Steven Arenson


Steven Arenson is a top employment lawyer in New York City.  Steve has been successfully litigating hostile work environment cases for more than 20 years, often achieving record-setting results.  A partner in the firm of Arenson Dittmar & Karban, Steve served as lead counsel in the largest sexual harassment case ever brought in the United States without government involvement.  His firm focuses on representing workers who have suffered sexual harassment, racial harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour violations and other forms of unlawful workplace conduct. His skill, experience and talent are driven by his commitment to protect the legal rights and inherent dignity of every employee he represents.  

Recently, Steve set another record, winning the largest recovery ever obtained in the low-pay car wash industry for a group of workers who were denied overtime compensation and paid below the minimum wage.   

Steve has been recognized as an outstanding advocate for his clients.  The American Institute of Legal Counsel gave Steve its “Client Satisfaction Award,” naming him as one of the “10 Best” Labor & Employment attorneys for 2016.  The American Society of Legal Advocates selected Steve as a “Top 100 Labor & Employment Lawyer in the State of New York for 2016.

Steve brings to his cases a rich and diverse background.  He began his legal career in the legal department of the Anti-Defamation League, working on cases involving issues of constitutional law and civil rights.  He then served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Reena Raggi, taught constitutional law at Yale College and the University of Miami Law School and worked as an associate in the litigation department of a major New York law firm.

Over the years, Mr. Arenson has obtained many significant victories for both groups of workers and individual employees in discrimination, harassment and civil rights cases.  Representative matters include:

  • Serving as lead counsel for 150 workers subjected to a sexually and racially hostile environment while working for an internationally known Fortune 100 company, and achieving a successful resolution of the case on the eve of trial.
  • Serving as lead counsel for 23 Hispanic and Haitian workers in a case involving allegations of a sexually and racially hostile work environment, as well as retaliation.  The Arenson Dittmar team litigated this case extensively and, as a result, achieved a successful resolution prior to trial.
  • Serving as lead counsel for 27 Hispanic workers in a case involving allegations of harassment on the basis of race, national origin and sex, and achieving a successful pre-trial resolution.
  • Representing a female employee at a nationally known women’s apparel company in a case involving sexual harassment, racial harassment, retaliation, assault and battery.  This case was resolved successfully after being litigated at the EEOC and in federal court.
  • Representing, together with co-counsel Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., a disabled employee of a well-known Wall Street brokerage firm in a case involving allegations of disability and sexual harassment.  This case was litigated extensively under the rules of the then-NASD (now FINRA), arbitration procedures and, as a result, resolved successfully.

In addition to employment-related cases, Mr. Arenson has litigated successfully cases involving the First Amendment, the Internal Revenue Code, defamation, breach of contract, commercial transactions, trust and estates and immigration law.  For example:

  • Mr. Arenson represented an individual taxpayer whose rights were being violated by the IRS through abusive collection practices.  After an extensive battle, Mr. Arenson prevailed against the IRS and the United States Justice Department, obtaining an injunction on consent from the Justice Department against collection and an award of damages at trial for the wrongful disclosure of confidential tax information.  
  • When another of Mr. Arenson’s clients had been falsely accused at work of having AIDS and having sex with men, Mr. Arenson defeated the motions made by two large corporate defendants to compel his client’s claim for defamation to arbitration, thereby preserving his client’s right to a trial by jury and achieving a successful resolution to the case.  

Mr. Arenson graduated Columbia College, Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, where he majored in political science and was an active member of the Columbia Debate Team.  He graduated Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Mr. Arenson has lectured at New York University School of Law, Cardozo Law School and New York Law School.  He is involved in a host of community affairs and charitable organizations.


Co-Author (with Craig Ackermann), “Not Without Class:” Test Cases in Lieu of Class Certification as a Paradigm for Litigating Multi-Plaintiff Harassment Cases,” a chapter of Employment Class and Collective Actions-Proceedings of the New York University 56th Conference on Labor.  


NYU Center for Labor and Employment, Board of Directors  

Labor and Employment Committee, New York City Bar Association

National Employment Lawyer Association

Professional Honors:

American Institute of Legal Counsel, Labor and Employment Division, 2017 Client Satisfaction Award, 10 Best Attorneys

American Society of Legal Advocates, Top 100 Labor & Employment Lawyers in New York State for 2017

American Institute of Legal Counsel, Labor and Employment Division, 2016  Client Satisfaction Award, 10 Best Attorneys