Overview

Robert W. Vyverberg is a partner in Holland & Knight's Chicago office and serves as the national Practice Group Leader for the firm's Labor, Employment and Benefits Practice Group. Mr. Vyverberg focuses his practice on labor and employment law. He also represents parties in federal and state court litigation and appellate proceedings.

In his employment practice, Mr. Vyverberg defends private and public employers in all types of individual and class/collective action litigation, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of contract, wage/hour, whistleblower, trade secret, intentional tort, and defamation actions. He represents employers in administrative proceedings before federal, state and local agencies, mediations and arbitration proceedings, and lawsuits brought under a variety of statutes, including Title VII, Section 1981, ADEA, ADA, ERISA, FLSA, FMLA, USERRA, OSHA, and the civil rights and employment statutes of states and local municipalities across the country. Mr. Vyverberg also counsels and trains employers on all types of non-litigation matters, including the development and implementation of alternative dispute resolution programs, employer responses to government inquiries, compliance investigations, drafting EEO and other personnel policies, investigating and addressing employee complaints, policy and procedure audits, wage and hour issues, and terminations and reductions in force. He is a frequent lecturer and author on workplace and employment law issues.

Mr. Vyverberg also has litigated numerous premises liability, consumer fraud, and contract and other commercial disputes. He also has defended product liability cases involving a wide range of products, including tires, single and multi-piece vehicle rims, motor vehicles, and construction equipment.

Throughout his career, Mr. Vyverberg's national practice has included the representation of clients in manufacturing, technology, retail, utility, financial services, communications, distribution/logistics, hospitality, transportation, and healthcare industries, in connection with matters in 47 states and the District of Columbia. He has tried cases in federal and state court, arbitrated claims and grievances brought pursuant to private arbitration agreements and collective bargaining agreements, and mediated more than 130 cases. Mr. Vyverberg has represented numerous clients as national and regional counsel for many years, defending and resolving lawsuits and claims, supervising and coordinating other outside counsel, and training and mentoring in-house counsel and human resources personnel.

Experience

  • Trade Secret/Non-Compete: represented national manufacturer to prevent conversion of proprietary information and trade secrets in matters involving Saudi Arabian and Chinese entities; prosecution of action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against former scientist, and representation of employer in connection with criminal prosecution of another former scientist, including coordination of forensic evidence collection and responses to FBI and DOJ requests for information
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: assisted national retail and manufacturing employers in developing and implementing comprehensive, nationwide alternative dispute resolution program; defended the enforceability of that program in numerous state and federal lawsuits, at the trial and appellate court levels, through motions to dismiss or stay in favor of mediation and binding arbitration; successfully represented these companies in numerous mediations and arbitration proceedings after obtaining orders dismissing or staying the predicate lawsuits
  • Discrimination: obtained summary judgment on behalf of Fortune 50 global medical supply company in race and national origin discrimination action pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • Retaliation/Discrimination: obtained multiple summary judgments for Fortune 500 utility company in retaliation and gender, race and disability discrimination actions pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • WARN Act/Employment Separations: represented national and regional employers in connection with large-scale reductions in force, plant closings and transfer of manufacturing operations, including the issuance of WARN notices, preparation of severance packages, avoidance of wrongful termination claims through successful release rates, implementation of retention bonus programs, and development of record retention policies and procedures
  • OSHA: represented national chemical manufacturer in connection with investigations by OSHA and U.S. Chemical Safety Board following a plant explosion that resulted in multiple fatalities; defended manufacturer in subsequent complex litigation resulting from that accident, which involved numerous plaintiffs, defendants and third-party defendants
  • Compliance: represented global financial services client in connection with SEC investigation and related matters involving alleged employee breach of fiduciary duties
  • Harassment: defended national distributor in class action brought by the EEOC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging racial harassment and discrimination and retaliation
  • Discrimination: defended national manufacturer in class action litigation in Polk County, Iowa, premised on allegations of racial discrimination and retaliation
  • ERISA: obtained summary judgment for national manufacturer in ERISA action pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in which plaintiff alleged the improper denial of mental health disability benefits
  • Diversity: advised corporate clients on creation and expansion of diversity roles, training and mentoring programs for managers and employees, and applicant pools
  • Employment Agreements: represented national manufacturer and consulting firms in connection with preparation of employment agreements and restrictive covenant agreements, including non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements applicable to employees working in multiple states
  • Breach of Contract: defended professional services firm and government contractor in breach of contract and promissory estoppel action pending in Cook County, Illinois, based on alleged employment contract
  • Arbitration Agreement Enforcement: obtained defense verdict upholding arbitration agreement following trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • Product Liability: represented national manufacturer in connection with nationwide product recall, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Congressional investigations, related proceedings brought by various Attorneys General, and coordinated MDL proceedings
  • Product Liability: obtained summary judgment for national manufacturer in product liability action pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • Wage/Hour: defended national manufacturer and distributor in misclassification litigation filed in Texas state court, removed and then transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana; secured dismissal of class claims in Ohio County, West Virginia action alleging paycheck violations

Credentials

Education
  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
  • University of Illinois, B.S.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
Court Admissions
  • All State Courts in Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Memberships
  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News