Steven L. Brenneman

Steven L. Brenneman Partner

Steven L. Brenneman

Practice Areas

Education

  • The University of Michigan Law School, J.D. (magna cum laude)
  • Goshen College, B.A.

Achievements

AV Rating Martindale Hubbell Logo SLB 2023 Best Lawyers Badge (square)
Steve Brenneman Super Lawyers 5year Badge Leading Lawyers Badge

Admitted

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
District of Colorado
District of Minnesota

Steven Brenneman is a capital partner and Chair of the 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.

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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.

  • Koehler v. Sara Lee Corporation, 2013 WL 6773642 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 23, 2013) Steve represented Sara Lee in an action brought by a former plant human resources manager alleging he was fired in retaliation for his opposition to alleged improper pay practices and noncompliance with affirmative action obligations. At the conclusion of discovery, the court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Khan v. S&C Electric Company, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131712 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 14, 2012) Steve represented the employer in an action brought by a former employee alleging disability discrimination and retaliation. The company’s position was that the plaintiff was terminated because his medical restrictions precluded him from performing essential job functions and thus he was not a qualified individual. At the conclusion of discovery, the court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Sara Lee Corporation v. Burns, No. 1:11 cv 7577 (N.D. Ill.) Steve represented Sara Lee in an action alleging breach of a non-competition agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets. The plant manager instrumental in designing and starting up the client’s state-of-the-art production facility resigned to take a similar position with a competitor. On the fourth day of trial, with the judge’s involvement, the parties reached a settlement that included activity restraints on Sara Lee’s former employee, reporting and monitoring to enforce the agreement, and defendants’ reimbursement of Sara Lee’s computer forensics costs.
  • Chan v. S&C Electric Company, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70927 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2011) Steve represented the employer in this action brought by a current employee who alleged that she was discriminated against on the basis of national origin in that the company allegedly denied her overtime, denied her job transfers, denied her training, and subjected her to a hostile work environment. At the conclusion of discovery, the court granted the company’s motion for summary judgment on all claims.
  • Ortiz v. Exmark Manufacturing Company (a Toro subsidiary) (Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission Charge No. 1-13/14-3-44827-RS) obtained dismissal and finding of lack of reasonable cause on a charge of discrimination filed by a former employee alleging she was subjected to sexual harassment and terminated on the basis of sex and in retaliation for her alleged protected activity.
  • Pliant Corporation v. Jordan, et al. (N.D. Ill.) Steve represented an individual and two sales brokerage companies accused of misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract, and civil conspiracy. The individual we represented allegedly was an inventor and one of the world’s foremost experts in chemical formulations relating to agricultural plastic film. After expedited discovery involving large amounts of electronically stored information, and full preparation for an anticipated four-day evidentiary hearing on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, the parties reached a negotiated settlement on the morning the trial began.
  • Equitec Group v. Yamaguchi, No. 09 CH 16171 (Circuit Court of Cook County) Steve represented an employer in the business of developing and selling financial trading and market-making software tools, against a former IT employee arising from a violation of a covenant not to compete.  After the entry of a Temporary Restraining Order in favor of the client, the parties negotiated a stipulated injunction order on favorable terms for the client.
  • 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)(sex and race 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 (N.D. Ill. 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 has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Labor & Employment Law.

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

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.

2018 Publications

2017 Publications

2016 Publications

2015 Publications

2014 Publications

Recent Publications

Best Lawyers in America© 2023

Fox Swibel is proud to announce over a third of our attorneys have been named in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch©.

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2022 Ushers in Sweeping Restrictions on Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Agreements

For those employers looking to think, talk and worry about something besides COVID-19, we have just the topic: the Illinois Freedom to Work Act.   In August 2021, Governor Pritzker signed into law an amendment to the Act that imposes new restrictions on non-competition and non-solicitation agreements.  Here’s what the Omicron variant and vaccine mandates caused you to miss.

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Best Lawyers in America© 2022

Fox Swibel is proud to announce that seven attorneys have been named in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, the oldest, most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.

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