Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: The New Protected Class?

Perhaps this is the new frontier of employment law: punishing plaintiffs’ lawyers for daring to assert claims on behalf of their clients.

In a recent complaint, prominent NYC plaintiffs’ lawyer Douglas Wigdor asserts that SoulCycle banned him after he sued the company (on behalf of a client) for violations of the New York Labor Law and the California Labor Code.

Wigdor alleges, among other things, that

26. Defendants’ decision to ban Mr. Wigdor from its premises was at all times and remains intended to punish Mr. Wigdor for representing an individual who made protected complaints and filed protected legal action regarding his good faith and reasonable belief that Soul Cycle’s wage practices violated the NYLL and the CLC.

27. This retaliatory action was intended to dissuade not only other employees and former employees from engaging in and objecting to unlawful conduct and pursuing legal action, but was also intended to dissuade Mr. Wigdor and other attorneys from representing employees and former employees of SoulCycle.

The complaint explains the dangers of such retaliation:

The significance of Soul Cycle’s conduct cannot be overlooked. Indeed, if other employers adopt Defendants’ approach to ban attorneys who represent clients with claims against them, the result will be a restraint of trade that will inure to the detriment of society at large. Attorneys will be deterred from representing clients with legitimate claims for fear that they will be deprived of the ability to avail themselves of business services.

It gives as examples an attorney being banned from a hospital and being denied gas and electricity after suing a hospital and a public utility, respectively.

Here’s the complaint:

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