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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 a Super Lawyer and Rising Star by her peers. She is a certified employment law specialist and a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law where she was both a competitor and board member of the Rosalie E. Wahl Moot Court Competition. She currently serves as Vice President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, as well as chair of its Amicus Committee, and is a past member of the MSBA’s Civil Jury Instruction Committee on Employment Law.

Publications and Presentations

  • 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)

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers® Super Lawyer, Employment Law, 2014-2015
  • Super Lawyers® Rising Star, Employment Law, 2004-2005, 2008-2009, 2011-2013
  • MSBA Certified Employment Law Specialist

Professional Memberships

  • National Employment Lawyers Association, Minnesota Chapter, Vice President and Chair of the Amicus Committee
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, Member and Circuit Update Contributor
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member and 2012 Civil Jury Instruction Committee on Employment Law

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