Brian V. Alcala - Labor & Employment lawyer - Nixon Peabody LLP

Brian V. Alcala

Brian Alcala practices exclusively in employment and labor relations law. He represents private employers nationwide in federal and state employment, labor and non-compete litigation, and before administrative agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He counsels clients to help them comply with employment, labor and trade secrets issues. Brian advises clients on FCRA compliance issues and has handled numerous nationwide federal and state wage/hour class action lawsuits. In addition, he represents public and private companies in large and small transactions in which he conducts due diligence on labor and employment issues and drafts employment-related agreements.

What do you focus on?

Today I focus my employment and labor practice primarily in four areas, leveraging my extensive experience to help clients manage complex and high-profile cases.

Employment Litigation

I represent privately and publicly held companies of all sizes in employment discrimination matters throughout the country. Most recently, I defended a large publicly traded company in a discrimination matter brought by a high-level human resources executive, as well as several class action wage/hour cases.

Employment Counseling

I pride myself on being available to clients 24/7, especially when it comes to employment counseling. Whether the situation involves an employment termination scheduled in the next hour, a complex ADA/FMLA accommodation issue or the fine details of an executive employment agreement, I respond quickly with practical advice.

Union Relations and Avoidance

Since I began practicing law, I’ve represented private employers in traditional labor law matters involving collective bargaining, arbitrations, strikes and unionization attempts. I have successfully defended and filed numerous unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB.

Non-Compete/Trade Secrets Litigation

I practice extensively in non-compete litigation, helping employers develop and protect trade secrets and other proprietary information. My name is associated with a number of published court decisions in this area.

What do you see on the horizon?

I’ve been following the growing number of NLRB/EEOC enforcement actions regarding the agencies’ objections to civility, professionalism and confidentiality provisions found in employee handbooks and separation agreements. We’re developing strategies to mitigate risk in this area.

Representative Experience

  • Representing private employers in employment discrimination matters including alleged violations of Title VII (race, color, religion, national origin, gender, pregnancy and sexual harassment), ADEA (age), ADA (disability), state law analogues (e.g. Illinois Human Rights Act), workers’ compensation retaliation and other wrongful discharge claims in eight states – Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey, California and Mississippi.
  • Representing employers in wage and hour disputes before federal and state courts, as well as administrative agencies.
  • Securing “no probable cause” findings in at least 100 EEOC and state human rights agency employment and housing discrimination investigations in 7 states – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, California, Colorado, Kansas and New Jersey.
  • Securing summary judgment and other dismissals for employers in numerous employment discrimination cases.
  • Defending and filing over 20 unfair labor practice (ULP) charges before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
  • Representing private employers in traditional labor law matters including collective bargaining, arbitrations, strikes and unionization attempts.
  • Representing employers before federal and state appellate courts involving employment and traditional labor law matters.
  • Representing private employers before state and local employment agencies such as the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR).
  • Counseling clients with regard to FLSA (wage and hour issues, including white collar exemptions), WARN (plant closings), FMLA and VESSA (medical and personal leave), USERRA (military leave), sexual harassment training, employer handbooks and general personnel issues.


  • “Labor and Employment Spotlight Address,” 2019 Food & Beverage Exchange, Chicago, October 3, 2019
  • Presenter at 10 Council on Education in Management and similar seminars
  • Author of 10 articles addressing employment issues of interest to employers

What Employers Can Learn from New NLRB Virus Advice

Law360 | September 09, 2020

Labor & Employment deputy group leader and Chicago partner Brian Alcala contributed this article on the National Labor Relations Board’s recent guidance on COVID-19-related labor law violations against employers in these uncertain times.

Employers brace for a ‘PTO bomb’ as vacation-starved employees make time off requests

Chicago Tribune | June 26, 2020

This article, on PTO challenges Chicago businesses face as they begin to reopen, quotes Chicago Labor & Employment partner Brian Alcala on the potential bottleneck of employees wanting to use their time off before year’s end.

Are you an essential worker? Says who? And what if you don’t think your job is worth the coronavirus risk?

Chicago Tribune | March 25, 2020

Labor and Employment deputy practice group leader Brian Alcala in Chicago talks about the advice he is giving employers whose employees feel unsafe reporting for work during the coronavirus outbreak.


Brian V. Alcala



Phone: 312-977-4366

Fax: 844-552-3032

Northwestern University School of Law, J.D.

University of Notre Dame, B.A., magna cum laude




U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana

  • Received Martindale-Hubbell Notable℠ Peer Review Rating™
  • Illinois Super Lawyers "Rising Star", 2011-2012
  • Nixon Peabody Hispanic Resource Group member
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