Mark A. Johnson

Of Counsel || Milwaukee

Mark A. Johnson has a wide range of experience representing businesses in matters involving labor and employment law. Mark has represented employers in hundreds of cases in federal and state courts and before federal and state administrative agencies in Wisconsin and throughout the country. His practice also includes advising employers on how to avoid litigation. Mark is a frequent speaker on topics related to litigation and labor and employment law.

Mark has extensive experience defending employers against claims of employment discrimination and retaliation under federal and state law. He has also represented clients in ERISA litigation in courts throughout the country. Mark regularly counsels employers and tries cases involving covenants not to compete and non-disclosure agreements. Areas of focus include wage and hour, hiring and discharge, arrest and conviction record, employment contracts, covenants not to compete, downsizing, fiduciary duty of loyalty, non-disclosure agreements, employee handbooks, harassment claims and investigations, retaliation, union organizing, unfair labor practices and arbitration.

Mark is admitted to practice in Wisconsin and before numerous courts, including the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Learn more about Mark A. Johnson

Representative Cases

    • Jones v. Kohler Co. Pension Plan
      Case no. 14-cv-000083 (E.D. Ark. 12/1/16)(Plan administrator did not abuse discretion denying claim for disability benefits under pension plan)
    • Freitag v. Capital One Services, LLC.
      Case no. 15-cv-810 (W.D.Wisc. 6/23/17)(Summary judgment dismissing claim that company discharged employee because of his age)
    • Briggs & Stratton Corp. v. Local 232, Allied Industrial Workers,
      Case No. 93-CV-1087 (E.D. Wis. 1995)(employer’s claim that work-to-rule slowdown breached collective bargaining agreement in violation of Section 301 of LMRA)
    • Citizens Mortgage, Inc. v. Jordan Financial Group, Inc., et al.,
      Waukesha County Wisconsin Case No. 1995CV002573(claims of breach of duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of non-compete agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and injunctive relief)
    • Hausman v. St. Croix Care Center,
      214 Wis. 2d 655, 571 N.W.393 (S.Ct. Wis. 1997)(amicus brief in case involving claim of wrongful discharge against public policy)
    • Garner v. Xerox Business Services,
      ERD Case No. 19955151 (LIRC August 11, 1998)(employer prevailed on claim of harassment because of sexual orientation under Wisconsin Fair Employment Act)
    • Alberte v. Anew Health Care Services, Inc.,
      232 Wis.2d, 605 N.W.2d 515 (S.Ct.Wis. 2000)(amicus brief in case involving definition of “employer”)
    • Local 75, International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. Schreiber Foods, Inc.,
      213 F.3d 376 (7th Cir. 2000)(arbitrability of grievance)
    • McAdoo v. William Beaudoin & Sons, Inc.,
      ERD Case No. 199901719 (LIRC April 19, 2000)(dismissal of Complaint as a discovery sanction)
    • Lyco Manufacturing, Inc. v. Butch, Columbia County Wisconsin Case No. 2000CV00156 (claim of breach of non-competition agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets)
    • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Labor and Industry Review Commission,
      240 Wis.2d 209, 621 N.W.2d 633 (Ct. App. Wis. 2000)(amicus brief in case involving need for expert testimony and alleged psychiatric disability under Wisconsin Fair Employment Act)
    • EEOC v. Gannett Satellite Information Network, et al.,
      Case No. 00-CV-283 (E.D. Wis. 2001)(jury verdict in favor of employer in case alleging discrimination because of psychiatric disability in violation of ADA)
    • Allstate Insurance Co. v. Beyer et al., Case No. 00-CV-976 (E.D. Wisconsin, March 29, 2001) (alleged breach of restrictive covenants)
    • Local 7-0291 P.A.C.E., AFL-CIO v. O & E Machine Division of Paper Converting Mach. Co., Inc., 2003 WL 22398604 (E.D. Wis. 2003)(motion to compel arbitration of grievance)
    • AFL-CIO v. Tower Automotive Products Co., et al., Case No. 01-CV-905 (E.D. Wis. 2004)(claim for pension benefits under ERISA and Section 301 of LMRA and asset purchase agreement)
    • Castro v. Micro-Precision, ERD Case No. 200103786 (LIRC June 25, 2004)(employer prevailed on claim of national origin discrimination under Wisconsin Fair Employment Act)
    • A.O. Smith Corp. v. Kansas Dept. of Human Resources, 144 P.2d 760 (Kan. Ct. App. 2005)(class action seeking accrued vacation time under Kansas Wage Payment Act)
    • Kolden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. 04-c-968 (W.D. Wis. May 31, 2005)(claim of same sex sexual harassment by customer under Title VII)
    • Murphy v. Jason, Inc., (N.D. Ill. March 24, 2005) (summary judgment against Plaintiff alleging violation of Section 11(c) of Occupational Safety and Health Act)
    • Opsteen v. Keller Structures, Inc., 408 F.3d 390 (7th Cir. 2005)(plaintiff’s statements to Social Security Administration defeated ADA claim)
    • Currie v. Paper Converting Mach. Co., 2006 WL 1117797 (E.D. Wis. 2006)(summary judgment dismissing race discrimination claim); affirmed by 202 Fed.Appx. 120 (7th Cir. 2006)
    • Gary Currie v. Paper Converting Machine Co., ERD Case No. 200400371 (LIRC November 3, 2006)(federal court’s decision had preclusive effect under doctrine of issue preclusion)
    • Keith Smith v. Schwans Food Company, ERD Case No. 200402991 (LIRC January 31, 2006)(Complainant filed untimely petition for review)
    • UFCW v. Hormel Foods Corp., Case No. 05-CV-0157 (E.D. Wis. 2006)(arbitrability of grievance under collective bargaining agreement)
    • Hagberg-Schroeder v. Geneva Waterfront, Inc., Case No. 2:06-CV-00185-JPS  (E.D. Wis. 2007)(summary judgment in employer’s favor in ADA claim)
    • Schmidt v. Lunda Construction Co., ERD Case No. 200602537 (LIRC December 26, 2008) (employer prevailed against claims of disability discrimination and failure to accommodate under Wisconsin Fair Employment Act)
    • Fore v. Lakeside Buses of Wisconsin, Inc., 2009 WL 5205440 (E.W. Wis. 2009)(summary judgment dismissing race discrimination); affirmed by 392 Fed. Appx. 478 (7th Cir. July 15, 2010); certiorari denied, 562 U.S. 1145 (U.S. Supreme Court January 10, 2015), rehearing denied, 562 U.S. 1266 (U.S. Supreme Court February 26, 2011)
    • McCausland v. Walter USA, Inc., 918 N.E.2d 420 (Ct. App. Ind. 2009)(employer prevailed against claims for alleged unpaid commissions, bonus and other wages under Wage Payment Statute)
    • Bemis Company, Inc. v. Mario Tomei, Winnebago County Wisconsin Case No. 2010CV001201(temporary restraining order prohibiting breach of non-compete agreement)
    • Vang v. Callenor Co., Inc., 2010 WL 378827 (E.D. Wis. 2010)(summary judgment dismissing claims of hostile work environment because of national origin and retaliation)
    • Waldbillig v. SSC Germantown Operating Co., LLC, 2010 WL 1688535 (E.D. Wis. 2010)(claims under Fair Labor Standards Act and Wisconsin wage claim statute)
    • Wisconsin Kitchen Mart, Inc. v. Radiske, Milwaukee County Wisconsin Case No. 2010CV02419(employee breach of duty of loyalty, embezzlement)
    • Bemis Company, Inc. v. Jeffrey Sesolak, Winnebago County Wisconsin Case No. 2011CV001161 (enforcing non-competition agreement)
    • Temme v. Bemis, 2011 WL 1505120 (E.D. Wis. 2009)(class action claims under ERISA and Section 301 of LMRA in case involving modification to retiree healthcare benefits provided under plant closing agreement and collective bargaining agreement) reversed and remanded by 622 F.3d 730 (7th Cir. 2010), on remand 2001 WL 1498584 (E.D. Wis. 2011)
    • Brian Hopkins v. Mega-Management Corp., et al., Case No. 11-CV-111 (W.D. Wis. 2012)(claim for top-hat plan benefits under ERISA and for shares of stock under Wisconsin state law)
    • Petroske v. Kohler Co., 854 F.Supp. 2d 669, 2012 WL 611206 (D. Minnesota 2012)(plan administrator’s decision to deny disability benefits under ERISA plan was not arbitrary and capricious)
    • Bemis Company, Inc. v. Thomas Van Handel, Winnebago County Wisconsin Case No. 2013CV001162 (enforcing non-competition agreement)
    • Gentle v. Kohler Co., 966 F.Supp.2d 1276, 2013 WL4433913 (N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division 2013)(failure to exhaust administrative remedies under ERISA Plan)
    • Hudson v. Lands’ End, Inc., 928 F.Supp.2d 1045, 2013 WL869528 (W.D. Wis. 2013)(claims alleging violation of Age Discrimination in Employment Act)
    • Kay v. Chileda Institute, Inc.,
      Case No. 12-CV-00600 (W.D. Wis. January 11, 2013)(removal of breach of contract claim, which was preempted by ERISA)
    • Turner v. Share Athea,
      Case No. 12-CV-609 (E.D. Wis. 2013)(dismissal of Title VII race discrimination claim)
    • Smith v. Kohler Co.,
      2013 WL 3212502 (N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division 2013)(claim for disability benefits under ERISA)
    • Bemis Company, Inc. v. Judy Klein,
      Winnebago County Wisconsin Case No. 2014CV001170 (enforcing non-competition agreement)
    • Bemis Company, Inc. v. Blain C. Yost,
      Winnebago County Wisconsin Case No. 2014CV000869(enforcing non-competition agreement)
    • Des Armo v. Kohler Co. Pension Plan,
      2014 WL 3860049 (E.D. Wis. 2014)(plan administrator’s decision to deny claim for disability pension benefits under ERISA plan was not arbitrary and capricious)
    • Olson v. Bemis Company, Inc., et al.,
      2014 WL 5460432 (E.D. Wis. 2014)(removal of alleged contract claim under Section 301 of LMRA and dismissal of alleged breach of grievance settlement agreement); affirmed by Olson v. Bemis Company, Inc., et al., 800 F.3d 296 (7th Cir. 2015)(dismissal of claims alleging breach of grievance settlement agreement for failure to state a claim)
    • Simpson v. Beaver Dam Community Hospital, Inc.,
      2014 WL 1875336 (W.D. Wis. 2014)(summary judgment dismissing claim of failure to hire physician because of race discrimination); affirmed by Simpson v. Beaver Dam Community Hospital, 780 F.3d 784 (7th Cir. 2015)(affirming district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing claim of race discrimination)


  • J.D., magna cum laude, Marquette University Law School, 1992
  • B.S., Cardinal Stritch College, 1988

Admittance to Practice

  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Activities

  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Labor and Litigation Sections)
  • Milwaukee Bar Association (Labor Law and Litigation Sections)
  • Village of Whitefish Bay Board of Appeals (Chairperson)


  • Ogletree Deakins Managing a Workforce in 2019 - "Workplace Detox: Strategies for Managing Malcontents and Toxic Employees" - Kohler - September 21, 2018
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of WI - "Smart Hiring in a Competitive (and Litigious) Job Market" - Milwaukee - July 11, 2018
  • Robertson Ryan Webinar - "Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Workplace" - May 2, 2018
  • WCHRA - "Smart Hiring in a Competitive (and Litigious) Job Market" - Lake Geneva - April 17, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Briefing - "Smart Hiring in a Competitive (and Litigious) Job Market" - Racine - April 10, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins "Reel Ethics" Briefing - "Duty to Preserve Evidence - Litigation Hold" - Waukesha - January 17, 2018
  • Metro Milwaukee SHRM Legislative SIG - "Legal Update" - Milwaukee - October 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Background Checks: What You Don’t Know May Hurt You" - Kohler - September 2017
  • Robertson & Ryan/ Webinar - "Hiring And Firing In Wisconsin" - Milwaukee - March 8, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins "Reel Ethics" Briefing - "Duty to Preserve Evidence—Litigation Hold" - Waukesha - January 2017
  • ABC of Wisconsin – 2016 Human Resources Conference - "Does Absence Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder? Managing Leaves and Return-to-Work Issues" - Wisconsin Dells - October 20, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "SHRM Top 10 Tips for Avoiding or Minimizing Employment Litigation" - Wisconsin Dells - October 7, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Employment Law: Background Checks! Everything You Need to Know About the Fair Credit Reporting Act" - Madison - November 10, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Can You Keep A Secret?" - Kohler - June 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Employment Law Update I.—Thanks For Coming To Work Today!" - Kohler - June 2015
  • Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Louis J. Ceci, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Judicial Intern, The Honorable John L. Coffey, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • Lead Articles Editor, Marquette Law Review

Insights by Mark A. Johnson