Mariah L. Passarelli focuses her practice on a variety of labor and employment law matters, from employment contracts to complex litigation.
A practiced litigator, Mariah handles matters in administrative proceedings, state and federal courts. She has represented employers in claims under Title IX, Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, PHRA, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, FLSA, NLRA, FCRA and OSHA, and she has defended universities, hospitals and oil and gas companies in state-wide class and collective actions.
Mariah also counsels companies on litigation avoidance, anti-discrimination and anti-bullying, and she reviews and drafts employee handbooks and personnel policies. She is experienced in drafting discovery documents and requests, motions, settlement agreements, separation agreements, employment contracts and all manner of pleadings.
Her expertise related to higher education extends to both public and private colleges and universities. During the course of her practice, Mariah has defended a state University in a large and complex class-action Title IX sports equity lawsuit and provided extensive training on sports equity compliance to a number of universities. She has represented universities in employment litigation where claimants raised claims of employment discrimination/harassment under both Title IX and Title VII. Her case work also includes representation of a university in federal litigation involving claims of sexual abuse brought by a student related to conduct by a professor.
In the area of Title IX and sexual violence complaints, Mariah has conducted third-party investigations from inception to hearing; has represented a university in responding to multiple complaints filed with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights; has advised universities on Title IX compliance in anticipation of federal court litigation; has developed university Title IX/Sexual Violence policies and standard operating procedures; has provided extensive Title IX/Sexual Violence employee training to Responsible Persons, Investigators and Hearing Panelists; and has presented at conferences on the subject of Title IX/Sexual Violence compliance, training and investigation topics. Her work in this regard has included both large and small institutions in Pennsylvania and Florida.
Prior to joining Buchanan, Mariah served as Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. During that time she represented the members of the State System of Higher Education located in the Western District of Pennsylvania in all aspects of employment law defense for more than four years. This work involved the full panoply of employment law claims - age discrimination, race discrimination, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, etc. - including obtaining a successful defense verdict, as solo counsel, in a trial defending a university in an age and disability discrimination case. During her tenure in the Attorney General’s office, Mariah also handled more than 175 federal and state court cases on behalf of Commonwealth agencies in employment law and Constitutional civil rights matters involving Title VII, Title IX, ADA, Rehab Act, ADEA, PHRA, Federal and State Whistle Blower and § 1983. She obtained defense verdicts as single-chair trial counsel in multiple federal and state jury and bench trials and acted as co-counsel in complex Title IX litigation.
Mariah has achieved an AV® Preeminent distinction from Martindale-Hubble's Peer Review Ratings and was honored by her peers and selected to be on the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. She was also selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2018 list for Labor and Employment. In 2014, she became the youngest attorney ever selected for admission into the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County.
Duquesne University School of Law, J.D., 2005, Contributor, Duquesne Law Criminal Procedure Journal; Research Assistant to Professor Bruce A. Antkowiak; Participant, Trial Advocacy Competitions; Student Manager, Criminal Law Clinic (2003-2004)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 2009, Criminology
Duquesne University, B.A., 2002, President, Model United Nations (1999-2000), Political Science, Sociology/Criminology Minor
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- United States Supreme Court
Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, 2014-present
Women’s Bar Association of Western PA, executive board member (2007-present); co-president (2012-present)
Allegheny County Bar Association, Bench Bar Committee; Young Lawyers Division; Women in the Law Division; Federal Court Section; Labor and Employment Section
American Inns of Court, Barrister
Pennsylvania Bar Association
The Advocate magazine's 2011 "40 Under 40 Most Influential Members of the GLBT Community"
Board of Directors, Community Living and Support Services (CLASS)