Sylvia Bokyung St. Clair

Associate

Overview

Sylvia Bokyung St. Clair’s passion for employee relations and human resources stems from her work in two family-run businesses and a decade-long career in hospitality management, where she and her staff were widely recognized for outstanding service and high-achieving standards and policies. Today, guided by years of experience on the front lines, she devotes her legal career to counseling and defending employers in a broad range of employment matters arising under both state and federal laws.

Employment Litigation

Sylvia has deep experience representing companies in complex employment and commercial litigation matters. Her litigation experience includes:

  • Discrimination and reverse discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Whistleblower/retaliation
  • Violations of FMLA, ADEA, ADA
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Trade secret misappropriation and violations of noncompetition and nonsolicitation provisions
  • Breach of contract claims
  • State and federal wage and hour claims

She regularly defends companies involving systemic investigations, preferential treatment and disparate impact claims involving national origin and citizenship status.

Sylvia has deep experience defending charges brought by the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and litigating before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) involving claims arising from the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, including citizenship status and national origin discrimination, unfair documentary practices, and retaliation or intimidation.

Employment Counseling and Investigations

Sylvia advises companies in connection with the development and implementation of employment practices, including issues related to hiring and firing, background checks, classification issues, workplace privacy, non-discrimination, reductions in force, unemployment benefits, and workshare programs. Sylvia counsels on regulatory and immigration compliance and defends I-9 and E-Verify audits.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

Illinois
California

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Languages

Korean

Education

Chicago-Kent College of Law
J.D. cum laude, Chicago-Kent Law Review (executive articles editor) (2013)

DePaul University
B.A. in Legal Studies (2010)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • EEOC, DOJ: Using AI Technology in Employment-Related Decisions May Violate ADA 
    Republished in The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law, November–December 2022
    Illinois Updates Privacy Law to Address Social Media
  • Co-author, SHRM, November 2016
  • Wage & Hour Issues — Compliance in 2016 and Beyond
    Labor & Employment and Benefits Seminar, Chicago, June 2016
  • Legal Issues When Using Social Media to Grow Your Business
    Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Chicago, March 2016
  • Lessons Learned in Human Resources From Pop Culture’s 2015 Memorable Moments
    Hospitality Law Conference, Houston, February 2016
  • Don’t Get Caught Spoiling: What Every Litigant Needs to Know If You Think You Might Be Sued
    Contributor, The Logistics Journal, Transportation Intermediaries Association, January 2013

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Settlement Assistance Program — Successfully negotiated settlements involving discrimination on the basis of genetic information and § 1983 claims
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Illinois Coalition for Fair Sentencing of Children — Successfully obtained a new resentencing hearing for an individual serving a mandatory life-without parole sentence pursuant to the Illinois Supreme Court’s holding in People v. Addolfo Davis that the prohibition of mandatory life sentences for homicide offenses committed by juveniles would apply retroactively
  • National Immigrant Justice Center, Deferred Action Clinics — Assisted an immigrant youth who arrived to the United States during her childhood in completing and filing an application for deferral and work permit

Professional Associations

  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) — Member, 2018-present
  • Women’s Bar Foundation — Board of Directors, 2015-19
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois — Member, 2013-19

Honors

  • Best Lawyers® — "Ones to Watch," Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2023  
  • Illinois Super Lawyers — Rising Star, 2019-22
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) — Pathfinder, 2018
  • Faegre Drinker — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2020-21
  • Faegre Baker Daniels — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2016-19
  • Leading Lawyers —  Emerging Lawyer, 2017-20
  • The Chicago Committee, Rate My Pitch — Outstanding Individual Pitch, 2016

Awards Methodology

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