Michael J. Lehet represents and advises government and private-sector employers regarding a broad range of employment law matters, including alleged discrimination, harassment and retaliation, wage-and-hour class and collective actions, and immigration-related employment practices.
Michael's litigation experience includes defending employers against claims arising under the following federal and state statutes:
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Lanham (Trademark) Act
- The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- The Arizona Civil Rights Act
- The Arizona Employment Protection Act
- The Arizona Wage Act
- The Illinois Human Rights Act
- The Illinois Minimum Wage Law
- The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act
Michael also defends employers in lawsuits involving common law claims of alleged breach of contract, defamation, fraud and misrepresentation, negligent hiring, retention and supervision, unfair competition, vicarious liability, and wrongful termination.
Some of Michael’s notable appellate decisions include the following:
- US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, July 2012: affirming summary judgment in favor of government contractor, ruling that subcontractor employee could not establish requisite indirect employment relationship and thus liability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, May 2010: affirming summary judgment in favor of municipality and holding time spent by police officers donning and doffing required uniforms and protective gear not compensable work under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, March 2010: affirming summary judgment in favor of municipality and holding time spent by police officers donning and doffing required uniforms and protective gear not compensable work under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Arizona Court of Appeals, April 2010: affirming dismissal of putative wage-and-hour class action by police officers seeking compensation for time spent maintaining required uniforms and protective gear, and affirming award of attorneys' fees to defendant municipality
- Arizona Court of Appeals, April 2008: reversing denial of summary judgment in favor of municipality where class representatives - education administrators and instructors - failed to comply with notice of claim statute and therefore entire class precluded from recovering monetary damages, including retirement benefits allegedly owed
Michael devotes a significant part of his current practice to defending against multi-state wage-and-hour class and collective actions against restaurant industry employers, with an emphasis on lawsuits alleging tip credit violations in the wake of Fast v. Applebee's Int'l, Inc.
Michael's experience also includes defending employers before various federal and state agencies, including the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Arizona Attorney General's Office, and Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Michael regularly counsels employers regarding all aspects of immigration-related employment practices, including employment eligibility verifications, Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations, incidents of identity fraud and theft, and E-Verify and Form I-9 audits. Michael frequently speaks before trade groups and human resources associations on these legal issues. In addition, he trains management-level employees on federal and state equal employment opportunity best practices and has served as outside counsel responsible for investigations of employee complaints of alleged discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Michael began his legal career in Littler’s Phoenix office in 2006. He joined the Chicago office in 2011. While in law school, Michael externed for the Hon. John R. Tunheim, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. He was also a managing editor of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology and a member of the Minnesota Intellectual Property Moot Court.
PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS
- Member, Illinois State Bar Association
- Member, State Bar of Arizona
- Member, Federal Bar Association
- Named, Rising Star in Employment & Labor - Southwest, Super Lawyers, 2013