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Paul E. Starkman

Member
Office

Chicago

130 E. Randolph St.
Suite 3900
Chicago, IL 60601
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Fax: +13125177574
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Education
J.D., DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, 1984
B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1980
State Bar Licenses
Illinois
Court Admissions
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of Illinois
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of Illinois Trial Bar
U.S. District Ct., C.D. of Illinois
U.S. District Ct., S.D. of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
Super lawyers 2015

Paul E. Starkman

Member

Paul E. Starkman maintains an employment law practice that is dedicated to solving employers’ workplace issues through counseling, litigation, and by assisting in transactions. He represents large corporations, mid-sized companies, not-for-profits, family and closely-held businesses, and start-ups in a variety of industries with their employment problems.  Paul works with business owners, executives, boards of directors, in-house counsel, and HR to keep them ahead of the curve on changing employment laws.

In addition to providing creative and proactive strategies to improve employment practices and avoid disputes, Paul provides training on harassment prevention, legal compliance, and diversity and inclusion. He also handles wage-and-hour reviews, employment practices audits, and sensitive internal investigations, including those involving #MeToo harassment, executive malfeasance, and pay equity issues.

In line with his executive compensation practice, Paul counsels clients on executive onboarding and separations, drafts and negotiates executive agreements and compensation arrangements, non-competition/non-solicitation agreements, and exit packages and separation agreements. When not helping companies with their C-suite, Paul helps the C-Suite with employment matters. This includes employee discipline and terminations, requests for reasonable accommodations, and compliance with leave of absence laws.

His work is geared to keeping employers out of courts but that is not always possible. When necessary, Paul litigates on behalf of employers in federal and state employment lawsuits and arbitrations across the country. He handles class and collective actions, injunction proceedings, and other workplace litigation involving wage and hour issues, discrimination and harassment claims, and employment torts.  He regularly represents clients seeking to enforce and defend against post-employment restrictive covenants.  He also handles complex cases involving internal data breaches and trade secret misappropriation.

Paul assists his clients with the employment issues that arise in mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, faltering companies, and other employment-related transactions, as well as disputes involving contractors, consultants, partners, shareholders, and directors.

A frequent lecturer for bar associations and professional organizations, Paul is regularly interviewed by TV and radio stations.  He is often quoted in national publications such as Forbes, Law360, American Lawyer, Business Insurance, and InsideCounsel. He has published numerous articles on employment law issues and regularly posts on employment-related blogs and websites.  Paul was an author of Employment Arbitration: Law and Practice (West).

Representative Transactions and Litigation

  • Counseled large and mid­-sized corporations and negotiated the departures of top-­level corporate executives.
  • Drafted and negotiated numerous employment agreements and executive compensation plans for incoming and current CEOs and C-Suite executives of mid-­ and large-­sized private and public companies and non­-profit organizations.
  • Prevailed on behalf of a national retailer in complex trial court and appellate litigation involving employment tort claims arising from an employee's computer fraud. 
  • Obtained summary judgment that was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit in favor of a large telecommunications company client, in a case involving federal and state law claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliatory discharge.

Representative Clients

Representative clients who have come to Paul for assistance on employment and labor matters include: media and retail companies, national banks, a national commercial real estate company, national recycling companies, food processing companies, electronic trading and investment organizations, national and regional law firms and professional services providers.

Employment Litigation

  • In a commercial defamation action against a recycling certification organization, Paul prevailed in federal district court and in the Seventh Circuit on attempts to defeat the action based on state anti-SLAPP statutes and Constitutional grounds.
  • In an unfair labor practice action brought by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against a locomotive manufacturer, Paul was able to persuade a federal district court in Iowa to deny the NLRB’s petition for interim reinstatement and injunctive relief.
  • In a wage and hour class and collective action filed against a Chicagoland restaurant chain, a federal district court granted a motion to dismiss filed by Paul and dismissed claims for failure to pay tipped employees proper overtime and violations of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collections Act.
  • In federal litigation involving a Chicago-area bank, the court granted Paul's motion to dismiss a defamation claim based on a final written warning and an alleged wrongful termination involving a bank executive.
  • In Illinois state court litigation, Paul obtained the dismissal of shareholder derivative claims as well as claims seeking declaratory judgment for breach of employment agreements and improper termination of the company president of a large retail telephone distributor.
  • In two federal cases, Paul first obtained the dismissal of class claims, and then was awarded summary judgments in favor of a global home-goods retailer on discrimination and retaliation claims brought by former warehouse workers.
  • In other federal court employment litigation handled by Paul, the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of a national retailer in a case involving malicious prosecution and false arrest claims brought by a former data analyst who, immediately prior to his resignation, deleted a large number of computer files from the company’s computer systems.
Awards/Achievements
Named among Leading Lawyers, 2021
Memberships
American Bar Association, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Current Co-Chair, Past Chair of the At-Will and Employment Subcommittees and Social Media Liaison
College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow (inducted 2007)
Illinois State Bar Association Labor and Employment Committee
Society of Human Resources Professionals
Experiences

Counseled large and mid-sized corporations and negotiated the departures of top-level corporate executives.

Drafted and negotiated numerous employment agreements and executive compensation plans for incoming and current CEOs and C-Suite executives of mid- and large-sized private and public companies and non­-profit organizations.

Prevailed on behalf of a national retailer in complex trial court and appellate litigation involving employment tort claims arising from an employee's computer fraud.

Obtained summary judgment that was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit in favor of a large telecommunications company client, in a case involving federal and state law claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliatory discharge.

Advised private-sector companies in Illinois and neighboring states on issues involving marijuana and the workplace, including the effect of medical and recreational use on employment, drug testing, accommodation of medically required marijuana usage, and drafting policies and procedures to comply with conflicting federal and state laws. 

Tags: Cannabis

In a commercial defamation action against a recycling certification organization, prevailed in federal district court and in the Seventh Circuit on attempts to defeat the action based on state anti-SLAPP statutes and Constitutional grounds.

In federal litigation involving a Chicago-area bank, the court granted motion to dismiss a defamation claim based on a final written warning and an alleged wrongful termination involving a bank executive.

In a wage and hour class and collective action filed against a Chicagoland restaurant chain, a federal district court granted a motion to dismiss and dismissed claims for failure to pay tipped employees proper overtime and violations of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collections Act.

In Illinois state court litigation, obtained the dismissal of shareholder derivative claims as well as claims seeking declaratory judgment for breach of employment agreements and improper termination of the company president of a large retail telephone distributor.

In other federal court employment litigation,the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of a national retailer in a case involving malicious prosecution and false arrest claims brought by a former data analyst who, immediately prior to his resignation, deleted a large number of computer files from the company’s computer systems.

In an unfair labor practice action brought by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against a locomotive manufacturer, persuaded a federal district court in Iowa to deny the NLRB’s petition for interim reinstatement and injunctive relief.

Newsletter Alerts
New Amendments to Illinois Laws Impact Illinois EmployersThe EEOC Issues Proposed Regulations That Employers Can Offer Only "De Minimis" Incentives To Encourage Employees To Take COVID-19 Vaccines2021 Employment Law Changes That Illinois and Chicago Employers Need to Know AboutThe Illinois Gender Violence Act Now Covers Illinois EmployersNLRB’s New Joint Employer Rule Requires Direct ControlIllinois Regulates Employers' Use of AI During the Hiring ProcessImpending Illinois Expansion of Sex Harassment, Equal Pay, and Leave RequirementsBad News for Companies in Illinois Using Fingerprints, Voice Scans, and Other Biometric Information: Plaintiffs Need Not Show Harm Beyond Alleging a Violation under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (the “BIPA”)Action Items for Illinois Employers in 2019Class Action Waiver Cases Moved to the Top of Supreme Court's October TermSick Leave Laws Expanded in Chicago, Cook County and IllinoisNew Trade Secrets Law: What it Means for Your Business
Articles
"Amendments to Human Rights Act will require diligence by employers," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, July 17, 2019Author, "New Expense Rules: Reimbursement Policies Your Firm Must Comply With," Chicago Lawyer Magazine, 2019"Sweeping Changes To Ill. Law Will Require Employer Diligence," by Paul Starkman, Scott Cruz and Autumn Moore, Law360Harvey-Weinstein-revelations-highlight-sexual-harassment-risksPaul Starkman Quoted in Plastic News: New law gives firms more leverage to protect trades secrets - May 20, 2016Paul Starkman Quoted in Business Insurance: Ruling in undocumented worker case speaks to broader EEOC power – May 3, 2016
Presentations
WEBINAR: Using Big Data to Make Employment Decisions: Are the Benefits Worth the Risks?
Media
Interview, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Anti-retaliation COVID-19 Vaccine, WBBM Chicago, March 2021
Practice Areas
Labor & Employment
Areas of Emphasis
Immigration Law