• Sacramento:   (916) 446-5297
  • San Francisco:   (415) 266-1800

LAURIE M. BURGESS

Laurie is an experienced labor and employment attorney who has handled complex and often ground-breaking litigation representing private and public sector unions as well as individual discriminatees. Laurie is proud of her reputation for pushing the envelope in developing and strengthening workers’ rights – something that she considers her “true calling.”

As a labor lawyer she has represented private sector unions in manufacturing, service, food-processing, health care, and communication industries, in addition to a broad swath of public sector unions. She has earned a national reputation in representing teachers, adjuncts, and professors in public and private educational institutions. Separately, she feels privileged to have provided organizing strategy and support for workers in unionizing campaigns including some of the most vulnerable employees, such as immigrant populations and low wage workers. Since moving to California, Laurie has also become actively involved in representing and supporting tech workers in their organizing efforts.

Laurie has also fought fiercely in State and Federal courts to protect and vindicate the rights of workers who have faced discrimination in the workplace. The panoply of matters she has handled includes breach of contract, First Amendment violations, ERISA class actions, insurance coverage disputes, and Title VII discrimination. She was an early leader in developing the law to vigorously enforce rights afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act “ADA,” including jury trials and appeals, and has developed niche expertise representing plaintiffs suffering from mental disabilities. In addition to litigating employment discrimination and retaliation matters, Laurie also frequently counsels employees through discrete employment concerns and negotiates severance agreements on their behalf.

Laurie is also very active in the legal community. She has served on the Advisory Board of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee (now known as the Union Lawyers Alliance) and has been an active participant in bar organizations including the National Lawyers Guild, the National Employment Lawyers Association (“NELA”), and the American Bar Association. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences and currently serves as the union co-chair of the ABA Labor & Employment Section conference planning committee. Additionally, Laurie has served on the boards of various nonprofit organizations and is particularly honored to continue serving on the Board of Directors of Centro De Los Derechos Del Migrante (“CDM”), a trans-national NGO that provides know-your-rights training for trans-national workers, prosecutes labor and employment violations and is frequently asked to provide testimony before the senate regarding these matters.

In her spare time, Laurie enjoys gardening, watching international and independent films, visiting favorite museums and galleries, and international travel. While at work or at play, Laurie will always be found with Stella at her side, her loyal French bulldog and MAJ mascot.

CREDENTIALS
Education
– Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois: J.D. 1995
– University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois: M.A. 1985-86
– Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois: B.A. 1982

Affiliations & Memberships
– American Bar Association
– AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee
– National Employment Lawyers Association
– Centro de Los Derechos Del Migrante, Inc. – Board of Directors

Professional Distinctions
– Illinois Pro Bono Attorney Award: (2010) recognized for enforcing, strengthening wage-theft laws
– NELA Workplace Heroes/Heroines Award: (2009) recognition for representing United Electrical Workers union in their “sit-in” occupation of Republic Windows & Doors
– Debs-Thomas-Harrington Award: (2008) recognized for facilitating positive synergy between unions and worker centers and advocating for non-profit organizations representing immigrants
– Illinois “Super Lawyer”: (2007-08) recognition as leading labor and employment lawyer

Presentations
– Why do Professors Organize and Techies Do Not:
ABA Labor & Employment Conference Nov. 2018; panel speaker

Ethics Issues in Communications with People Receiving “Limited Scope” Representation
ABA Labor & Employment Conference, Nov. 2017; paper, panel speaker

But-For Causation for Title VII Retaliation Claims: Mixed Reactions
ABA Employee Rights & Responsibilities Subcommittee, March 2014; panel speaker

Organizing the Charter Sector – Angles & Arguments
National Organization of Lawyers for Educations Associations, Oct. 2014; panel speaker

Charter School Legal Update
Chicago-Kent College of Law Public Sector Labor Law Program, Dec. 2013; panel speaker

Where EEO & Immigration Meet: Law & Advocacy
ABA Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, Apr. 2013; panel speaker

Practical and Strategic Considerations When Conducting A Workplace Investigation Involving Allegations Of Wrongdoing By A High Performing Senior Executive
ABA Employee Rights & Responsibilities Committee, Nov. 2012; panel speaker

Hot Topics in Contemporary Labor Relations
NLRB/Kent-Law School co-sponsored program, Chicago, Il., March 2011; panel speaker

Litigation Skills: Refining Use of Written Discovery
ABA Employee Rights & Responsibilities Committee, San Juan, P.R., March 2011; panel speaker

The Great American Melting Pot, or Not: Immigration Reform
ABA Labor & Employment Conference, Nov. 2010; panel moderator

Who’s Knocking at My Door? ICE Raids & Worker/Employer Rights
ABA Labor & Employment Conference, Nov. 2009; panel moderator

– Charter Schools & Other ‘Thorny’ Issues in Education Law
Chicago-Kent College of Law Public Sector Labor Law Program, Nov. 2009; panel speaker

Managing Reductions in Force & Reorganization In an Economic Downturn
American Bar Association Labor & Employment Conference, Aug. 2009; panel speaker

Current Developments in Discharge in Labor & Employment Cases
ABA Sectional Meeting, Feb. 2008; panel speaker

Issues & Remedies In Representing Immigrant Workers
ABA Labor & Employment Conference, Sept. 2008; panel speaker

The NLRA in the Electronic Workplace
Chicago-Kent College of Law Public Sector Labor Law Program, Oct. 2008; speaker

Technology Issues in the Public Workplace
Chicago-Kent College of Law Public Sector Labor Law Program, Dec. 2007; speaker

Insurance Issues for Labor Lawyers
AFL-CIO Labor Lawyers Coordinating Committee, Apr. 2007; paper, speaker

Representing Workers Without Majority Union Status – Why Not, Why Now?
Labor & Employment Relations Assn. (“LERA”), Chicago, Jan. 2007; panel lecture

– Role of Supervisors in “Campaigning” During Union Certification Elections
American Bar Association Labor & Employment Conference, Feb. 2006; paper, speaker

Title VII Legal Update
Council on Education in Management, Chicago, Sept. 2005; paper, speaker

Publications
– In Chicago, A Suspenseful & Surprising Winter’s Tale
ABA Labor & Employment Newsletter Spring 2009, Vol. 37 No. 3: Article recounting experience in assisting workers in their successful “occupation” of Republic Windows & Doors

– Certification, Second Opinions & Recertification Under the FMLA
AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee conference, Sept. 2004; article

– Discharge & Discipline in Arbitration
ABA Labor/Employment Law Committee, Feb. 2007; paper, lecture

– What’s Left of the ADA?
Illinois Public Employee Relations Report Issue 4, 2004; article and lecture

– Protected Activity & Weingarten Rights
ABA Regional Conference, Chicago, Apr. 2004; paper & panel discussion

– Contributing author to The Labor Beat, Messing Adam & Jasmine’s periodic publication highlighting topics germane to public sector labor and employment