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About Brian

Thoughtful, common-sense solutions to everyday employment issues

Brian Hartstein seeks to help clients anticipate and avoid employment issues and serves as a passionate advocate when litigation is unavoidable. He advises management on an array of workplace issues, including employee discipline, performance management, leave, accommodations, and wage and hour compliance. His litigation practice focuses on defending employers in employment discrimination, retaliation, and wage and compensation disputes, as well as disputes concerning trade secret protection and unfair competition.

His experience includes individual, class and collective action litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal, state and local employment laws. His clients cover many industries, including:

  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • Financial services
  • Health care
  • The sharing/gig economy
  • Hospitality

Brian strives to become a business partner to his clients by providing common-sense, solutions-oriented counsel on day-to-day employment matters such as disciplinary actions, performance management, reductions in force, accommodations and leave management.

He is the Chicago office chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group.

Experience in Action

  • Counsels employers on complicated workplace issues. Clients seek Brian’s advice for disciplinary action, performance management matters, leave, accommodation and wage issues that become too complex to handle internally, and ongoing issues related to COVID-19.
  • Strives to keep clients out of employment disputes in court, but is a tested and vigorous representative in court when litigation cannot be avoided.
  • Drafts and interprets restrictive covenant and confidentiality agreements. In addition, Brian actively advocates for his client's rights related to these agreements, defending against spurious claims and successfully obtaining temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions to enforce meritorious ones.


Class/Collective Actions

  • Defended against an EEOC enforcement action under the ADA, challenging the termination and accommodation decisions for 134 employees.
  • 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.

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 the client in multiple cities by poaching customers and employees and engaging in an online harassment campaign, all in violation of contractual obligations and law.

Internal Investigations

  • Investigated a chief executive regarding purported misconduct, which included witnesses in multiple countries, and prepared an investigative report and action recommendations for the board of directors.


  • Assisted clients in addressing new pay and protected leave requirements related to COVID-19 disruptions.

Professional Recognitions

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

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Administrative Judge Rebecca Dickenson at the EEOC's Washington, D.C., field office, law clerk (2004)

News & Insights


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

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