Brent D.Knight


Chicago + 1.312.269.4290

Brent Knight has more than 20 years of experience advocating for employers in class action labor and employment matters. Brent has represented clients in state courts, federal courts, and before administrative agencies throughout the United States on claims brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII, the National Labor Relations Act, and a variety of state law counterparts, including extensive experience defending claims brought under the California Labor Code and the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Much of Brent's work is at the cutting edge of labor and employment law, impacting not only clients' businesses but setting precedent for employers nationwide. For instance, Brent has successfully defended several cases involving claims that McDonald's was a joint employer of its franchisee's employees under both state and federal law. He has successfully defended overtime claims at trial under California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). He also has served as lead attorney on mass arbitration matters, strategically guiding clients through hundreds of individual cases. And he regularly advises clients regarding arbitration agreements and noncompetition agreements. Representative clients in recent public matters include McDonald's, Ecolab, Publix Super Markets, Abbott Laboratories, Service Corporation International, and CrossCountry Mortgage.

Brent is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts, a nonpartisan, independent research and advocacy organization that seeks to promote social justice by proposing solutions to barriers and inequities affecting vulnerable populations within the court systems. He also belongs to the Illinois State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.


  • CITGO wins summary judgment on former employee's wrongful termination claimJones Day obtained summary judgment on behalf of CITGO Petroleum Corporation in a wrongful termination action brought by a former employee alleging he was terminated in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act.
  • CITGO wins summary judgment of Illinois Whistleblower Act lawsuitJones Day secured summary judgment on behalf of CITGO Petroleum Corporation on all claims from a former employee alleging wrongful termination in violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, based upon allegedly raising safety concerns, as well as claims for unpaid compensation under the Illinois Wage Payment & Collection Act.
  • USG acquired by Gebr. Knauf for $7 billionJones Day advised USG Corporation in the acquisition by Gebr. Knauf KG ("Knauf") of all of the outstanding shares of USG in a transaction valued at $7 billion.
  • Advocate Aurora Health wins summary judgment, defeats class certification, and obtains dismissal in FICA refund class actionJones Day client Advocate Aurora Health won summary judgment and defeated class certification in a FICA refund class action case.
  • McDonald's victorious at trial against state-wide California class action wage and hour PAGA claimsJones Day prevailed in gutting the remaining part of a state-wide class and representative action under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act filed against McDonald’s Corporation.
  • Interface wins dismissal of allegations of FLSA on-call and overtime violationsOn July 5, 2017, Jones Day client Interface Operations LLC won dismissal in a Fair Labor Standards Act action filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada by a group of pilots against Interface and three other defendants.
  • McDonald’s defeats attempt to expand class actionOn February 15, 2017, Jones Day and client McDonald’s Corporation successfully blocked plaintiffs’ attempt to certify three new theories of liability in a statewide wage and hour class action.
  • McDonald's wins summary judgment, defeats class certification and PAGA claims in wage and hour class, joint employer actionPlaintiffs filed suit in 2014, seeking to represent more than 1,200 employees at eight McDonald’s restaurants owned by a McDonald’s franchisee in franchises in Oakland, California, against both the franchise owner and the franchisor, arguing that Jones Day client McDonald’s was liable as their joint employer on a variety of wage and hour claims, or that McDonald’s was alternatively liable for those claims under an aiding and abetting, negligence, actual agency, or ostensible agency theory.
  • McDonald’s defeats class certification and PAGA claims in statewide California class action wage and hour caseIn a series of wins, Jones Day client McDonald’s Corporation defeated class action and PAGA claims brought against the company in a California-wide wage and hour lawsuit.
  • Publix wins summary judgment on questions of FLSA regular rate calculationJones Day represented Publix Super Markets, Inc. in defense against a company-wide collective action lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act claiming that certain bonuses and other payments were improperly excluded from the calculation of the regular rate of pay of supermarket hourly associates nationwide.
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce files amicus brief in FLSA actionJones Day assisted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in drafting and filing an amicus brief in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York supporting the position of defendant/appellee black car companies that the drivers for such companies are properly classified as independent contractors rather than employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • National restaurant chain obtains dismissal of FCRA class actionJones Day represented a national restaurant chain in this class action lawsuit brought against them and one of their franchisees, alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • SCI Illinois Services obtains 7th Circuit affirmance of dismissal of federal and state discrimination and retaliation claimsIn September 2014, The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of Jones Day client SCI Illinois Services, Inc., upholding the dismissal of plaintiff's claims of discrimination (based on race and sex) and retaliation under Federal and Illinois law.
  • Abbott defends against putative statewide class action alleging denial of overtime, meal and rest breaks and other California Labor Code violationsOn behalf of Abbott Laboratories, Jones Day provided representation in a putative California-wide class action involving pharmaceutical sales representatives.
  • Jones Day Chicago develops relationship with the Civic Consulting AllianceIn 2011, the Chicago Office began a relationship with the Civic Consulting Alliance ("CCA"), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that reshapes how Chicago works by building pro bono teams comprised of business and legal experts, government leaders, and its own staff to work on discrete projects designed to make the city, county, and other parts of the state more livable, affordable, and globally competitive.
  • Abbott wins significant victory in Seventh Circuit over whether its pharmaceutical sales representatives are exempt from FLSA's overtime requirementsOn May 8, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided a significant case under the Fair Labor Standards Act, ruling in favor of Jones Day client Abbott Laboratories, Inc., in a collective action lawsuit brought against it by current and former pharmaceutical sales representatives.
  • Abbott obtains summary judgment in Pennsylvania wage class actionJones Day succeeded on summary judgment on behalf of Abbott Laboratories, dismissing a putative wage class action which a former pharmaceutical sales representative brought against the Company alleging that he and other sales representatives who worked for Abbott in Pennsylvania were misclassified as exempt employees and thus wrongly denied overtime compensation.
  • Alderwoods defeats class certification in collective action brought under FLSA in PennsylvaniaOn September 9, 2011, Judge Joy Flowers Conti granted Alderwoods Group, Inc.'s motion to decertify a collective action brought under Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act in Prise, et al. v. Alderwoods Group, Inc.
  • AstraZeneca obtains dismissal in class action alleging misclassificationJones Day earned a quick victory for AstraZeneca in Shatto v. AstraZeneca, in which Plaintiff alleged that he and other pharmaceutical sales representatives nationwide were misclassified as exempt from the FLSA's overtime pay requirements.
  • Alderwoods defeats class certification in nationwide off-the-clock caseJones Day defeated the plaintiffs' effort to obtain class certification of nationwide and California classes in an off-the-clock wage and hour action against Alderwoods Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Service Corporation International, Inc.
    • September 14, 2017
      How to Beat Plaintiff Lawyers at Their Own Game: Tips for Defending and Trying Cases Under California's Private Attorneys Genera Act, 2017 Annual Labor & Employment Law Discussion Group
    • June 9, 2016
      Workplace Compliance in 2016: Pay Equity, Overtime Regulations, and the New Wave of Biometrics Lawsuits, Jones Day MCLE University
    • November 15, 2012
      Planning for 2013 Labor and Employment Law Change: The Impact of the Presidential Election on Your Workforce, Jones Day North Shore Wine Tasting and CLE
    • September 14, 2011
      Law Bulletin Seminars Employment Law Conference
    • April 28, 2007
      Complex Litigation: Working with Expert