Cessante david

David M. Cessante



500 Woodward Ave
Suite 3500
Detroit, MI 48226
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Fax: 313.309.6874
J.D., Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania, 1998
B.S., magna cum laude, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1995
State Bar Licenses
Court Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Michigan
U.S. District Ct., W.D. of Michigan
U.S. District Ct., C.D. of Illinois
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of Indiana
Super lawyers 2015
Best lawyers badge 2018
Best lawyers

David M. Cessante


David Cessante has spent his entire career representing and counseling employers in all matters relating to the employment relationship. As a member in Clark Hill's Labor & Employment Practice Group, Dave has extensive litigation experience defending employers in federal and state courts as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the United States Departments of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and other administrative tribunals. This experience includes defending litigation involving:

  • Discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims under Title VII, the ADEA, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), and the Equal Pay Act (EPA);
  • Single and collective action cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
  • Interference and retaliation claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
  • Unfair labor practice charges under the NLRA and LMRA;
  • Withdrawal liability and underpayment and overpayment claims involving multi-employer pension plans under ERISA and the MPPAA;
  • Wage and hour audits before the DOL;
  • Affirmative action plan audits before the OFCCP; and
  • Violations of non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements.

In addition to his breadth of litigation experience, Dave has experience:

  • Negotiating collective bargaining agreements;
  • Guiding employers through union organizing campaigns;
  • Drafting executive and employment agreements;
  • Drafting employee handbooks and HR policies;
  • Drafting sales commission, bonus, and compensation agreements;
  • Drafting non-competition, non-solicitation, confidentiality, and work-for-hire agreements;
  • Drafting staffing and professional employer organization (PEO) agreements; and
  • Drafting affirmative action plans for federal contractors and subcontractors.

In March 2016, Dave obtained a “no cause of action” jury verdict in a lawsuit involving six claims, including claims for gender discrimination and common law claims for unpaid commissions.  The plaintiff was seeking $750,000 in damages.  After a five-day trial, the jury found in favor of Dave’s client after only twenty-two minutes of deliberations.

Dave is also a frequent lecturer on numerous employment topics, including the FMLA, the ADA, preventing discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace, HR recordkeeping, wage and hour issues, affirmative action obligations, union avoidance, co-employment, independent contractors, and proper disciplinary and documenting procedures.  Dave has been a guest lecturer on a myriad of employment-related topics for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce since 2010, and has also spoken at the annual conference for Michigan SHRM.


  • Best Lawyers in America in the area of labor and employment law since 2010
  • Super Lawyer in the area of employment litigation defense by Michigan Super Lawyers since 2010
  • Top Attorney of Metro Detroit, dBusiness News
  • Top Attorney in Michigan, Crain’s Detroit Business


  • Co-chair, Clark Hill's Diversity & Inclusion Committee
  • Board member, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC)
  • Member, Michigan Chamber of Commerce Health and Human Resources Committee
  • Member, External Advisory Board to the School of Communication, Western Michigan University
  • Legal counsel to the CFO Council for the Motor and Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA)
  • Member, Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS)
  • Former Chair, Oakland County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Former member, Legal Advisory Council for the National Association of Professional Employers (NAPEO)
  • Former legal counsel to the Young Leadership Council of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA)


  • Co-author of the "Family and Medical Leave Act" section, Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Employment Law in Michigan, An Employer’s Guide, since 2005
  • Quoted in diginomica, “Reverse Discrimination – The Other Side of the coin for HR,” November 2016
  • Quoted in diginomica, “Will the sharing economy strike the right legal balance between empowering and exploiting workers?” April 2015
  • "Update of FMLA Cases from the Sixth Circuit and Eastern District of Michigan," Laches Oakland County Bar Association, August 2006
  • Combating Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Liability with an Effective Sexual Harassment Policy,” Laches Oakland County Bar Association, August 2002
  • An Indirect Approach to Direct Evidence: An Analysis of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Seminal Ruling on Direct Evidence in Debrow v. Century 21 Great Lakes, Inc.,” Laches Oakland County Bar Association, August 2001
Best Lawyers in America (2019 Edition) for Employment Law-Management; Labor Law-Management; Litigation-Labor and Employment
American Bar Association
State Bar of Michigan
Oakland County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2019 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsClark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2020 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaSixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars143 Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaSixty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Leading LawyersSixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSeventy-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorney David M. Cessante Quoted in diginomica on Reverse Discrimination – The Other Side of the Coin for HR Twenty-Eight Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2017 Top Lawyers ListClark Hill Attorneys David M. Cessante and Carly E. Osadetz to Present on Managing Leaves of Absence on October 25, 2016Sixty Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSixty-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaSixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for the 2015 Super Lawyers Business EditionTwenty-Eight Clark Hill Attorneys Named to DBusiness Magazine's 2016 Top Lawyers ListSixty-Five Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2015 ListSixty-Two Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys David M. Cessante and Ellen E. Hoeppner Wrote Michigan Chamber of Commerce Blog on “Employer Tips for Effective Record Keeping” Clark Hill Attorneys David M. Cessante and Ellen E. Hoeppner to present at Michigan Chamber of Commerce Human Resource Seminar March 10th in Lansing and March 11th in Novi Fifty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2014 Leading Lawyers