Chris M. Kwok, Esq. comes to JAMS as a well-known and highly sought after mediator of complex labor and employment disputes.
Mr. Kwok’s stellar reputation stems from a 15-year career at the New York District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where he mediated hundreds of employment disputes. During his tenure at the EEOC, Mr. Kwok also served for four years as supervisory ADR coordinator, where in addition to his own mediation work, he oversaw employment law mediations across all EEOC offices within the New York District Office region. Mr. Kwok is known for his ability to formulate creative and unique solutions to seemingly intractable employment disputes.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
At the EEOC, Mr. Kwok convened and mediated more than 1,000 employment law disputes involving Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Representative matters include disputes involving breach of employment contracts; discrimination (age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, mental or physical disability); employment benefits and executive compensation; Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); harassment; labor-management relations and labor disputes, non-competition; trade secrets; OFCCP/affirmative action; retaliation; sexual harassment; wage and hour claims; and wrongful termination.
At the EEOC, Mr. Kwok served with the White House Initiative Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and was also the founding chair of the Asian American Pacific Islander Network, the nationwide organization of the EEOC’s Asian American employees. He is an active presence in the labor and employment field as a trainer, lecturer and writer. With leading academics and practitioners, he has studied and written about diversity and inclusion in the mediation field. He has been invited to speak by the American Bar Association, Practising Law Institute, New York City Bar, New York County Lawyers Association, Brooklyn Bar Association, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, The Association for Conflict Resolution – New York chapter, New York University School of Law, Cardozo School of Law, Columbia Law School, Brooklyn Law School and many others. He has also visited law firms and insurance companies to help educate and promote the use of mediation in employment litigation.
In addition to his mediation work at the EEOC, Mr. Kwok served two years as a federal investigator in the EEOC’s Enforcement unit, where he investigated employment discrimination charges.
Mr. Kwok was born in China and raised in Queens. He was the founding co-chair of both the Labor & Employment Committee at the Asian American Bar Association of New York and the Dispute Resolution Committee at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
- Arbitrated a matter concerning a Purchase and Security Agreement involving questions of enforceability and binding, and rights to alleged outstanding payments
- Arbitrated a matter regarding violations of the TCPA, FDCPA, and other state consumer laws involving claims for statutory, actual, and punitive damages and the removal of all tradelines reported to the Consumer Reporting Agencies
- Mediated dispute regarding the acquisition of a portfolio of senior living properties in which the plaintiff alleged that the board of directors and management of the acquiring company breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the acquisition
- Mediation of art ownership dispute involving the holding company for the paintings of a highly successful painter and the studio manager, alleging breach of contract and/or unjust enrichment and conversion
- Mediated numerous cases involving Wells Fargo consumer claims
- Mediated a dispute between a nursing student and the student’s Community College alleging discriminatory discharge from the program, including allegations of discrimination on the basis of gender stereotyping, perceived disability, and retaliation for complaints made about racial discrimination. Additional allegations included breach of the Student Code of Conduct, violation of the student’s Due Process rights under the United States Constitution, and discrimination and retaliation under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
- Mediated a complaint alleging racial harassment
Mr. Kwok’s extensive experience in employment matters includes mediation and arbitration of disputes involving discrimination, FLSA claims, wage and hour matters and breaches of employment contacts. He has successfully worked with a diverse range of parties, from pro se complainants, to class action plaintiffs, government agencies, to large, mid-sized, and small domestic and international businesses in a wide range of industries including securities, banking and financial markets, healthcare, restaurants, nursing homes, arts and entertainment, higher education, aviation and manufacturing. Select examples include:
- Arbitration of alleged “off the clock” work at a national restaurant chain
- Mediated discrimination litigation in three months after protracted litigation had proceeded against national retailer for years
- Mediated employment discrimination matter brought by a high-level executive against a graduate academic institution
- Mediated dispute involving work ownership, constructive discharge and Black Lives Matter (#BLM) claims against a media company
- Mediated State Attorney General’s investigation into construction company matter which involve claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation