Brian A. Hartstein, Partner


Brian Hartstein represents and counsels management on a wide range of workplace issues, with an emphasis in employment discrimination litigation. His experience includes individual, class, and collective action litigation arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal, state, and local employment laws.

Brian serves as a business partner with clients, providing pragmatic, solutions-oriented counseling on day-to-day employment matters ranging from disciplinary actions, performance management, reductions in force, accommodations to leave management. His experience includes work with numerous clients in a variety of industries such as transportation, telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, the sharing/gig economy, among others.

He is the Chicago office chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group. In 2004, Brian served as a law clerk to Administrative Judge Rebecca Dickenson at the EEOC's Washington, D.C. Field Office.

Representative Experience

Class/Collective Actions

  • Defended against an EEOC enforcement action under the ADA challenging the termination and accommodation decisions for 134 employees
  • Served as primary attorney representing an international energy provider in a purported class action alleging sex discrimination
  • Represented a medical equipment manufacturer in a 104 Plaintiff ADEA collective action, including the oversight of a large-scale electronic discovery process, dozens of depositions, and multiple expert witnesses
  • Represented a fast food restaurant chain against class and collective action claims regarding overtime payments under the FLSA and related state laws
  • Represented a cellular phone carrier against class and collective action claims regarding misclassification of employees under the FLSA and related state laws

Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition

  • Successfully obtained injunctive relief for a trucking brokerage business preventing a former C-suite executive from beginning work for a private equity-backed competitor as their CEO in violation of a non-compete
  • Successfully obtained injunctive relief against a newly formed roofing repair and home restoration business, and six of its salesmen, who sought to unfairly compete with our client in multiple cities by poaching customers and employees and engaging in an online harassment campaign, all in violation of contractual obligations and law
  • Successfully obtained injunctive relief for a shipping and logistic firm against a former sales executive and his new employer after the executive misappropriated confidential trade secret information
  • Successfully obtained injunctive relief for a beauty service provider against multiple former employees and their new employer who were actively misappropriating customers
  • Drafted numerous restrictive covenant agreements, including for financial/professional services, sales and tech industry clients

Internal Investigations

  • Investigated a chief executive regarding purported misconduct, which included witnesses in multiple countries and prepared an investigative report for the board of directors
  • Conducted sensitive sexual harassment investigation of a senior Human Resources executive, preparing report for General Counsel and other C-Suite officers
  • Conducted sensitive and wide-ranging investigation of purported misconduct at a financial institution that related to ongoing litigation


  • Assisted clients in preparing new pay and protected leave requirements due to the coronavirus or childcare interruptions under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the employment-related provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
  • Prepared and advised upon remote workforce policies, procedures, management, and training
  • Provided advice and counsel to client on continuing and modifying operations in compliance with FLSA, FMLA, ADA, and COVID-19-related governmental requirements
  • Provided advice and counsel on reductions in force, furloughs, layoffs, and recalls
  • Advised clients on a myriad of return-to-work and business planning issues as they resume or increase operations

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, Certificate, Quarles & Brady Leadership Program (2018)
  • Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 2006)
  • Cornell University (B.S., 2003)
    • Major: Industrial and Labor Relations

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois

Professional Recognition

  • Law Bulletin Media - Illinois Emerging Lawyer, 2015–present (Employment & Labor: Management)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers®–Rising Stars Edition (2012–2016: Employment & Labor)
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