Photo of Robert T. Zielinski

Robert T. Zielinski






New York University School of Law, J.D., 1982

Harvard University, B.A. 1979

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. Courts of Appeals

  • Second Circuit
  • Fifth Circuit
  • Sixth Circuit
  • Seventh Circuit
  • Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Courts

  • Northern District of Illinois (including trial bar)
  • Central District of Illinois
  • Southern District of Illinois
  • Northern District of California

Supreme Court of Illinois

Bob Zielinski has been representing employers in virtually all aspects of their relationships to employees and various government agencies since 1982. His representations include union organizing, negotiations and arbitrations; litigation of individual or class employment claims over discrimination, wages, benefits and so forth; compliance programs; and proactive advice on managing situations to avoid litigation. Given the length and breadth of his experience, Bob takes a holistic approach to helping clients resolve issues in the context of general compliance and the client's business strategy. Bob has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Employment Litigation and Labor Law (Management Side) every year since 2012, and has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer since 2005.

Representative Matters

Robert and his team helped a client negotiate a complex thicket of labor law, contract and publicity issues involving its acquisition of portions of a unionized facility in a smaller city. The strategy they implemented enabled the client to successfully complete the acquisition and begin operating its business. By contrast, most of the other parties to the transaction wound up in protracted and expensive litigation, in which the union's position ultimately prevailed. 

Reported and Published Decisions

Bush v ABM Lakeside, Inc. (N.D. IL 2007)

In Re SEIU local 1 (unreported (2007)

Manning v University of Chicago Hosp., 401 F. Supp. 2nd 858 (N.D. IL 2005)

Waugaman v The University of Chicago Hospitals, 00 C 2851 (N.D. IL 4/2002)

Bethea v LaSalle National Bank, 01 C 7441 (N.D. IL 10/03)

Pepsico, Inc. v Rosa, 213 A.D.2d 550, 624 N.Y.S.2d 622 (N.Y.App.Div. 1995), app. denied


Best Lawyers in America, Labor Law - Management, 2012-present; Labor and Employment Litigation, 2012-present

Illinois Super Lawyers, Employment and Labor, 2010-present

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Labor Section, Individual Employee Rights Subcommittee

Leading Lawyers of Illinois


Instructor, Employment Law, Loyola University of Chicago


"Correcting Overtime and Worker Misclassification Issues Before They Result in Litigation," Miller Canfield 2024 HR Spring Training

"Maintaining Ethical Standards while Helping Your Client Through Polarized Times: Duties to Your Institution, Its Constituents, the Public and the Profession," National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) Annual Conference, June 2023

"Why Every Employer – Union and Non-Union Alike – Needs to Pay Attention to Recent Developments at the NLRB," Miller Canfield 2022 HR Fall Training Camp

"NLRB General Counsel Opines That College Athletes Are Employees: Ramifications in Athletics and Beyond," Panelist, Employment Law Alliance webinar, Oct. 26, 2021

"Tuition Refund Lawsuits: Worse than the Pandemic?", Panelist, Employment Law Alliance webinar, April 14, 2021

"Biometric Information Privacy Act," co-presenter with Jeffrey Drake, Miller Canfield, October 11, 2017

"The New Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Laws," co-presenter with Noel Goudreau, Miller Canfield, April 4, 2017

"Yours, Mine & Ours: Joint Employment in the New Age," NACUA CLE workshop, March 2016

"Interviewing Client Employees: Pitfalls to be Avoided," Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Greater Chicago Chapter, March 14, 2014

Annual speaker: Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), Labor and Employment Law Symposium, 1999-present

"Use of Experts in Employment Litigation," 2007

"Alphabet Soup-FMLA, ADA and FLSA for Beginners," 2007

"FMLA and ADA Developments," 2006

"Taking Effective Depositions of Plaintiffs in Employment Cases," 2006

"Americans with Disabilities Act: How to Comply," ADP Seminar

"Family Medical Leave Act: What Every Employer Should Know," ADP Seminar

"What You Don't Know Can Hurt You," Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers of America


"College Athletes as Employees," The Journal of College and University Law, Volume 41, Number 1 (2015)

Executive Producer and Co-Screen Writer, "Management Under a Microscope, A Video Handbook for Managers"

Co-author and Producer, "How to Avoid Employment Lawsuits: A Video Handbook for Managers and Attorneys"