Overview

Kelly-Ann Gibbs Cartwright is a seasoned labor and employment attorney in Holland & Knight's Miami office. Her practice involves representation of clients before federal, state and local administrative agencies, at arbitration and in state and federal court on matters arising out of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the federal and Florida Whistleblower Acts, and other federal, state and local anti-discrimination and employment-related statutes. In addition, Ms. Cartwright handles trade secret and restrictive covenant litigation that includes litigating preliminary injunctions in state and federal court.

Ms. Cartwright has served as principal trial counsel for management in a number of jury trials, labor and employment arbitrations, and administrative proceedings. She has successfully defended management and corporate clients in collective and class action employment cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. She is the co-author of an article on class action communications.

In addition, Ms. Cartwright provides advice and counsel on all aspects of the employment relationship, including employment contracts, restrictive covenants agreements, severance agreements, employee handbooks and policies, and compliance with employment and labor laws. Her practice includes conducting audits and training in a number of employment areas, including anti-harassment and discrimination policies. Ms. Cartwright also assists clients in effectively navigating leave policies, protecting company assets from employee defections, conducting internal investigations, and implementing and managing reductions in force. She has experience representing clients in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, transportation, hospitality, technology, financial institutions, education and healthcare.

Ms. Cartwright received her Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of Florida in 1991. She currently serves as chair of Holland & Knight's Directors Committee and served as the Executive Partner of the Miami office for 12 years. Ms. Cartwright is a member of the firm's Diversity Council and has served as chair of the Miami office Women's Initiative. She is on the board of the YWCA of South Florida and the board of trustees of the University of Florida Law Center Association.

Representative Engagements

  • Obtained complete jury verdict in federal court case involving allegations of religious discrimination and failure to accommodate
  • Obtained dismissal of class action case under the Fair Credit Reporting Act on the grounds that the named plaintiff did not have the requisite standing to proceed with the case
  • Represented corporate client in nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act collective action alleging that employees were misclassified as independent contractors; consolidated cases into a single action with more than 800 opt-in plaintiffs and obtained collective action decertification and denial of class action certification under Rule 23, leading to the favorable resolution of the case with the five named plaintiffs
  • Obtained jury verdicts in state and federal court on actions alleging national origin discrimination, gender discrimination, race discrimination, retaliation and defamation
  • Granted summary judgments in favor of transportation client on disability discrimination, race discrimination and retaliation claims by former employees
  • Secured dismissal of class action wage-and-hour cases for hospitality client following the filing of a motion to dismiss
  • Secured arbitration awards in labor cases for transportation client arising out of claims of violation of the collective bargaining agreement

Credentials

Education
  • University of Florida Levin College of Law, J.D., with honors
  • University of Florida, B.S.B.A., Finance, with high honors
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • All State Courts in Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Memberships
  • Association of Caribbean Corporate Counsel, International Advisory Board
  • National Bar Association
  • Leadership Miami, Graduate, Class of 1995-1996
  • Miami-Dade County Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar, Labor and Employment Section
  • YWCA of South Florida, Board of Directors
Honors & Awards
  • Most Influential Black Lawyers, Savoy Magazine, 2015, 2018
  • Distinguished Leaders in Law Honoree, Daily Business Review, 2017
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Labor Law - Management, Employment Law - Management, 2009-2020; Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2016-2020
  • Power Leaders in Law, South Florida Business Journal, 2012-2017  
  • Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2011-2019
  • Florida Super Lawyers magazine, 2007-2019
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Rainmaker, 2014
  • Guide to the World's Leading Labour and Employment Lawyers, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, 2014, 2015
  • Top 20 South Florida Women in Law, Daily Business Review, 2014
  • Transformative Leadership Award, InsideCounsel magazine, 2011
  • Miami Ultimate CEO, South Florida Business Journal, 2011
  • South Florida Most Influential Business Women, South Florida Business Journal, 2010
  • Top Up and Comer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2007-2010, 2012
  • Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend magazine, 2006-2009
  • Career Achievement Award, Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Foundation, 2008
  • Corporate Counsel Edition, Super Lawyers magazine, November 2009
  • Featured as "The Achiever" in Miami Today, December 2007
  • Leadership Miami's Outstanding Community Service Project Award, 1995-1996

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News