Jen Cornell

Shareholder

Jen’s background in management gives her a unique perspective when it comes to employment law—that of her clients. Having held several leadership positions in her former career as a firefighter, she understands what it takes to manage and train employees, and is accustomed to solving complex problems quickly and efficiently. Clients also appreciate Jen’s drive and determination, and trust her to provide honest, thorough, and creative advice to help them make the right decisions for their business.

Jen’s practice focuses on all areas of employment law, with an emphasis on highly sensitive internal investigations, complex class action litigation, and data-driven preventative audits for both local and national clients.

When she’s not working, Jen is spending time with her three kids, all of whom have vastly different (and often competing) interests.

  • Key Practice and Industry Experience
  • Representative Matters
  • Recognitions and Honors
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Community Involvement

Key Practice Experience

Clerkships

  • Law clerk for the Honorable Arthur J. Boylan, Chief Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2011)
  • Law clerk for the Honorable John R. Tunheim, Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2010)

Key Industry Experience

  • Technology
  • Retail
  • Staffing agencies
  • Manufacturing
  • Non-profit
  • Healthcare
  • Government, state, and local
  • Transportation
  • Tech startups/emerging businesses

Wage-and-Hour

Defend companies of all sizes on wage-and-hour claims, including meal and rest break, misclassification, and fluctuating work week issues; conduct department or company-wide audits regarding wage-and-hour issues; advise companies on wage-and-hour policies

  • Lopez, et al v. YourPeople, Inc, d/b/ Zenefits FTW Insurance Services (FLSA misclassification wage and hour class action). This matter is still in litigation.
  • Burch, et al v. Cerner Corporation (MO state law and FLSA misclassification wage and hour class action). This matter is still in litigation.
  • Stoute, et al v. Cerner Corporation, et al. (CA state law and FLSA meal and break wage and hour class action). Plaintiff dismissed class claims; Plaintiff’s individual claim remains in litigation.
  • Scott, et al v. Cerner Corporation (MO state law and FLSA misclassification wage and hour class action). This matter is still in litigation.
  • Represented technology company during audits by California and Arizona offices of the Department of Labor regarding classification of employees.
  • Represented technology startup at a California Department of Labor Standards hearing regarding alleged non-payment of overtime wages.

Discrimination Defense

Defend and advise companies facing individual and class discrimination claims in private litigation and in agency charges, including recommendations for business changes after litigation

  • Ramquist v. Target Corporation (MHRA, age discrimination): secured summary (2016)
  • Haile v. Host International, Inc. (MHRA, Title VII, race and national origin discrimination, retaliation): secured summary judgment on all claims. (2014)
  • Shapiro v. Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC et al. (MHRA, sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation): secured favorable settlement for two defendants prior to fact discovery after filing motions to dismiss. (2014)
  • Thomas v. United Health Group, Inc. (Title VII, race discrimination, retaliation): secured summary judgment on all claims. (2014)
  • Murdock v. L. A. Fitness International, LLC, et al (Title VII, defamation, sex and race discrimination, retaliation): secured motion to dismiss certain claims. Secured summary judgment on remaining claims. (2013)
  • Represented companies at local, state, and federal agencies, including the EEOC and the NLRB
  • Represented companies at mediations and settlement conferences

Tech startups/Emerging Businesses

Assist emerging businesses with employment issues relevant to growth-specific strategies, such as restructuring, advising on job divisions and combinations, preparing job descriptions and policies, and advising during reductions in force

  • Drafted initial employee handbooks and specific policies for startups, including paid parental leave policies
  • Advised startup technology staffing companies on classification of workers as employees or independent contractors
  • Prepared employment and independent contractor agreements for startup using the gig economy model of staffing
  • Conducted company-wide wage-and-hour audits for national technology companies
  • Conducted recruiting and hiring audit for nationwide technology company to identify litigation risks and recommend changes

Special Investigations

Assist employers, companies, and municipalities with highly sensitive and politically charged investigations

  • Member of pre-charge prosecution team, Jeronimo Yanez-Philando Castile Investigation (2016)
  • Conducted investigation into drug diversion in a residential housing and treatment program (2016)
  • Conducted investigation into sexual harassment allegations at the director level for national employer (2015)
  • City of Minneapolis Al Flowers police excessive force investigation (2014)

Trials and Administrative Hearings

Represent clients in adversarial litigation proceedings

  • Cooper v. Wong (breach of contract): won full defense verdict in four-day jury trial (2016)
  • Defended residential treatment facility against child endangerment charges at three-day hearing with state department of child welfare (2015)

Recognitions and Honors

  • Selected to Minnesota Rising Stars (2016)
  • National Finalist, White House Fellows Program (2012)
  • Mary E. McEvoy Award for Public Engagement and Leadership (2010)
  • Presidential Student Leadership and Service Award (2010)
  • Dr. Matthew Stark Award for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (2010)
  • Minneapolis Fire Department Honorable Service Award for high rise civilian rescue (2001)
  • Worked for the largest urban fire department in Minnesota for fifteen years, holding several progressive ranks including Arson Investigator and Battalion Chief

Publications and Presentations

  • “Gender Identity in the Workplace: Emerging Employment Law Issues,” Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, 16th Annual Conference (February 2017)
  • “Evolving Science May Provide Coverage for Transgender Employees Under the ADA,” The Corporate Counselor (April 2016)
  • “Title VII Perils of Gendered Dress Codes,” Corporate Counsel (2014)
  • “Employees Can Decline Qualifying Leave Under the FMLA,” The Corporate Counselor (2014)
  • “EEOC Releases New Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination: What Employers Need to Know,” Best Practices in HR (2014)
  • The Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision: What It Means for Employer Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses (CLE Presentation 2013)
  • Legal Protections for Transgendered Employees (Blog Post 2012)
  • Infertile Grounds: Feminist Interpretations of Infertility Exclusions and Sex Discrimination, Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory & Practice (2010)
  • Trouble Tactics, Fire Chief Magazine  (2006)
  • Disciplinary Action, Fire Chief Magazine (2003)

Professional Associations

  • Lavender Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Community Engagement

  • Board member, ACLU of Minnesota
  • Board member, Friends School of Minnesota, 2005-2014
  • Secretary, Journal of Law and Inequality Alumni Advisory Board
  • Legal Writing Instructor, University of Minnesota Law School