Robert R. Duda Jr. is a partner with Smith O'Callaghan & White. Mr. Duda was selected by his peers and recognized as an Illinois Rising Star in Labor and Employment Law from 2011-2014. www.superlawyers.com

Mr. Duda's practice focuses on representing employers in federal and state courts in employment-related litigation arising under the employment discrimination laws, as well as breach of employment contracts, breach of fiduciary duty, enforcement of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, employment-related torts and misconduct, workplace defamation and unfair competition. Mr. Duda was second chair, and actively involved in all phases of the litigation, in a successful federal court trial to verdict, recovering a monetary judgment for a corporate client in the first employee pirating, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets case in the client's industry.

He frequently provides counsel to employers to protect their interests through the use and enforcement of restrictive covenants and by responding to employee raiding and pirating attempts. Mr. Duda covers and frequently writes about legal developments in trade secret and non-compete law. He co-authored, "Protecting Your Company's Interests From Actions of Departing Employees in the Absence of a Restrictive Covenant or Confidentiality Agreement," which provides guidance to employers concerning specific steps that may be taken to protect trade secrets and confidential information and prevent unfair competition in the absence of pre-existing written agreements.

Mr. Duda also represents employers in defense of discrimination and harassment charges, as well as wage claims, in federal and state administrative agency proceedings in Illinois and Wisconsin, and has successfully obtained dismissal of charges alleging violations of the employment discrimination laws in discharge, failure to promote and retaliation claims.

Mr. Duda frequently counsels employers on compliance with employment discrimination laws, including Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA, as well as reductions-in-force and plant closings implicating the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act and the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act. He also counsels employers on best practices for compliance with e-discovery rules and requirements. Recently, Mr. Duda played key roles in the successful resolution of federal court lawsuits alleging pattern and practice claims under the ADEA and the ADA in connection with a company-wide reduction-in-force and FMLA and retaliatory discharge claims.

Admissions

Illinois, 1999
U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1999
U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar

Education

DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 1999
University of Dayton, B.A., 1996

Recognition & Awards

Selected by peers as Illinois Rising Star
in Labor and Employment Law,
2011-2014
Chicago magazine

Member

Chicago Bar Association, Member: Labor and Employment Law Committee

Representative Experience

  • Represented large international company in federal court action brought against competitor, who had hired large number of employees from client, in lawsuit for misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with customer relationships and employee poaching.

  • Represented Fortune 50 company in a trade secrets misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty and systematic employee pirating case and obtained temporary injunction against competitor and departing employee group.

  • Obtained successful trial verdict with damages and injunctive relief on behalf of Fortune 500 company in the first employee pirating, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets case in the company’s industry.

  • Successfully defended company in New York federal court against departing employee’s complaint and emergency motion for declaratory judgment seeking to invalidate post-employment restrictive covenants and obtained consent judgment enforcing express terms of restrictions against departing employee.

  • Successfully prepared and implemented rollout of restrictive covenant agreements to large corporate client’s sales force nationwide and internationally.

  • Successfully defended senior executives and their new employers in threatened legal actions to enforce restrictive covenants resulting in avoidance of litigation and continued employment with new companies.

  • Represented large international distributer in defense of pattern and practice age discrimination claims emanating from nationwide reduction-in-force.

  • Represented employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies in employment discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination litigation.

  • Frequently investigated and counseled employers on handling departure of employees to competitors and resulting breaches of fiduciary duty, threatened misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with customer relationships and enforcement of restrictive covenants.

  • Represented company in trademark infringement and unfair competition action against departing employees who started competing business.

  • Investigated and defended employee whistleblowing complaints and claims of retaliation under the False Claims Act.

  • Defended large international company on sexual harassment claims in various federal and state courts around the country, including successful dismissal of claims.

  • Represented auto-dealership group in race, national origin, disability and retaliation claims under Title VII, ADA and Illinois Human Rights Act in federal and state courts.

  • Represented Chicago restaurant group in manager’s breach of employment contract and workplace defamation action.

  • Conducted internal investigation on behalf of well-known charitable foundation and advised Board of Directors on complaints of harassment.

  • Represented and counseled senior management and executives in execution and enforcement of severance, executive compensation and partnership agreements.

  • Represented federal contractors in compliance audits conducted by the OFCCP and in preparation of affirmative action plans.

Publications

Measuring Midstream Noncompetes In Midwestern Courts,
Employment Law360, June 11, 2015

PDF of Article

Dim Future for Illinois Bright-Line Competition Restrictions,
Employment Law360, February 17, 2015

PDF of Article

Judicial Estoppel: Key Defense In Discrimination Suits,
Employment Law360, September 12, 2008

PDF of Article

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