Mark J. Girouard

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Mark excels at analyzing complex legal issues and boiling them down to practical business advice. Having grown up in a newspaper family, he prides himself on his written advocacy skills, and he is regularly called on by national clients to draft key briefs in high-stakes litigation.

Mark brings his keen analytical and advocacy skills to the defense of individual and class claims by private plaintiffs and government agencies, such as the EEOC. He applies those same skills to his counseling practice, helping his clients understand their legal risks and find creative ways to resolve them.

When he is not advising or defending clients, you will find Mark checking out the Minneapolis music scene or biking, skiing, hiking, or camping with his wife and son.

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

Key Industry Experience

  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Hospitality
  • Health Care
  • Financial Services
  • Cities and Counties
  • Public and Private Educational Institutions

Representative Matters

Wage and Hour

Defend employers in wage-and-hour and misclassification claims; conduct wage-and-hour compliance audits; advise companies on wage-and-hour policies and practices.

  • Crawford, et al v. Cerner Corporation, et al.: defended Cerner against a Missouri state-wide FLSA misclassification case involving tech. support roles. This matter is still in litigation.
  • Taylor, et al v. Cerner Corporation, et al.: defended Cerner against a Missouri state-wide FLSA misclassification case involving tech. support roles. Reached settlement that did not require reclassification of role.
  • Gifford et al v. Target Corporation (FLSA): defended Target against a putative nationwide class action alleging misclassification of store executives under the FLSA. Successfully moved to disqualify plaintiffs’ counsel. Secured voluntary dismissal of class claims and favorable resolution of remaining individual claims.
  • Stroud et al v. Target Corporation (FLSA): defended Target against a putative nationwide class action alleging misclassification of warehouse executives under the FLSA. Defeated plaintiffs’ motion for conditional class certification. Secured favorable resolution of remaining individual claims.
  • Delsing et al v. Starbucks (state wage-and-hour): defended Starbucks against a statewide class action alleging violations of the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act and Minnesota regulations regarding distribution of tips. Defeated class certification.

Discrimination

Defend employers in EEOC class investigations and claims and private class action claims, as well as in single-plaintiff lawsuits and agency charges; advise employers and conduct audits regarding state and federal pay equity, recruiting, hiring, and talent management practices.

  • EEOC (Chicago Office) v. X Corporation: defended Fortune 50 employer against a nationwide investigation of the Chicago Office of the EEOC alleging that the employer’s criminal background check policy violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This matter is still in confidential proceedings.
  • EEOC (Atlanta Office) v. X Corporation (Directed Investigation): defended Fortune 50 employer against a nationwide Directed Investigation alleging age discrimination in hiring. This matter is still in confidential proceedings.
  • EEOC (Minneapolis Office) v. Target Corporation (Commissioner’s Charge): defended Target against Commissioner’s Charge alleging a nationwide Title VII and ADA class claim involving pre-employment testing. Negotiated a settlement that did not include any payment to the EEOC.
  • Lee v. Target Corp. (reprisal): secured summary judgment on all claims.
  • Gifford v. Target Corp. (age discrimination and FMLA): secured voluntary dismissal of FMLA reprisal claim and summary judgment on state-law age discrimination and reprisal claims.

Other Employment Defense

Defend employers in benefits and labor-related litigation, arbitration, and agency proceedings.

  • Brody v. Starbucks Coffee Company (FMLA): secured summary judgment on all claims.
  • In re. Starbucks Coffee Company (unfair labor practices): obtained withdrawal or dismissal of fifteen related NLRB charges.
  • Seipel et al. v. Marsden Building Maintenance, LLC (ERISA fringe fund): secured summary judgment on employee benefit funds’ claim for over $1 million in contributions.
  • Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc. (employment contracts): represented Minnesota Chamber of Commerce as amicus before the Minnesota Supreme Court, helping obtain reversal of decision limiting employers’ ability to contract regarding vacation pay.
  • Eckelberry v. ReliaStar Life Insurance Co. (ERISA benefit plan): obtained reversal in 4th Circuit of district court’s grant of summary judgment to plaintiff in accidental insurance case; successfully opposed petition for certiorari review to U.S. Supreme Court.

Recognitions and Honors

  • Selected in Minnesota “Rising Stars” for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, Minnesota Law and Politics Magazine
  • Law Clerk for the Honorable Frederic Block, Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • Law Clerk for the Honorable Bruce D. Willis, Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University

Publications and Presentations

  • “Can the EEOC Be Trusted to Police Its Own Compliance?,” The Corporate Counselor (2015)
  • “Obligations to Disabled Veterans,” Minnesota CLE Web Seminar (2012)
  • “Hurt Locker Meets the Workplace,” MSBA Labor and Employment Law Section Seminar (2011)
  • “Pre-Employment Assessments,” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (2010)
  • “EEOC to Revise Rules on Disability and Age Discrimination,” Minnesota Lawyer (2009)
  • “Recent Developments in Age-Discrimination Law,” The Hennepin Lawyer (2009)
  • “Defense Authorization Act’s FMLA Expansion,” Workplace Human Resources and Safety Web Seminar (2008)
  • “Marching Home – and into the Workplace,” In-House Defense Quarterly (2008)
  • “Recent Developments in Federal Civil Procedure,” Minnesota FBA Federal Practice Seminar (2007)

Professional Associations

  • Labor and Employment Section of the Minnesota Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Editorial board of directors, The Corporate Counselor

Community Engagement

  • Pro bono volunteer, The Advocates for Human Rights
  • Past board member, The Advocates for Human Rights