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David M. Cessante

fax +1 313.309.6874

David Cessante represents and counsels employers in the automotive, hospitality, insurance, and transportation industries on all employment-related matters before administrative bodies and federal and state courts.

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.

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.


J.D., Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania, 1998
B.S., magna cum laude, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1995


Named 2024 Top Lawyer by DBusiness

Named among The Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law-Management; Labor Law-Management; Litigation-Labor and Employment (2011-2024)

Named a Leading Lawyer in Detroit by Leading Lawyers℠ (2014-2024)

Selected to the Michigan Super Lawyers list for Employment & Labor (2010-2021)

Top Attorney of Metro Detroit, dBusiness News

Top Attorney in Michigan, Crain’s Detroit Business


American Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan

Oakland County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section

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)

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


Dave’s 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.


  • 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