Brian L. McDermott


Mr. McDermott has dedicated his legal career of 20+ years to representing public and private employers in individual and class/collective employment actions, including cases involving the FMLA, the ADA, Title VII, the ADEA, ERISA, the FLSA, the NLRA, covenant not to compete/trade secret matters, state wage laws, and wrongful discharge. He has represented employers in federal and state courts, labor arbitrations, and administrative agencies (including the EEOC and NLRB) throughout the country. Mr. McDermott also has represented employers before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth and Seventh Circuits on multiple occasions.

Mr. McDermott devotes a substantial portion of his practice to litigation avoidance and counseling. To this end, he works with employers to provide valuable employment training, including sexual harassment, hiring/interviewing, employee terminations, union avoidance, diversity, and FMLA training. He also assists employers in developing employee handbooks, personnel policies, employment contracts, noncompete agreements, severance agreements, and other employment-related documents.

For 2014, Best Lawyers selected Mr. McDermott as Indianapolis Labor and Employment Litigation “Lawyer of the Year.”

Mr. McDermott has served as the Chairperson of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce chose Mr. McDermott to author several of its popular publications, including The FMLA Guide: Everything Indiana Employers Need to Know About the FMLA; Managing Employee Leaves of Absence: A Guide for Indiana Employers; The Interviewing Guide: Helping Indiana Employers Utilize Lawful and Effective Interviewing Techniques; The Indiana Employer’s Guide to the ADA and FMLA; and Religion in the Workplace: A Guide for the Indiana Employer. Mr. McDermott also serves on the Indiana Chamber’s Human Resources and Employment Law Policy committees.

In identifying Mr. McDermott as a “Leader in [the] Field.” Chambers USA reported in 2005 that Mr. McDermott is a “talented” attorney whose “employment litigation practice is burgeoning.” In 2006, Chambers USA stated that “clients say [Mr. McDermott] does a ‘quality job.’” In 2007, Chambers USA identified Mr. McDermott as a “full-service employment lawyer” whom clients find “efficient and knowledgeable” and “a great guy who is easy to work with.” In its 2009 publication, Chambers USA identified Mr. McDermott as an “FMLA Expert.” The 2010 Chambers USA report stated that Mr. McDermott “receives praise for his FMLA and ERISA work . . . and is really developing his practice.” In 2012, Chambers USA stated that Mr. McDermott is “praised for his ability to guide clients successfully through all stages of an employment lawsuit.”

In 2011, Mr. McDermott was honored with the Indiana Chamber’s Samuel C. Schlosser Indiana Chamber Volunteer of the Year award. He has been recognized annually by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business; Best Lawyers in America; and Indiana Super Lawyers.

Mr. McDermott proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Japan American Society of Indiana.

AV Rated Martindale HubbellRanked in Chambers USA 2014



A significant part of Mr. McDermott's labor and employment practice involves representing employers in state and federal employment actions. A representative sampling of Mr. McDermott's litigation experience includes:

  • Obtaining dismissal of plaintiff's discrimination claims on behalf of national financial services company
  • Prevailing on summary judgment for international food company in plant closing case under the ADEA
  • Obtaining Seventh Circuit appellate victory in ERISA Section 510 case for national retailer
  • Securing dismissal in FLSA “misclassification” collective action for regional retailer
  • Obtaining directed verdict at trial on behalf of automobile dealership in a state-law employment action
  • Obtaining Seventh Circuit victory in ADEA case for national retailer
  • Defeating union representation petition filed with the NLRB against Indiana-based hotel
  • Obtaining appellate victory at the NLRB on behalf of a major utility charged with violating Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA
  • Prevailing on summary judgment for a national telecommunications company in an FMLA action
  • Obtaining Seventh Circuit appellate victory in ERISA Section 502 case for national telecommunications company
  • Securing appellate victory before the Sixth Circuit in an ADEA case
  • Obtaining dismissal of race case in Iowa on behalf of national biomedical company
  • Prevailing at summary judgment on behalf of national retailer in FLSA action
  • Obtaining dismissal of Section 1981 claim for national aeronautics company

Education and Honors


J.D., with distinction, University of Iowa, 1991
B.A., magna cum laude, Loras College, 1988

Honors and Awards: 
  • Samuel C. Schlosser Volunteer of the Year, Indiana Chamber of Commerce (2011)
  • Indianapolis Labor and Employment Litigation "Lawyer of the Year", Best Lawyers (2014)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2005-present)
  • Chambers USA (2004-07, 2009-present)
  • Indiana Super Lawyer, Law & Politics and Indianapolis Monthly (2005-present)
  • AV Peer Review Rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Professional Activities

Professional Activities: 
  • Japan American Society of Indiana, Board Member (2013-present)
  • American Bar Association (Civil Procedure and Evidence Committee; Tort Insurance Practices Section; ABA/ERR Complex Litigation Subcommittee; Section of Litigation, Employment & Labor Relations)
  • Indiana Bar Association (Chair, Labor and Employment Section. 2003-2004)
  • Indianapolis Bar Association (Chair, Labor and Employment Section, 2004-2005)
  • Employment Law360 Advisory Board (2009-10)
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce (Human Resource and Labor Committees)
  • National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (Legal Advisory Counsel, 2010)
  • IndySHRM (Strategic Leadership Forum Committee)
  • American Staffing Association, Member
  • Avon Chamber of Commerce, Member
  • Sheltering Wings, Inc., Volunteer
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive Seminar - "Legal Compliance Issues for Managing Complex Leaves Under the FMLA, ADA, and Local Laws" - Dana Point - September 18, 2014 - September 20, 2014
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce - "Family and Medical Leave Act 2014" - Indianapolis - June 11, 2014
  • Business Management Daily Webinar - "Pregnancy and Postpartum Issues in the Workplace" - June 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Everything I Needed to Know About Employment Law I Learned at the Movies" - Las Vegas - May 2014
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce 50th Annual Human Resources Conference and Expo - "Dealing with Difficult Employees: Discharge, Discipline . . . or Denial" - Indianapolis - April 29, 2014
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce 50th Annual Human Resources Conference and Expo - "10 Tips for Improving Your Standard Employment Agreements: Offer Letters, Employment Agreements and Restrict Covenants" - Indianapolis - April 29, 2014
  • Indiana Workers' Compensation Conference - "Resisting the Temptation to Get Even: Avoiding and Defending Workers' Compensation Retaliation Claims" - Indianapolis - March 4, 2014
  • XPert HR Webinar - "Pregnancy Accommodations/Workplace Accommodations" - January 9, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Discretionary Attendance - Intermittent FMLA and Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation" - Indianapolis - October 3, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Advanced Topics in Complex Leave of Absence Issues" - Phoenix - May 9, 2012
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce - "Avoiding/Preventing Workplace Harassment and Management Training for the 21st Century: Managing "Friends" in the Workplace" - Indianapolis - April 23, 2012
  • Iowa State Bar Association, 2012 ISBA Employment Law Basics Seminar - "Navigating the Troubled Waters of the FMLA & ADA: FMLA & ADA Compliance in the Real World" - Des Moines - April 13, 2012
  • American Bar Association National Conference on EEO Law - "Complex Leave of Absence Issues, Recent Legislative & Case Law Developments with the FMLA" - San Francisco - March 21, 2012 - March 24, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "Avoiding Employer Liability Over The Holidays" - November 10, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Coordinating Benefits in Leave of Absence Situations" - Indianapolis - October 5, 2011

In The News

Media Quotes:
  • March 18, 2014 - Xpert HR Employment Intelligence - "Uncomfortable Conversations for Supervisors (Part 2): A Workaholic Who Makes Others Miserable"
  • February 2014 - HR Magazine - "Great Expectations"
  • February 1, 2014 - - "Accommodating Pregnant Employees"
  • March 20, 2013 - - "Be Proactive to Avoid Litigation, Experts Say"
  • July 20, 2012 - Thompson's HR Compliance Expert - "Court Says Employee’s ‘Indefinite Leave’ Foils Retaliation Suit"
  • February 3, 2010 - Law360 - "Controversy Over NLRB Pick Persists on Eve of Vote"
Published Works: