Toby Costas, Of Counsel
Toby Wosk Costas brings 30 years of discrimination law experience to the firm. As a Supervisory Trial Attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), she prosecuted cases alleging discrimination under all the laws enforced by the EEOC. She has fought for the right of employees to speak a language other than English in the workplace, creating important legal precedent followed by courts both inside and beyond Texas, and achieving a highly favorable verdict in court. She has fought for the disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) since its inception in 1990, achieving verdicts and settlements for employees with such challenges as cancer, hepatitis C, renal failure, back injuries, carpal tunnel, MS, and diabetes. She has conducted training on the ADA–to lawyers, law students, investigators and corporations. In the harassment arena, she prosecuted and successfully resolved by consent decree the case of an employee pressured by her boss into a sham marriage to benefit the immigration status of his relative. She has achieved favorable verdicts in race and sex harassment cases in both Texas and Oklahoma courts.
Toby was first inspired to attend law school as an undergraduate studying journalism at Northwestern University. Dissecting Supreme Court decisions on the First Amendment in a journalism law course was challenging—and thrilling. Then, in law school at Case Western Reserve University, it was the Criminal Defense Clinic that clinched her decision to focus her career on groups that don’t get a fair shake under the law. After graduating, Toby worked for six years as an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County, Illinois where she saw that indigent defendants who couldn’t make bail always wanted to enter a plea to get “time served.” Yet clients with means had the freedom to fight from the outside, sometimes working out a plea that could be expunged from their record, or able to live a normal life out of jail during the long period awaiting trial. This iniquity instilled in Toby a desire to fight for justice—first as a Public Defender, then with the EEOC, and now with Ellwanger Law.