Tobias E. Schlueter

Shareholder || Chicago

Chambers USA Client Guide states that Mr. Schlueter “comes highly recommended for his expertise in wage and hour, discrimination and restrictive covenant disputes.”

In a recent edition of Chambers USA, one major client described Mr. Schlueter as follows: “he is a fantastic attorney – incredibly responsive, knowledgeable, strategic, and a true partner to our business”

Mr. Schlueter serves as Co-Chair of Ogletree’s nationwide Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets Group. He is also a member of Ogletree’s Professional Development Steering Committee, responsible for guiding the firm in creating and systematically implementing professional development programs and initiatives. Mr. Schlueter is a strategic advocate and litigator for businesses in employment (including discrimination, retaliation, wage & hour, ADA, FMLA etc.) and unfair competition matters (including restrictive covenants (non-compete, non-solicit and confidentiality), trade secrets, duties of loyalty, tortious interference, and conspiracy, etc.). Mr. Schlueter has a proven track record in litigating high stakes matters involving temporary restraining orders and other injunctive relief. He also has significant experience trying FINRA arbitration matters.

Mr. Schlueter is rated by Chambers USA as a Top Ranked / Leading Lawyer in Labor & Employment (2017, 2018). Only 42 lawyers in Illinois have this distinction. Mr. Schlueter is also recognized as a Best Lawyer in America (2017, 2018 and 2019) for Employment Law – Management. Super Lawyers named Mr. Schlueter as an Illinois Rising Star for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Learn more about Tobias E. Schlueter

Trial Experience:

Mr. Schlueter tries cases on behalf of companies in both state and federal courts. In a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Mr. Schlueter and his team won a directed verdict and dismissal of the plaintiff’s gender discrimination claim at the close of plaintiff’s case-in-chief and then won a complete defense verdict on the plaintiff’s age discrimination claim.

Appellate Experience:

Mr. Schlueter has successfully briefed and argued matters before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Illinois Appellate Courts.  Some recent examples include:

  • On behalf of a national auto parts supplier, persuaded the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to preserve the district court’s summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s national origin discrimination and retaliation claims.
  • On behalf of an international insurance brokerage, persuaded the Illinois Appellate Court to reverse trial court’s ruling on motion to dismiss ruling that client’s restrictive covenant agreement had expired and therefore was unenforceable.

Restrictive Covenants, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Trade Secrets and Related Claims:

In addition to ongoing counseling, drafting and reviewing agreements and matters involving restrictive covenants and confidential information for companies and executives, Mr. Schlueter has a proven track record in high stakes litigation, including temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in connection with restrictive covenants (non-compete, non-solicit and confidentiality agreements) and claims of misappropriation of trade secrets; retaliation; tortious interference; breach of fiduciary duty; and unfair competition. Some examples include:

  • On behalf of a medical products company, obtained a TRO based on the inevitable disclosure doctrine in the Circuit Court of Lake County, Illinois restraining a high-level salesperson from working for a competitor.  After several contentious hearings and associated briefing, the matter resulted in a consent order and decree, providing, among other restrictions, that the employee could not work for the competitor for a significant term.
  • On behalf of employees hired by a national rail transportation company, defeated a motion for a TRO in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging breach of employment agreement, misappropriation of trade secret, breach of fiduciary duty and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  Successfully obtained an order invalidating the customer restriction contained in one of the employee’s agreements with his former employer.
  • On behalf of an employee hired by a medical device company, defeated a TRO in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois as it related to employee’s agreement with his former employer and competitor.
  • On behalf of a national company, won a TRO in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois restraining a key employee and inventor from working for a competitor. The TRO protected the confidential and trade secret information of one of the company’s business divisions that produced over $30,000,000 in sales in 2008.
  • On behalf of a national packaging company, obtained a TRO in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois restraining the company’s former senior executive and head of a $250,000,000 business unit from becoming the president of a competitor’s business unit, and then successfully fended off the executive’s efforts to dissolve the TRO. The TRO remained in place for approximately six months until the parties resolved the claims through a highly favorable settlement agreement.
  • Defended technology company and its new employee in a lawsuit filed by the employee’s former employer in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against claims of breach of restrictive covenant agreements and fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secret and tortious interference with contract. During the contentious litigation, succeeded in moving the Court to bar the plaintiff’s expert witness and compelling production of other witnesses. This forced a favorable settlement agreement for the client.
  • Key member of the defense of five brokers in lawsuit filed by multinational insurance company in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois alleging that the brokers breached their restrictive covenant agreements and fiduciary duties to the company by leaving and moving their business to a competitor.  After a contentious motion practice and discovery, drafted and filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings that resulted in a swift and favorable settlement of the case.
  • Recovered $110,000 in matter against client’s former employee who attempted to work for a competitor.

Class Actions:

Mr. Schlueter has extensive class action defense experience, including with respect to removals under the Class Action Fairness Act.  Some examples include:

  • Co-lead the defense of a multinational company in a putative class action involving potentially thousands of plaintiffs with respect to allegations that the company’s vacation policies violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.
  • Key member of legal team that successfully defended a multinational retailer against a national collective action brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Member of team that defended for-profit education company in class action asserting violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act with respect to payment of overtime compensation.


On a daily basis Mr. Schlueter represents companies on employee issues, litigation avoidance and implementing policies that are in conformance with the various federal, state and local employment statutes and laws, including the FLSA, FMLA, ADA, Title VII, and IWPCA.

Mr. Schlueter routinely defends companies against employment-related charges and claims before administrative agencies and federal courts, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Illinois Human Rights Commission, Illinois Department of Labor and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

FINRA Arbitration:

Mr. Schlueter represents companies before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).  Recent experience includes:

  • In a solo effort defending a Chicago-based investment firm, Mr. Schlueter won a complete verdict against a former employee who was claiming approximately $1,000,000 in compensation and damages.  The arbitration spanned three days in which, in addition to opening and closing arguments, Mr. Schlueter cross-examined approximately seven witnesses, including the plaintiff, and directed three other witnesses.
  • On behalf of an international bank, Mr. Schlueter second chaired a three-day arbitration before a three-member FINRA panel in Indianapolis, Indiana resulting in a complete verdict for the bank.  Mr. Schlueter cross-examined three witnesses.
  • After 3 days of FINRA arbitration, obtained $154,226 award for another international bank against former broker who resigned without repaying a promissory note. Broker filed counterclaims for disability discrimination which were were completely rejected by the FINRA panel. Arbitration involved 6 witnesses.

Commercial Litigation:

Mr. Schlueter has extensive experience in representing companies in complex commercial matters.


  • J.D., cum laude, The John Marshall Law School, 2002
  • B.A., Political Science, Franciscan University, 1996

Admittance to Practice

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central and Northern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Federalist Society
  • Catholic Charities Junior Board (former)
  • Waterleaf Women’s Center (Board Member)
  • Saints Peter & Paul School (School Board Member and current President (2013-present))
  • Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church (Parish Council Member and past Vice President (2013-2017))


  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Restrictive Covenant Front Lines: Recent Developments and Decisions" - La Quinta - November 9, 2018
  • Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "The Dizzying Array of State and Local Employment Laws: Round 4— Background Checks and Guns in the Workplace" - Boca Raton - November 10, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar (moderator) - "No Sharing Allowed! Federal Agencies Focus on Pay Data and Non-poaching Agreements" - San Diego - 2017
  • Manpower Webinar - "Answers to the World's Scariest Employment Law Questions" - October 31, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Trade Secrest Protection With Teeth: The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016" - Colorado Springs - September 29, 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Chicago Chapter - "Defend Trade Secrets Act" - Chicago and Oak Brook - August 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "The Defend Trade Secrets Act Breaks New Ground: Key Provisions and Next Steps for Employers" - May 17, 2016
  • Lorman Group Webinar - "The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: What Lawyers Need to Know" - 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "My Favorite Mistake – Perspective from the Plaintiffs’ Bar" - Chicago - 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Successfully using Restrictive Covenants to Protect your Company" - Phoenix - 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Unfair Competition and Trade Secret Law – Recent Developments and Hot-Button Issues" - San Antonio - 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "Guns, Drugs and Marriage" - Chicago - May 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Guns in the Workplace - Managing Risky Behavior without Creating Liability" - Las Vegas - May 2014
  • North Shore Labor Counsel - "Recent Employment Cases & What We Can Learn From Them" - Chicago - April 2014
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Chicago Chapter - "Guns, Drugs, Competition, ?? The New and the Quirky In Illinois Employment Law" - Chicago - October 9 - 10, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Cover Your Assets! Tips for Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information" - New Orleans - May 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "Watch Your Assets! Tips for Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information" - February 19, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Watch Your Assets! Using Injunctions to Protect Trade Secrets, Customers, Employees and Good Will" - Phoenix - May 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins webinar - "Non-Compete Agreements: What You Need to Know to Avoid Unfair Competition" - September 28, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "2011 Employment Law Update (Supreme Court, Illinois Statutes, ADAAA and FMLA)" - Oak Brook - September 20, 2011
  • Chicago Bar Association, Business Law Committee - "Five Tips to Drafting Effective Restrictive Covenants" - Chicago - September 7, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Illinois Labor and Employment Law Update" - Chicago - May 2011
  • Business 21 Publishing webinar - "Background Checks: Getting the Facts on Job Candidates - Legally" - 2007 - 2008
  • Council on Education in Management Illinois Personnel Law Update Annual Conference - "Training Managers to Navigate the Treacherous Waters Surrounding the ADA: Update on Reasonable Accommodations and Other Perplexing ADA Issues" - Chicago - 2004
  • Council on Education in Management Illinois Personnel Law Update Annual Conference - "Implementing Advanced Techniques for Managing the Interplay of the ADA, FMLA and Worker's Comp: Case Studies of Your Most Confusing Conundrums" - Chicago - 2003
  • Ranked in Chambers USA
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Leading Lawyer, Chambers USA (2017, 2018)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2017, 2018 and 2019) for Employment Law – Management
  • Executive Student Publications Editor, John Marshall Law Review
  • The John Marshall Trial Advocacy Competition Team
  • Phi Delta Phi Honors Fraternity
  • Illinois Rising Star (2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014)

Insights by Tobias E. Schlueter