Kevin W. Shaughnessy

He | Him | His

Partner

Orlando
T +1.407.649.4014
F +1.407.841.0168

Kevin Shaughnessy "is the lawyer you go to with your 'bet the company' case," according to one client.

— Chambers USA 2016

Overview

Fortune 50 and other clients turn to Kevin Shaughnessy in a crisis, be it a class or collective action challenging the client's pay practices or an accusation of pattern and practice discrimination, a governmental investigation or lawsuit, or the handling of sensitive whistleblower claims. Through advice and counsel, and a unique approach to litigation, Kevin helps clients avoid the potential negative impact of bet-the-company cases and simultaneously assists them in creating and preserving productive working environments.

Kevin is creative, a good listener and dedicated to his clients. As a counselor and a class action litigator, he focuses on each client’s specific needs and develops unique strategies to place them in the best light, both legally and publicly, while handling litigation and non-litigation matters efficiently and effectively. Clients trust Kevin’s counsel on business and legal issues because he listens to their concerns and understands their operations and corporate culture. This investment in each client's business and its particular goals and objectives, and Kevin's appreciation for the personal and professional challenges clients face every day, makes him a highly-valued advisor and litigator, and has led to 25+ year relationships with numerous clients. Through these relationships, he has handled class action and government-initiated litigation throughout the United States. This broad experience enables him to draw from the laws and procedures in different jurisdictions when developing key strategies for each case, regardless of where it is pending.

Kevin is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Florida Bar. He has been ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2004 to 2020, and has been named as one of the top ten employment lawyers in Florida for multiple years. Kevin was the first BakerHostetler employment lawyer named in Chambers Global: Labor and Employment (USA) (2020). He also has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® since 2006 and was named by Best Lawyers in America as 2017 Lawyer of the Year Orlando, Litigation – Labor and Employment. The Legal 500 also has ranked Kevin in Labor and Employment Law.

Select Experience

  • Kevin handled the first historic lawsuit in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sought to apply Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination to claims of sexual orientation discrimination. Due in large part to Kevin's reputation for effecting partnership settlements with federal agencies, along with the client's long-term demonstrated good faith efforts to prevent sexual orientation discrimination, the EEOC agreed to stay the litigation while the parties discussed settlement. Without filing a single court pleading, Kevin's team convinced the EEOC to accept a settlement proposal that specifically acknowledged the client's forward-thinking policies and created an unprecedented partnership between the client and the EEOC to develop a training module on LGBTQ workplace issues that the EEOC could provide to employers throughout the United States. The EEOC's press release commended the client for its long-standing policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and praised the "landmark settlement." More than 130 media outlets around the world covered the settlement.
  • Kevin and his team handled a purported class and collective action lawsuit filed by 24 named plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The lawsuit included claims for violations of the FLSA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and race discrimination and harassment under Section 1981. After discovery, the class and collective claims were abandoned, the case was confined to one restaurant location, six plaintiff's claims were dismissed outright by the court, and the matter ultimately settled amicably after a two-day settlement conference before with a federal magistrate judge.
  • Kevin defended the first claim brought under Florida's "Guns at Work Law." An employee was terminated after bringing a gun into the parking lot of his place of employment and he filed an injunction action against his employer, claiming he was allowed to do so under the new law. Kevin effectively argued that the law did not apply to his client and that the employee had no standing to bring an injunction action. The case was covered nationally by several news services and was, for a time, covered almost daily by the local media.
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Experience

  • Kevin handled the first historic lawsuit in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sought to apply Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination to claims of sexual orientation discrimination. Due in large part to Kevin's reputation for effecting partnership settlements with federal agencies, along with the client's long-term demonstrated good faith efforts to prevent sexual orientation discrimination, the EEOC agreed to stay the litigation while the parties discussed settlement. Without filing a single court pleading, Kevin's team convinced the EEOC to accept a settlement proposal that specifically acknowledged the client's forward-thinking policies and created an unprecedented partnership between the client and the EEOC to develop a training module on LGBTQ workplace issues that the EEOC could provide to employers throughout the United States. The EEOC's press release commended the client for its long-standing policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and praised the "landmark settlement." More than 130 media outlets around the world covered the settlement.
  • Kevin and his team handled a purported class and collective action lawsuit filed by 24 named plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The lawsuit included claims for violations of the FLSA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and race discrimination and harassment under Section 1981. After discovery, the class and collective claims were abandoned, the case was confined to one restaurant location, six plaintiff's claims were dismissed outright by the court, and the matter ultimately settled amicably after a two-day settlement conference before with a federal magistrate judge.
  • Kevin defended the first claim brought under Florida's "Guns at Work Law." An employee was terminated after bringing a gun into the parking lot of his place of employment and he filed an injunction action against his employer, claiming he was allowed to do so under the new law. Kevin effectively argued that the law did not apply to his client and that the employee had no standing to bring an injunction action. The case was covered nationally by several news services and was, for a time, covered almost daily by the local media.
  • Kevin represented two of the world's foremost telecommunication technology experts who were wrongly accused of misappropriating trade secrets and misusing patents. Working closely with counsel representing his clients' employer, Kevin developed a strategy to preserve his clients' use of the highly specialized technology that was critical to their employer's success. The case lasted for almost three years and involved depositions throughout the United States and in parts of Europe. The case ultimately settled favorably, his clients' use of the technology was preserved, and no injunctive relief or damages were imposed against his clients.
  • When whistleblower claims made against one of the country's largest agricultural interests threatened to jeopardize the client's highly valued relationship with its largest retailer, Kevin rapidly resolved the claims. Kevin and his client were transparent in dealing with the retailer and conducted an immediate investigation into all of the whistleblower's claims. The retailer was kept fully informed about the investigation's scope and results. The investigation established that there was no merit to any of the whistleblower's allegations and the client's business relationship was preserved.
  • Kevin helped numerous companies avoid class certification in both FLSA and Title VII cases, including several high-profile tip-pooling cases for national employers, several financial industry off-the-clock and misclassification cases filed by some of the largest plaintiff firms in the country, and a Commissioner's Charge filed by the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In the latter purported class action involving more than 10,000 potential claimants, Kevin negotiated a settlement that did not involve any monetary payment or admission of liability, and which resulted in a joint press release by the EEOC and the client in which the EEOC complimented the client's diversity efforts and hiring programs.
  • Kevin represents a variety of companies in a number of industries, and has a substantial restaurant industry practice. He represents nationwide chains, regional operators and significant franchisees. He has participated in three amicus briefs filed on behalf of the Restaurant Law Center in the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, on arbitration agreements and website access issues. He and his team have defended over fifty wage and hour cases involving restaurant employers.
  • Kevin frequently consults with C-Suite executives on a variety of legal and business issues, including corporate restructuring, regulatory and statutory compliance and ethics, reductions-in-force, leadership transitions (in both publicly-traded and privately-held businesses) and internal complaints and investigations. He also negotiates employment contracts and severance agreements for C-Suite executives, including a substantial number of agreements in the bio-science, pharmaceutical, logistics and restaurant industries.
  • Kevin's appellate experience includes statutory interpretation and constitutional cases before the Florida Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and many other federal and state appellate courts.
  • In a union election, Kevin prevailed for his client, Florida's largest private transportation company, using a multimedia campaign that included social media, video presentations and multifaceted campaign literature. The company's campaign resulted in an election turnout of more than 90 percent, and 68 percent of the employees rejected the union. His team also represented the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority in an election campaign involving the airport’s firefighters, and the union was soundly defeated. Kevin has negotiated private and public sector collective bargaining agreements, including negotiations with the Florida Nurses Association, the Teamsters, the IAFF and the PBA.
  • Kevin has represented employers from a range of industries in OSHA investigations, safety training and safety program development. His OSHA investigation experience includes, among other claims, bloodborne pathogen contamination, several employee death cases, and chemical contamination cases. The industries include transportation, construction, automobile parts manufacturing, educational institutions, and construction and electrical equipment manufacturing.
  • Kevin defended two class actions challenging Orange County’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) for its Fire and Rescue Division (OCFRD) and an individual case challenging the City of Orlando’s AAP for its Fire Department. After class certification was denied in the Orange County cases, the parties settled, and the settlement preserved all AAP hires and promotions and allowed the AAP to stay in place. The City of Orlando case was tried in federal court, and the district court’s favorable ruling was upheld on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit. In another case challenging OCFRD’s promotion exam, Kevin obtained summary judgment after the Plaintiffs’ expert’s opinion was rejected by the court after conducting a Daubert hearing.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers Global: Labor and Employment (USA) (2020)
    • Band 3 (2020)
  • Chambers USA: Labor and Employment in Florida (2004 to 2021)
    • Band 1 (2004 to 2008, 2019 to 2021), Band 2 (2009 to 2018)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2015 to 2021)
    • Recommended in Labor and Employment Disputes (including collective actions): Defense
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Florida: Employment Law – Management (2006 to Present)
    • Florida: Labor Law – Management (2006 to Present)
    • Florida: Litigation – Labor & Employment (2016 to Present)
      • Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (2017)
    • Florida: Qui Tam Law (2017 to Present)
  • Orlando Magazine: Best Lawyers (2016)
  • Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Florida Bar
  • Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional by the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (2012 to 2014)
  • The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers (2007, 2009, 2013, 2014)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Florida Trend "Legal Elite"
  • Florida "Super Lawyer" (2006 to 2019)
  • Lawdragon, 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers (2020)

Memberships

  • Orange County Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Committee, Past Chair
  • Ninth Circuit Grievance Committee
    • Past Chair

Community

  • Orange County Tourist Development Tax Sports Incentive Committee
    •  Chair (2016 to 2020)
  • Barry University Board of Trustees (2013 to present)
  • Workforce Central Florida (now Career Source Central Florida)
    •  Chair (2011 to 2012)
  • Catholic Lawyer's Guild Board of Directors (2015 to present)
  • Young Catholic Professionals
    • Chair (2018 to 2021)
  • Orlando Area Trust for the Homeless
    • Director (2008 to 2011)
  • Bishop Grady Villas
    • Chair (2008)
    • Board of Directors (2005 to 2008)
  • Bishop Moore High School
    • Board of Directors (1990 to 1993)
    • Chair (1993)
  • Coalition for the Homeless
    • Board of Directors (1998 to 2007)
    • Chair (2000 to 2001)
  • Urban League
    • Board of Directors (1996)

Pro Bono

  • Kevin provides pro bono services to a variety of non-profits, and is currently representing pro bono, and at the request of a federal magistrate judge, an African-American military veteran who was refused service by a convenience store due to his race.

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Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1984
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1985
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 1997
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1992
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1985
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1984
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1989
  • Florida, 1985
  • District of Columbia, 1983

Education

  • J.D., Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, 1983
  • B.B.A., University of Notre Dame, 1980, Accounting, cum laude