William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 2006, Magna Cum Laude, Dean's List

St. Olaf College, B.A., 2001, Cum Laude, Dean's List 

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit 
  • U.S. District Court District of Nebraska 
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Ellen Brinkman is a member of the firm’s Employment, Benefits and Labor Section. Her practice focuses on defending employers and individuals in state and federal litigation and agency matters involving Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and various other federal and state employment statutes.  She regularly represents employers seeking to enforce non-competition agreements and other post-employment restrictive covenants, and also defends against claims involving restrictive covenants. 

Ellen also provides day-to-day counseling to clients on a wide variety of workplace issues including hiring, promotion, disability accommodation, compliance with wage-and-hour and leave laws, discipline and termination. She assists clients in drafting employment policies and handbooks, employee and executive contracts, and separation agreements.

Honors & Awards

  • Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2011-2018


  • Defended age discrimination and interference with FMLA claims brought by 71 year old sales person who sold credit services but had performance issues and was terminated.
  • Defended cable and wire manufacturer against claims of personal injury and wrongful death for alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products.
  • Defended claims by 3PL for nonpayment due to delays in delivery and challenge to purported lien rights for goods in transit.
  • Defended employee and his new employer against claims of breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference. The case went to trial, but after the Plaintiff presented its case, the Court granted Defendants' Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law. 
  • Represented employer in defending claims brought by Plaintiff employee -- three gender, age, and race EEOC discrimination and retaliation charges under Title VII and then sued for the same claims in federal court.
  • Resolve threatened lawsuit by former manager against a regional bank alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination and workplace harassment.
  • Succeeded on motion to dismiss homeowner's complaint against bank, alleging that bank violated the Home Affordable Modification Program by not giving homeowners a loan modification.
  • Succeeded on motion to dismiss homeowner's complaint, alleging claims for violation of Minn. Stat. 58.13, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud and misrepresentation, and violation of Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Successfully defended employees and their new employer against claims of breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissing failure to pay overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of employer on Family and Medical Leave Act discrimination claim and state law claims alleging tortious interference with contract.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of employer in a Section 1981 retaliation claim and state law defamation claim.

Professional Affiliations

Minnesota Women Lawyers, Member 


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Ellen contributes to Minnesota Employer, Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits and Labor blog intended to provide practical employment law information concerning federal and state employment laws for Minnesota employers. Posts discuss employment issues, litigation, legislation and other matters that have an impact on employers.