Keya is an experienced litigator who has been practicing labor and employment law for almost 20 years. He has handled every type of labor and employment matter for his clients, ranging from discrimination, disability, non-compete and trade secret protections, to wage and hour class actions. Keya also has extensive experience counseling employers on matters relating to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Keya is not only a tough advocate, but a thoughtful and detail-oriented sounding board who helps his clients avoid litigation. He specializes in trainings for his clients' executives, HR team, front-line managers, and employees on a variety of topics like harassment awareness and prevention, the impact of the #metoo movement on business operations, and best workplace practices for managers and supervisors.
Few attorneys nationwide match Keya’s expertise in the area of legal cannabis and its impact on the workplace. Keya serves as co-chair of the Cannabis & Employee Substance Abuse practice group and has a deep understanding of the various laws and issues surrounding the country’s rapidly expanding legal cannabis industry. Keya has counseled Fortune 500 companies in the retail, hospitality, and global logistics spaces to create compliant policies and better understand the ever-changing legal landscape brought about by the legalization of cannabis across the United States. Keya is a sought-after speaker and trainer on this topic.
Honors & Recognitions
- "New Leader of the Bar", New Jersey Law Journal (2017)
- New Jersey Rising Stars honoree, Super Lawyers magazine (2015-2018)
Professional & Civic Associations
- Community Visiting Nurse Association, Board Member
- YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, and South Amboy, Personnel Committee
- New Jersey State Bar Association, Member of Cannabis Committee, L&E Subcommittee
- Member, New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association
- Past Chair of the Somerset County Bar Association's Labor and Employment Committee
- Past Host of the Somerset County Business Partnership's monthly Human Resources Roundtable
- Law360 ,
- Keya Denner Participates in Panel Discussion on Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act
- Practical Law The Journal,
Keya is an avid musician and in his earlier years, was an Emmy award-winning child actor.
- Obtained favorable settlement of wage and hour class action/PAGA lawsuit on behalf of national restaurant chain.
- Prevailed in a multi-week arbitration hearing in New York City as lead trial counsel for a large hotel chain faced with a wrongful termination claim.
- Successfully represented one of the largest privately held non-bank mortgage lenders in the country, as co-lead counsel in companion cases venued in New Jersey federal court and Colorado, against a group of former employees and their new employer for breach of several post-employment restrictive covenants, theft of trade secrets, and other claims.
- Obtained summary judgment in New York federal court on behalf of one of the nation’s largest hotel chains in an employment discrimination lawsuit alleging national origin discrimination, among other claims.
- Second-chaired a multi-week arbitration hearing in New York City in defense of national hotel claim facing discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate, and FMLA interference claims.
- Defended an expanding fast food restaurant franchisor against wage and hour claims in New York federal court, obtaining a favorable settlement before trial.
- Obtained a favorable settlement at mediation for a nation-wide restaurant chain faced with claims of racial discrimination.
- Obtained a favorable result at New Jersey arbitration for a 113-year-old steel galvanizing business in a shareholder dispute over control and ownership, and defeated application for injunctive relief sought by claimants after the arbitration concluded.
- Successfully tried a contested guardianship proceeding on behalf of large regional hospital.
- Acted as lead trial counsel for the power of attorney and trustee in a contested guardianship proceeding, and obtained a favorable result at mediation.
- Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a major hotel chain in a public accommodation case in New Jersey federal court.
News & Analysis
Client Presentations & Firm Publications
Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications
- “Cannabis in the Workplace – November 2022 Update” - New Jersey Motor Truck Association Educational Forum (November 30, 2022)
“Are you High? – Representing Employers Who Suspect an Employee is Impaired” - New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (November 21, 2022)
- "Marijuana in the Workplace: How to Navigate Legalization and Policy” - Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and American Gas Association (AGA) Labor and Employee Relations Committee Conference (September 21, 2022)
- “4th Annual Cannabis Symposium” – Panelist, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (April 28, 2022 )
- “Cannabis Legalization and its Impact on the Transportation Industry” - Complimentary Webinar (November 11, 2021)
- “State Of Confusion: Marijuana, Drug Tests And The Workplace,” Law360 Employment Authority (March 31, 2021)
- “Cannabis in the Age of Quarantine – How Changing Cannabis Laws are Continuing to Impact the Workplace” - Complimentary Webinar (December 22, 2020)
- "Making Sense of It All: Employers' Responsibilities Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act", Somerset County Business Partnership (April 15, 2020)
- "Substance Abuse Testing Challenges for Employers," HR Policy Association/NYU Fall Labor and Employment Conference (October 24, 2019)
- "Cannabis and the Multi-State Employer" 3rd Annual Supervisor and Manager Conference, SHRM-Memphis, Memphis, TN (June 21, 2019)
- “Opportunities and Obstacles in Running a Dispensary,” Moderator, NJ Cannabis Media Summit, Forsgate Country Club, Monroe, New Jersey (October 24, 2018 )
- “Anti-Harassment Training Requirements for Business,” WeWork, New York, NY (September 26, 2018)
- “Medical Practices in the New Age of Sexual Harassment and #MeToo,” Onondaga County Medical Society Bulletin, Vol. 82, No. 1 (March, 2018)
- Employment Litigation (state and federal courts)
- FMLA and ADA compliance
- Cannabis law
- Drug testing and drugs in the workplace policies and practices
- Defense of NLRB and EEOC Charges
- Management Training
- Sexual Harassment Investigations and Defense
- Policy Analysis and Employment Law Training
- Wage and Hour Litigation
- Traditional Labor Law
- FCRA compliance
- WARN Act compliance (state and federal)
Seton Hall University School of Law
- J.D., cum laude, 2004
- B.A., cum laude, 2000
Bar & Court Admissions
- New Jersey, 2004
- New York, 2007
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit