Sarah Flotte Photo

Sarah E. Flotte

Industry Group Co-Chair, Higher Education


Sarah serves as a trusted advisor to her clients, offering proactive, strategic, business-minded employment counsel. Representing companies and management exclusively, she works with a diverse range of manufacturing, logistics, government, financial, pharmaceutical, and higher education clients of all sizes. 

Sarah’s strategic, client-focused practice includes:

  • Litigation involving discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, non-compete enforcement and defense, employee leave disputes, wage-and-hour claims, and defamation lawsuits
  • Counseling on employment issues related to wrongful termination, hiring, evaluation, and discipline of employees, non-competes, wage claims, employee handbooks, privacy, sexual harassment, reductions-in-force, breach of contract, tortious interference, and investigations
  • Training of supervisors, employees, and top-level management

Sarah’s experience spans state and federal laws impacting the workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and a variety of other laws.


Her litigation practice includes defending companies in state and federal litigation, as well as before administrative agencies including, but not limited to, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and the Illinois Department of Labor.


A strong track record in litigation

Included in her successes, Sarah has:

  • Won a federal jury trial in favor of employer in connection with constitutional challenges to a termination decision
  • Attained dismissal of a $10 million lawsuit by a federal agency alleging discriminatory lending practices against a mortgage lender
  • Resolved a $5 million suit by a class of employees who allegedly were not paid for time spent working off the clock  
  • Obtained dismissal of a $1 million defamation and tortious interference lawsuit against a major Midwestern university
  • Secured dismissal of a $500,000 fraud claim against local medical school
  • Achieved summary judgment on a half million dollar sexual harassment suit against a city government
  • Defended a local restaurant in class action litigation over alleged improper classification and denial of overtime pay 

Precedent-setting federal rulings

Sarah’s work has involved federal rulings that:

  • Define whether certain ex parte meetings violate restrictions on contacting a represented party
  • Limit the role of certain expert witnesses in tenure discrimination claims for colleges and universities
  • Define what can and cannot be discussed with former supervisors under the Illinois ethical rules

Honors & Recognitions

  • 40 Under Forty, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer, 2019
  • Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers, Crain’s Custom Media, 2018
  • “Illinois Rising Stars” list in the area of Employment and Labor by Super Lawyers magazine, 2012-2018
  • “Top Women Attorneys in Illinois," Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2014

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association



Community Involvement

  • President, Make A Wish Illinois, 2017
  • President-Elect, Make A Wish Illinois, 2015-2016
  • Membership Co-Chair, Make A Wish Illinois, 2013-2015
  • Associate Board Member, Make A Wish Illinois, 2012-present
  • Auxiliary Board Member, Big Shoulders Fund, 2008-2012
  • Participant, Race Judicata, 2006-2007
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