People: Ellen E. McLaughlin, Partner

Photo of Ellen E. McLaughlin, Partner

Ellen E. McLaughlin

Partner

Chicago
Direct: (312) 460-5887
Fax: (312) 460-7887
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Ms. McLaughlin is a partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and former Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department.  Ms. McLaughlin is engaged in a broad-based employment law practice, specializing in federal and state court and administrative agency employment litigation.  Ms. McLaughlin also has an extensive advice and counseling practice that focuses on avoiding litigation. She regularly consults with employers to implement nationwide practices and systems which are both legally compliant and which meet an employer’s business needs.  She also acts as a company’s trusted advisor with respect to not only day-to-day employment issues but also sensitive and high profile termination or other “bet the company” decisions and programs.  Ms. McLaughlin is frequently retained to conduct investigations for clients relating to internal claims of discrimination, harassment, and other unlawful conduct brought by employees.  In her investigations practice, she is often retained to investigate allegations involving  C-suite executives, human resources or legal department personnel as well as other highly confidential, sensitive or politically charged matters.

Ms. McLaughlin is a frequent lecturer on a wide variety of employment and labor law topics.  Ms. McLaughlin has served as a guest lecturer for the American Bar Association, National Employment Law Institute, Society for Human Resource Management, Corporate Counsel Institute, American Arbitration Association, American Hospital Association, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Illinois State Bar Association,  Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Hospitality & Lodging Association, and Metropolitan Chicago Health Care Council.  She has written extensively on employment issues and is a contributing author to Workplace Harassment, BNA Books, co-authored “A Client’s Guide to the ADA, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation,” The Journal of the American Corporate Counsel Association as well as “Training Becomes Important Step to Avoid Liability,” The National Law Journal.  She also co-authored  the “The Family and Medical Leave Act” and “Employee Selection Procedures” chapters in Federal Employment Laws and Regulations and Employment Discrimination — How to Comply, both R.A. Apland publications. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Sections and the Chicago Bar Association.

Ms. McLaughlin co-authored comments to the EEOC’s proposed regulations to the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the ADA Amendments Act.  She also authored comments to the DOL’s proposed regulations to the FMLA on behalf of national employer coalitions.  In June 2011, she was one of two management attorneys in the country invited by the EEOC to testify at a public hearing on the issue of leave as a reasonable accommodation.  She speaks on a national basis on leave and accommodation issues and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost ADA and FMLA experts.

Ms. McLaughlin is recognized by her peers and clients as an accomplished practitioner.  She is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, recognized by both Chambers USA and Legal 500, is a Best Lawyer in America, and is recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois.  For 2015, she was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Chicago by Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report for Employment Law – Management

Ms. McLaughlin is a partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and former Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department.  Ms. McLaughlin is engaged in a broad-based employment law practice, specializing in federal and state court and administrative agency employment litigation.  Ms. McLaughlin also has an extensive advice and counseling practice that focuses on avoiding litigation. She regularly consults with employers to implement nationwide practices and systems which are both legally compliant and which meet an employer’s business needs.  She also acts as a company’s trusted advisor with respect to not only day-to-day employment issues but also sensitive and high profile termination or other “bet the company” decisions and programs.  Ms. McLaughlin is frequently retained to conduct investigations for clients relating to internal claims of discrimination, harassment, and other unlawful conduct brought by employees.  In her investigations practice, she is often retained to investigate allegations involving  C-suite executives, human resources or legal department personnel as well as other highly confidential, sensitive or politically charged matters.

Ms. McLaughlin is a frequent lecturer on a wide variety of employment and labor law topics.  Ms. McLaughlin has served as a guest lecturer for the American Bar Association, National Employment Law Institute, Society for Human Resource Management, Corporate Counsel Institute, American Arbitration Association, American Hospital Association, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Illinois State Bar Association,  Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Hospitality & Lodging Association, and Metropolitan Chicago Health Care Council.  She has written extensively on employment issues and is a contributing author to Workplace Harassment, BNA Books, co-authored “A Client’s Guide to the ADA, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation,” The Journal of the American Corporate Counsel Association as well as “Training Becomes Important Step to Avoid Liability,” The National Law Journal.  She also co-authored  the “The Family and Medical Leave Act” and “Employee Selection Procedures” chapters in Federal Employment Laws and Regulations and Employment Discrimination — How to Comply, both R.A. Apland publications. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Sections and the Chicago Bar Association.

Ms. McLaughlin co-authored comments to the EEOC’s proposed regulations to the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the ADA Amendments Act.  She also authored comments to the DOL’s proposed regulations to the FMLA on behalf of national employer coalitions.  In June 2011, she was one of two management attorneys in the country invited by the EEOC to testify at a public hearing on the issue of leave as a reasonable accommodation.  She speaks on a national basis on leave and accommodation issues and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost ADA and FMLA experts.

Ms. McLaughlin is recognized by her peers and clients as an accomplished practitioner.  She is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, recognized by both Chambers USA and Legal 500, is a Best Lawyer in America, and is recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois.  For 2015, she was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Chicago by Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report for Employment Law – Management

Education

  • J.D., University of Notre Dame Law School (1981)
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame (1978)
    cum laude

Admissions

  • Illinois

Courts

  • Trial Bar, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits

Affiliations

  • American Bar Associations (Labor and Employment Section; Employee Rights & Responsibilities Committee)
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • National Employment Law Institute (Advisory Board and Board of Directors)
  • Editorial Board, Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Guide, Thompson Publishing

Representative Engagements

  • Patricia Davis et al. v. Opportunity Education Foundation and Hugo Enterprises, (D. Neb. 2013) (summary judgment granted on integrated and joint employer issue avoiding trial on merits of three plaintiff harassment and retaliation claim)
  • Snyder v. Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Case No. 09-4244 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirmed motion to dismiss various age and disability claims based on insufficient pleadings and timeliness grounds)
  • Peter Broccolo v. Deutsche Bank Holdings of America, (N.D. Illinois 2009) (Bench trial defense verdict in breach of contract action involving payout under a deferred compensation plan)
  • Ken Smith v. Hilton Hotels Corporation, (Illinois Circuit Court 2009) (jury trial defense verdict on 2 of 3 counts for intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraudulent misrepresentation)
  • Squibb v. Memorial Medical Center, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 19449 (7th Cir.. Ill 2007) (complete dismissal of various ADA and retaliatory discharge claims with court finding plaintiff was not disabled)
  • Guirdinella et al. v. Regis Corporation, Case No. 04C0710 (N.D. Ill. 2005) (summary judgment in national origin discrimination and harassment case)
  • Lermo v. Palmer House Hilton, ALS No. 9156 (Ill. Hum. Rts. Com. 2004) (directed finding in favor of hotel in national origin discrimination)
  • Luks v. Baxter Healthcare, Case No. 04-2958 (N.D. Ill 2004) (summary judgment granted in age discrimination case)
  • O’Donnell v. Town & Country Homes, Case No. 03C2815 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (summary judgment in case alleging sexual harassment and retaliation)
  • Beaver v. Memorial Medical Center, (Ill. Hum. Rts. Comm. 2004) (affirmed agency decision relating to failure to accommodation claim)
  • Stevenson v. Carle Clinic Association, Case No. 01-2232 (C.D. Ill. 2003) (summary judgment granted in race discrimination case)
  • Myart v. Doubletree Hotels Corp., Case No. 01-CV-4083, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 720 (N.D. Ill 2002) (summary judgment in retaliation case and also upholding effectiveness of sexual harassment investigation)
  • EEOC v. Regis Corporation, Case No. 99 C 8270 (N.D. Ill. 2001) (Partial summary judgment granted in English-only pattern and practice case)
  • Marshall v. American Hospital Association, 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 24684 (7th Cir. 1998) (summary judgment obtained in pregnancy discrimination case, affirmed on appeal)
  • Ferback, et. al. v. EMH Regional Medical Center, Case No. 95 CV 113745 (Ohio State Court) (class certification denied in hostile work environment case)
  • Staudt v. Glastron, Inc., 92 F.3d 312 (5th Cir. 1996) (class action WARN case; statute of limitations issues)
  • Muenchow v. Parker Pen Company, Case No. 84 C 966C, (W.D. Wisc. 1987) (successful defense of 41 plaintiff ERISA severance pay case in bench trial)
  • Goldman v. Walgreen Company, Case No. 88 L 11096 (Circuit Court Cook County, 1991) (directed finding at close of plaintiff’s retaliatory discharge/breach of public policy case)
  • Altman v. AT & T Technologies, 55 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1739 (N.D. Ill. 1987), aff’d, 870 F.2d 386, (7th Cir. 1989) (obtained summary judgment in class action disparate impact sex discrimination suit, affirmed on appeal)
  • Sikich v. Playboy Enterprises, Inc., 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18538 (N.D. Ill. 1992) (obtained summary judgment in ADEA reduction in force case)
  • Nutall and Hudson v. Ruzic (N.D. Ill.) (bench decision in Fair Housing Act case)
  • Craddock v. Zeigler Coal Company (Circuit Court Illinois) (jury verdict in breach of oral contract case)

Presentations

  • “Employment Law Conference,” National Employment Law Institute, New Orleans, LA (November 30, 2012)
  • “Employment Law Conference,” National Employment Law Institute, Chicago, IL (November 9, 2012)
  • “Managing Leaves of Absence: FMLA, ADA, Workers’ Compensation and Other Leaves,” Webcast for PLI’s Employment Law Institute, New York, NY (October 22-23, 2012)

Publications

Accolades

  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Chambers USA Rated Attorney (2005-2015)
  • Legal 500, Special Mention for Employment Law Counseling
  • Leading Lawyers Illinois (top 5%)
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois (2007-2015)
  • Best Lawyers in America and 'Lawyer of the Year' in Chicago for Employment Management (2015)