Kevin M. Cloutier is a partner in the Labor and Employment and Business Trials Practice Groups and Leader of the Firm’s Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Team. Mr. Cloutier is the hiring partner for the Firm’s Chicago office, and he is a member of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Mr. Cloutier’s national practice focuses on all areas of labor and employment law and business litigation, with an emphasis on high-stakes employment-related litigation and proactive counseling of management-side clients. Recognized by his peers as one of the leading lawyers in Illinois and nationally, Mr. Cloutier has received numerous accolades.
Mr. Cloutier is an experienced trial lawyer with first-chair trial experience before state and federal trial and appellate courts all over the country, arbitrators, FINRA, the National Labor Relations Board, and administrative agencies. He has successfully argued multiple law-changing and precedent-setting federal appeals on behalf of his clients. Mr. Cloutier has represented clients in more than 25 states.
Mr. Cloutier is widely recognized as one of the leading unfair competition, “non-compete” and trade secrets lawyers in the country and has considerable experience in prosecuting and defending actions involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants and non-competes, deceptive trade practices, the Lanham Act, unfair competition and employee raiding claims. He frequently represents corporate clients in high-stakes business to business trade secret and antitrust (Lanham Act) claims.
He has successfully enforced restrictive covenant, non-compete, deceptive trade practices and trade secret claims on behalf of his clients in more than 20 states. Mr. Cloutier and his team brought one of the first lawsuits invoking the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act in 2016. Mr. Cloutier also assists clients with partnership dissolutions, deceptive trade practices, and business “break-ups”.
Mr. Cloutier also manages a wide range of class and collective actions, related to all forms of wage and hour disputes, including overtime and independent contractor issues. He regularly designs and then leads creative and successful defense strategies for complex class and collective actions. Most recently, he defeated conditional certification of an “off-the-clock” claim in federal court in Florida, gutting a collective of over 80,000 class members.
Mr. Cloutier’s litigation experience also includes defending employers of all sizes in class and collective actions, multi-plaintiff, and single plaintiff cases, including statutory discrimination and harassment claims, wage and hour claims, whistle-blower actions, antitrust, deceptive trade practices, retaliatory discharge, white-collar criminal matters, traditional labor law, employee privacy, tort and contract claims, and ERISA benefits claims.
In addition to his litigation experience, Mr. Cloutier operates as a general employment and trade practices counselor to his clients and regularly advises and coaches human resource professionals and other business executives on how to comply with various human resources and employment laws.
He counsels his clients and presents frequent training sessions on such crucial employment issues as harassment prevention and investigation, independent contractor classification, restrictive covenant, trade secret and non-compete situations, trade practices, unfair competition wage, payment and overtime FLSA compliance, employee privacy and biometrics, conducting effective workplace investigations, union avoidance and awareness, FMLA and time-off issues, reductions-in-force, labor disputes and general human resources strategies.
Mr. Cloutier regularly conducts internal investigations for his clients and often prepares employment agreements, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, employee handbooks and human resources policies. Finally, he counsels clients on the employment-related aspects of mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions.
Mr. Cloutier also assists his multinational clients, primarily Canadian-based entities, in their cross-border labor and employment issues in the United States. He partners with his multinational clients on strategic planning, compliance, global movement of employees and employee compensation and benefits issues. In addition, Mr. Cloutier has established strong relationships with local counsel in many countries and frequently partners with foreign counsel to assist his clients.
Mr. Cloutier’s client base is broad and geographically diverse and includes employers in construction services, transportation, food and beverage, security services, eBusiness, energy, private equity, logistics, financial services, retail, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, software development, insurance, and manufacturing.
Mr. Cloutier has a similar commitment to his pro bono clients and has successfully represented several prisoner and of-need clients in important federal court litigation. He also regularly counsels non-profit social services agencies on a wide range of employment matters.
- J.D., Indiana University, 1999, cum laude, Indiana Law Journal
- B.A., Hamilton College, 1994, with honors
- Central District of Illinois
- Northern District of Indiana
- Western District of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Obtaining multiple temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and permanent injunctions in non-compete, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, and trade secrets cases around the country on behalf of national security services firm
- Representing a national transportation company in nationwide FLSA “off-the-clock” action, successfully compelling arbitrations and negotiating favorable settlement
- Successfully representing an international pharmaceutical company in a multi-million dollar stock option breach of contract action and obtaining summary judgment in favor of client
- Representing an international construction services firm in a FLSA collective action and state law class action alleging misclassification of employee FLSA exemptions for overtime purposes and failure to pay overtime
- Representing a hedge fund and a newly hired employee in Illinois state court in a “non-compete” and employee non-solicitation case, successfully overcoming the former employer’s motion for a temporary restraining order and prevailing in arbitration before FINRA
- Representing a national software development company in Alabama state court in a non-compete and employee raiding case, which resulted in a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against former employees and competitor
- Representing a national health and pharmaceutical research company in a disability (ADA) discrimination and denial of benefits (ERISA) case in federal court and obtaining a dismissal on summary judgment
- Member, Labor and Employment Section and the International Law Section, American Bar Association
- Member, Chicago Bar Association
- Member, United States Soccer Federation (Licensed U.S. Soccer Coach)
- Member, Board of Directors, Daniel A. Cotter Boys and Girls Club of Chicago
- Member, Canadian-American Bar Association
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