Practice and Industry Groups

Michelle B. Muhleisen

Associate Denver

Michelle has litigated dozens of state and federal class and collective actions brought against employers in a wide variety of industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, hospitality, transportation services, engineering, and janitorial services. Michelle also defends clients in claims brought under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and various state laws. Michelle’s litigation experience includes defending clients through trial, as well as extensive experience in motions practice and appeals, taking and defending depositions, and mediating settlements.

Michelle routinely advises clients both proactively and reactively on various employment issues, including investigations of complaints, wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants, personnel policies, terminations, and employment agreements. Michelle also creates and provides workplace training programs to employers on sexual harassment, workplace investigations, corrective action and discipline, and traditional labor matters (handbook policies and social media policies) to proactively serve clients.

Michelle received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she graduated Order of St. Ives (top 10% of the class) and served on the Executive Board of the DU Law Review. Originally from Indiana, Michelle received her Bachelors of Science in business, with honors, from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.


Experience

A representative sample of Michelle’s recent litigation successes include:

Class Actions:

  • Obtained complete summary judgment and award of costs for oil and gas company in FLSA conditionally certified collective action alleging misclassification of field engineers.
  • Defeated Rule 23 class certification involving unpaid travel time claims, breach of contract, and alleged ERISA violations.
  • Defeated Rule 23 class certification of potentially hundreds of oilfield workers involving misclassification claims under the Motor Carrier Act exemption.
  • Successfully compelled arbitration of independent contractor misclassification class action asserted by truck drivers.

Discrimination/Harassment/Retaliation/Wrongful Termination/Non-Competes:

  • Obtained complete summary judgment for international aircraft manufacturer against race discrimination claims, and prevailed after appeal taken to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained complete summary judgment for global telecommunications company in sex discrimination and wrongful termination case in which the company allegedly “blackballed” and defamed a former employee.
  • Obtained complete summary judgment for employer in a gender and disability discrimination case involving a long-term female employee.
  • Successfully appealed wrongful preliminary injunction imposing non-compete on employer to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals under abuse of discretion standard.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association
  • Rocky Mountain Active 20-30 Children's Foundation
  • Center for Legal Inclusiveness

Speeches:

  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - ''Back to the Future: Strategies for Accommodating the Aging Workforce'' - Denver - November 2017
  • Rocky Mountain Regional Payroll Conference - ''2017 Legal Update: A Review of the Trump Administration’s First Year and a Preview of What’s to Come'' - Denver - October 2017
  • MHSHRM Webinar - ''The Not-So Social Social Media: Policing How and When Your Employees Speak'' - August 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - ''Class and Collective Actions'' - Denver - February 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - ''Strategic Approaches to Leave Issues'' - Denver - March 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - ''Employees are Entitled to What'' - Denver - October 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - ''Great Expectations: What You Should Know About Pregnancy In the Workplace'' - Denver - October 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - ''The ADA, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation—Navigating Complex Leave Issues in Colorado'' - Denver - September 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - ''Brave New World: Issues Concerning the Expanded Remedies Available Under the Amended Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act'' - Denver - June 2014

Published Works

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Our Insights

Media

Media Quotes

May 08, 2014 - SHRM.org - "Bias Claim Reinstated Based on Employer’s Finding of Harassment"

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