David J. Santeusanio
David J. Santeusanio is a labor and employment attorney in Holland & Knight's Boston office. He is a member of the firm's Litigation Section, the National Labor, Employment and Benefits Practice Group and co-chair of the Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants Team. Mr. Santeusanio is an experienced litigator and advisor representing and counseling clients in all aspects of labor and employment law. His areas of concentration include employment litigation, non-competition and trade secret matters, union-management relations, education and government investigations.
Employment Litigation and Trial Practice
Mr. Santeusanio represents employers in employment discrimination lawsuits, wrongful termination claims, independent contractor misclassification cases, wage and hour claims, class actions and whistleblower claims. He represents clients in state and federal courts, arbitrations and administrative agencies, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Mr. Santeusanio regularly prosecutes and defends claims for unfair competition, violations of non-compete and non-solicit agreements, and misappropriation of trade secrets and proprietary information. Mr. Santeusanio also assists companies in developing and implementing programs and agreements to protect company assets.
Mr. Santeusanio represents employers facing union-management issues, including union avoidance, collective bargaining, unfair labor practice charges, strikes and picketing, proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and arbitrations. He regularly counsels clients on their rights and responsibilities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
Mr. Santeusanio advises private educational institutions on a range of issues, including tenure disputes, governance, student-athlete matters and issues related to collegiate sports. He represents educational institutions in courts, administrative agency proceedings, government investigations and before regulatory bodies.
Government Investigations, Internal Investigations and Corporate Compliance
Mr. Santeusanio has substantial experience representing clients in connection with government investigations, including investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the EEOC and the MCAD. Mr. Santeusanio also regularly conducts internal investigations and advises clients on related issues. In addition, Mr. Santeusanio develops corporate compliance programs designed to improve employment practices and reduce risks of litigation.
Mr. Santeusanio advises clients in a broad range of employment issues, including employment agreements, wage and hour compliance, employee discipline and termination, employee medical leaves and disability issues, sexual harassment, employee handbooks and policies, reductions in force and workplace violence issues. Mr. Santeusanio regularly conducts employee training programs.
Mr. Santeusanio counsels clients on federal contractor affirmative action obligations. He has successfully represented clients in affirmative action audits by DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). In addition, he counsels businesses and higher education institutions on voluntary affirmative action efforts and diversity programs.
Representative Industries and Organizations
Mr. Santeusanio represents clients in various industries, including education, high tech, the gig economy, transportation, insurance, financial services, construction, healthcare, hospitality, food and beverage, professional services firms and government contracting. He has served as labor and employment counsel for organizations of all sizes, including startup companies, middle-market companies, large publicly held companies, national political campaigns and nonprofit organizations.
Pro Bono Representations and Other Background
In addition to his practice, Mr. Santeusanio regularly provides pro bono legal services. His pro bono work includes representing a young adult seeking asylum in the United States after being wrongfully imprisoned in his native country; representing a parent in an international child abduction case in which the parent sought reunification with her child; advising a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing homes to veterans of the U.S. military; and an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on behalf of a Vietnam veteran seeking veterans benefits.
While in law school, Mr. Santeusanio served as editor-in-chief of the Suffolk Transnational Law Review.
Following graduation from law school, Mr. Santeusanio served as a law clerk to the Honorable Howard H. Dana Jr., Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
- Race Discrimination and Retaliation: obtained summary judgment for an employer in federal court on a race discrimination and retaliation claims and won on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- Disability Discrimination and Retaliation: obtained summary judgment for an employer in federal court on employee's claim that employer failed to provide reasonable accommodation and that employer retaliated against employee
- Whistleblower Claim: obtained dismissal for an employer on employee's healthcare provider whistleblower claim
- Disability Discrimination: obtained summary judgment for an employer in federal court on a disability discrimination claim in which former employee alleged failure to accommodate and termination on basis of disability
- Commission Claims: obtained summary judgment for an employer in federal court on an employee's claim under the Massachusetts Wage Act for alleged unpaid commissions in excess of $1 million
- Wage and Hour Litigation: successfully defended single-plaintiff and class action wage and hour cases in courts and in arbitration
- Worker Misclassification Class Actions: obtained court orders enforcing class action waivers in arbitration agreements and compelling individual arbitration in cases where workers alleged that they were misclassified as independent contractors
- Enforcement of Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements: obtained court orders requiring defecting employees to comply with their post-employment restrictions to their former employers (including non-solicitation and non-compete obligations)
- Trade Secrets: defended a company accused of misappropriating trade secrets at preliminary injunction phase and trial
- Wrongful Termination Under Collective Bargaining Agreement: won an arbitration ruling affirming a college's just cause dismissal of a union employee
- Union Avoidance and Election Campaigns: defeated union organizing efforts at companies and educational institutions
- Union Collective Bargaining: served as chief negotiator for employers in collective bargaining negotiations in various industries
- Connecticut College, B.A.
- Suffolk University Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
- U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
- All State Courts in Massachusetts
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Boston Center for Community and Justice, LeadBoston, Class of 2015
- American Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Boston Bar Association
- Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston's Future Leaders
- Lawrence Academy, Board of Trustees
- Best Buddies Massachusetts, Advisory Board
- The Best Lawyers in America guide, Employment Law - Management, 2018-2024; Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2018-2024
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2014-2023
- Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
- Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Labor & Employment, 2015-2018
- Rising Star, Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2005-2012
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated