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Employment Litigation

Winthrop’s multi-disciplinary Employment Litigation practice develops efficient and effective strategies to assist clients in resolving employment related disputes. From counseling to complex litigation, we have a zealous commitment to protecting our clients’ businesses, using common sense and a broad range of experience and talent.

Our Approach

Federal, state and local laws and regulations create significant business and legal risks. Our Employment Litigation practice helps clients develop strategies to manage employment-related risks and avoid litigation. We provide ongoing advice and counsel to our clients regarding work place policies, changes in the law, hiring and firing decisions, investigations, and other issues which, if not handled properly, can lead to litigation.

When litigation is unavoidable, we use our substantial experience and resources to assist our clients in developing an appropriate, efficient and effective response to defend the claim. We represent employers and management in every type of legal, administrative and arbitration forum, and have defended claims in state and federal court, arbitrations and other proceedings around the country.

Employment litigation is often disruptive, almost always costly, and is a drain on an employer’s time and resources. Therefore, we develop a plan for both defending and resolving the claim, which includes an early and candid assessment of liability and damages. Our firm is well-known for its vigorous defense of clients’ interests, but we also recognize that some employment claims can be, and should be, resolved at an early stage of the litigation process. We collaborate with our clients through regular and timely reporting and involve our clients in all critical decisions so that the litigation strategy is consistent with the clients’ business, financial and legal goals.


State Human Rights Acts and Title VII Discrimination Claims

We have represented both large and small employers in various industries, including against claims brought in both state and federal courts around the country, as well as in EEOC and state administrative agency proceedings. The claims handled arose under both state and federal discrimination laws and involved allegations of age, gender, race, national origin, and disability discrimination.


Sexual harassment

Our employment litigation team has represented various-sized employers in numerous industries in courts and agencies throughout the country against claims of sexual harassment, involving hostile work environment, unwanted and inappropriate touching, demands for sexual favors in return for promotions, and sexual innuendos and comments.


Family Medical Leave Act

Winthrop has years of experience representing employers on various claims of FMLA interference and/or FMLA retaliation, including issues such as employee eligibility, employer coverage, notice, whether something constitutes a serious health condition, intermittent leave and reinstatement to an equivalent position.


Fair Labor Standards Act

We have extensive experience representing employers on single FLSA claims as well as FLSA claims brought on behalf of a single plaintiff and all other similarly situated current and former employees, on issues such as misclassification, working off-the-clock, factoring in bonuses for the purpose of correctly calculating the overtime rate, defeating conditional certification and/or decertifying a collective action, and related FLSA issues.



Our attorneys have represented numerous defendants in Whistleblower actions in state and federal court in Minnesota. This experience includes the recent and significant case of Friedlander v. Edwards Life Sciences, a precedent-setting case in which the Minnesota Supreme Court interpreted the Minnesota Whistleblower Act.


Employee privacy

In a world of ever-evolving state and federal regulations and a constantly changing technology environment, employee privacy issues are of increasing importance to all employers. Maintaining the privacy of employee personnel records, navigating the often treacherous relationship between personal and business communications on computers, cellphones and other electronic devices, and the use of various social media platforms for both business and personal use create a web of complex issues. We regularly advise our clients about these issues, and we have litigated numerous cases involving alleged violations of employee privacy in various contexts.


Assault, breach of privacy, and other torts committed in the work place

We have represented numerous employers, particularly in the food and beverage industry, in state court defending against claims of assault and/or battery alleged by employees.


Non-compete and breach of contract agreement litigation

Many employers take steps to protect customer relationships and sensitive company assets through the use of non-compete and breach of contract agreements. Disputes arising out of the enforcement of such agreements are always fact-intensive, require immediate attention to prevent injury to customer relationships, and are challenging because the law regarding the enforcement of non-compete and breach of contract agreements varies substantially among jurisdictions. Our lawyers are well-equipped by years of experience to represent clients who are involved in this kind of litigation, and have represented employers across the country in obtaining injunctive relief against both the former employee and the employer for a violation of confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.


The exercise of or limitation on religious rights and observances in the workplace

Our attorneys have represented employers on various issues relating to religious discrimination and requests for religious accommodations in the workplace, and in particular how to manage prayer and religious requests made by an employer’s workforce.


Trade secret/theft

Trade secrets are often a company’s most valuable assets. Ever-increasing employee mobility, combined with the use of electronic devices, that can hold valuable trade secrets, make trade secret protection challenging. Our lawyers have substantial experience in advising clients regarding whether their physical or intellectual property constitutes trade secrets, and how to protect such trade secret information. We have represented numerous clients in litigation involving the alleged theft of trade secret information.



  • Wrongful discharge
  • Discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race, national origin, disability or other protected classification
  • Defamation and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • Fair Labor Standards Act and wage-and-hour disputes
  • Sexual, racial and other types of harassment in the workplace
  • Claims of violations of the Family Medical Leave Act
  • Rights of employers under non-compete agreements or applicable trade secrets acts
  • Enforcement of confidentiality agreements
  • Assault, battery and other torts in the workplace
  • Violations of Whistleblower Acts or retaliation