Meet Rebecca G. Pontikes, Principal of Pontikes Law LLC
Practicing since 1997, Rebecca G. Pontikes has a passion for employment law and civil rights that drives her practice. In addition to employment, she also has brought suit under Title IX on behalf of a sexually assaulted student.
She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and of Tufts University and is admitted to the Massachusetts bar, the Federal District of Massachusetts, and the First Circuit. Her peers selected her as a “SuperLawyer” in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly named her a Top Woman in Law in 2012.
She lives in Cambridge with her husband, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Institution. In her free time, she is a political activist, particularly for the underprivileged, reads, watches movies, and writes letters to the editor. She and her husband enjoy traveling and exploring new places together. They have traveled to Greece, Crete, France, Italy, Peru, China, and Australia.
You can find Rebecca Pontikes on SheSource.
Rebecca in the News
- Minnesota Lawyer – Employment lawyers brace for COVID-19 litigation (PDF)
- Parenting Impossible – Dealing With Caregiver Discrimination During A Crisis (Podcast)
- Cambride Day – Lower pay, retaliation, dangerous conditions claimed in DPW sex discrimination complaint (PDF)
- Market Watch – Harvey Weinstein’s accusers will most likely pay a hefty tax bill on any settlement money (PDF)
- MassLive – How common is sexual harassment in state government — and which agencies have had the most complaints? (PDF)
- Cambridge Day – Let’s not do this again: False equivalencies and women running for president (PDF)
- Working Mother – More parents than ever are suing their employers for discrimination and winning (PDF)
- The Boston Globe – Women facing massive increase in hostility in workplace (PDF)
- The Boston Globe – More American men clamor for paternity leave (PDF)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly – SJC refines guidance on vacations, medical leave (PDF)
- The Christian Science Monitor – After #MeToo, state legislatures make changes (PDF)
- The Boston Globe – What Kavanaugh’s testimony tells us about the kind of justice he would be (PDF)
- Working Mother – Everything Expectant Parents Need to Know About the New Paid Family Leave Law (PDF)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly – Federal Court Breast-Feeding Policy Eases Concerns For New Mom-Lawyers (PDF)
- Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination – Commission Against Discrimination’s new Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act Guidelines (PDF)
- The VIN News Service – Sexual harassment in veterinary medicine: Who cares? (PDF)
- The Nation – How To End the Silence Around Sexual Harassment Settlements (PDF)
- The Boston Globe – Workplace bullying remains in the shadows (PDF)
- Boston Magazine – Boston Has Eliminated Sexism in the Workplace. Right? (PDF)
- Mass Live – Lawmakers consider bill requiring accommodations for pregnant workers (PDF)
- State House News – Momentum Building Behind Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PDF) | Audio
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly – New pay equity law offers fertile ground for litigation (PDF)
- Boston Magazine – Boston Has Eliminated Sexism in the Workplace, Right? (PDF)
- The Boston Globe – One man’s personal experience with corporate heartlessness (PDF)
- Worcester Telegram – Pregnant Workers Fairness Act fills loopholes in state, federal law (PDF)
- The Boston Globe – Patneral Leave vs. Maternal Leave (PDF)
- The New York Times – Attitudes Shift on Paid Leave: Dads Sue, Too (PDF)
- Today’s Workplace — Congratulations to Peggy Young, But Pregnant Women Need Stronger Protections (PDF)
- The Boston Globe — The Catch-22 of Hiring Women to Fill Technical Roles (PDF)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Journal — Ending the myths about the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights (PDF)
- The Boston Globe — Point/Counterpoint: A ‘Bill of Rights’ for Retail Workers (PDF)
- ABA Journal — Dechert settles ex-associate’s ‘macho culture’ family leave case (PDF)
- ABA Journal — A lawsuit claims ‘macho’ culture led to associate dad’s firing (PDF)
- WorkLife Law — New FRD Case filed (PDF)
- Business Insurance — Demands at home create bias suits at work (PDF)
- Employee Rights Post — Another Victory for Working Moms (PDF)
- The Boston Globe — Working caregivers get a protective lift (PDF)
- New England In-House — Stereotyping can be basis for bias lawsuit (PDF)
- New England In-House — Eight-year employment suit hinges on issue of detriment (PDF)
- New England In-House — Suit against firm tests limits of anti-bias statute (PDF)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly — Consultant can sue over Job Evaluation (PDF)
- National Law Journal — Ayanna v. Dechert, Dec. 2010 (PDF)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly — Last-minute resolution reached in gender bias suit vs. Dechert (PDF)
- Interview on Lawcast – October 26, 2009 (mp3)
Cases in the News
- In 2004, Ms. Pontikes brought suit against Wendy’s Restaurant on behalf of a deaf customer whom the restaurant chain failed to accommodate when he used the drive thru window.
- In 2008, she brought suit against a hospital on behalf of a plastic surgeon gender discrimination based upon the surgeon’s motherhood. She successfully defeated the hospital’s motion to dismiss the case with a favorable opinion for her client.
Superior Court of Massachusetts
Nancy Falco CHEDID, M.D., v. CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL & Others
- In 2009, she brought suit in federal court on behalf of an attorney suing his law firm for, violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, for discrimination by sex stereotyping, and (under state law) for discrimination for association with his handicapped wife. See A Lawsuit Claims ‘Macho’ Culture Led to Associate Dad’s Firing – abajournal.com
PresentationsMs. Pontikes is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education programs and welcomes speaking to groups representing employees, to students, or others interested in learning more about their legal rights in the workplace. If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sample of presentations she has given is below:
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
Employment Case Law, Legislative Developments & Trends Update, 2013,
Boston, MA, March 28, 2013 (overview of the latest developments in employment law, including family responsibilities discrimination, and discussion about emerging trends in employment law).
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education 14th Labor and Employment Law Conference, The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009: Returning the Law to Reality (But There Is Still A Long Way to Go),
Boston, MA, December 9, 2011 (state of the law on equal pay, status of women’s earnings, particularly mothers’ earnings, in comparison to men’s and fathers’, and solutions for employers).
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Understanding and Advising on Unemployment Compensation
Boston, MA June, 2009 (plaintiff’s perspective of unemployment compensation)
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Wrongful Termination of Employees at Will
Boston, MA, July, 2008 (defamation in employment and family responsibilities discrimination)
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Where c. 151B, Workers’ Comp and Federal Laws Clash, Boston, MA
March 3, 2008 (Family and Medical Leave Act and its intersection with state and federal disability laws and worker’s compensation laws)
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Wrongful Termination of Employees at Will,
Boston, MA, June 15, 2007 (defamation in employment)
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education 9th Annual Employment Law Conference,
Boston, MA, December 1, 2006 (Led a workshop designed to explore techniques for investigating allegations of wrongdoing, particularly harassment, in the workplace)
National Employment Lawyer’s Association
- National Employment Lawyer’s Association Regional Conference, Moderator, Drafting Bulletproof Complaints in Employment Cases, Boston, MA, May, 2011 (discussion about how to comply with new pleading requirements to avoid motions to dismiss)
- National Employment Lawyer’s Association Regional Conference, Family Responsibilities Discrimination: The Final Barrier to Women’s Equality In the Workplace, Boston, MA May, 2008 (family responsibilities discrimination and the laws which offer care-givers protection)
- Succeeding in the New Millennium: Practical Advice for Your Plaintiff’s Employment Practice, Sponsored by the National Employment Lawyer’s Association, Boston, MA, May 19-20, 2006 (negotiating and drafting key terms in severance agreements, non-compete agreements, and other post-employment agreements)
Massachusetts Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association, 29th Employment Law Conference, Boston, MA, 2008 (update concerning sexual harassment & family responsibilities discrimination)
- 27th Annual Massachusetts Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Spring Conference, Boston, MA, June 15, 2006 (recent developments in employment discrimination law in the areas of religion, gender, harassment, sexual orientation, and other procedural issues)
Women’s Bar Association
- Handling Emotions in Legal Practice, Women’s Bar Association, Waltham, MA, October 25, 2006 (strategies for reacting to and addressing the needs of clients whose cases are charged with emotion)
- And Baby Makes…Maternity Leave! Women’s Bar Association, Boston, MA, November 2, 2005 (women’s legal rights to maternity leave, issues to consider in requesting maternity leave, factors affecting maternity leave, and how different size law firms affect maternity leave offerings)
Work Life Law
- Men, Work and Gender, Representing Male FRD Plaintiffs December, 2012 (panelist discussing signs of gender stereotyping against men who are caregivers, how to develop evidence of male gender stereotyping, and how to write a complaint about male gender stereotyping).
Invited Guest Lecturer
- Wellesley College, October, 2012 (speaker on a panel discussing the labor implications of modeling internships)
- Boston College School of Nursing, 2010, 2011, 2013 (contractual provisions of which new nurses should be aware and the rights of whistleblowers in the health care workplace)
- University of Michigan Law School, October, 2009, (the law of Family Responsibilities Discrimination)
AdvocacyIn addition to being a lawyer, Ms. Pontikes is an activist and has lobbied the Massachusetts legislature on such employment related issues as:
- The extension of the statute of limitations for filing a discrimination claim from 180 to 300 days;
- The extension of unemployment benefits to women taking maternity leave;
- Pay equity for men and women doing similar, though not identical, jobs (comparable worth); and
- Paid sick days.
She has also participated in writing amicus briefs (written on behalf of an organization to advocate for the organization’s mission) in the following cases:
- Trustees of Health and Hospitals of the City of Boston v. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, 449 Mass. 675, (2007) (supporting the standard used in a race discrimination case for comparing treatment of the terminated employees to others who were laid off);
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority v. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, 450 Mass. 327 (2008) (supporting the decision of the Commission finding that the employer failed to accommodate an employee’s religious needs);
- Dahms v. Cognex, 455 Mass. 190 (2009) (arguing that the admission of evidence about the employee’s sexual behavior to show she welcomed sexual attention by a defendant was erroneous); and
- Flagg v. All-Med Inc., SJC-11182 (2012) (scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, January 2013) (arguing that a claim for discrimination by association with a disabled person is protected by Massachusetts anti-discrimination law).
Bar Association and Board ServiceMs. Pontikes is a member of
- The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Employment Lawyer’s Association
- The National Employment Lawyer’s Association
- The Massachusetts Bar Association
- The American Bar Association
- The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts — Ms. Pontikes currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts and co-chaired the Solo and Small Firm committee from 2002 to 2012.
- The National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
- The American Association for Justice
- The Massachusetts Trial Lawyer’s Association
- Through the Solo and Small Firm Committee, she participated in the design of a series of programs designed to assist women attorneys determine appropriate service pricing. This series received the 2011 Outstanding Member Program Award from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations for its Fee Circles program.
- In the past, she has served on the Boards of Directors of Deana’s Fund, an organization devoted to educating against dating violence through educational theater, and the Greater Boston Chapter of the National Organization for www.massnow.org.
- “Family Responsibilities Discrimination: The Final Barrier to Women’s Equality in the Workplace,” Massachusetts Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section Review, Vol. II, No. 2, 2009.
- “The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Back to the Status Quo, But Now What?,” Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Women’s Bar Review, Summer, 2012.
- National Law Journal – Ayanna v. Dechert, Dec. 2010
- New England In-House – Ayanna v. Dechert, Oct. 2011
- National Law Journal – Sex Discrimination, Nov. 2010
- Women’s Bar Review – The Lily Ledbetter Act, 2012
- New England In-House – Issue of Detriment Suit, June 2012
- Boston Globe – Article on Caregiver Discrimination, July 2007
- Mass Lawyer’s Weekly – Stereotyping can be basis for bias lawsuit, May 2009
- Today’s Workplace – The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Took Us Back to the Status Quo: Gender Discrimination Lives On with the Gender Pay Gap, June 2013