John L. Valentino

“My goal is to become a counselor and advocate to my clients; I want to become their trusted advisor.”

When seeking experienced counsel on labor and employment matters, as well as an experienced problem solver who offers seasoned guidance on a wide range of business and legal issues, call on John Valentino for his astute advice and business acumen. John’s vast business knowledge comes from his many years representing a long list of executives, professionals and companies, large and small.

John has performed extensive legal work on behalf of employers and employees in matters involving labor, employment and discrimination law; he has a unique perspective, understanding both sides of every case, making him an exceptionally strong, well-informed advocate for his clients. His experience as a litigator has given John additional insight into plaintiffs’ and defendants’ motives, strategies, and legal options. This big-picture perspective serves John’s clients in important ways both in and out of the courtroom.

A veteran with substantial experience in front of the New York State Division of Human Rights, Equal Rights Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor, and New York State and federal courts, John works to help companies, executives and other professionals avoid legal problems and minimize their risk of liability in matters involving:

  • harassment and retaliation
  • employment contracts
  • age discrimination
  • national origin discrimination
  • disability discrimination
  • religious discrimination
  • sex discrimination
  • drug testing
  • race discrimination
  • employee termination and discipline
  • compensation/Fair Labor Standards
  • fraud
  • non-compete and non-solicitation agreements
  • whistleblower
  • employment at will and temporary employees
  • breach of fiduciary duty

In addition, John advises businesses as they prepare and implement policies on sexual harassment, drug testing, discipline, terminations and employment references. He also develops employee education programs on sensitive employment matters.

John is also a frequent writer and lecturer on labor and employment law topics.  He is a powerful advocate for his clients on workplace issues.  John has been a lecturer and teacher for other lawyers training to improve their skills as attorneys.  He also conducts seminars for clients and publishes legal alerts to keep his clients informed of developments in the law.

As a valued business advisor to numerous companies, John is a trusted resource for advice that transcends the legal challenges facing his clients. He counsels businesses on a variety of critical business matters such as:

  • shareholder and member disputes
  • business entity options
  • lease agreements
  • shareholder agreements
  • business contracts with vendors and suppliers
  • operating agreements
  • business and real state acquisitions
  • fraud in the workplace
  • employment handbooks and policies
  • union matters
  • collective bargaining
  • DOL audits

John brings added value to his business clients by helping them understand their problems, when appropriate, in a larger context: he helps companies craft solutions that go beyond simply complying with the law to helping his client clarify and achieve their ultimate business goals.

Whether working for employer or employee, John has the wisdom and foresight to understand human behavior which gives him an ability to finesse complex situations and resolve them in ways that help his clients achieve their ultimate goals. His goal is to help both parties avoid a legal entanglement or, if they’re already in one, find a solution that minimizes risk and helps his clients save time, money and effort.

While I always stand ready to litigate my client’s claims to conclusion, I consider it my obligation to help my clients find a solution that minimizes their risk and ultimately minimizes the amount of time, effort and money they put into litigation”.

Type of Work I do for My Clients…

Employment and Discrimination Law

If you’ve been treated unfairly or discriminated against in your workplace, or were asked to do something unethical or illegal, – – or if you’re a business owner or executive and you need to establish policies and programs to ensure a non-threatening work environment that limits your exposure to these kinds of claims, John Valentino can help.

John is more than a trusted advocate on these matters: he is a recognized authority in them, having not only practiced for decades before the NYS Division of Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but also the Unemployment Insurance Division, Workers’ Compensation Board, Department of Labor, and OSHA.  He has also written and lectured extensively on numerous subjects in this area of law.

If your problem is labor related, John will guide you with the assurance of an attorney who has made it his life’s work to study human behavior and represent individuals and companies in this constantly changing area of law. Equally important if you’re a business owner, he will help you put the right policies and practices in place to minimize your risk.

And though John will fight zealously to protect your rights, he will also work to seek a resolution that will cause you the least amount of harm, expense, and stress. If there is a solution that can bring both sides together amicably, John will find it.  John is a seasoned negotiator. Helping you avoid legal problems and minimizing your risks is his ultimate goal.


Do you feel as if you’ve been harassed at your place of work? Do you think you’re being discriminated against because of your age, race, sex, origin, disability, or any other reason? Have you reported an unsafe, unlawful, or unfair practice by your employer and fear retaliation?

Regardless of your situation, you can feel safe calling John. He will treat your complaint with respect and complete confidentiality because he understands the anxiety and despair an employee can feel when they are treated unfairly at their place of employment.  He’s been successfully representing employees like you with:

• harassment and retaliation claims
• discrimination claims
• wrongful termination
• unfair labor practices
• improper wage and hour disputes
• whistleblower claims
• breach of contract claims

John is also a skilled negotiator and advises employees and executives on various agreements and contracts, such as:

• non-compete and non-solicitation agreements
• employment contracts
• commission agreements
• severance agreements
• release agreements


Do you have the policies, programs and procedures in place that will minimize your risk of liability in cases of discrimination or labor-related matters? Do you know where you are vulnerable? Are you properly paying your employees so as not to expose your company to claims by the Department of Labor for improper wage practices? Have any of your employees complained of discrimination or harassment? Did you know that even if an employee complains of unlawful discrimination and they turn out to be wrong, they’re still in a protected category that can affect how you must treat them?

If your answer to any question is “no,” you’re leaving yourself exposed to legal action. John will help you develop programs and policies that protect you and your company, addressing sensitive matters such as:

• sexual harassment
• drug testing
• employment termination, discipline and references
• executive compensation and tax compliance
• enforcement of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements

If you find yourself in need of legal counsel, John combines years of experience as a high-profile business attorney with his managerial tenure at his law firm, to successfully represent numerous companies in matters pertaining to:

• breach of employment contracts
• retaliation, discrimination, and whistleblower suits
• sexual harassment claims
• executive compensation and tax compliance
• severance and release agreements

Business Transactions and Advising

Here an important question to consider: What would be more valuable to your business: an experienced lawyer, or an experienced business advisor? John is both, helping a large number of clients see how their legal strategy ties in to their larger business goals. With his vast business knowledge, he will help your company understand the broader picture so you’ll know how a legal problem can impact your business.  He will help you find solutions to legal issues that are also balanced, taking into consideration your business concerns and goals.

As a managing partner at Bousquet Holstein, as well as a lawyer, John has many years’ experience successfully dealing with the kind of issues you face: growing your business without hurting your bottom line; funding growth; finding and retaining good employees. He’s also represented high-level executives, management, and company officers, so he knows how they think and how they approach problems. He can help you with other business-related transactions and decisions, including (but certainly not limited to):

• shareholder and member disputes
• lease agreements
• business acquisitions and mergers
• real estate acquisitions
• problems with vendors and suppliers
• vendor and supplier contracts
• employment contracts
• selling your business

That’s just a small sample. Call John to get an idea of how he can help you attain your long-term business objectives.

“My goal is become a counselor and advocate to my clients; I want to become their trusted advisor.”

Litigation • Appellate Law • Professional Practices

If you need to solve a legal problem and you’re seeking highly experienced counsel to represent you in the courtroom, John has years of experience successfully helping clients in State and Federal courts, in front of governmental agencies, in arbitrations and representing professionals in licensing matters before the Office of Professional Discipline.  John has also successfully represented clients in appellate proceedings before the New York Appellate Division and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Call him for an honest, direct assessment of your case, and let him take it from there.


  • Resolved employment contract dispute in favor of executive resulting in a settlement of over $800,000.
  • Settled lawsuit on behalf of employee claiming sexual harassment and retaliation for $300,000.
  • Obtained dismissals of employment discrimination claims before the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Equal Opportunity Commission;
  • Resolved lawsuits in New York State Supreme Court and in the United States District Court on behalf of clients suing their former employers;
  • Implemented drug testing, sexual harassment, and other employment policies for employers;
  • Represented professionals in licensing matters before the Office of Professional Discipline;
  • Represented shareholders in disputes with other shareholders;
  • Represented plaintiffs in claims against government agencies.

Affiliations & Acknowledgements

  • New York State Bar Association
  • Onondaga County Bar Association
  • Served on the Bousquet Holstein Board of Managers 2009-2019
  • Redhouse Champion Award – RedHouse Arts Center, 2023
  • Upstate New York Super Lawyers – 2023

Community Involvement

  • RedHouse Arts Center, Past Member of Board of Directors
  • Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Past Member of Board of Directors
  • RLS Career Center, Former President
  • Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, Former Counsel


J.D., Syracuse University College of Law, 1987, magna cum laude
B.A., Le Moyne College, 1984, cum laude


New York
United States District Court, Western, Northern and Eastern Districts of New York
United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)

    Please check that you have entered a valid email address.

    Please verify you have entered a valid phone number.