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Labor & Employment


Dorsey’s Labor & Employment group dedicates the majority of its practice to dispute resolution through litigation, arbitration, mediation or negotiation. Whether the dispute is administrative, single plaintiff or class based, we are known for delivering successful results to employers in FLSA, discrimination, wrongful termination, trade secret and most other claims brought by employees. We are respected, efficient and cost-effective litigators.

The most successful lawsuit, though, is the one that is never filed. So, we spend the rest of our time helping employers develop workplace strategies to manage employment-related risk and implement effective policies and procedures to protect valuable assets and trade secrets. We also support merger and acquisition transactions for buyers and sellers and help companies secure talented foreign nationals through our comprehensive business immigration services. For employers with a unionized workforce or facing union organizing, we help resolve labor law issues.

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Read more about our key service areas:

Litigation, Arbitration and Risk Management + -
Class-Based Employment Litigation + -
Workplace Policies and Procedures + -
Employee Mobility Litigation and Trade Secrets + -
Strategic Merger/Acquisition Decisions Affecting the Workforce + -
Immigration + -
Labor Law + -


Dorsey Labor Employment Service AreasDorsey Labor Employment Service Areas 


Litigation Experience
Class & Collective Actions

  • Dorsey defended a pork processing and packing company against class-action claims of involving allegations of pay stub violations, failure to pay overtime wages, off-the-clock work, automatic lunch deduction, donning and doffing, and violation of California Business and Professions section 17200. Our team obtained dismissal of all claims early in the case.
  • Dorsey defended a dining and entertainment venue in class and collective actions in Minnesota and Illinois alleging unpaid wages on behalf of tipped employees in its restaurants. The cases involved parallel claims under federal, Minnesota and Illinois law and were significant for the novel legal and factual issues raised under Minnesota law involving the definition of tipped employees and the permissibility of employer involvement in ensuring equitable allocation of tips among service employees.
  • With Dorsey attorneys handling the case, a national financial services company received a victory in a class action suit brought by its employees, who alleged breach of contract related to commissions paid employee and franchisee financial advisors. The Dorsey team successfully opposed class certification and obtained a dismissal of all claims

Individual Plaintiff Lawsuits

  • Dorsey obtained summary judgment on behalf of a North Dakota health care system which had been sued by its former COO who alleged she had been terminated in violation of state and federal age discrimination laws. The plaintiff appealed the summary judgment dismissal, but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s order.
  • Dorsey represented a large national bank against claims of race discrimination brought by a former employee in federal court in Washington. After a trial, a unanimous jury found that no unlawful discrimination had occurred.
  • Dorsey acted as co-lead counsel for the defense in a case involving claims for over $1 billion for usurpation of corporate opportunity, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of restrictive covenants, and other claims. After 8 weeks of trial, we obtained a judgment for defense at conclusion of plaintiff's case. Our client was awarded $650,000 in costs.

Labor disputes

  • Dorsey represented a manufacturing company, in an unfair labor practice charge which alleged that the company had altered position requirements without bargaining for the changes. The charge stemmed from an employee being unable to perform the physical functions required for the position, creating a safety hazard, and the employer requesting a functional capacity assessment as a result. Following the NLRB’s investigation, in which Dorsey represented employer witnesses at their NLRB interviews, the union withdrew its charge.
  • A Dorsey client’s union employees drive delivery trucks between the client’s bakery and its convenience stores. Their labor contract expired before reaching a new deal. The company instituted a lock out to avoid strike misconduct. As soon as the lockout began, the employees began to engage in threatening and dangerous picket-line misconduct. Dorsey immediately pursued temporary injunction relief, which led to a cessation of the picket line misconduct and a quick settlement of the labor dispute.
  • Dorsey represented a national bank in connection with an unfair labor practice charge in which a former employee alleged that the class action waiver in the bank’s arbitration agreement violated the NLRA. After we provided a substantive response to the charge – including arguments based on timeliness, waiver, and federal law – the NLRB approved the charging party’s withdrawal of the charge.

Risk Management Experience

We have extensive experience counseling clients on both the routine and unusual issues that arise in the workplace (discipline, discharge, discrimination, leave questions, theft and workplace violence). We frequently work with clients to devise policies and procedures addressing sexual harassment, arbitration, progressive discipline and workforce reductions.

Labor Law Matters

Dorsey’s Labor and Employment attorneys work closely with clients that have a unionized workforce or face union organizing. Our services include:

  • Assist and advise employers responding to union organizing activity, including “corporate campaigns”
  • Work with management to structure and negotiate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs)
  • Assist clients with the interpretation and enforcement of companies’ rights under CBAs
  • Represent employers in grievance arbitrations
  • Represent employers before the National Labor Relations Board
  • Work with companies to ensure compliance with OSHA and other statues designed to enhance workplace safety
  • Provide guidance to companies regarding the interplay between rights under the union contract and competing provisions of federal and state law
  • Concession bargaining with labor unions, negotiating the closure of unionized plants, large scale reductions in force, WARN Act compliance, and OWBPA compliance in connection with group termination

Dorsey has significant experience working with a variety of labor organizations, including:

  • Service Employees International Union
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • United Food & Commercial Workers
  • International Association of Machinists
  • United Steelworkers of America
  • Various construction trades unions


2023 Lawyer of the Year Louisiana W Cutler

Ones to Watch

2022 Lawyer of the Year, Katie Ervin Carlson, Des Moines-Employment Law-Individuals, Best Lawyers

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Top Employment Law-Management Law Firm

Leading Labor & Employment Practice-Chambers 2021

US News Best Lawyers 2021 Top Labor & Employment Litigation Law Firm

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Leading Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Firm

US News Best Lawyers 2022 Leading ERISA Litigation Law Firm

Best Law Firms-25 Nationally Ranked Dorsey Practices 2021

2020 Lawyer of the Year, Louisiana W. Cutler, Employment Law, Best Lawyers

US News Best Lawyers 2018 Leading Labor Law-Management Law Firm


Ryan Mick
Practice Group Chair

Industries & Practices

  • Benefits & Compensation
  • Executive Compensation
  • Healthcare Transactions & Regulations
  • Immigration
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
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