People: Rebecca Pratt DeGroff, Partner

Photo of Rebecca Pratt DeGroff, Partner

Rebecca Pratt DeGroff

Partner

Chicago
Direct: (312) 460-5956
Fax: (312) 460-7956
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Rebecca Pratt DeGroff is a partner in the Labor and Employment Department in Seyfarth Shaw LLP's Chicago office. Ms. DeGroff chairs the firm's innovative Administrative Charge Team and is a leader within the firm's national Wage and Hour Litigation Practice Group. 

Ms. DeGroff directs Seyfarth Shaw's Administrative Charge Team, a national group of attorneys and non-attorney professionals who specialize in responding to administrative charges filed in forums across the country.  This elite and first of its kind team partners with our clients to investigate a wide range of legal theories in a broad range of industries and jurisdictions, with exceptional results.  Faced with an increasingly aggressive governmental agenda, Ms. DeGroff and her team have developed innovative strategies for addressing wide-ranging governmental requests for information and increasingly sophisticated agency tactics.  Seyfarth has been praised by the Association of Corporate Counsel as being "five years ahead of every other AmLaw 200 firm” due in part to its commitment to delivering legal services in new ways, with an emphasis on value and continuous improvement. 

Relatedly, Ms. DeGroff devotes a significant portion of her practice to litigating against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), both at the early charge stage and in large-scale EEOC pattern-and-practice litigation.  Ms. DeGroff has handled complex regional and national EEOC investigations, which typically result in no action being taken against our clients.  When the EEOC has resorted to litigation, Ms. DeGroff has been instrumental in defending our clients against these high-profile, systemic cases to achieve efficient and effective case resolution. 

Ms. DeGroff also represents employers across the country in court litigation and administrative matters arising under federal and state wage and hour laws.  She frequently conducts exempt status and pay practice audits and provides related counseling, training, and change management assistance to our clients.  

Ms. DeGroff frequently speaks at seminars and conferences on all human resources issues.  Ms. DeGroff authored the Illinois Employer's Guide to Wage and Hour Laws, published by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce (2011).  Ms. DeGroff also contributes to publications such as the Fair Labor Standards Act: Cumulative Supplement, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law (2006-2010) and is a member of the ABA Fair Labor Standards Legislative Committee.  Prior to entering private practice, Ms. DeGroff served as a law clerk to the Honorable Garland E. Burrell in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California. 

Rebecca Pratt DeGroff is a partner in the Labor and Employment Department in Seyfarth Shaw LLP's Chicago office. Ms. DeGroff chairs the firm's innovative Administrative Charge Team and is a leader within the firm's national Wage and Hour Litigation Practice Group. 

Ms. DeGroff directs Seyfarth Shaw's Administrative Charge Team, a national group of attorneys and non-attorney professionals who specialize in responding to administrative charges filed in forums across the country.  This elite and first of its kind team partners with our clients to investigate a wide range of legal theories in a broad range of industries and jurisdictions, with exceptional results.  Faced with an increasingly aggressive governmental agenda, Ms. DeGroff and her team have developed innovative strategies for addressing wide-ranging governmental requests for information and increasingly sophisticated agency tactics.  Seyfarth has been praised by the Association of Corporate Counsel as being "five years ahead of every other AmLaw 200 firm” due in part to its commitment to delivering legal services in new ways, with an emphasis on value and continuous improvement. 

Relatedly, Ms. DeGroff devotes a significant portion of her practice to litigating against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), both at the early charge stage and in large-scale EEOC pattern-and-practice litigation.  Ms. DeGroff has handled complex regional and national EEOC investigations, which typically result in no action being taken against our clients.  When the EEOC has resorted to litigation, Ms. DeGroff has been instrumental in defending our clients against these high-profile, systemic cases to achieve efficient and effective case resolution. 

Ms. DeGroff also represents employers across the country in court litigation and administrative matters arising under federal and state wage and hour laws.  She frequently conducts exempt status and pay practice audits and provides related counseling, training, and change management assistance to our clients.  

Ms. DeGroff frequently speaks at seminars and conferences on all human resources issues.  Ms. DeGroff authored the Illinois Employer's Guide to Wage and Hour Laws, published by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce (2011).  Ms. DeGroff also contributes to publications such as the Fair Labor Standards Act: Cumulative Supplement, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law (2006-2010) and is a member of the ABA Fair Labor Standards Legislative Committee.  Prior to entering private practice, Ms. DeGroff served as a law clerk to the Honorable Garland E. Burrell in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California. 

Education

  • J.D., Vanderbilt University School of Law (2001)
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley (1994)

Admissions

  • California
  • Illinois

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
     

Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)

Representative Engagements

  • Wilkins v. Bank America, N.A., Case No. 11-cv-00962 (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of class/collective action related to misclassified employees)
  • Crawford v. Zenta Mortgage Services, Case No. 11-cv-0129 (E.D. N.C.) (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging misclassification of mortgage loan underwriters)
  • Kelly v. Bank of America, N.A., Case No. 10-cv-5332 (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging misclassification of mortgage loan officers)
  • Gromek v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., Case No. 10-cv-4070 (N.D. Ill.) 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134009 (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging misclassification of store personnel)
  • DeMarco v. Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, Case No. 10-cv-397 (N.D. Ill.) 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88651; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69101 (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging off-the-clock work claims)
  • Hardaway v. EmployBridge of Dallas, Inc., Case No. 11-cv-3200 (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging wage and hour violations)
  • Craig v. Staffing Solutions Southeast, Inc., Case No. 11-cv-3818  (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging wage and hour violations)
  • Smith v. ERJ Dining, LLC, Case No. 11-cv-2061 (N.D. Ill.) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22408 (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging tip credit wage and hour violations)
  • Nieto v. The Original Granny’s Inc., Case No. 12-cv-01103 (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of class/collective action alleging tip credit wage and hour violations)
  • Vicich v. Walgreen Co., Case No. 11-cv-2279 (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of ADA case)
  • EEOC v. New Breed, Case No.2:10-cv-02696 (W.D. Tenn) 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143565 (ongoing representation in EEOC-initiated pattern or practice sex harassment and retaliation case)
  • Huang v. Continental Casualty Company, Case No. 11-cv-01049 (N.D. Ill.) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3740 (summary judgment granted on Title VII and § 1981 race and national origin discrimination case)
  • Sanders v. Continental Casualty Company, Case No. 10-cv-7635 (N.D. Ill.) (secured dismissal of ADA case)
  • Vazquez v. Cake Production, Inc., Case No. 11-cv-8773 (secured dismissal of multi-plaintiff wage and hour matter)
  • Hernandez v. Supermercado Torres, Case No. 11-cv-6085 (secured dismissal of wage and hour matter)
  • Hassan v. Rothenberg Partners, Case No. 11-cv-3413 (secured dismissal of wage and hour matter)
  • Gerhard v. D Construction, Inc. Case No. 11-CV-00631 (N.D. Ill.) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35406 (summary judgment awarded on certain claims in complex whistleblower and ADA case);  (ongoing representation in state court related to additional whistleblower claims)
  • Rodriguez v. Groundscapes Concepts, Incorporated; No. 10 CV 8060 ) (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation of collective action alleging off-the-clock work claims)
  • Eoff v. Regis Corporation; Case No. 10 CV 04032 (N.D. Ill.) (ongoing representation in collective action alleging misclassification of district managers)
  • Sanford v. Walgreen Co., Case No. 08-C-6325, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS, 2010 WL 380907 (N.D. Ill., January 27, 2010) (summary judgment awarded to employer in executive store manager action for race discrimination and wage-hour violations)
  • Mayes v. Walgreen Co., Case. No. 08 CV 5105 (N.D. Ill.) (secured dismissal of FMLA case)
  • Braun v. Walgreen Co., Case No. 10 CV 6243 (N.D. Ill.) (age discrimination claim)
  • Jagelski v. Walgreen Co.; Case No. 10 CV 6424 (N.D. Ill.) (age and gender discrimination claim)
  • Ruffin v. Exel Direct, Inc.; Case No. 09 CV 1735 (N.D. Ill.) 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37137; 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89579 (obtained dismissal of class action alleging independent contractor misclassification)
  • EEOC v. Caterpillar Inc., Case No. 03 C 5636 (N.D. Ill. 2009) 628 F. Supp. 2d 844 (complete defense trial verdict in EEOC-initiated Title VII pattern or practice sex harassment and retaliation case)
  • Gates v. Caterpillar Inc., 541 F.3d 680 (7th Cir. 2008) (affirming summary judgment of Title VII gender discrimination and harassment claims)
  • Harden, et al. v. William Wrigley & Co., Case No. 07-CV-5928 (N.D.Ill.) (class/collective action alleging race discrimination and wage and hour violations).
  • Tchemkou v. Jackson Park Hospital; Case No. 10 CV  3569 (N.D. Ill.) (class/collective action alleging wage and hour violations)
  • Schmidt  v. Smith & Wollensky LLC.; Case No. 09 CV 02752 (N.D. Ill.) 268 F.R.D. 323 (class/collective action alleging tip credit wage and hour violations)
  • Mosley v. D Construction, et al.; Case No. 10 CV 2055 (N.D. Ill.) (sexual harassment case)
  • Zimmerman v. Rush Hour Events, LLC; Case No. 10 CV 3117 (N.D. Ill.) (collective action alleging wage and hour violations)
  • Lauretti v. Serco, Inc.; Case No. 09 C 11120 (M.D. MI) (successful resolution of FMLA claim)
  • Wolfert v. United Health Group, et al., Case No. 08 CV 1643 (E.D. Mo.) 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74261 (collective action alleging off-the-clock work claims)
  • Bogan v. Holly Hunt Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 08 CV 6944 (N.D. Ill.) (Title VII race discrimination case)
  • Radinski, et al. v. Dycom Industries, Inc., et al., Case No. 07 CV 571 (N.D. Ill) (class and collective action alleging FLSA violations related to wages and hours worked)
  • Allen v. City-Beverage, L.L.C. et al., Case No. 08 CV 861 (N.D. Ill.) (class and collective action alleging improper exempt status classification)
  • VanWickel v. Accenture LLP, Case No. 07 CV 5809 (N.D. Ill.) (collective action alleging FLSA violations related to wages and hours worked)
  • Vargas v. Arlington Park Racecourse, LLC, Case No. 07 CV 5184 (N.D. Ill.) (case for failure to pay overtime claims)
  • Erlandson v. Illinois Mortgage Funding, Case No. 06 CH 12759 (Circuit Court of Cook County) (class action brought by mortgage brokers alleging violations of Illinois wage and hour laws)
  • Perlman v. Symbol Technologies, Inc., et al., Case No. 06 L 13505 (Circuit Court of Cook County) (case for unpaid wages brought under Illinois wage and hour laws)
  • Officer v. BP Products North America Inc., et al., Case No. 06 CV 125 (N.D. Ind.) (Title VII sex discrimination case)
  • Himmelman v. Continental Casualty Co., Case No. 06-CV-166, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56187 (D. N.J.) (putative collective and class action alleging improper exempt status classification; class action allegations dismissed upon defense motion)
  • Nelson, et al. v. General Electric Company, Case No. 05 CV 2772 (D. Minn) (collective and class action alleging that call center employees performed off-the-clock pre- and post-shift work)
  • Brown v. Caterpillar Inc., Case No. 05 CV 2199, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79371 (C.D. Ill.) (granting summary judgment on Title VII race discrimination claims)
  • Tyus v. Caterpillar Inc., Case No. 05 CV 2262, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59623 (C.D. Ill.) (granting summary judgment on Title VII race discrimination claims)
  • Blue v. The Chubb Group, Case No. 03 CV 6692, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14253 (N.D. Ill.) (obtained ruling that insurance adjusters perform exempt duties as a matter of law)
  • Reed, et al. v. The TJX Companies, Inc., Case No. 04 C 1247 (N.D. Ill.) (class action alleging off-the-clock work)
  • Tjelle v. Caterpillar Inc. (Circuit Court of Cook County) (dismissal of putative multi-facility wage and hour class action); (04 CV 1689 N.D. Ill.) (dismissal of companion FLSA retaliatory discharge action in Federal District Court)
  • Luckett, et al. v. Menasha Material Handling Corp., Case No. 01 CV 8967, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22064 (N.D. Ill.) (granting summary judgment in multi-plaintiff race discrimination and retaliation case) 

Presentations

  • Co-Author, "Insights: Supreme Court Win for Employers," Chain Store Age (December 12, 2014)
  • “Employment Law Concerns for Employers With Contingent Workers,” sponsored by VMS Professionals, given on June 1, 2012 and June 2, 2011. 
  • “Reclassifying Exempt Employees - Navigating Wage and Hour Pitfalls,” sponsored by CCM, given on May 3, 2012, December 7, 2011, and May 12, 2011. 
  • Wage and Hour Trends Affecting the Hospitality Industry,” sponsored by Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, given on September 21, 2011.
  • “Independent Contractors: A great strategy when done right,” sponsored by HR.com, given on October 13, 2011.
  • “Wage and Hour Issues for Illinois Employers,” sponsored by Illinois Chamber of Commerce, given on May 5, 2011 and May 10, 2011.
  • “The Tax Employment and Benefit Issues Raised by Workers Misclassification: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You”, sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association, given on March 8, 2011.

Publications

  • Book Author and Editor, “Illinois Employer’s Guide to Wage and Hour Laws,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce (2011)
  • Chapter Author, “Chapter 21 - Non - White Collar Exemptions," Wage & Hour Collective and Class Litigation, ALM Law Journal Press (2012).  Definitive treatise on wage and hour litigation
  • Article Author, “A Silent Diversity Element: The EEOC Plans To Search Out And Prosecute Pregnancy Discrimination Claims,” Diversity Executive Magazine, at page 48, May/June 2012
  • Article Author, “Time To Review Your Employment Practices,” Diversity Executive Magazine, at page 48, March/April 2012
  • Article Author: “Tapping Discrimination Data,” Diversity Executive Magazine, at page 48, January/February 2012
  • Co-Author, “Calculating Back Overtime in Misclassification Cases,” American Bar Association 4th Annual Labor & Employment Conference (2010)
  • Contributing Editor, FLSA Mid-Winter Report, American Bar Association, Wage and Hour Update (2006 to 2011)
  • Article Author:  Ensure Contractors Are Following FLSA Rules And Regulations, Hospitality Law (2009)