. He has handled the successful negotiation of employment and severance agreements for clients involving benefits packages, confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation, and employment and post-employment compensation.

In 2017, the New Jersey Law Journal recognized Keya as its "New Leader of the Bar" for his extraordinary accomplishments and potential in the legal profession. Keya is actively involved in several industry and commerce groups and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association Cannabis Law Committee, the host of the Somerset County Business Partnership’s monthly Human Resources Roundtable, and co-Chair of the Somerset County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Committee. He also lends his legal skills to several charitable and not-for-profit groups, serving on the Board of the Community Visiting Nurse Association and the personnel committee for the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, and South Amboy. Keya is an avid musician and in his earlier years, was an Emmy award-winning child actor.

Representative Experience
  • Prevailed in a multi-week arbitration hearing in New York City as lead trial counsel for a large hotel chain faced with a wrongful termination claim.
  • Successfully represented one of the largest privately held non-bank mortgage lenders in the country, as co-lead counsel in companion cases venued in New Jersey federal court and Colorado, against a group of former employees and their new employer for breach of several post-employment restrictive covenants, theft of trade secrets, and other claims.
  • Obtained summary judgment in New York federal court on behalf of one of the nation’s largest hotel chains in an employment discrimination lawsuit alleging national origin discrimination, among other claims.
  • Second-chaired a multi-week arbitration hearing in New York City in defense of national hotel claim facing discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate, and FMLA interference claims.
  • Defended an expanding fast food restaurant franchisor against wage and hour claims in New York federal court, obtaining a favorable settlement before trial.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement at mediation for a nation-wide restaurant chain faced with claims of racial discrimination.
  • Obtained a favorable result at New Jersey arbitration for a 113-year-old steel galvanizing business in a shareholder dispute over control and ownership, and defeated application for injunctive relief sought by claimants after the arbitration concluded.
  • Successfully tried a contested guardianship proceeding on behalf of large regional hospital.
  • Acted as lead trial counsel for the power of attorney and trustee in a contested guardianship proceeding, and obtained a favorable result at mediation.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a major hotel chain in a public accommodation case in New Jersey federal court.
Honors & Awards
  • "2017 New Leader of the Bar," New Jersey Law Journal
  • "New Jersey Rising Stars," Super Lawyers magazine (2015-2018)
  • *Keya was selected to the Super Lawyers list issued by Thomson Reuters. The selection methodology is found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.