Christine E. Webber is a Partner at Cohen Milstein, and a member of the Civil Rights & Employment practice group. In that role, Ms. Webber represents victims of discrimination and other illegal employment practices in class and collective actions. She has participated during her career in litigating groundbreaking sex discrimination lawsuits. Ms. Webber is a hands-on litigator, known for her ability to work closely with economic and statistical expert witnesses and to identify the types of sophisticated statistical analyses that will be most helpful to her clients’ claims.
Ms. Webber is a tenacious and resourceful litigator with a fierce commitment to fighting discrimination and protecting workers. In the face of adversity she continues to find new ways to protect her clients’ rights. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling decertifying the class in Dukes v. Wal-Mart—a case brought on behalf of a nationwide class of women suing Wal-Mart for sex discrimination in pay and promotion—Ms. Webber has been counsel in several regional class cases pursuing these claims for former Dukes class members. Ms. Webber was co-lead counsel in Rindfleisch v. Gentiva Health Services (N.D. Ga.) in which nurses and other home health care providers were held to be non-exempt because they were not paid on a bona fide salaried or fee basis. Following this successful summary judgment ruling, the case was decertified, and Ms. Webber continues to represent individuals seeking their unpaid overtime. In Tomkins v. Amedisys, Inc., a lawsuit challenging similar practices as the Gentiva litigation, Ms. Webber represented approximately 2,000 nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists pursuing wage and hour claims against Amedisys; the case settled recently for $8 million.
Ms. Webber’s past successes include In re Tyson Foods FLSA MDL (M.D. Ga.), a collective action involving Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims at over 40 Tyson chicken processing plants, which ultimately resolved the claims of 17,000 chicken processing workers who had been denied compensation for donning and doffing required safety and sanitary equipment. In Hnot v. Willis Group Insurance (S.D.N.Y.), Ms. Webber represented a class of women vice presidents in Willis’ Northeast region, who complained of discrimination with respect to their salary and bonuses. This “glass ceiling” case settled in 2007 for $8.5 million plus attorneys’ fees, an average payment of $50,000 per woman. A subsequent case, Cronas v. Willis Group, pursued similar claims for a later time period with similar success. Ms. Webber was also counsel to the plaintiff class in Keepseagle v. Vilsack, a historic settlement between Native American farmers and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Keepseagle settlement agreement required the USDA to pay $680 million in damages to thousands of Native Americans, to forgive up to $80 million in outstanding farm loan debt and to improve the farm loan services the USDA provides to Native Americans. Ms. Webber was part of the team recognized by Public Justice as finalists for their Trial Lawyer of the Year award in 2011 for the work done in Keepseagle.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein in 1997, Ms. Webber received a Women's Law and Public Policy fellowship which funded the first of her four years at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in their Equal Employment Opportunity Project. There, she worked on employment discrimination cases, focusing in particular on the sexual harassment class action Neal v. Director, D.C. Department of Corrections, et al. Ms. Webber participated in the trial of this groundbreaking sexual harassment class action in 1995. Ms. Webber also tried the race discrimination case Cooper v. Paychex (E.D. Va.), and successfully defended the plaintiffs' verdict before the Fourth Circuit.
Ms. Webber is co-chair of the National Employment Lawyers' Association’s Class Action Committee, a position she has held since 1999. She speaks and writes frequently on employment discrimination, wage and hour issues, and class actions.
Ms. Webber attended Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude, with an A.B. in Government, and earned her J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, at the University of Michigan Law School. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Hubert L. Will, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.