Photo of Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.

Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular focus on defending companies against claims of employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive covenant violations; theft of trade secrets; and wage-and-hour violations. He has successfully tried cases in multiple jurisdictions, and defended one of the largest Illinois-only class actions in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He also secured one of only a few ex parte seizures orders that have been issued under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and obtained a world-wide injunction in federal litigation against a high-level executive who jumped ship to a competitor.

Reporting to boards of directors, their audit committees, CEOs and in-house counsel, Steven conducts sensitive investigations and has testified in federal court. His investigations have involved complaints of sexual harassment involving C-suite officers; systemic violations of employment laws and company policies; and fraud, compliance failures and unethical conduct.

Steven was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Chicago Labor & Employment Litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  Chambers describes Steven as an “outstanding lawyer” who is “very sharp and very responsive,” a “strong advocate,” and an "expert in his field." Steven was 1 of 12 individuals selected by Compliance Week as a "Top Mind." Earlier in his career, he was 1 of 5 U.S. lawyers selected by Law360 as a "Rising Star Under 40" in the area of employment law and 1 of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Steven is a Burton Award Winner (U.S. Library of Congress) for "Distinguished Legal Writing."

Steven has served on Law360’s Employment Editorial Advisory Board and is a Contributor to Forbes.com. He has appeared on Bloomberg News (television and radio) and Yahoo! Finance, and is regularly quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged Steven to serve as lead counsel on amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts of appeal. He was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in employment litigation matters. He has presented with the Solicitor of the DOL, the Acting Chair of the EEOC, an EEOC Commissioner, Legal Counsel to the EEOC and heads of the SEC, CFTC and OSHA whistleblower programs. He is also a member of the Sedona Conference, focusing on trade secret matters.

In a win for businesses that rely on restrictive covenants to protect their assets and investments, on January 29, 2024, the Delaware Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Chancery Court decision that invalidated a “forfeiture-for-competition” provision in Cantor Fitzgerald’s limited partnership agreement.

As we previously reported on this blog, last January the Chancery Court invalidated

After months of speculation and intense lobbying, New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that would have imposed a near-total ban on employee non-competition agreements in New York State.

Governor Hochul has long expressed her support for legislation banning non-compete agreements for “low and middle-income” employees, but generally balked at the idea of a

In what we believe are her first public statements on the New York Legislature’s proposal to ban ostensibly all non-compete agreements in New York, Governor Hochul on Thursday, November 30 reportedly told a group of reporters:

  1. “What I’m looking at right now is striking the right balance between protecting low and middle-income workers, giving

In this episode of The Proskauer Brief we are joined by Daryl Leon, one of the leads of Proskauer’s Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition Group and Edna Guerrasio, senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Along with partner Steve Pearlman, Daryl and Edna recently published an article in

On August 31, 2023, the Delaware Court of Chancery held, with respect to a non-compete provision in an employment agreement, that: (1) the choice of law provision selecting Delaware was “not necessarily binding”; and (2) the non-compete was unenforceable. Centurion Service Group, LLC v. Wilensky, No. 2023-0422-MTZ. This is that court’s second decision

On August 18, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit expanded the types of employment actions that may constitute “adverse employment action” under Title VII in Hamilton v. Dallas Cnty., 5th Cir. en banc. No. 21-10133, 8/18/23. Overruling its nearly 30-year precedent that actionable employment actions under Title VII must relate to “ultimate employment decisions,” the Fifth Circuit held that a plaintiff need only show that they were discriminated against with respect to hiring, firing, compensation, or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, even if such actions were not ultimate employment actions.