Helen A. Rella

Helen A. Rella

Counsel

New York
+1 212 981 2310
Emailhrella@wilkauslander.com
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Wilk Auslander LLP
1515 Broadway
43rd Floor
New York, NY 10036
T +1 212 981 2300F +1 212 752 6380 wilkauslander.com

Helen A. Rella is an experienced litigation and trial lawyer with a formidable record of representing clients in a wide range of complex commercial matters, including breach of contract, employment, unfair competition, defamation, licensing, and intellectual property disputes. She has handled trials and appeals in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitration and mediation and proceedings before administrative agencies.

Helen has substantial experience in labor and employment law, representing both individual and corporate clients. She is an expert at developing and implementing appropriate personnel policies and procedures. She regularly counsels clients on compliance with anti-discrimination laws; conducts seminars for clients’ management teams on implementing corporate policies; prepares and negotiates employment contracts and confidentiality, separation, and settlement agreements; and defends clients against discrimination claims, as well as challenges in court and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, State and City Divisions of Human Rights, and the Department of Labor.

Helen is a member of Wilk Auslander’s Italian practice group, representing Italian entities and individuals doing business in the U.S. and abroad. Her experience includes working with Italian clients in the luxury goods, apparel, furniture, textiles, manufacturing, automotive, food and beverage, hospitality, and broadcasting industries. She has a unique understanding of the challenges faced by such clients, both cross-culturally and otherwise. Helen is one of the firm’s representatives to the Italy-American Chamber of Commerce; she travels frequently to Italy, and has a working knowledge of Italian.

Overview

Helen A. Rella is an experienced litigation and trial lawyer with a formidable record of representing clients in a wide range of complex commercial matters, including breach of contract, employment, unfair competition, defamation, licensing, and intellectual property disputes. She has handled trials and appeals in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitration and mediation and proceedings before administrative agencies.

Helen has substantial experience in labor and employment law, representing both individual and corporate clients. She is an expert at developing and implementing appropriate personnel policies and procedures. She regularly counsels clients on compliance with anti-discrimination laws; conducts seminars for clients’ management teams on implementing corporate policies; prepares and negotiates employment contracts and confidentiality, separation, and settlement agreements; and defends clients against discrimination claims, as well as challenges in court and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, State and City Divisions of Human Rights, and the Department of Labor.

Helen is a member of Wilk Auslander’s Italian practice group, representing Italian entities and individuals doing business in the U.S. and abroad. Her experience includes working with Italian clients in the luxury goods, apparel, furniture, textiles, manufacturing, automotive, food and beverage, hospitality, and broadcasting industries. She has a unique understanding of the challenges faced by such clients, both cross-culturally and otherwise. Helen is one of the firm’s representatives to the Italy-American Chamber of Commerce; she travels frequently to Italy, and has a working knowledge of Italian.

Representative Matters

  • Represented one of Italy’s leading hotel conglomerates in an action before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving review of its entire U.S. workforce for compliance with U.S. labor and employment laws. Helen was successful in defeating the claim brought and in avoiding substantial damages that would have otherwise been assessed against her client.
  • Conducted wage and hour analysis of a 500+ employee work force, represented a corporate employer before the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) wage and hour division, and defeated the DOL’s overtime wage pay claim. Helen successfully reduced the initial DOL assessment from $500,000 to less than 10% of amount claimed and established appropriate policies and procedures to ensure future compliance.
  • Assisted a multi-brand luxury jewelry manufacturer in defeating claims of workplace harassment and hostile work environment. Helen established appropriate policies and procedures to ensure future compliance.
  • Represented international luxury goods manufacturer in infringement and unfair competition action. Helen’s services were instrumental in shutting down operations of the competitor, resulting in cost savings to the client and preservation of the client’s product in the marketplace.
  • Defended an international perfume manufacturer in defeating an age discrimination action alleging $12 million in damages. Exposed a rogue employee’s improper actions, leading to an out-of-court settlement in which the employee reimbursed company for legal fees incurred in defense of the action in exchange for an agreement not to prosecute employee for bringing frivolous action.
  • Successfully negotiated a settlement and release agreement with an Italian expatriate running the U.S. division of an Italian corporation. Helen navigated the complexities of both U.S. and Italian employment and labor laws in ensuring the validity of the settlement agreement and obtaining a cost-effective result for the client.
  • Established and implemented employment policies and procedures for an international textile corporation, having manufacturing and retail operations across the U.S. and abroad. Helen provided hands-on training of the client’s management team and continuous support in handling day-to-day issues.
  • Successfully argued before the New York Appellate Division, First Department, in favor of the turnover of assets, both domestic and international, in a case that is now considered a standard in judgment enforcement, involving a judgment of approximately $400 million relative to the then largest bond default in U.S. history. The Court ordered the international defendants to turn over their assets, wherever located, to the firm’s client. (Gryphon Domestic et al. v. APP International et al.).
  • Assisted international client in implementing a reduction in its workforce in compliance with the WARN Act.
Service Areas
Education

Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1987

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics (Managing Editor)
The Tax Lawyer (Articles Editor)

Hobart/William Smith Colleges, B.A., with Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, 1984

Gemological Institute of America, Graduate Diamonds Degree

Scuola Leonardo, Florence, Italy, Certificate in Italian, 2009

Beijing Foreign Languages Institute, Certificate in Chinese, 1983

Bar/Court Admissions

New York

New Jersey

District of Columbia

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

United States District Court for New Jersey

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Affiliations
  • Italy-America Chamber of Commerce
  • Union League Club of New York
News
Languages
  • Italian