Biography

About Frances

Frances E. Baillon is a recognized advocate for those who have been treated unfairly by the illegal practices of employers. A founding partner of Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP, Frances litigates and tries employment cases in state and federal court involving sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. She has also successfully argued cases before the Minnesota state and federal district courts, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  

Frances has consistently been named to the lists of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars by her peers and has made the lists of Top 50 Minnesota Women Super Lawyers, Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America repeatedly. She is a certified employment law specialist, is on the Governing Council of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section and is the former president and current amicus committee chair of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association.

Education

William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN, J.D.; Rosalie E. Wahl Moot Court Competition, Competitor and Board Member
Drake University, Des Moines, IA, B.A. in English

Admissions

Minnesota Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota

Professional Memberships

National Employment Lawyers Association, Minnesota Chapter, Amicus Committee Chair and Former Chapter President
National Employment Lawyers Association, Eighth Circuit Conference Board Member
Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, Member and Circuit Update Contributor
Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Governing Council Member
Minnesota State Bar Association, Solo & Small Firm Section
Minnesota Women Lawyers

Honors and Awards

Best Lawyers in America© Employment Law-Individuals, 2017-2021; Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2021
Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2017-2020
Top 50 Minnesota Women Super Lawyers®, 2016-2020
Super Lawyers® Super Lawyer, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, 2014-2020
Super Lawyers® Rising Star, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, 2004-2005, 2008-2009, 2011-2013
MSBA Certified Employment Law Specialist

Publications and Presentations

Wait…That Happened at Work?: How Sexual Harassment and Inappropriate Workplace Become Actionable, Mitchell Hamline School of Law Alumni CLE Series, Panelist with Cassie Navarro, Nov. 20, 2019
Playing with Fire: The Challenges of Mediating Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Claims in the #MeToo and #TimesUp Culture, ADR Institute, Panelist, October 25, 2019
Presentation for Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Employment Law Committee Meeting, Panelist with Phil Kitzer and Janet Olawsky, July 17, 2019
Meet the Magistrates, MSBA Labor & Employment Law Section, Moderator, Feb. 5, 2019
Successful Return to Work: Jump the Hurdles of Work Comp, ADA & FMLA, 2018
Modern Employment Law: Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Title VII Update, Fourth Annual Professional Skills Program, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, Presenter, Oct. 19, 2018
Mediation Panel, Fourth Annual Professional Skills Program, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, panelist with Susan Tsui Grundmann, T.J. McGrath and Bill Allen, Oct. 19, 2018
Federal District Court and 8th Circuit Update, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Co-presenter with Andrew Tanick, May 21, 2018
Eighth Circuit Appeal/Appellate Practice: Cases on Appeal that Win, Eighth Circuit National Employment Lawyers Association Conference, Moderator, April 6, 2018
Eighth Circuit Employment Law Update, Eighth Circuit National Employment Lawyers Association Conference, Panelist with David Schlesinger and Kelly Brandon, April 6, 2018
Appellate Practice in Employment Law Cases, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Panelist with Steve Smith, Brad Lindeman and Leslie Lienemann, Mar. 13, 2018
Wait...That Happened at Work?: When Inappropriate Workplace Conduct Becomes Actionable, Mitchell Hamline School of Law Alumni CLE Series, Panelist with Joni Thome, Jan. 12, 2018
Successful Return to Work: Jump the Hurdles of Work Comp, ADA & FMLA, 2018
Eighth Circuit Appeal/Appellate Practice: Cases on Appeal that Win, Eighth Circuit National Employment Lawyers Association Conference, Moderator, April 6, 2018
Drafting Employment Settlement Agreements, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Panelist with Adrianna Shannon, Oct. 11, 2017
The Workplace Bully: The Law and Practical Tips for Managing the Conduct, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Panelist with Sheila Engelmeier, Kevin Lindsey and Jessica Roe, July 26, 2017
Effectively Identifying and Successfully Prosecuting Joint Employment and Employee Misclassification Claims, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist with Leslie Lienemann and Justin Cummins, May 22, 2017
False Claims Act (Qui Tam) Claims: What Every Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyer Should Know, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Moderator, Mar. 14, 2017
Growing Your Practice, MSBA Solo/Small Firm Section, Panelist with Sheila Engelmeier, Mar. 1, 2017
Good Question: How Common is Sexual Harassment?, CBS WCCO News, TV Interview, July 6, 2016
ADA Litigation in 2016 - The Biggest Issues, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist with Sara McGrane, Gina Janeiro and Doug Micko, May 24, 2016
Lawyers as Employers: Employment Law Primer for Solo/Small Firms, MSBA Solo/Small Firm Section, Panelist with Matthew Frank, Feb. 23, 2016
Investigator Training – Pretext or Reality: An Analysis of the Pretext State in Federal, State and Municipal Claims, MSBA Labor & Employment Law Section, Speaker with Joe Schmitt, Jan. 2016
Is McDonnell Douglas Too Burdensome? Circuits Question the Utility of the Decades Old Burden-Shifting Model, FBA Labor & Employment Law Section, Co-author with Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer, Mar. 2015
Law Office Management for the Plaintiffs’ Employment Lawyer, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Panelist and Moderator, 2015
Who's the Boss? Minnesota Lawyer, Co-author with Gina Janeiro, June 2014
BNA/Employment Law Aspects of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, Minnesota Section, Reviewer, 2014
The Changing Landscape of Retaliation Claims: Applying the “But-For” Causation Standard after Gross and Nassar, Eighth Circuit NELA Conference, Panelist, 2014
West Metro CLE Co-operative, Panelist, 2014
Perspectives on FMLA Litigation Developments From Both Sides: Pitfalls to Avoid and Opportunities to Seize, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist, 2013
Cutting Edge Issues in Discrimination: Marital Status, Caregiver and Appearance, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist, 2013
Minnesota State Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Newsletter, FMLA Section, Contributor, 2013
Understanding Recent Changes in Employment Law, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Speaker, 2013
Sexual Harassment Update, MSBA Labor & Employment Law Section, Speaker with Sheila Engelmeier, 2013
Minnesota Marital Status - March Madness? MSBA Labor & Employment Law Section, Speaker with V. John Ella, 2012
Starting a Solo or New Law Firm: Going Solo or Small Boot Camp, MSBA Solo & Small Firm Section, Speaker, 2011
How to Litigate Whistleblower and Retaliation Cases Post Bahr and Kidwell, MN-NELA, Speaker, 2010
Sexual Harassment Law and Practice, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association Employment Law Handbook, Contributor
The First Amendment: Churches Seeking Sanctuary for the Sins of the Fathers, Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 31, 2004
When Clergy Fail Their Flock - Innovative Strategies for Prevention, Healing and Justice, American Association for Justice, 2003

Representative Cases

Ritter v. Auntie Ruth's Furry Friends, No. A14-1044 (Minn. Ct. App. Feb. 9, 2015) (reversing dismissal of MHRA age discrimination case where in just 45 days after new owners of the business took control, plaintiff’s manager made derogatory comments about plaintiff’s age, including complaining to plaintiff that “you cost a lot” (referencing her insurance premiums) and “we can't afford you,” criticizing plaintiff’s clothing as being “from the 70s,” being told by the manager repeatedly that plaintiff was not close enough in age to the rest of the staff to relate to them, and that there were “generational things” or “generation gaps” between plaintiff and the younger employees)

Adamson v. Mattamy Homes, No. 27-CV-13-2612 (Dist. Ct. Minn. Oct. 17, 2013) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim for age discrimination under the MHRA because genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether defendant’s reasons for termination were pretext where two younger employees replaced plaintiff after she was terminated)

Gilbert v. MetLife Auto and Home, No. 09-1990 (D. Minn. Mar. 14, 2011 and Oct. 7, 2011) (district court denied summary judgment determining issues of fact remained whether employer violated the MHRA by discriminating against disabled employee with cancer when she was only employee not rehired after reorganization; plaintiff-employee later died during pendency of her case and district court found employees MHRA disability discrimination claim survives her death for purposes of recovering special damages)

Harnan v. Univ. of St. Thomas, 776 F.Supp. 2d 938 (D. Minn. 2011) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s FMLA interference claim where genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether plaintiff suffered from a serious health condition and whether plaintiff was entitled to the benefits of the FMLA; and denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment for plaintiff’s FMLA retaliation claim where genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant’s proffered reason for termination was pretext for plaintiff’s termination)

Schmitz v. United States Steel Corp., 2010 WL 4941668 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 7, 2010) (reversing dismissal and recognizing a cause of action for a “threat” claim where employer told employee that if he filed workers compensation claim he would be fired)

Bahr v. Capella Univ., 788 N.W.2d 76 (Minn. 2010) (establishing that employee need not prove underlying merits of a discrimination/hostile environment to prove retaliation claim under the MHRA; the employee need only demonstrate that she had a good faith reasonable belief that conduct she opposed was a violation of the MHRA)

Bahr v. Capella Univ., 765 N.W.2d 428 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009) cert. granted (June 18, 2009) (setting standard for statutorily protected conduct in retaliation cases under the MHRA)

Kaufenberg v. Schwans Home Services, Inc., No. A08-0214, 2009 WL 234014 (Minn. Ct. App. Feb. 3, 2009) (genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether employee’s termination for the alleged falsification of medical records was pretext where employee presented legitimate explanation for the omissions on her medical report, employer had a policy of not terminating employees for mistakes and termination followed worker’s compensation claim)

Hollenkamp v. Jennie-O, No. 07-CV-04725 (D. Minn. June 1, 2009) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of disability discrimination because genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant’s reasons for firing plaintiff were pretextual, where defendant fired plaintiff, a longtime employee, shortly after plaintiff became disabled)

Lemon v. City of Minneapolis, No. 27-CV-08-11976 (Dist. Ct. Minn. Dec. 1, 2009) (following a bench trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff on her claims of reprisal in violation of the MHRA and reprisal under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, finding that defendant’s insults, demotion, and attempt to fire plaintiff demonstrated a “campaign of retaliatory actions” toward her based on her complaints about her work environment)

Hayes v. Dapper, No. A07-1878, 2008 WL 4301018 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 23, 2008) (reversing dismissal of whistleblower case because a report need not be formal to constitute protected conduct and questions of fact remained whether the report was made in good faith)

Frieler v. Carlson Marketing Group, 751 N.W.2d 558 (Minn. 2008) (setting precedent that a plaintiff alleging sexual harassment by a supervisor in violation of the MHRA is not required to prove employer knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take timely and appropriate action; and setting precedent that employer is subject to vicarious liability for an actionable hostile environment created by supervisor with immediate or successively higher authority over victimized employee)

Schaich v. Int’l Seals, Inc., No. 27-CV-06-16894 (Dist. Ct. Minn. Sept. 12, 2007) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of retaliation under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act because genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant’s reason for terminating plaintiff was pretextual where the facts indicated defendant terminated plaintiff shortly after he refused to unload boxes containing dead animals because he believed it was unsafe and voiced his opposition to defendant; subsequently, judgment entered for plaintiff following jury trial and award of damages)

Moore v. Epperson Underwriting Co., No. 06-2563, 2007 WL 2332755 (D. Minn. Aug. 15, 2007) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment where questions of fact remained regarding disability claim and violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA))

Schutz v. Minneapolis Sch. Dist. Special Sch. Dist. No. 1, No. 27-CV-06-474 (Dist. Ct. Minn. Jan. 24, 2007) (following trial, judgment entered in favor of plaintiff on her claim of reprisal in violation of the MHRA, awarding damages in the amount of $149,000 plus damages for emotional distress in the amount of $50,000, attorney’s fees and costs)