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NJL People: Alia M. Abdi

Alia Abdi works with all sizes of employers, from global organizations with thousands of employees to small nonprofits, as they navigate through labor and employment issues. She does so with an eye on diversity, equity, and inclusion, ensuring solutions fit the employer’s strategic initiatives. Alia is exceptionally skilled at navigating sensitive, high-profile workplace investigations. She has an uncanny ability to get at the heart of what’s important to her clients and can creatively solve matters with absolute professionalism and discretion.

Alia has successfully handled administrative charges and other single-plaintiff litigation matters, as well as complex class actions like wage-and-hour cases, often involving race, age, gender, sex, and/or ethnicity discrimination allegations. She also provides preventive employment advice and counseling to mitigate risk in matters including leaves of absence and disability.

Committed to and passionate about DE&I issues, Alia trains employers on the dos and don’ts of internal DE&I programs. She lends her expertise to community organizations like the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Federal Bar Association’s Minnesota Chapter. In addition, she joined the 2022 class of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) Pathfinder Program, which arms participants with leadership skills and career development strategies.

Key Practice Experience

  • Discrimination defense 
  • Workplace investigations 
  • Leave of absence and disability advice and defense
  • Complex employment litigation and class actions, including wage-and-hour issues 
  • DE&I counseling and training, including pay equity advice and defense 
  • Whistleblower/retaliation defense 
  • Preventive employment advice, counseling, and training 
  • Administrative agency responses 
  • Reductions in force 

Key Industry Experience

  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Restaurant/Food service
  • Nonprofits

Recognitions and Honors

  • Selected to the Minnesota Rising Stars list, published by Super Lawyers

Professional Associations

  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter
    • Co-chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, 2020-present
    • Past co-chair, New Lawyers Committee
  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers
  • Past Board Member, Somali American Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinder, 2022
  • Board of Directors for the Legal Rights Center

Publications and Presentations

  • “How to Avoid the ‘Heartbreak Hotel:’ Hot Employment Topics for the Hospitality and Retail Industry,” ALFA International 2021 Hospitality & Retail Practice Group Seminar, November 2021
  • Profiles in Practice: Alia M. Abdi,” Hennepin Lawyer, October 2021

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