Courtney represents and advises a variety of employers, from nationwide companies with thousands of employees to homegrown Minnesota businesses and non-profits. She has successfully litigated sophisticated wage-and-hour class cases, conducted sensitive workplace investigations, and advised employers on complex employment issues. In particular, Courtney specializes in working with employers to develop practical time off policies, accounting for the ever-evolving landscape of sick and safe leave and paid family and medical leave.
Courtney’s experience as a former crime and court reporter has given her an outsider’s perspective of the court system and honed her writing skills. She is a fierce advocate for her clients, delivering strong arguments and practical advice under the pressure of demanding deadlines.
Key Practice Experience
- FLSA/Wage-and-hour defense
- Appellate practice
- Class and complex litigation strategy
- Leave of absence and disability advising and defense
- Sick and safe leave, paid family and medical leave, and fair workweek laws
- EEOC class investigation and litigation defense
- Discrimination defense
- Preventive employment counseling
- Whistleblower/retaliation defense
- Administrative agency charge responses
- Reductions in force
COVID-19 Related Employment Expertise
- FFCRA compliance
- Federal and state sick leave, FMLA
- California’s WARN Act
- Workplace Safety
- CARES Act
Key Industry Experience
- Restaurant/Food Service
- Spanish v. Dental Health Products, Inc.: Successfully obtained dismissal of all counts on summary judgment in federal court, including six-figure unpaid wage claim.
- Moldenhauer v. Honeywell, Inc.: Defended Honeywell against nationwide class action alleging age discrimination and Equal Pay Act violations. Plaintiff agreed to dismiss the class claims and accept a confidential individual settlement.
- LaPointe, et al v. Target Corporation: Interviewed putative class members to develop comprehensive defense against a statewide New York Labor Law misclassification case. Prevailed on a partial motion to dismiss, after which Plaintiff agreed to accept a confidential individual settlement and dismiss the class claims.
- Locicero, et al. v. Target Corporation: Defended Target against a nationwide FLSA misclassification Assistant Store Manager case. The Plaintiffs accepted individual initial offers of judgment and dismissed their nationwide FLSA collective action claims.
- Successfully obtained dismissal of dozens of administrative charges alleging violations of state and federal civil rights laws on behalf of national companies in the healthcare, retail, restaurant, and fitness industries.
- Defended employers in EEOC proceedings alleging class claims of discrimination based upon conduct of criminal background
- Represented small business through successful resolution of wage-and-hour class
- Conducted successful “Pick Up Stix” campaign in connection with alleged tip-pooling class against Minnesota restaurant with multiple locations.
- Advised nationwide employers on issues related to leave and accommodation, hiring practices, background checks, anti-discrimination policies, and termination.
- Drafted comprehensive time off policies for nationwide employers, including multi-jurisdiction sick and safe leave, unlimited/flexible PTO, and paid parental leave policies.
- Conducted sensitive workplace investigations, including complaints involving executive-level employees.
- Represented and counseled employer during wage-and-hour audit by the United States Department of Labor.
Recognitions and Honors
- Selected to Minnesota Rising Stars list, published by Super Lawyers, 2019 – 2021
- Judicial Extern to the Honorable John R. Tunheim
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Matthew E. Johnson
- Outstanding Young Iowa Journalist Award
- CALI, William Mitchell College of Law
- Finalist for Burton Award for Excellence in Legal Writing, William Mitchell College of Law
- William Mitchell Law Review
Publications and Presentations
- DRI Employment Law Compendium, Minnesota New Laws for 2019 & 2020
- “Over Yonder: A National Perspective to Sick and Safe Leave,” ALFA Labor & Employment Seminar, June 13, 2019
- “Employment-Related Issues for Restaurants, Breweries, & Franchises,” Minnesota CLE Business Law Institute, May 7, 2019
- “Employee Handbooks & Policies: What to Include and How to Communicate,” Minnesota CLE Employment A to Z Webcast Series, January 22, 2019
- “Ethics and Conflicts Issues in Restrictive Covenant Litigation,” Minnesota CLE Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants: Protecting Assets and Litigating Disputes Seminar, February 20, 2018
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Minnesota Chapter, Federal Bar Association
- Minnesota Women Lawyers
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Children’s Law Center, volunteer attorney
- Top 5 Reasons to Do a Pay Equity Audit in 2022
- Supreme Court Ruling Strikes Down OSHA ETS
- No Ruling, But SCOTUS Likely to Strike Down OSHA ETS
- Nilan Johnson Lewis Elects Two Attorneys to Shareholder
- Stay Issued for Federal Vaccine Mandates
- Summary of President Biden’s Two Executive Orders on Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccines and Safety Protocols
- Does Your State Prohibit Asking Salary History?
- CDC Updates Mask Guidance: Impact on the Workplace
- Sixteen NJL Lawyers on 2021 Super Lawyers Lists
- Pay Equity and the Pandemic: A Primer for Higher Ed
- Key FFCRA Regulations Overturned by Federal Court
- Minnesota Mask Mandates & Remote Working Updates for Employers
- Seventeen NJL Lawyers Listed in Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Returning to Work: Health Checks & Compensable Time
- Managing Off-the-Clock Time During the Pandemic
- California Employers: Breakdown of the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL)
- COVID-19 for Employers: Local Paid Sick Leave Laws
- How Employers Can Take Advantage of Tax Credits under the New FFCRA Legislation
- Employers: How to Handle the New Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law That Extends Greater Protection to Front-Line Employees
- COVID-19 Compliance with State and Federal Changes: Practical Guidance for Employers
- COVID-19 Employment Law Q&A for Hospitality Minnesota: State and Federal Requirements Impacting Employers
- New York Employers: New COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law Explained
- COVID-19 FAQs for Employers: Requirements for Federal Paid Sick Leave & FMLA
- COVID-19 FAQs for Employers: Update on CA’s WARN Act
- [UPDATED MARCH 18] Employers Ask: Can We Check All Employees for a Fever Before They Walk in the Door?
- Coronavirus FAQs for Employers
- Employers and Coronavirus: A Brief Guide
- Overview for Employers: More State Pay Equity Laws Coming Online
- Employers Based Outside Minneapolis Liable for Paid Sick Leave Going Back to 2017
- Ask a Lawyer: As an Employer, What Are My Parental Leave Obligations?
- Michigan Passes Paid Sick Leave Requirements
- San Antonio Becomes Second City in Texas to Require Paid Sick Leave
- Duluth Adopts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Beginning in 2020
- Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Faces Legal Fight on Extraterritorial Application
- Airlines Cry Foul Over Patchwork Paid Sick Leave Laws
- What Employers Need to Know About the Austin, TX Paid Sick & Safe Leave Ordinance
- Maryland Embraces Paid Sick Leave, Employers Have Less Than a Month to Comply
- What Employers Should Know About Predictive Scheduling
- Oregon Bill Mandating Predictable Schedules Expected to be Signed into Law
- “How Much Did You Make in Your Last Job?”
- Paid Sick Leave Provisions in Washington State Leave Unknowns
- Beating the Curve on Predictive Scheduling Laws
- Courtney Blanchard Joins Nilan Johnson Lewis’ Labor and Employment Practice