Joel represents clients on all types of employment claims before administrative agencies, in state and federal courts, and before arbitration tribunals. He handles both individual and class litigation throughout the country, with extensive experience litigating in California. Joel’s business-driven guidance helps employers through the full life-cycle of hiring, from recruiting and performance management to workplace investigations and post-employment restrictive covenants. He also counsels clients on complying with discipline and discharge, workplace leave, and employment and severance agreement issues.
Joel offers practical, business-driven advice to corporate clients and human resources professionals, helping them navigate the ever-changing and complex landscape of local, state, and federal employment laws. He provides proactive compliance strategies distinctively suited to each client’s industry, size, and locale, keeping in mind that every client – from an entrepreneurial start-up to an established global organization – deserves unique attention. He prides himself on offering efficient, results-oriented litigation focused on his clients’ ultimate business goals.
Key Practice Experience
- Non-compete and trade secret litigation
- FLSA/Wage-and-hour defense
- Discrimination defense
- California employment law compliance
- Whistleblower defense
- Executive agreements and severance
- Preventative employment counseling
- Workplace investigations
- Trials and arbitrations
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Honorable William J. Riley, 2005-2006
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Honorable David R. Thompson, 2004-2005
- District of Nevada, Honorable Robert A. McQuaid, Jr., 2004-2004
Key Industry Experience
- Startups/Emerging Businesses
- Health Care
Restrictive Covenant Litigation
- Cambria Company LLC v. Mohawk Industries, Inc., Dal-Tile Tennessee, LLC and Schumann (D. Minn.) – Successfully opposed motion for preliminary injunction alleging inevitable disclosure of trade secrets and breach of contractual confidentiality provision.
Prime Therapeutics LLC v. Maxor National Pharmacy Services, LLC (D. Minn.) – Defeated injunction motion seeking to prevent high-level executive from becoming employed by competitor based on implementation of phased job duties negating alleged inevitable disclosure of trade secrets
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. v. Tu (D. Minn.) – Defeated motion for judgment on the pleadings arguing unenforceability of restrictive covenant agreement
St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. v. Suchomel (D. Minn.) – Defeated motion to dismiss term-of-years agreement as allegedly violating California public policy
PCM Sales, Inc. v. [Employee] (C.D. Cal.) – Negotiated confidential settlement agreement requiring 10-month customer non-solicit for California employee based on stolen trade secrets
Nilfisk, Inc. v. Liss (D. Minn.) – Obtained temporary restraining order prohibiting competing employment by former sales director employee
- TelCom Construction Inc. v. Michael Simon and MP Nexlevel, LLC (Minn. Dist. Ct.) – After replacing prior counsel, obtained vacation of previously entered temporary injunction and obtained summary judgment on non-compete and tortious interference claims.
- Achieved multimillion-dollar settlement during three-week jury trial involving claims for breach of non-solicitation agreement, tortious interference, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
- Prosecuted restrictive covenant claims against former sales and executive employees in Iowa, Minnesota, New York, and California for national media company.
- Enforced Minnesota forum-selection clause and non-solicitation agreement against former New Jersey sales manager.
- Obtained injunctions and monetary settlements against former sales employees of national technology company in California, New York, and Oregon.
- Enforced Minnesota forum-selection clause against California sales employee and imposed non-solicitation obligations.
- Reached favorable settlement for national insurance company after injunction hearing against former executives.
- Enforced non-competition agreements against former employees of Minnesota healthcare provider.
- Represented national printing company in defense of non-competition claims involving hiring of new executive employee.
- Represented national technology company in California, New York, and nationwide FLSA and state law hybrid action alleging meal and rest break, overtime, and derivative claims.
- Achieved favorable settlements for national restaurant chain in Minnesota, Illinois, and FLSA tip-sharing and unpaid overtime cases.
- Negotiated nuisance-value settlement in Florida off-the-clock wait staff class action.
- Represented national manufacturing company in California meal and rest break and off-the-clock case.
- Member of team that conducted company-wide wage-and-hour exemption classification audit of national medical device company Investigated harassment claims leading to termination of company CEO.
- Obtained early pre-discovery resolution for national clothing retailer in California meal and rest break and off-the-clock cases.
- Member of team that defended national utility company in Minnesota off-the-clock case, obtaining favorable settlement days before trial.
- Representing multiple defendants in plaintiff and defendant class action involving social media recruiting advertisements
- Represented national technology company in defense of race, gender, age, and disability claims by employees in New York, New Jersey, and California.
- Defended manufacturing client in nationwide putative class action alleging across-the-board age discrimination under Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
- Managed investigation of multiple members of executive team of national company involving whistleblower, harassment, and retaliation allegations.
- Represented financial services company in Eighth Circuit appeal of race discrimination claims.
- Represented janitorial services company in Eighth Circuit appeal of sexual harassment claims by eleven employees.
- Won summary judgment for retail grocer in disability discrimination and Family and Medical Leave Act litigation.
- Obtained affirmance of summary judgment for national energy company in Eighth Circuit appeal of Equal Pay Act claims of three employees.
- Member of team that defended client in putative class action alleging across-the-board age discrimination under Minnesota law.
Recognition and Honors
- Labor & Employment Star, Benchmark Litigation
- MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2013, 2014 and 2016
Publications and Presentations
- “What Makes Minnesota tip-pooling Laws Unique,” Minnesota Lawyer, April 2, 2018
- Co-Author, Minnesota chapter, Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey 2014 Supplement, Bloomberg BNA, 2014
- Co-Author, Chapter 7, The Federal District of Minnesota Civil Practice Deskbook, Minnesota CLE, 2014
- Co-Author, Chapter 9, The ADA Handbook, Minnesota CLE, 2013
- “The Developing Labor Law: The Board, the Courts, and the National Labor Relations Act,” Contributing Editor, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, 5th Ed., 2007-2013
- “The Indulgence of Reasonable Presumptions: Federal Court Contractual Jury Trial Waivers,” 102 Mich. L. Rev. 104, 2004
- “How to Create Enforceable and Effective Restrictive Covenants,” Minnesota CLE, October 7, 2019
- “Is that Facebook Recruitment Ad Discriminatory? Employers Facing Age Discrimination Class Actions,” ALFA Labor & Employment Seminar, June 13, 2019
- “Complex Restrictive Covenant Topics for the Advanced Practitioner,” Minnesota CLE, 2019 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 20, 2019
- “Keeping Home Court Advantage…Away from California,” ALFA International Client Seminar, February 28, 2019
- “Protecting the Home Field: Creating and Enforcing Restrictive Covenants – Sophisticated Strategies for Multi-State Employers,” ALFA International L&E and Professional Liability Practice Groups, June 14, 2018
- “Creating and Enforcing Restrictive Covenants – A Deep Dive for Multi-State Employers,” Minnesota CLE, 2018 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 21, 2018
- “Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants: Protecting Assets and Litigating Disputes,” Minnesota CLE, February 20, 2018
- “Trying the Non-Compete Case: Lessons from the Trenches,” Dorsey Labor and Employment 2017 Conference, April 27, 2017
- “The Force Awakens: E-Discovery in the L&E World,” Dorsey Labor and Employment 2016 Conference, March 3, 2016
- “Brave New World: Managing Social Media,” Webinar discussion, June 17, 2015
- “Wage and Hour Laws: California,” Webinar discussion, April 16, 2015
- “Ring Around the White Collar: Exemptions, Misclassification, Independent Contractors and Overtime Calculation,” Dorsey Labor and Employment 2015 Conference, February 5, 2015
- “Mishandling Handbooks: Employers’ Biggest Mistakes in Drafting Employment Handbooks,” Webinar discussion, August 14, 2014
- “Write it Right! The Keys To Avoiding Your Document Being ‘Exhibit No. 1’,” Webinar discussion, March 20, 2014
- “Federal District of Minnesota Civil Practice Deskbook – Seminar 1: From Pre-Filing Considerations Through Discovery,” Minnesota CLE Seminar, February 25, 2014
- “ADA Reasonable Accommodation and the Interactive Process,” Minnesota CLE Seminar, December 5, 2013
- “Do as We Say, Not as They Did: More FMLA Lessons from Real Cases,” Webinar discussion, November 6, 2013
- “Minnesota Law Update,” Dorsey Employment Law Seminar, September 2013
- “Employment Law Institute: Winning ADA Litigation Strategies,” Webinar discussion, July 17, 2013
- “Do as We Say, Not as They Did: FMLA Lessons from Real Cases,” Webinar discussion, April 25, 2012
- “Perfect Attendance and Automatic Termination Policies: The Perfect Storm for Automatic Litigation,” Webinar discussion, February 16, 2012
- “Labor Law 2011 Year in Review,” Dorsey & Whitney L&E Department Breakfast Briefing, December 8, 2011
- “Same Sex Unions and Employment and Benefits Laws,” Hennepin County Bar Association, November 1, 2011
- Minnesota Restaurant Association
- Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Cases and Interventions Committee
- Girl Scouts River Valleys, Former Board Member
- Yinghua Academy, Former Board Member
- Presidential Executive Order Targets Non-Compete Agreements
- In First Impression Decision, Minnesota Federal Court Applies Advice-of-Counsel Defense to Tortious Interference Claim
- Politics in the Workplace: When Political Speech Goes Against Employer Policies
- California Limits Wage Statements to California Employees
- California Employers: Internet Reimbursement for Home-bound Employees
- Employers May Face No-Hire Claims
- COVID-19 Employment Law Q&A for Hospitality Minnesota: State and Federal Requirements Impacting Employers
- Minnesota Restaurateurs: 5 Steps to Take Now to Avoid a Tip-Pooling Class-Action Lawsuit
- Minnesota Restaurateurs: Fix Your Tip Pools Before You’re Hit with a Tip-Pooling Class Action Lawsuit
- Minnesota to Ban All Non-Competes and Non-Solicits?
- California Employers: CA Supreme Court Takes Aim at Wage Laws, Contradicts Federal Law
- ABA Opines on Lawyer Non-competes, But Does It Apply to In-House Counsel?
- MN Restaurateurs: Proposed DOL Tip Credit Rule Won’t Impact Unique MN Tip-Pooling Laws
- EEOC Finds Age-Restricted Advertisements Violate ADEA
- AI & “Algorithmic Bias” in Hiring
- Food Fight: Restaurants in the Thick of Today’s Toughest Labor and Employment Challenges
- Plenty of Room at the HR California: Will Wage-and-Hour Laws in the Golden State Apply to Visitors?
- NJL Attorneys Speak at 2019 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
- Minnesota Restaurateurs: Get Compliant with Tip Statutes Before the Final Four
- A Business Tip Before Tipoff: Minnesota Restaurants Face Compliance Issues for Tips During Final Four
- Employers Should Immediately Review Recruitment Ad Practices Due to Facebook Class Litigation
- New Illinois Law Requires Employers to Reimburse Employee Expenses
- California Employers On the Hook for Tracking Employee Time
- In California, Ignorance of Complex Wage Laws is No Excuse
- DOJ Signals There Are Lawful “No-Poaching” Agreements
- DOL Creates Voluntary Program for Employers to Proactively Resolve Wage Issues
- Top Ten Laws Affecting California Employers in 2018
- Are Your Social Media Recruitment Practices Discriminatory? Employers Facing Age Discrimination Class Actions
- Minnesota Restaurateurs: Get Compliant with Tip Statutes Before Super Bowl LII
- California Whistleblowers Gain Easier Route to Reinstatement
- The Questionable Non-Compete: How to Hire Someone but Avoid a Tortious Interference Claim
- A Playbook for Employers to Avoid California’s Labor Code Section 925 Provisions
- Minnesota Tip-Pooling Laws (Chambers of Commerce Blog)
- How Employers Can Avoid California Labor Code Section 925
- Nilan Johnson Lewis Welcomes Joel O’Malley to Its National Labor & Employment Team