Keya C. Denner devotes his practice to cannabis law, labor and employment law, executive compensation, and commercial litigation.

As Chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law Group, Keya uses his broad knowledge base, experience, and industry connections to act as an invaluable asset to clients looking to gain a foothold in the emerging legal cannabis industry, and to understand the current tensions between federal and state laws regarding the sale and marketing of marijuana and industrial hemp.  A frequent commenter and speaker in this area, Keya represents both established companies and entrepreneurs in applying for licenses to operate alternative treatment centers under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). He also counsels businesses as to marijuana-related employment matters, including accommodation issues for employees who use marijuana pursuant to CUMMA, and drafting and refining employer drug testing and enforcement policies.  Keya also counsels firm clients looking to conduct medical and agricultural research in this area.

Keya is an experienced employment litigator. He represents management in matters ranging from breach of employment agreements and restrictive covenants to discrimination, disability, and wage and hour violations under federal and state laws. He also regularly handles discrimination matters before state and federal administrative agencies in New York and New Jersey. Above all, Keya is a trusted counselor for clients and their HR professionals. He has expertise in guiding employers through difficult employee leave entitlement issues under both the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, mass layoffs under federal and state WARN statutes, and multi-state reductions in force.  Much of Keya’s practice is devoted to counseling clients as to existing company policies with an eye towards avoiding litigation, and working with them to draft new policies as laws evolve.  He is also a prolific trainer, having conducted scores of employment training sessions over the years for groups of employees, managers, and human resources professionals on topics ranging from harassment awareness and the impact of #metoo on modern businesses, to best practices for managers and supervisors.

As a member of the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group, Keya represents senior-level employees of both public and private companies in the negotiation of their employment packages and associated agreements at both the commencement of the employment relationship and at termination. Keya has successfully negotiated employment and severance packages for clients, including employment and post-employment compensation, confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation, and benefits packages.

Outside of the employment arena, Keya represents several businesses in the health care industry, providing a wide range of litigation and counseling services.  For nursing facility clients and hospitals, he regularly initiates guardianship actions for residents and patients in need.

Keya was recognized by the New Jersey Law Journal as a 2017 New Leader of the Bar for his impressive accomplishments and great promise in the legal profession. For the past three years, he was selected for inclusion on the Employment & Labor list of New Jersey Rising Stars. Keya serves on the Board of Trustees of the Community Visiting Nurse Association where he is Chair of the By-Laws Committee and a member of the Personnel Committee. He is also co-host of the Somerset County Business Partnership’s Human Resources Roundtable Group and has been recently named Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Committee of the Somerset County Bar Association.  Keya is a former Emmy Award winning child actor and an avid musician.



  • “2018 Employment Law Breakfast Series: Hot Topics,” Norris McLaughin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, December 13, 2018
  • “NJ Paid Sick Leave Act,” Union County Medical Society General Meeting, Garwood, NJ, October 18, 2018
  • “Anti-Harassment Training Requirements for Business,” WeWork, New York, NY, September 26, 2018
  • Somerset County Tourism Board, Somerset County Business Partnership, Bridgewater, NJ, September 11, 2018
  • “Know Your Labor & Employment Basics,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, June 20, 2018
  • “Faces of Change: Understanding and Managing Generation in the Workplace,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Express Employment Professionals, Bridgewater, NJ, May 3, 2018
  • “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,” Dress for Success, Professional Women’s Group, Madison, NJ, April 17, 2018
  • “Sexual Harassment & Rules of the Modern Workplace,” Somerset County Business Partnership Business Builders Breakfast, Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster, NJ, February 27, 2018
  • “Labor & Employment Year In Review,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, December 7, 2017
  • “2016 Leave Law Update,” NM Year In Review, Bridgewater, NJ, December 1, 2016
  • “Pot, Pills, Politics & Your Employees” DeSales University, Center Valley, PA, October 13, 2016
  • “Disability, Fitness for Duty, FMLA/FLA and Worker’s Compensation: How They Intersect” Somerset County Bar Association, Bridgewater, NJ, October 10, 2016
  • “New Overtime Regulations…What your Small Business Needs to Know” Somerset County Business Partnership, Bridgewater, NJ, October 4, 2016
  • “Active Shooters & Workplace Violence: Are You Prepared?” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, March 30, 2016
  • “Workplace Violence Roundtable,” Somerset County Business Partnership, Bridgewater, NJ, March 23, 2016
  • “Company Handbooks/Document Retention HR Roundtable,” Somerset County Business Partnership, Bridgewater, NJ, January 20, 2016
  • “U.S. DOL’s New Proposed Overtime Rules,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, September 9, 2015
  • “Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law 2015,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, May 21, 2015
  • “Employee Leave Under the Family Medical Leave Act and New York State and City Law,” Westin New York Grand Central, New York, NY, May 1, 2014
  • “Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), Policies and Practical Considerations,” NJ YMCA State Alliance Human Resource Training Event, Perth Amboy, NJ, October 17, 2014
  • “Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Human Resource Planning,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, New Jersey, July 10, 2013
  • “Strategies for Effectively Managing Employee Leave Under the Family Medical Leave Act and New York State and City Disability Law,” Sheraton New York Hotel, New York, NY, June 28, 2012
  • Social Media and Technology in the Workplace,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, New Jersey, July 27, 2011
  • “Federal Laws, State Regulations and Public Policy for Contemporary Practice 2010 for Social Work Professionals,” Health Care Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Association of Health Care Social Workers, Hamilton, New Jersey, September 23 & 30, 2010
  • Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law 2010,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, New Jersey, June 10, 2010
  • Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law 2010,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, New Jersey, June 15, 2010
  • Current Wage & Hour Challenges,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., P.A., Bridgewater, New Jersey, February 24, 2010
  • 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.
  • Is currently lead trial counsel in defense of a major hotel chain in a public accommodation case in New Jersey federal court.

Keya C. Denner was selected to the 2018 Rising Stars Super Lawyers list. The Super Lawyers List is issued by Thompson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

New Jersey Law Journal 2017 Leader of the Bar

Emmy Award

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