Stephen Sitley


Steve Sitley is a partner in the Chicago office of Lewis Brisbois. Steve has been a labor and employment attorney and commercial litigator for over three decades. Steve serves as co-chair of the Employment Advice & Counseling Practice.Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Steve served as SVP, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of a $22B Fortune 100 corporation with international scope and 27 separate business divisions, overseeing all legal affairs, including Retail, Auto, Online Marketplace, Financial Services, Home Services, Transportation and Supply Chain. Steve is highly skilled in delivering practical, business-focused advice and advising C-Suite leaders and Board of Directors on all company legal aspects, including governance, financing transactions, procurement, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, litigation, employment, IP, marketing, privacy matters, and information security. Steve also oversaw Sears’ corporate communications and loss prevention functions. Earlier in his Sears career, Steve served as Vice President of Compensation, Benefits and HR Operations. 

Steve’s practice is primarily dedicated to representing and counseling employers in employment-related matters, including:

  • Crisis Management
  • Disability Accommodation/ Leaves of Absence
  • EEOC Administrative Charges and Class Actions
  • Employment Class/ Collective Action Defense
  • Employment Litigation and Avoidance
  • Employment Single Plaintiff Litigation
  • Equal Opportunity/ Discrimination Law
  • Executive and Severance Agreements
  • Human Resources
  • International Employment
  • Labor Relations
  • Mergers and Acquisitions/ Due Diligence
  • NLRB Investigations and ULPs
  • Reductions in Force
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Union Avoidance
  • Wage and Hour Audits
  • Wage and Hour Class Action Defense
  • WARN/ Unit Closings

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Labor & Employment
  • Employment Advice & Counseling
  • Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)
  • COVID-19: Labor & Employment
  • COVID-19 Response Resource Center
  • ADA Compliance & Defense

Additional Experience




USDC N.D. Illinois

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

District of Columbia


  • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
  • Chicago Bar Association (CBA)

Professional Presentations

  • Employment Law 101: Navigating the Workplace, Chicagoland Financial Advisory Business, May 2023
  • 2021 Labor and Employment Law Update, Lawline Webinar
  • Preventing and Managing Wage and Hour Claims/Class Actions and Best Practices for Selection and Evaluation of Counsel, American Conference Institute (ACI), San Francisco, CA
  • Workforce Reductions, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE)
  • Performance Evaluations, Northern Illinois SHRM, January 2017
  • Abandoning Performance Reviews, North Shore Legal Counsel (NSLC), September 2016
  • Employment Law, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), San Antonio, TX, October 2015
  • Management of Outside Counsel, Berkeley Research Group General Counsel Roundtable, October 2015


Georgetown University Law Center

Juris Doctor, 1988

  • Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Case and Notes Editor
  • American Jurisprudence Award, International Law

Boston College

Bachelor of Arts, 1985

Business Experience

Strategic Advisor – Bankruptcy & Privacy Breach

  • Led advance diligence planning for eventual bankruptcy filing of a Fortune 100 corporation.
  • Led investigations of and legal responses to several publicly reported payment card security incidents and systems breaches.

Compliance, Risk Mitigation & Litigation

  • Created a public corporation’s Pharmacy Compliance Committee and Information Security Board to bolster compliance efforts.
  • Conducted privileged Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) audits with follow-up training for a public corporation’s international offices and technology center.
  • Steered a large Asset & Profit Protection division for a large retailer, providing strategy and guidance for executive protection, online fraud prevention, payment systems, active shooter, and physical and traditional security for multiple properties.

Corporate Leadership

  • Co-led establishment of the corporate center function after the merger of two well-known retailers.

Strategic Advisor – HR, Compensation, Benefits

  • Previously led the Compensation, Benefits, Human Resources Operations & Shared Services departments for a major retailer based in the U.S. and India.
  • Managed a major retailer’s numerous HR specialist functions: compensation, executive compensation, benefits, HR operations, payroll, HR compliance & policy, labor relations, associate services organizations, fair employment & EEO administration, affirmative action programs, OFCCP audits, and centralized leave management.


Co-author, “United States: Coronavirus – Employers, Be Smart! Be Prepared!,” Mondaq, February 17, 2020