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.

Learn more about Bruce J. Douglas
  • 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).


  • LL.M., in Labor Law, New York University School of Law, 1987
  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, 1977
  • B.A., University of Minnesota, 1973

Admittance to Practice

  • Minnesota
  • Texas
  • New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals: Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas

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 4, 2012
  • July 20, 2016 - Legal Newsline - "Attorney criticizes Minn. appeals court's decision in wrongful discharge case"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Best Lawyers in America (2018-present)
  • Super Lawyer, by Super Lawyers Magazine (2008, 2010- Present)
  • William Mitchell Law Review (1976-1977)
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Minnesota State Bar Association Board Certified Specialist in Labor & Employment Law
  • Board Certified – Labor and Employment Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Minnesota State Bar Association Board Certified Specialist in Civil Trial Law

Insights by Bruce J. Douglas