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Heather Renée Adams is of counsel in Ice Miller’s Labor and Employment Group. She is a business-oriented labor and employment attorney who regularly advises and represents clients in high-stakes whistleblower actions and various other areas of employment law before the United States Supreme Court, state and federal appellate courts, federal district courts, and administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and various other state employment and labor agencies.
 
Prior to joining at Ice Miller, Heather worked in Chicago at a national employment law boutique firm. Heather advised clients from diverse industries such as Class I railroads, state and federal governments, global retailers, and higher education. She works with clients to develop proactive strategies and business solutions that reduce workplace law risk. She is also a trial attorney with first- and second-chair experience and has litigated a broad variety of employment-related matters, including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblower retaliation cases.
 
Heather earned her juris doctor from DePaul University College of Law in 2012. While in law school, she was the managing editor of the DePaul Rule of Law Journal and completed a judicial externship for the Honorable Franklin U. Valderamma in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
 
Before attending law school, Heather worked as a donor development officer for a number of Columbus, Ohio based nonprofits. Heather received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia State University where she also served as captain of the women’s volleyball team.
Representative Transactions
Summary Judgment Win in Discrimination Case
Heather Renée Adams helped defend a railroad in a federal national origin discrimination and retaliation case in the Northern District of Illinois. The railroad employee alleged that his employer discriminated against him based on his national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also alleged that the railroad unlawfully retaliated against him for voicing his complaints about that discrimination. The court granted complete summary judgment to the railroad. The Court held that the plaintiff’s claims were time-barred, administratively unexhausted, and lacked merit. Since 1997, there has been a steady uptick in EEOC charges alleging retaliation. The Court’s opinion is a great refresher on how employers may defend against such Title VII cases on all fronts—administratively, procedurally, and substantively.
 
Speaking Engagements
  • Co-presenter, "Fitness for Duty Tests and Legal Considerations," National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC) 2019 Annual Meeting (Denver, CO), July 29-31, 2019
  • Co-presenter, "Whose Employee is it?: Subcontracting and Joint Employer Considerations in the Age of Joint Liability", Ohio Contractors Association 2019 Conaway Conference, February 26, 2019
  • "Update on the ADA," 2019 The National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC), February 13, 2019
  • "Sex Discrimination in the Workplace: #MeToo," 2018 The National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel 64th Annual Meeting, August 1, 2018
  • "Whistleblower Protection for EHS Professions," 2018 ARPM Environmental Health & Safety Summit, July 19, 2018
  • 2018 Judge in annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Oratorical Contest, December 8, 2018
  • "Settlement Strategies in Employment Matters," Chicago Bar Association, May 17, 2017
  • "Joint Employment Relationships and the Future of Browning-Ferris," National Employment Law Council, April 26, 2017
  • "New Employer Reporting Requirements & Pay Equity Issues," American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, November 17, 2016
  • "Mission Critical: Understanding the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act," American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, April 6, 2016
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