As chair of Gould & Ratner’s Human Resources and Employment Practice, David Michael leads a diverse group of trial attorneys focusing in all areas of complex commercial disputes for public and private companies, as well as business-related disputes for closely held and family businesses.
David earned his litigation stripes in the area of employment law. He has represented employers in numerous employment-related lawsuits in both state and federal court, and before various governmental agencies. He has handled and won cases involving all aspects of employment law, including race, national origin, age and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, restrictive covenants, workers’ compensation retaliation, trade secret misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duty.
As the leader of the firm's Human Resources and Employment Law Practice, David draws upon an extensive 26-year background in human resources management and counseling and limits his practice to management-side human resources, employment and labor law.
David helps employers solve their complex employee problems, the issues that often leave companies wondering, what should we do? He works closely with employers by providing proactive advice on a variety of employment-related topics such as:
- accommodating disabled employees
- navigating the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act
- effecting plant closings without liability
- avoiding legal pitfalls when hiring employees
- investigating sexual harassment complaints
- accommodating pregnant employees
- developing strategies to ensure exemptions from overtime
- handling employee morale issues
- creating better systems to document disciplinary actions
Additionally, David has negotiated and drafted numerous executive employment agreements, compensation and bonus plans. He also assists employers in protecting trade secrets and other legitimate business interests through non-compete and non-disclosure agreements.
A valuable part of David's practice is his assisting employers with training their workforces on employment-related topics, including mandatory harassment prevention training. He has also conducted training seminars for employers and their employees on topics including overtime, performance management, employment discrimination, computer use policies, hiring and firing, accommodating disabled employees, leadership, workplace violence, supervisory skills and risk management.
David writes and speaks frequently on current topics in human resources and employment law, and he is the co-editor and frequent contributor to Gould & Ratner’s HR Law Blog. He has served in a similar capacity for the American Bar Association's Section of Litigation and authored articles for magazines and newsletters on a wide variety of employment-related topics.
David is an AV rated attorney by M-H and has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer as well as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in the area of Employment Law: Management. David was recently selected to serve on the City of Lake Forest’s Legal Committee and serves on the board of directors of the Lake Forest Club.
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1993
- Indiana University, B.S., Business Management, 1989
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Employment & Labor Relations Committee, former Newsletter Editor
- Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC), former Co-Chair, Employee Relations Interest Group
- Lake Forest Club, Board Member
- City of Lake Forest Legal Committee
Key Cases or Transactions
- Represented a Chicago-based digital healthcare agency in its sale to a global commercialization partner for the life sciences industry.
- Making Law in the Circuit: David represented a large international employer in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a current employee. The employee alleged that the company failed to accommodate her medical condition that required, among other things, frequent bathroom breaks. After securing admissions at the plaintiff’s deposition that she believed her performance was far superior to the generally positive ratings she had received from her supervisors, the employer successfully convinced the court that since the plaintiff’s self-assessed performance was so overwhelmingly above expectations that she was not entitled to a reasonable accommodation as a matter of law.
- Winning at Summary Judgment: David represented a golf course management company in an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee laid off in a single employee reduction in force. After securing the plaintiff’s admission at his deposition that the golf industry was “tanking” worse than the economy, Judge Shadur granted David’s motion for summary judgment.
- Winning at Trial: David was part of the trial team that secured a defense verdict in the jury trial of a sexual harassment case filed under state law as an assault and battery case.
- Winning on Appeal: David represented an aggregate and stone mining company in a retaliatory discharge case. He successfully argued to the appellate court that the plaintiff falsified medical records and failed to establish the company terminated him for any other reason than his failure to return to work after he had recovered from a workers’ compensation injury.
- Enforcing a Non-Compete: David represented a recruiting company in an action against a former employee for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of his employment agreement and breach of his fiduciary duty of loyalty. The matter was resolved upon entry of a permanent injunction barring the former employee from utilizing any confidential or trade secret information from his former employer.
- Defending a Wage and Hour Class Action: David represented an employer in Indiana in a class action brought pursuant to the Indiana Wage Payment law. After removing that action to federal court, David used a procedural device under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to resolve the case prior to the certification of a class.
- Five Gould & Ratner Lawyers Named Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2023, January 24, 2023
- Eight Gould & Ratner Lawyers Named Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2022, January 28, 2022
- Gould & Ratner Represented CC Industries in the Acquisition of Central Indiana Ethanol, December 22, 2021
- Gould & Ratner Recently Closed the Sale of closerlook to Fishawack Health, June 9, 2021
- Eight Gould & Ratner Lawyers Earn Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Designation for 2021, February 1, 2021
- Jessica Lingertat and David Michael Named to Crain’s “2019 Notable Gen X Leaders in Law” List, May 30, 2019
- 3 Takeaways From 7th Circ.'s Watershed Gay Bias Ruling, Law360, April 4, 2017
- EEO-1 Pay Reporting, Overtime Rule May Be Repealed Following Trump Order, SHRM.com, March 19, 2017
- David Michael Spoke at the International Housewares Association CHESS Conference, October 6, 2021
- David Michael Discussed Minimizing Risk When Terminating Employees in a Financial Poise and West LegalEdCenter Webinar, September 4, 2019
- David Michael Presented at CCI and Great Dane Environmental, Health and Safety Conference , May 16, 2019
- David Michael Spoke at the ALA's 2018 Annual Conference and Expo, May 3, 2018
- Protecting Your Employee Assets: The Life Cycle of the Employment Relationship 2018, January 9, 2018
- WEBINAR: The New City of Chicago and Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinances: Is Your Company Ready?, June 21, 2017
- Great Dane Trailers Human Resources Conference Legal Update, February 14, 2017
- FLSA + NLRB HR Legal Updates, October 18, 2016
- Team Dynamics and Emerging Trends in Diversity, October 4, 2016
- Sex, Drugs, Guns and Crime (and Other Hot Topics in HR Law), January 2015
- Illinois Enacts New Paid Leave Law , March 16, 2023
- EEOC Releases New “Know Your Rights” Poster , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , October 31, 2022
- EEOC Clarifies When COVID-19 May Be a Disability , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , December 15, 2021
- NLRB Issues Guidance for Employers Enforcing OSHA’s ETS on Vaccine Mandates , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , November 15, 2021
- EEOC Issues Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Religious Exemption Requests , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , October 26, 2021
- Employees and Vaccinations: What Do Employers Need to Know and Consider? , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , June 2, 2021
- EEOC Updates Its Compliance Manual on Discrimination , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , February 5, 2021
- The COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here – What Do Employers Need to Know and Consider? , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , December 22, 2020
- EEOC Updates Technical Assistance Information for COVID-19 , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , September 8, 2020
- U.S. Department of Labor Issues Initial Q&A on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , March 26, 2020
- DHS Defers Form I-9 Physical Inspection Requirement Due to COVID-19 , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , March 24, 2020
- FAQs for Employers During the Coronavirus Pandemic , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , March 23, 2020
- UPDATED: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – What You Need to Know , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , March 19, 2020
- U.S. House Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , March 16, 2020
- What Employers Need to Know About the New I-9 Form , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , February 10, 2020
- Illinois is Changing the Conversation on Salaries. How Do Employers Prepare? , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , August 28, 2019
- Current Form I-9 Will Expire at the End of August 2019 , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , August 20, 2019
- Employers Facing New Rules on Overtime, Reporting Pay Data , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , March 14, 2019
- Nursing Breaks Are Now Paid In Illinois! , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , September 3, 2018
- Time To Rethink Mandatory Arbitration Agreements? U.S. Supreme Court Rules Class Action Waivers Are Legal , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , May 24, 2018
- Court Provides Much-Needed Guidance on Employee Leaves of Absence , HumanResourcesLawBlog.com , November 6, 2017
- The New City of Chicago/Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinances: Is Your Company Ready? , June 2017
- Would Your Company's Non-Compete Survive a Challenge in Court? , Employment e-lert , February 2016
- Conditional Job Offers and Medical Examinations: An ADA Landmine? , Employment e-lert , June 2013
- New FMLA Rule Takes Effect , Illinois Banker , February 2013
- Spouse of Undocumented Alien Fails to State Discrimination Claim , American Bar Association, Litigation Section News & Developments , December 2012
- Recent Developments in the Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants , Illinois Banker , April 2012
- The GINA Regulations Are Here! , Illinois Banker , January 2011
- Illinois Enacts New Employee Credit Check Law , Employment e-lert , January 2011
- Praying for Relief: Accommodating Employee Religious Practices , Illinois Banker , March 2010
- Employers Beware: Disability Law Amendments Effective in 2009 , Employment e-lert , November 2008
- New Law to Prohibit Discrimination Based Upon Genetic Information , GR Review , September 2008
- The New and Improved (?) FMLA , Employment e-lert , March 2008
- New I-9 Form Adopted , Employment e-lert , December 2007
- No Relief Behind the Counter: Does Federal Law Protect a Pharmacist Who Refuses to Fill Birth Control Prescriptions? , Employment e-lert , July 2007
- New Ruling Requires Harassment To Be "Targeted" , Employment e-lert , April 2007