Steven L. Brenneman

Steven L. Brenneman Partner


Steven L. Brenneman

The University of Michigan Law School, J.D. (magna cum laude)

Goshen College, B.A.

Practice Areas

State of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Northern District of Illinois
Central District of Illinois
Northern District of Indiana
Southern District of Indiana
Eastern District of Wisconsin
Eastern District of Michigan

Steven Brenneman is a partner and Chair of the Firm’s Employment Law Group. He brings over 25 years of experience representing clients in the full range of employment and labor law matters.

Steve advises and provides preventive counseling to employers on a wide range of issues affecting the employment relationship, including EEO issues, covenants against competition, wage and hour issues, leaves of absence under the FMLA and other laws, employee handbooks and personnel policies, issues arising from the use of technology in the workplace, reductions in force, affirmative action obligations, hiring and background checks, and strategies for employee discipline and termination.



Steve regularly practices in the trial and appellate levels of federal and state courts, as well as administrative agencies. He produces excellent results in a cost-effective manner while handling a broad range of employment and labor disputes, including cases involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of non-competition agreements and other contracts, fraud, defamation, and negligent supervision and retention. He also handles claims involving federal and state wage payment laws, ERISA, the WARN Act, employee handbooks, and drug testing. Steve has represented employers in labor arbitrations and labor injunction litigation. His efforts have yielded favorable results in many reported decisions.

Steve is editor-in-chief of the Illinois Employment Law Letter, a monthly newsletter written to help Illinois employers stay current on state and federal employment law developments.

Steve received his B.A. from Goshen College. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from The University of Michigan Law School. Prior to joining Fox Swibel, he was a partner at Ford & Harrison LLP.

Beach v. Yellow Freight System, 312 F.3d 391 (8th Cir. 2002) (same sex sexual harassment)

EEOC v. Yellow Freight System, 253 F.3d 943 (7th Cir. 2001) (en banc) (Americans with Disabilities Act)

Matthews v. Rollins Hudig Hall, 72 F.3d 50 (7th Cir. 1995) (Federal Arbitration Act / age discrimination)

Roger v. Yellow Freight System, 21 F.3d 146 (7th Cir. 1994) (retaliatory discharge)

Bojda v. Black Dot Graphics, 1994 U.S. App. LEXIS 117 (7th Cir. 1994) (age discrimination / reduction in force)

House v. S&C Electric Company, 2015 WL 1594137 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 7, 2015) (race and sex discrimination)

Koehler v. Sara Lee Corporation, 2013 WL 6773642 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 23, 2013) (retaliation)

Khan v. S&C Electric Company, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131712 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 14, 2012) (disability discrimination and retaliation)

Chan v. S&C Electric Company, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70927 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2011) (national origin discrimination)

Shaffer v. Combined Insurance Company of America, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20689 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 18, 2003) (Title VII timeliness)

Carroll v. Yellow Freight System, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16743 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2003) (racial harassment and discrimination)

Tressel v. Combined Insurance Company of America, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4818 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 27, 2003) (age discrimination and retaliation)

Lemieux v. Consolidated Freightways, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9114 (June 10, 1998) (retaliatory discharge)

Orphanos v. Charles Industries, Ltd., 3 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 924 (N.D. Ill. 1996) (FLSA and state wage payment laws)

Duncan v. Consolidated Freightways, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12964 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 7, 1995) (ADA, infliction of emotional distress)

Hawkins v. Toro Co., 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (N.D. Miss. Feb. 2, 1995), aff’d, 66 F.3d 321 (5th Cir. 1995) (breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing)

Malik v. Ravenswood Hosp., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2514 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 3, 1994) (Section 1981 race discrimination)

Oliver v. Brookfield, Inc., 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9491 (N.D. Ill. July 13, 1993), aff’d, 19 F.3d 1436 (7th Cir. 1994) (race discrimination)

Steve has been rated AV® Preeminent by his professional peers through the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating system. This is a testament from peer legal professionals of the highest level of professional excellence and of unquestionable ethics.


Since 2014, Steve has been selected to the list of Illinois Super Lawyers. Only five percent of lawyers in Illinois are selected for inclusion to the Illinois Super Lawyers list, and are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

Since 2013, Steve is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Labor & Employment Law.


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Steve has also been named a Leading Lawyer in employment law by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company since 2003.


Recent Publications

Court Weighs Illinois Bus Driver’s Obesity as a Disability Under the ADA

An obese Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus operator alleged he was discriminated against when the agency refused to allow him to return to work following medical leave. A federal court recently said “fat chance” to the CTA’s request for early dismissal of the driver’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim.

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Illinois Court Takes Charge, Finds No Charge in Disability Case

Before an individual may file a lawsuit under federal and state nondiscrimination laws—such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA)—she must first file a timely charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a parallel state agency, such as the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR).

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