People: Kyle Petersen, Partner

Photo of Kyle Petersen, Partner

Kyle Petersen

Partner

Chicago
Direct: (312) 460-5950
Fax: (312) 460-7950
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Kyle Petersen is a partner in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Labor & Employment Department. She is a seasoned labor and employment attorney with over a decade of experience working with employers to develop business-oriented solutions and successfully defend and resolve employee lawsuits. Ms. Petersen has a proven record of providing proactive guidance and a pragmatic approach to mitigate legal risks without sacrificing business objectives. She is an excellent collaborator and problem solver with the ability to communicate complex subject matter in simple terms.

As a member of the Firm’s Wage & Hour Litigation practice group, Ms. Petersen devotes a significant portion of her practice to representing employers across the United States in court litigation and administrative matters arising under federal and state wage and hour laws, and is a chapter author of the definitive treatise on wage and hour litigation, Wage & Hour Collective and Class Litigation. Ms. Petersen also provides preventative counseling and works with employers to minimize their exposure to investigation and litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws. In this regard, Ms. Petersen regularly partners with employers to conduct comprehensive assessments of employee classifications and company policies and procedures for timekeeping; calculating overtime pay for hours worked and for compensation like tips, bonuses, and commissions; timekeeping policies and practices, tracking meal and rest breaks; and compliance with other state wage payment requirements. Ms. Petersen’s experience in this area includes second chairing a lengthy bench trial, resulting in the denial of overtime claims asserted by multiple plaintiffs against a Fortune 1000 company. The trial came after defeating plaintiffs’ attempts to certify a class of over one thousand employees. 

In addition, Ms. Petersen has successfully represented management against all types of discrimination and harassment claims, including those asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, and other state laws.  Her experience includes litigation of non-competition agreements and other restrictive covenants, in addition to the defense of defamation claims under state law. Ms. Petersen also regularly conducts internal investigations, negotiates and drafts employment and separation agreements, and advises employers on implementing personnel policies and mitigating risk in employment decisions. In counseling employers, she focuses not only on instituting legally compliant practices, but also on creating solutions consistent with management’s business objectives.

Kyle Petersen is a partner in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Labor & Employment Department. She is a seasoned labor and employment attorney with over a decade of experience working with employers to develop business-oriented solutions and successfully defend and resolve employee lawsuits. Ms. Petersen has a proven record of providing proactive guidance and a pragmatic approach to mitigate legal risks without sacrificing business objectives. She is an excellent collaborator and problem solver with the ability to communicate complex subject matter in simple terms.

As a member of the Firm’s Wage & Hour Litigation practice group, Ms. Petersen devotes a significant portion of her practice to representing employers across the United States in court litigation and administrative matters arising under federal and state wage and hour laws, and is a chapter author of the definitive treatise on wage and hour litigation, Wage & Hour Collective and Class Litigation. Ms. Petersen also provides preventative counseling and works with employers to minimize their exposure to investigation and litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws. In this regard, Ms. Petersen regularly partners with employers to conduct comprehensive assessments of employee classifications and company policies and procedures for timekeeping; calculating overtime pay for hours worked and for compensation like tips, bonuses, and commissions; timekeeping policies and practices, tracking meal and rest breaks; and compliance with other state wage payment requirements. Ms. Petersen’s experience in this area includes second chairing a lengthy bench trial, resulting in the denial of overtime claims asserted by multiple plaintiffs against a Fortune 1000 company. The trial came after defeating plaintiffs’ attempts to certify a class of over one thousand employees. 

In addition, Ms. Petersen has successfully represented management against all types of discrimination and harassment claims, including those asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, and other state laws.  Her experience includes litigation of non-competition agreements and other restrictive covenants, in addition to the defense of defamation claims under state law. Ms. Petersen also regularly conducts internal investigations, negotiates and drafts employment and separation agreements, and advises employers on implementing personnel policies and mitigating risk in employment decisions. In counseling employers, she focuses not only on instituting legally compliant practices, but also on creating solutions consistent with management’s business objectives.

Education

  • J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology (2001)
    Order of the Coif, High Honors
  • B.A., Indiana University, Bloomington (Political Science) (1995)
    Honors Scholar

Admissions

  • Illinois

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court Northern and Central District of Illinois
  • Northern District of Illinois Federal Trial Bar
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western and Eastern and Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
  • Seyfarth Women’s Network (Chicago Leadership Committee)
  • Public Interest Law Initiative (Board Member and Treasurer)
  • Friends of Drummond (Former Board Member)
  • Hyde Park Refugee Project (Family Co-Sponsor)
  • West Bucktown Neighborhood Association (Former Vice President and Board Member)
  • KAM Isaiah Israel, Personnel Practices (Former Committee Chair)
  • Center on Halsted, Community and Cultural Affairs Committee (Former Member)

Presentations

  • “Update on Illinois Labor & Employment Law - What Employers Need to Know,” Breakfast Briefing, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL (September 11, 2017)
  • “Administrative / Production Dichotomy in the Financial Services Industry,” Presented to Seyfarth Shaw LLP Wage and Hour Litigation Practice Group (July 2017)
  • “Identifying and Minimizing Risks: Independent Contractors & Joint Employment,” Presented to national retail client’s human resources and legal team (September 2016)
  • “Tenant Screening: How to Use Criminal History Without Breaking the Law,” Presented to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (September 2016)
  • “You Do What Exactly? Drafting Job Descriptions for Compliance with the ADA, FMLA, and FLSA”, Presented to national client’s Human Resources team (July 2014)
  • “Managing Risks Associated with Independent Contractors and Contingent Workforce,” Presented to national client’s Human Resources team (May 2014)
  • “Employment Law Concerns for Employers With Contingent Workforces,” VMS Professionals Conference (May 24, 2013)
  • “Reclassifying Exempt Employees: Navigating Wage and Hour Pitfalls,” C4CM Webinar (April 17, 2013)
  • “How to Avoid Costly Wage & Hour Pitfalls for Construction, Engineering & Landscaping Employees,” Epay Webinar (March 13, 2013)
  • “Wage & Hour Update: Everything You Need to Know Now and in the Future,” Breakfast Briefing, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL (September 27, 2012)
  • “Complying With the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act,” Assurance University (July 17, 2012)
  • "Mandatory Vaccination Policies & Hospitals," Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (August 2010)
  • "Legal Issues in the New Workplace," Media Finance Focus 2010 Conference, Nashville, TN (May 2010)
  •  “New Laws, Bad Economy: An Update on the Changing Landscape of Employment Law,” Labor and Employment Roundtable, Chicago, IL (April 2009)
  •  “FLSA Overtime Issues: Employees Gold Mine vs. Your Bottom Line,” Labor and Employment Roundtable, Chicago, IL (September 2008)
  • “Bridge the Gap: Basic Skills for Newly Admitted Attorneys,” Practicing Law Institute, Chicago, IL (September 2008)

Publications

  • Co-Author, "Keep On Truckin’: Strategies for Managing Wage and Hour Risks with Transportation Contractors After New Prime, Inc. v. Oliveira," Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 20, 2019)
  • Co-Author, “FLSA” Turns 80: Causes of Growth In Wage And Hour Cases,” Employment Law 360 (June 12, 2018)
  • Co-Author, "Supreme Court Unanimously Confirms Scope of Whistleblower Protection Under Dodd-Frank," One Minute Memo, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (February 21, 2018)
  • “The Administrative Exemption: Ninth Circuit Weighs in on the Administrative-Production Dichotomy to the Chagrin of the Financial Services Industry,” National Wage and Hour Litigation Practice Group Meeting, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (July 19, 2017)
  • “It’s a Strange New World in California for the Administrative Exemption,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (August 24, 2017)
  • “Can we Finally Retire the Notions of Construing the FLSA’s Overtime Provisions Broadly But Its Exemptions Narrowly?,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (August 3, 2017)
  • “Making a Mountain Out of the Administrative/Production Dichotomy Molehill,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (July 31, 2017)
  • “Too Personal to Proceed: Personal Banker’s Certification Bid Bounced Again,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (May 8, 2017)
  • “Budget Blues: Planning for a Possible Government Shutdown,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (April 28, 2017)
  •  “Not So Fast: 9th Circuit Puts Brakes on Boilerplate, Bare Bones FLSA Complaints,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (November 14, 2014)
  • “Put Up or Shut Up: 8th Circuit Shuts Down Overtime Claim Because Plaintiff’s Guestimates of His Hours Workerd Are Insufficient,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (November 12, 2014)
  • “Court Makes a U-Turn and Decertifies Class at Trial,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, (October 17, 2013)
  • “Dukesing It Out: Tighter Post-Dukes Standard Helps Defeat Request For Class and Collective Action Certification,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, Co-Author (January 23, 2013)
  • “It’s A Matter of Fact: Sixth Circuit Holds that the Primary Duty Determination is Indeed A Question of Fact Properly Put to Jury and Affirms Employer Verdict in Henry v. Quicken Loans,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog (October 20, 2012)
  • Co-Author, “The Impact of Fisher v. Right Aid, Part I,” Employment Law 360 (June 8, 2012)
  • “Here, There, and Everywhere A Lawsuit: The Third Circuit Green Lights Parallel FLSA and State Law Wage Suites,” Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog (April 2, 2012)
  • Chapter Co-Author, “Wage & Hour Collective and Class Litigation (The definitive treatise on wage and hour litigation.),” ALM Law Journal Press (2012)
  • “Pharmaceutical Representatives as Exempt? Contrary to the 3rd and 9th Circuits, a Florida District Court Enters the Fray,” Wage & Hour Litigation Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (July 18, 2011)

Representative Cases

  • Manage portfolio of wage and hour and other employment law counseling for national retailers.
  • Manage national portfolio of single-plaintiff litigation for Fortune 500 global health care company.
  • Draft employee agreements, handbooks, and policies.
  • Conduct nationwide exempt status assessment for Fortune 100 company, including preparation of opinion letters and development of reclassification strategy.
  • Assess pay practices of national senior living provider and advise general counsel’s office on vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement.
  • Evaluate propriety of independent contractor classification for national transportation company and propose revisions to engagement protocol and contractor agreements to strengthen contractor status.
  • Conduct on-site discrimination/harassment investigations for employers.
  • Collaborate with human resources and business leaders to vet reduction in force selections for legal compliance and risk mitigation.
  • Advise range of clients on classification and salary changes in connection with Department of Labor’s revised FLSA regulations.
  • Conducted nationwide exempt status review for Fortune 1000 company.
  • Represented aerospace corporation in connection with US Department of Labor audit regarding payroll practices and off-the-clock overtime that resulted in no findings of back wages owed.
  • Represented refinery in connection with US Department of Labor audit regarding training time and pre-and post-shift activities that resulted in no back wages owed.
  • Represented of higher education institute in defense of Illinois Department of Labor audit regarding employee classification and pay practices.

Representative Wage and Hour Cases

  • Judge, et al. v. Unigroup, Inc., Mayflower Transit, LLC, and United Van Lines, LLC, U.S.D.C. for the M.D. Florida, Docket No. 8:17-cv-00201 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of owner-operator van drivers as independent contractors)
  • Dennis v. United Van Lines, LLC, U.S.D.C for the E.D. Missouri, Docket No. 4:17-cv-01614 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of owner-operator van drivers as independent contractors)
  • Kingsbury, et al. v. Lyft, Inc., et al., U.S.D.C. for the N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 1:17-cv-02272 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of brand ambassadors as independent contractors)
  • Boltinghouse, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 15-cv-6223 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of Core Lab Specialists)
  • Scott v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., U.S.D.C. for N.D. California, Docket No. 3:17-cv-02992 (defense of field service technician’s misclassification claims)
  • Fries, et al. v. Residential Home Health, LLC, et al., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 16-cv-3727 (defense of FLSA putative collective action and Rule 23 IMWL class action alleging misclassification of home health workers)
  • Alexander Price, et al. v. 1st Rate Energy  Services, Inc., et al., U.S.D.C. Colorado Docket No. 15-cv-745 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting joint employer liability and overtime claims on behalf of oil field service workers)
  • Delgado, et al. v. Walgreen Co., U.S.D.C. N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 14-cv-7638 (defense of assistant store managers’ misclassification claims)
  • DiPaolo, et al. v. Walgreen Co., U.S.D.C. N.D. Illinois Docket No. 14-cv-7570 (defense of assistant store managers’ misclassification claims)
  • Dwyer, et al. v. Walgreen Co., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 14-cv-7636 (defense of assistant store managers’ misclassification claims)
  • Henry v. Walgreen Co., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 14-cv-7624 (defense of assistant store managers’ misclassification claims)
  • Cramer, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 12-cv-8681 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of retail sales managers, sales managers, assistant managers, and other mortgage origination employees under federal law, in addition to class action claims under Illinois law)
  • Morgan, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 13-cv-8188 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of mortgage loan officers under federal law, in addition to class action claims under Missouri law)
  • Wilkins, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., U.S.D.C for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 11-cv-00962 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting minimum wage and overtime claims on behalf of mortgage loan officers under federal law, in addition to class action claims under Illinois law)
  • Kelly, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., U.S.D.C for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 11-cv-05332 (defense of putative nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of mortgage loan officers, in addition to putative class action claims based on New York and Illinois law)
  • Fosbinder-Bittorf v. SSM Healthcare of Wisconsin, U.S.D.C. for W.D. Wisconsin, Docket No. 11-cv-592 (defense of putative collective action of nurses asserting off-the-clock claims, in addition to putative class action claims based on Wisconsin law)
  • Alvarado, et al. v. Neptun Light, Inc., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 13-cv-3199 (defense of putative collective action asserting misclassification of independent contractors, in addition to putative class action claims based on Illinois law)
  • Garcia v. M.T. Food Service, Inc., et al., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 13-cv-07485 (successfully dismissed putative collective action asserting misclassification of delivery drivers)
  • Groom v. Rapak, Mich. Cir. Court, Docket No. 13-406130 (obtained summary judgment in severance pay claim)
  • Dybowski v. VCE Company, LLC, U.S.D.C. for E.D. Michigan, Docket No. 14-cv-12282 (defense of failure to pay commission claims)
  • Perez-Guzman v. Suburban Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc., et al. U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 14-cv-2752 (defense of putative collective and class action asserting minimum wage and overtime claims under federal and Illinois law)
  • Shammo, et al. v. Kan Zaman, et al., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 13-cv-2366 (defense of multi-plaintiff action asserting misclassification of manager and off-the-clock overtime claims under Illinois and federal law).
  • Schedel v. Merck & Co., U.S.D.C. for D. New Jersey, Docket No. 07-cv-391 (defense of nationwide collective action asserting misclassification of pharmaceutical representatives under federal law)
  • Smith v. SSM Healthcare St. Louis, U.S.D.C. for E.D. Missouri, Docket No. 4:12-cv-00490 (defense of putative collective action of security officers asserting off-the-clock claims, in addition to putative class action claims based on Missouri law)
  • Rusin v. Chicago Tribune Co., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 12-cv-1135 (defense of putative collective action of reporters asserting off-the-clock claims, in addition to putative class action claims based on Illinois law)
  • Zarra v. Sun-Sentinel Co., U.S.D.C. for S.D. Florida, Docket No. 12-cv-60542 (defense of putative collection action asserting misclassification of district coordinators under federal law)
  • Turner v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 12-cv-3105 (defense of putative collective action asserting misclassification of pharmaceutical representatives under federal law)
  • Finnigan, et al. v. Career Education Corporation, Cook County Circuit Court, Docket No. 03-CH-18335 (second chaired a lengthy bench trial, resulting in the denial of overtime claims asserted by multiple plaintiffs; the trial came after defeating plaintiffs’ attempts to certify a class of over one thousand employees)
  • Skelton, et al. v. American Intercontinental University Online, U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 03-cv-9009 (defense of multi-plaintiff off-the-clock and retaliatory discharge claims under federal and state law)
  • Vander Vennet v. American Intercontinental University Online, U.S.D.C. for N.D. Illinois, Docket No. 05-cv-4889 (defense of collective action asserting off-the-clock overtime claims under federal law)
  • Represented proprietary trading firm in a AAA arbitration fully defeating former executive’s breach of contract claim under which he alleged he was entitled to a twelve percent equity stake in the firm. The hearing also included extensive expert testimony regarding the former executive’s spoliation of evidence and resulted in an award of attorneys' fees for the client.