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Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore


Michael Petela

Attorney Petela did a great job with my independent contractor misclassification case. He went beyond expectations, kept me informed in the process throughout the case, and made sure I was comfortable every step of the way.

Rob V.

Attorney Michael Petela has devoted both his education and his entire professional career toward the advancement of civil rights and representation of employees.  Attorney Petela’s passion for worker issues goes back to his attendance at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where he prepared to become a union organizer. Thereafter, Attorney Petela fought for worker rights with SEIU 1199, organizing healthcare workers into unions.  Following his graduation from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2009, Attorney Petela has continuously represented workers throughout Connecticut in cases of civil rights, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour violations, police misconduct, defamation, workers’ compensation, and whistle blower claims. He is always watching for new techniques and developments in the law to provide his client with the best representation. Attorney Petela has tried numerous cases to verdict in State and Federal Court (see Cotto v. City of Middletown, 158 F. Supp. 3d 67, 71 (D. Conn. 2016), and argued before the Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Courts  (see Ruiz v. Victory Props., LLC, 315 Conn. 320, 323, 107 A.3d 381, 385 (2015) (the oral argument was televised and may be viewed here). In 2014, after successfully litigating a  and represents worker in Fairfield and New Haven counties, including New Haven, Hamden, North Haven, North Haven, Milford, Danbury, Bridgeport, and Stamford. Federal District Court police misconduct trial, Attorney Petela was selected by The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40, a professional organization comprised of America’s top trial attorneys under the age of 40.

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Attorney Petela focuses his practice on representing workers in cases involving wrongful termination,  discrimination including disability discrimination, minimum wage violations including server tip-credit cases, overtime violations including worker misclassification cases, retaliation and class actions. Attorney Petela works in the firm’s New Haven office and represents worker in Fairfield and New Haven counties, including New Haven, Hamden, North Haven, North Haven, Milford, Danbury, Bridgeport, and Stamford.



Representative Results


  • Quinnipiac Univeristy School of Law, J.D 2009 with honors

  • Cornell University, 2002


  • State of Connecticut Bar

  • Federal District Court, District of Connecticut

Representative Results

  • $750,000 judgment for 19 drivers misclassified as independent contractors

  • $567,000 settlement for fitness industry professionals for class action wage and hour violations

  • $175,000 settlement for HR manager for retaliation

  • $165,000 settlement in age discrimination for mortgage broker

  • $108,000 settlement for warehouse workers / selectors

  • $50,000 settlement in breach of contract for copy / print repair tech

  • $48,000 settlement in sexual harassment for waitress

  • $35,000 settlement in infliction of emotional distress claim for cashier

  • $33,000 settlement in FMLA retaliation for factory worker