What does the Governor’s March 12, 2021, Executive Order mean for Minnesota employers?
“I realize litigation can be daunting. When it is unavoidable, I will be your voice. I will be your advocate. I will tell your story with passion and conviction. And I will be fully invested in getting you the best possible outcome.”
Pam is an external investigator for employment matters and also handles a variety of employment and business disputes. Should litigation become unavoidable, she is a zealous advocate on her clients’ behalf.
Pam is routinely called on by companies and government agencies of various sizes to investigate internal complaints by employees, officers, or third-parties. Pam has conducted investigations for Fortune 500 companies, small family-owned businesses, medium-sized businesses, and the Minnesota House of Representatives. Clients engage Pam on such investigations because she has a reputation for conducting impartial and neutral investigations. Matters she has investigated include, among other things: high-profile sexual harassment claims, class-wide or group discrimination claims, retaliation claims, and alleged violations of conflict of interest/ethics rules.
Pam is also an experienced litigator who has handled a full-range of employment and closely-held business dispute cases. She has successfully litigated before state and federal agencies, in private arbitrations, in state and federal court, and before Minnesota’s Court of Appeals, Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, and the Minnesota Supreme Court. Pam handles the following cases:
- non-compete, trade secret and unfair competition disputes
- business tort and breach of fiduciary duty claims
- sexual harassment claims
- wrongful termination claims
- breach of employment agreement claims
- defamation claims
- individual and collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act
Pam has particular expertise—both in litigation and counseling—in handling family business disputes, non-compete disputes and business tort disputes. “Business torts” include claims arising out of confidentiality, non-compete or non-solicitation agreements, claims involving trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty claims. Pam also has considerable experience both defending these claims and representing clients who are pursuing them.
Prior to joining Fredrikson & Byron, Pam was a law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, working primarily on human trafficking and child exploitation policy initiatives. She also worked for former federal prosecutor Hank Shea at the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, part of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, on a unique ethics education initiative involving “lessons learned” presentations by white-collar offenders–including former lawyers, CEOs, CFOs and other executives.
- Member of legal team that conducted an internal investigation of a Big Ten athletic department following allegations of sexual harassment and the athletic director’s resignation.
- Co-lead investigation of a state legislator accused of sexual misconduct.
- Conducted multiple investigations into “group claims” of age discrimination for large companies.
- Conducted investigation of a senior VP of a medical device company accused of retaliation and bullying.
- Conducted investigation of a VP of a construction company accused of sex discrimination and harassment.
- Conducted investigation into a variety of legal and ethical concerns raised about conduct by an Executive Director of a non-profit agency.
- Conducted numerous sexual harassment investigations, including allegations between coworkers and between managers and subordinates.
- Conducted investigation of a sales manager of a medical device company following a sexual assault allegation by a third party.
- Conducted investigation of a VP of a medical device company accused of gender discrimination and FMLA retaliation.
- Conducted investigation of a General Counsel accused of retaliation and discrimination.
- Conducted investigation of a VP of a technology company accused of harassment, retaliation, and other misconduct.
- Guided a number of small and medium-sized business through internal investigations conducted in-house.
- Presented on best practices for conducting employment investigations and how to effectively use computer forensics experts in conducting internal investigations on numerous occasions.
Noncompete, Trade Secret, Business Litigation
- Obtained $3.9 million jury verdict against former owner and officer on claims of breach of contract (non-compete), breach of duty and civil theft.
- Obtained six-figure damage award following a bench trial in a breach of employee non-solicitation agreement case.
- Obtained judgment in favor of our client, an IT staffing company, on a tortious interference with contract claim brought against our client after they hired an employee with a non-compete agreement with his prior employer. Judgment was sustained on appeal and resulted in the Minnesota Supreme Court recognizing for the first time that reliance on advice of counsel is a defense to tortious inference with contract.
- Obtained judgment as a matter of law for client seeking to enforce a non-compete agreement in an Asset Purchase Agreement when the seller threatened to violate the covenants and sought a Court-modification to the non-compete.
- Obtained numerous Temporary Restraining Orders for clients seeking to enforce non-compete contracts.
- Obtained seven-figure settlements in several non-compete, trade secret and business tort cases.
- Defended international insurance broker in non-compete/business tort litigation in federal and state court, including obtaining partial summary judgment.
- Defended individual director serving on the board of a start-up software technology company who was sued for purportedly breaching his duties to the company and its shareholders.
- Represented mortgage lender in lawsuit seeking enforcement of its employee non-solicitation agreements; summary judgment obtained on breach of employee non-solicitation agreement claims.
- Assisted many employees, officers, directors and employers in negotiating resolutions of non-compete and fiduciary duty disputes and avoiding litigation.
- Davies v. Waterstone Capital Management, LP, 856 N.W.2d 711 (Minn. Ct. App. 2015) (further review denied, Minnesota Supreme Court; cert. denied U.S. Supreme Court); obtained reversal of a district court decision and vacated arbitration award of $11 million against an employer arising from the termination of a highly compensated employee.
- Rebischke v. The Tile Shop, Federal District Court (MN)—obtained summary judgment for employer in FLSA collective action involving salary deduction allegations.
- Ahle et al. v. Veracity Research Co., Federal District Court (MN) – defended national private investigation company in misclassification FLSA collective/class action.
- Thomas et al. v. Cascade Mortgage Co., Federal District Court (MN) – defended mortgage lender in minimum wage/overtime FLSA collective/class action case.
- Defended owners and officers of iron ore processing plant sued individually in an overtime FLSA collective action case.
- Defended agricultural cooperative sued for negligence by a temporary employee who claimed extensive injuries and damages exceeding $30 million as a result of a work place injury
- Obtained reversal by appellate court of a ruling that our client, an individual sued for worker’s compensation benefits, was an “employer” under Minnesota’s Worker’s Compensation laws. Appellate court ruling in our client’s favor was upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
- Obtained summary judgment on a disability discrimination and failure to accommodate lawsuit against a Minnesota hospital in Minnesota State District Court.
- Obtained dismissal of a race discrimination lawsuit in Minnesota State District Court on a Rule 12 motion to dismiss.
- Obtained dismissal of a race discrimination, retaliation, and workers’ compensation retaliation lawsuit in Minnesota State District Court on a Rule 12 motion to dismiss.
- Sternquist v. Pal Mgmt., Inc. Court of Appeals (MN) – Obtained reversal of an unemployment law judge’s determination that our client, an employee who was subjected to harassment, did not quit for a “good reason” caused by the employer.
Articles & Presentations
July 8, 2020
What are the requirements for a Minnesota “Preparedness Plan” in order to reopen a business or continue operating a critical business?
June 18, 2020
By Pamela Abbate-Dattilo and Edgar R. Ocampo
In light of recent events in Minneapolis and around the country, what are employers doing to support impacted employees and enhance diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace?
June 15, 2020
What is the significance of today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sexual orientation and transgender identity discrimination and what steps should employers take in response?
May 26, 2020
How will employment decisions affect my company’s PPP loan forgiveness?
May 21, 2020
How is COVID-19 affecting disputes over non-competes and other restrictive covenants?
April 27, 2020
What kind of litigation will arise out of COVID-19, and what can employers do now to prepare?
April 22, 2020
Can a furloughed employee refuse to come back to work when recalled?
March 30, 2020
On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act—a $2 trillion emergency stimulus bill—intended to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. This article summarizes the provisions that most directly impact employers.
March 30, 2020
By Pamela Abbate-Dattilo and Edgar R. Ocampo
How will unemployment in Minnesota be impacted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act)?
March 25, 2020
Do we have more guidance yet on how the Department of Labor will interpret key provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
March 20, 2020
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act became federal law. The Act’s employment provisions apply to all government employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
May 20, 2016
On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor issued the long-awaited new regulations which provide widespread and significant changes affecting all businesses and employees covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The regulations are effective December 1, 2016.
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Co-Presenter, “Reimagining the Workplace: Strategies for a Positive Way Forward in the ‘New Normal’,” Fredrikson & Byron Employment & Labor Webinar, April 1, 2021
- Co-Presenter, “Litigation Trends in the COVID-19 Era,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Employment & Labor Law Webinar Series, November 19, 2020
- Co-Presenter, “Demos Based on Real-Life Cases – Strategies for Effective Use of Computer Forensics in Employment Investigations and Litigation,” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, September 15, 2020
- Quoted in “Litigating the Pandemic,” Twin Cities Business, August 19, 2020
- Co-Presenter, “The ‘Smoking Gun’: Texts and Social Media,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 35th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 7, 2019
- Co-Presenter, “Workplace Investigations: Planning, Strategy and Execution,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 35th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 7, 2019
- Co-Presenter, “Internal Workplace Investigations,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 34th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 1, 2018
- Co-Presenter, “Sexual Harassment: How #MeToo Impacts Prevention and Response Strategies,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 34th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 1, 2018
- “Workplace Investigations,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 34th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 1, 2018
- Co-Presenter, “Beyond #MeToo: Conducting Effective and Privileged Workplace Investigations,” Fredrikson & Byron Seminar, June 13, 2018
- Co-Presenter, “Sexual Harassment: What Should Employers Do Now?,” Fredrikson & Byron Employment Seminar, March 15, 2018
- Co-Presenter, “Ten Legal Challenges Faced by Family-Owned Businesses,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 33rd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 3, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Non-competes Under Siege: How to Protect Your Business from Competition,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 33rd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 3, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Trade Secrets and Noncompetes from a Litigator’s Perspective,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016
- Co-Presenter, “ADA Website Accessibility and Public Accommodations,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016
- Co-Presenter, “Lessons Learned from Sysdyne v. Rousslang,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 31st Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 6, 2015
- “Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring Your Competitor’s Employees,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 30th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 28, 2014
- “Preparing Your Unemployment Case,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 30th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 28, 2014
Honors & Education
- University of St. Thomas Law School, J.D., 2009, summa cum laude
- University of St. Thomas, B.A., 2006, magna cum laude
- Minnesota, 2009
- Minnesota Super Lawyers, Rising Star – Employment & Labor, 2016-present
- Minnesota State Bar Association, North Star Lawyer, 2012, 2014-2015, 2018
- Judge Earl R. Larson Award, Federal Bar Association, 2009
- Outstanding Achievement Award in Employment Law, MSBA Labor & Employment Law Section, 2008
- Symposium Director, St. Thomas Law Review, 2008-2009
- Minnesota Women Lawyers
- Minnesota Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association