Willenson Law is a civil rights law firm that represents individuals, and groups of individuals, in a wide variety of civil rights cases. The firm’s primary practice areas include class action, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage theft. The firm has successfully represented hundreds of firefighter applicants in class action litigation, leading to new hiring opportunities after the discontinuance of discriminatory pre-hire physical performance tests. Our areas of special interest include the representation of first responders (e.g. firefighters, police officers, and paramedics) and other public safety personnel (e.g. corrections officers) on sex discrimination, race discrimination, disability discrimination, and other civil rights claims, as well as the representation of whistleblowers combatting fraud. The firm’s wage theft practice includes class action, collective action, and individual litigation to recover unpaid overtime and other compensation as well as damages for retaliation suffered after employees raise complaints about unpaid wages. The firm has represented numerous individuals with disabilities in employment discrimination cases and has an evolving practice for children with disabilities having issues at school. Willenson Law was founded by attorney Marni Willenson, who has 20 years of experience litigating class action, civil rights, and other complex, civil cases.
Willenson Law will review individual and class and collective action claims. The firm’s employment practice clients include both private and public sector employees, including federal sector employees. The firm accepts some cases on a contingency-fee basis. Other clients pay hourly, based on the attorney’s billing rate and time committed to the case.
Examples of the sorts of claims Willenson Law has litigated include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – A federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, including claims for harassment and retaliation.
- Fair Labor Standards Act – The federal minimum wage and 40-hour workweek law. Typical cases seek to recover unpaid overtime wages for employees treated as exempt from overtime, or as “independent contractors,” when they are not.
- Americans with Disabilities Act – The federal civil rights statute protecting individuals with disabilities from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
- False Claims Act – An anti-fraud statute that also protects whistleblowers ferreting out fraud against government programs.
- Family and Medical Leave Act – A federal statute that provides unpaid leave to caregivers and to those suffering from a serious health condition.
Marni Willenson worked many years in legal services, representing farmworkers, forestry workers, and other individuals suffering discrimination and abuse. She has co-counseled with legal services attorneys and other private law firms. Willenson Law will also review employment contracts, negotiate severance agreements, represent clients in alternative dispute resolutions and advise members of the plaintiffs’ bar on e-discovery matters.
Attorney Caitlin Cervenka joined the firm as an associate in July 2019. Ms. Cervenka works in all of the firm’s practice areas. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2017 where she was Executive Articles Editor of the Children’s Legal Rights Journal. Ms. Cervenka is also a 2012 graduate of Marquette University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in Social Welfare and Justice.
The Practice Area pages listed on the left describe the firm’s practice areas in more detail.