As an employment litigator, I am committed to advocating zealously for my clients, and also helping companies create proactive solutions to managing their workforce to avoid litigation.
Erin McAdams Franzblau is a Partner in the Litigation Practice Group, with a focus on helping companies navigate employment laws. Erin litigates employment matters, counsels employers on nearly every sub-specialty of employment law, and acts as employment counsel for M&A transactions. She also serves as the firm’s Associate General Counsel for Employment Matters.
In her counseling practice, Erin assists organizations with a wide range of day-to-day employment issues, including personnel policies and procedures, executive employment and independent contractor arrangements, accommodations, restrictive covenants, employee misclassification risks, and internal investigations. She also counsels clients on adapting to the evolving landscape of medical and recreational marijuana legislation, including in the areas of drug testing, corrective action, and accommodation requests. As one client said about Erin’s assistance:
“We developed a great partnership with Erin immediately and she was able to provide exceptional guidance in a clear and individualized manner. Erin provides outstanding professional support with impeccable response time. The best part is that I can completely trust Erin to guide us through difficult issues and represent our company professionally. Erin and Freeborn & Peters LLP have quickly grown to be invaluable partners to our organization.”
Erin is experienced in all stages of litigation, from inception through trial and post-trial appeals, and she has won summary judgment for her clients on a range of employment matters. She regularly defends employers in a wide range of class and collective actions, single-plaintiff disputes, and restrictive covenant matters before federal and state courts and administrative bodies. In her class action practice, she has represented companies against claims brought under state and federal antidiscrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Erin also has an active OSHA practice. She regularly guides clients through investigations, emergency responses, and litigation against state and federal agencies, including whistleblower claims brought by the Department of Labor.
In her pro bono practice, Erin is committed to advocating for the rights of women and children. She has represented sexual assault survivors in their efforts to seek civil restraining orders, and secured relief for a refugee client under the Violence Against Women Act, allowing the client to gain resident status in the United States. She has also represented prisoners in Section 1983 actions and achieved favorable settlements on behalf of her clients. In 2018, she was honored by Legal Aid Chicago for her work representing sexual assault survivors.
Erin is a frequent writer and speaker on employment law issues, including topics such as personnel management, COVID-19 compliance, and marijuana legislation. She is active in the bar, and is currently Vice President and an Executive Board member of the Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter. Erin is also committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and currently serves as Chair of the Steering Committee for the firm’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Prior to joining Freeborn, Erin practiced employment litigation at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and clerked for the Honorable William J. Zloch, United States District Judge of the Southern District of Florida.
Member of trial team representing former Illinois state Treasurer in retaliation lawsuit in Cook County, resulting in full defense verdict for client.
Member of trial team representing private equity firm against former CEO in breach of fiduciary duty action; settled favorably for client on eve of trial.
Secured summary judgment in the Western District of Wisconsin for plan sponsor in ERISA denial of benefits litigation.
Secured summary judgment for automotive company in two ADA and FMLA discrimination cases in the Southern District of Indiana.
Secured multiple dismissals in wrongful termination litigation in the Eastern District of Michigan, including arguments concerning LMRA preemption.
Lead associate in Western District of Wisconsin injunction hearing against client's former CEO, resulting in contempt finding against former CEO and in favor of client; later upheld by the Seventh Circuit.
Secured summary judgment for trucking company on sex discrimination claim in Michigan state court.
Secured complete revocation of penalties for OSHA citations involving powered industrial trucks at Ohio trucking facility.
Secured reduction in penalty for OSHA citations involving fatality at Illinois trucking facility.
Honors & Awards
Honors & Awards
- Crain's Chicago Business Notable Women in Law, 2022
- Crain's Chicago Business Rising Stars in Law, 2021
- Volunteer of the Year, Legal Assistance Foundation (now Legal Aid Chicago) Children & Families Group, 2018
- Recipient, Ilene and Michael Shaw Younger Lawyer Public Service Grant, 2017
- Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter Treasurer (2021-2022), Vice President (2022-2023) and Executive Board Member (2021-23)
- Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter Board Member (2015-present)
- Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter Programming Committee Co-Chair (2018-2021)
- Federal Bar Association Younger Lawyers’ Division Co-Chair (2015-2018)
- 7th Cir. Representative and Chair of the Publications Committee (2018-2020), Board of the Young Lawyers' Division of the National Federal Bar Association (2018-present)
- Co-Chair, Freeborn & Peters LLP Women’s Leadership Council (2021 - 2022)
- Steering Committee Chair, Freeborn & Peters LLP Women's Leadership Council, 2022
- Panelist, Women, Influence & Power in Law Conference, "Take the Driver’s Seat: Governing a Hybrid Workforce," (October 18, 2022).
- Presenter, Association of Workplace Investigators ("AWI") Webinar, "Pay Equity Issues in Investigations: A Changing Landscape," (September 29, 2022).
- Panelist, Centerforce Driving Diversity in Law and Leadership Conference, "From Competition to Collaboration: Shifting the Paradigm," (May 19, 2021).
- Moderator, Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter, 8th Annual Employment Law Seminar, "Can I say that? Employee and Corporate Speech in Polarized Times,” (January 11, 2021).
- Presenter, Freeborn & Peters LLP Emerging Industries Webinar, "Employers Prepare: Legal Landmines in Illinois Cannabis Laws," (June 24, 2020).
- Presenter, Freeborn & Peters LLP COVID-19 Webinar, "Getting Back to Business: Safely, Legally, and Effectively," (May 28, 2020).
- Panelist, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education's Employment Law Institute's Webcast, "Furloughs, Layoffs, WARN and Re-opening the Business," (May 14, 2020).
- Panelist, Shared Voices seminar, “Speaking Out – Stuttering, Diversity and Hiring,” speaking to reasonable accommodations and disability discrimination under the ADA, (January 23, 2020).
- Panelist, Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter Labor and Employment Seminar, “#MeToo and More: How has the movement affected new regulations, training requirements, and challenges to law firms?” (January 13, 2020).
- Presenter, CLE for the Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter, Influencers, Social Media, and Legal Ethics – Hot Topics and Emerging Trends, (July 25, 2019).
- Co-Author, "Employers Need to Prepare for Illinois Crown Act," Powerhouse Points - A Quarterly Litigation Update, Summer 2022
- Contributor, Employers in Wait-and-See Mode over Possible DOL Guidance on Refusal to Work, SHRM Online, February 12, 2021.
- Author, Anti-Sexual Harassment Training Required for All Illinois Employers by December 31, 2020, November 2020.
- Author, Employers be “WARN”ed When Implementing Reductions in Force, Illinois Manufacturer Association Magazine, January 2020.
- Author, Client Alert: Employers Beware: Sweeping Changes to Illinois Employment Laws on the Horizon, August 28, 2019.
- Author, Auto-deducted meal breaks — can they be done?, HR Dive, July 29, 2019.
- Author, OSHA Review Commission Upholds General Duty Clause Citation for Workplace Violence Hazard Created by a Third Party, Spring 2019 Powerhouse Points