Mariah L. Passarelli



(412) 620-6502

(412) 275-2368

Recent News:

How Will Evolving Marijuana Laws Impact the Workplace in 2021?

Mariah Passarelli was quoted in SHRM discussing the impact the Biden administration could have on the workplace and marijuana laws.

Mariah focuses her practice on a variety of labor and employment law matters, from employment contracts to complex litigation. 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. 

Her experience 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. She 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 the firm, Mariah was member and co-chair of the Higher Education Industry team at a national law firm. Before that, she 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 acts 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 2013-2018 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, Mariah became the youngest attorney ever selected for admission into the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County.

Mariah earned her undergraduate degree from Duquesne University and her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. While in law school, Mariah was a contributor to the Duquesne Law Criminal Procedure Journal, research assistant to professor Bruce A. Antkowiak, a participant in Trial Advocacy Competitions and student manager of the Criminal Law Clinic. She went on to earn her Masters in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.



How Will Evolving Marijuana Laws Impact the Workplace in 2021?

January 13, 2021

Mariah Passarelli was quoted in SHRM discussing the impact the Biden administration could have on the workplace and marijuana laws.

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 201 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

Fifty-Eight Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 05, 2020

Super Lawyers has selected 58 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Employment Lawyer On Workers' Rights In A Global Pandemic

March 23, 2020

Mariah Passarelli was interviewed on WBUR to discuss what legal rights employees have during COVID-19 pandemic.

SCOTUS Case Could Decide If Federal Law Protects LGBTQ People From Job Discrimination

October 07, 2019

Mariah Passarelli discussed with 90.5 WESA three cases that are headed to the Supreme Court of the United States to determine if LGBTQ people are protected under federal employment discrimination laws.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

64 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

May 21, 2019

Super Lawyers has selected 64 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2019 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Mariah Passarelli Named to the LGBT Bar 2019's Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40

March 18, 2019

Cozen O'Connor Labor & Employment attorney Mariah Passarelli was honored by the National LGBT Bar Association as a LGBTQ+ legal professional (practicing lawyers, law professors, corporate counsel, members of the judiciary, politicians, etc.) under the age of 40 who has distinguished themselves in their field and has demonstrated a profound commitment to LGBTQ+ equality.

Cozen O'Connor Continues Rapid Growth in its National Labor & Employment Department and Pittsburgh Office with Four Additional Attorneys from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

August 20, 2018

Four additional attorneys from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. Mariah L. Passarelli, Bethany C. Salvatore, Abigail M. Green and Tiffany A. Jenca have joined the firm's highly regarded Labor & Employment Department and will focus on legal issues ranging from employment contracts to agency investigations.


Third Circuit Upholds Philadelphia Wage History Ordinance [Alert]

February 20, 2020

Mariah L. Passarelli discusses the Third Circuit's decision and what employers need to do next.

When They Don’t Wanna’: What To Do When Employees Don’t Want To Take FMLA Leave [Pittsburgh HRA]

July 17, 2019

Mariah Passarelli wrote an article about the challenges that employers face with the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Medical Marijuana Poses ADA Risks For Pa. Health Care Cos. [Law360]

December 06, 2018

Mariah Passarelli, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, wrote an article for Law360 discussing the top 10 pitfalls of health care employers pertaining to the ADA, the MMA, and the crossroads between these two complicated statutes.

The ADA and Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana: Top 5 Pitfalls for Healthcare Employers

November 20, 2018

Mariah Passarelli, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment department, wrote an article for the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association on the crossroads facing the ADA and the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act.

The ADA and Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana: Top 5 Pitfalls for Healthcare Employers [HR Headaches Blog]

October 29, 2018

Navigating the landscape of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) can be particularly challenging to clients in the healthcare industry.  Need to wear a wrist brace?  In most jobs, that would be no problem; in an area where a company must control for infectious...

Events & Seminars

Past Events

COVID-19 Panel Discussion

December 18, 2020 - Webinar

2020 PHRA Annual Conference

October 27, 2020 - Webinar

Lawyers Behaving Badly

May 06, 2020 - Webinar

5th Annual PHRA Academy

March 20, 2020 - Pittsburgh, PA

HR Department of One

June 13, 2019 - Pittsburgh, PA

What’s Trending in Labor and Employment Law

May 23, 2019 - Pittsburgh, PA

4th Annual HR Academy

March 15, 2019 - Pittsburgh, PA


  • Duquesne University School of Law, J.D., 2005
  • Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania, M.A., 2009
  • Duquesne University, B.A., 2002

Awards & Honors

AV Preeminent, Martindale Hubble’s Peer Review Ratings

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2013-Present

The Best Lawyers in America for Labor and Employment, 2018-2021

Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, 2014

The Advocate magazine’s 2011, “40 Under 40 Most Influential Members of the LGBT Community”

The LGBT Bar Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40, 2019

  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court -- Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. 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

Amen Corner

Community Living and Support Services (CLASS), former board member

Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Inc., Board of Directors