Overview

Lavanga V. Wijekoon has experience representing employers in a wide range of labor and employment class action and single-plaintiff matters, involving such as issues as:

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Wage and hour
  • Misclassification
  • Employment contracts
  • Independent contractors
  • Wage garnishments

Lavanga handles district and appellate level actions in state and federal courts and before agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), and the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC). 

Lavanga also provides strategic advice and counsel to multinational employers on a wide range of international employment and compliance matters, including such areas as:

  • Global mobility programs and expatriate workforces
  • The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Labor obligations under free trade agreements
  • Multi-country and international surveys on employment laws and practices
  • Global codes of conduct and international policies
  • Global independent contractors
  • The employment cycle including applications, interviewing, hiring, discipline, promotions, demotions, recordkeeping and terminations

Lavanga also has an active pro bono practice in which he represents clients in asylum petitions before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and immigration courts.  He has also represented numerous “Dreamer” clients in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals petitions. 

Prior to joining Littler, Lavanga was an associate at an international law firm in Chicago. He also served as a law clerk to Hon. Marywave Van Deren of the Washington State Court of Appeals and as an extern to Hon. Marsha J. Pechman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

While in law school, he served as an editor for the Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal and as a member of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court team. He was awarded grants to conduct field research on human trafficking in India and Nepal.  

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member

Illinois State Bar Association

Member

American Bar Association

Member, Junior Leadership Board

National Immigrant Justice Center

2012-present

Member

Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Recognition

Named, Rising Star

National Immigrant Justice Center

2013

Recipient, John H. & George V. Powell Endowed Award for Human Rights

University of Washington School of Law

2006 and 2008

Recipient, Takuji Yamashita Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Human Rights

University of Washington School of Law

2008

News, Analysis & Press

Union Petition Under US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Highlights Labor Violations in Oil and Sugar Industries in Colombia

ACC Docket

July/August 2016

U.S. Strengthens Law Prohibiting Importation of Goods Derived from Forced Labor

American Bar Association International Labor & Employment Law Committee Newsletter

July 1, 2016

Potential Impact of Trans-Pacific Partnership on Employment

New York Law Journal

February 5, 2016

California Consumer Protection Suits Raise Labor Violations in Global Supply Chains

American Bar Association International Labor & Employment Law Committee Newsletter

January 1, 2016

Newly Released Text of Trans-Pacific Partnership Sheds Light on Potential Labor Law Requirements

American Bar Association International Labor & Employment Law Committee Newsletter

November 1, 2015

Litigating Labor Rights Across a Demilitarized Zone: the South Korean Constitutional Court as a Forum to Address Labor Violations in North Korea's Kaesong Special Economic Zone

17 Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal 265

January 2008

Books & Book Chapters

  • 2017 Employment Law Update, Imposing Liability on Employers Under the Shadow of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, Chapter 4, Wolters Kluwer, chapter co-author Michael G. Congiu, 2017
  • Littler on Multinational Employers, co-author Philip Berkowitz, 2016
  • International Whistleblowing Issues, Whistleblowing & Retaliation: A Guide for Human Resources Professionals & Counsel, Chapter 10 author, LexisNexis, 4th Ed., 2014
  • 2014 Employment Law Update, Leveling the Playing Field: Examining Firestone Deference in Delinquent Contribution Lawsuits, Chapter 2, Wolters Kluwer, chapter co-authors Michael G. Congiu and Stefanie H. Kastrinsky, 2014

Speaking Engagements

Update on the Proposed United Nations Treaty on Business & Human Rights – Webinar for Members of Global Industrial Relations Network

International Organisation of Employers Webinar

December 6, 2017

Panelist on Jurisdiction of Proposed United Nations Business & Human Rights Treaty

U.N. Human Rights Council, Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group On Transnational Corporations & Other Business Enterprises With Respect To Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland

October 23-27, 2017

Terminating the Employee on Leave or Returning From Leave: Challenges and Best Practices

BB&T Webinar

May 25, 2017

Preparing for Change: DOL’s Final Rule on Overtime

Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Inc., Upper Midwest Regional Conference & Trade Show, Elmhurst, IL

September 22, 2016

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Ranks Large Companies' Human Rights Performance

Littler webinar

May 12, 2016
Workplace Nightmares…The Employee Who Haunts Your Dreams

Chicago, IL

October 23, 2014
Investigating Cross-Border Whistleblower Claims: A Challenge for Multinational Employers

July 31, 2013

Education

  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law, 2009
  • M.A., Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, 2009
  • B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University, 2004 magna cum laude

Languages

  • Sinhalese

Bar Admission

Illinois

Courts

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois