Bruce J. Douglas

Shareholder Minneapolis

Bruce J. Douglas is a shareholder in the Minneapolis office of Ogletree Deakins. He has more than 25 years of experience advising and defending employers in administrative and litigation matters in the full range of both traditional labor and employment law matters. He has represented clients in a wide range of industry lines, including manufacturing, baking, printing, resorts and lodging, finance, security, health care, insurance, communications, temporary personnel staffing, trucking, airlines, railroads, and business process outsourcing. Bruce has extensive experience in wage and hour matters and class and collective actions. He has conducted internal corporate investigations and frequently conducts training for managers.

Trial and Litigation Experience

Tried cases to verdict in both jury trials and bench trials. Cases include claims arising under Title VII and state human rights acts (Minnesota, New York, Texas and several other states), the ADA, the ADEA, whistleblower and retaliation statutes, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Federal Railroad Safety Act, claims of wrongful discharge, retaliation under section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Experience includes class actions under Title VII and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Wage and Hour Experience

Represented employers in FLSA collective actions ranging from several hundred potential opt-ins to more than 10,000 opt-ins both in judicial and in arbitral forums. He has conducted audits to establish the exempt or non-exempt status of employees and has directed clients in responding to U.S. DOL audits as well as state labor department audits and complaints. Experience includes retail and non-retail, commissions and bonus plans, computer professionals, and interrelationship of wage and hour laws with federal labor laws and state labor laws.

Traditional Labor Experience

Represented employers in proceedings in the National Labor Relations Board, including hearings in representation cases, campaigns, hearings and appeals in unfair labor practice charge cases, and section 301 cases. Collective bargaining, including serving as chief spokesman in bargaining for employers, trials of labor arbitrations.

Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act

Advises and represents employers in reductions-in-force and layoffs and provides guidance for compliance with the federal WARN Act and state counterparts.

Non-Competition Litigation Experience

Prosecuted and defended covenants not to compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality and trade secret cases. Conducted hearings in motions for temporary restraining orders, temporary injunctions, and permanent injunctions following bench and jury trials.

Appellate Law Experience

Argued and briefed numerous appeals to the United States Courts of Appeals. Member of the Bar of the U. S. Supreme Court.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Bruce has assisted clients and their corporate counsel in the complex area of labor and employment and benefits issues that arise in the context of stock or asset acquisitions of businesses. He is experienced in analyzing successorship issues under labor and employment statutes and identifying potential liabilities arising from multi-employer pension plans.


  • Defense verdict in claim under Minnesota's Business Discrimination statute by transgender female who sought to donate plasma. Jury found that client had a legitimate business purpose based on FDA regulations and guidance and safety concerns to decline donation. Scott v. CSL Plasma Inc. (D. Minn. March 2016)
  • Affirmance on appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit of summary judgment in favor of railroad in Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) whistleblower case. Kuduk v. BNSF Railway Co., 768 F.3d 786 (8th Cir. 2014).
  • Reversal on appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which overturned jury verdict for plaintiff and directed dismissal in a retaliation claim under the Federal Railroad Safety Act ("FRSA"). The U.S. Supreme Court denied plaintiff's Petition for Certiorari. Koziara v. BNSF Railway Co., 840 F.3d 873 (7th Cir. 2014).
  • Affirmance on appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit of summary judgment in favor of employer in a WARN Act case applying the “unforeseeable business circumstances” exception. USWA Local 2660 v. United States Steel Corporation, 683 F.3d 882 (8th Cir. 2012).
  • Tried to defense verdict in favor of employer two-week jury case involving claims of religious discrimination and failure to accommodate need for daily prayers. Haliye, et al. v. Celestica Corporation and Adecco USA, Inc., (District of Minnesota 2010).
  • Defeated motion to remand case under CAFA and achieved dismissal of claims under Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act for preliminary and postliminary activities based on federal labor law preemption. Zupancich v. United States Steel Corporation, 2009 WL 1474772 (D. Minn. 2009).
  • Defeated conditional class certification under FLSA on behalf of a large employer in JAMS arbitration forum (2009).
  • Summary judgment for employer in a Title VII sex discrimination/harassment case. Clardy v. Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. 2001 WL 1295480 (N. D. Tex. 2001).
  • Achieved reversal of summary judgment for ERISA plan administrator after being retained for the appeal. Charter Canyon Treatment Center v. Pool Co., 153 F.3d 1132 (10th Cir.1998).
  • Enforcement of arbitration agreement involving issues of first-filed doctrine and choice of law provisions. Airtel Wireless, LLC v. Montana Electronics Co., Inc., 393 F. Supp. 2d 777 (D. Minn. 2005).

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member, Minnesota State Judges Association Civil Jury Instruction Guides Sub-committee on defamation and privacy.
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Defense Research Institute
  • SHRM
  • Minnesota Management Attorneys Association


  • Minneapolis Employment Law Briefing - ''The ‘411’ on Part 541: Preparing for the New Overtime Regulations'' - Minneapolis - November 2016
  • Minneapolis Webinar Series - ''5 Things You Need to Know in 30 Minutes'' - Minneapolis - August 19 - November 17, 2016
  • MSBA Program - ''Religious Discrimination and Accommodation in the Workplace'' - Minneapolis - April 04, 2012

Published Works


Our Insights

St. Paul Will Gradually Phase In a $15 Minimum Wage Over the Next Several Years

December 28, 2018

Duluth Joins Twin Cities to Become Third City in Minnesota to Pass a Safe and Sick Time Ordinance, but Differences From Minneapolis and St. Paul Ordinances May Cause Headaches for Employers

December 28, 2018

The Times They Are A Changin’: Minnesota Bill Would Remove “Severe or Pervasive” Sexual Harassment Standard

May 01, 2018

Minnesota and Minneapolis Minimum Wage Rates to Increase on January 1, 2018

December 21, 2017

Minnesota Supreme Court Kills Employment at Will

October 30, 2017

Minnesota Legislature Gives Up on Bill to Preempt Cities’ Safe and Sick Leave Ordinances

May 23, 2017

Minnesota Bill to Preempt Local Sick and Safe Leave Ordinances Advances in Legislature

March 13, 2017

Legislative Update for Minnesota Employers: Paid Leave Bills Advance, Cell Phone Hands-Free Bill Introduced

February 21, 2017

Minnesota Legislature Moves Forward to Preempt Municipal Safe and Sick Leave and Wage Ordinances

February 07, 2017

Eighth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of MHRA Reprisal Claim Finding No Evidence of Pretext

January 31, 2017

Minneapolis Safe and Sick Leave Ordinance Survives Broad Injunction Threat but Is Restricted to Employers Within City Limits

January 25, 2017

Seventh Circuit Sets Groundbreaking Precedent, Reverses FRSA Retaliation Judgment

December 20, 2016

Election Time and the Minnesota Voter Leave Law

October 17, 2016

Minnesota Employer Had No Duty to Find New Position for Older Worker, Eighth Circuit Holds

October 10, 2016

Minnesota Court Creates “Wrongful Discharge” Damages Claim for MFLSA Violations

July 05, 2016

Eighth Circuit Joins Other Courts in Adopting Less Rigorous Standard for Violation of Securities Laws

June 23, 2016

In Minnesota, the Clock’s Not Ticking During Dispute Resolution

June 09, 2016

Is Obesity a "Disability" Under the ADA? Not Without Physical Impairment, Eighth Circuit Rules

April 25, 2016

Bad Blood Makes Good Law: Minnesota Supreme Court Recognizes Tortious Interference Claim

May 13, 2014

“Wailing and Cussing and Screaming and Hollering”—A “Singular Incident” or a Hostile Work Environment?

February 18, 2014

Federal Court in Minnesota Provides Guidance on Non-Injury Retaliation Claims Under FRSA

October 10, 2013

Eighth Circuit Holds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Determines FLSA Motor Carrier Exemption

August 09, 2013

Minnesota Supreme Court Says Six-year Statute of Limitations Applies to Drug Testing Statute Claims

August 07, 2013

Private Family Child Care and Home Health Care Providers Are “State Employees” Under New Law

June 06, 2013

Minnesota Legislature Grants Independent Child Care and Home Care Health Workers the Right to Unionize as “State Employees”

June 06, 2013

Ban on Hand-Held Cell Phone Use for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers—What Employers Should Know

May 10, 2013

Changes in the Minnesota “Time Off to Vote” Statute

October 08, 2012


Media Quotes

July 20, 2016 - Legal Newsline - "Attorney criticizes Minn. appeals court's decision in wrongful discharge case"
October 2012 - Legal Series Radio Program - "Employment Law Hot Topics"