Kelsey J. Knowles
Kelsey Knowles is a shareholder practicing primarily in the areas of litigation and employment law. In her litigation practice, Kelsey assists clients through all stages of litigation, from pre-litigation administrative complaints through appeals. Clients are involved throughout litigation to ensure client objectives are being achieved to the greatest extent possible. In some cases, that means reaching out for early resolution, while in other cases it means pursuing a case through appeal.
Kelsey's employment practice focuses on helping employers navigate the always evolving area of employment including employee handbooks, the discipline process, and the complex statutory and regulatory laws governing the employer-employee relationship. While our goal is always to avoid litigation when possible, Kelsey's practice also focuses on helping employers successfully resolve litigation. Her practice also includes a focus on employment-based immigration issues.
Kelsey is a graduate of Arizona State University and of Boston College Law School, where she served as an Executive Editor of the Boston College Law Review. At Boston College, Kelsey was the recipient of Privitera Family Award for exceptional contribution to the Law School, the Dean Denis A. Dooley Award for the student with an outstanding scholarship average and the Wendell F. Grimes Award for outstanding work in advocacy competitions. She was also a member of the 2004 National Craven Constitutional Moot Court Championship Team.
Following law school, Kelsey served as a law clerk to Judge Richard L. Nygaard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit during 2004-2005. She then served as a judicial clerk to Judge Ronald L. Longstaff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa during 2005-2007.
Publications and Presentations
"Employment Law Update," CISHRM (2011; 2012)
"Are You Ready to Rumble...Exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act," Belin McCormick Employment Law Seminar (2011); Lorman (2012)
"Supervisors: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em," Belin McCormick Employment Law Seminar (2011)
"Hot Spots in Wage and Hour Litigation," I.O.W.A. CLE Presentation (2011); Sterling Education Services (2011)
"Working Mommies & Daddies: The Intersection between Parenting and Employment," Belin McCormick Employment Law Seminar (2010)
"Are You Paying Your Employees Correctly? Hot Spots in Wage and Hour Litigation," Belin McCormick Employment Law Seminar (2010)
"Tackling Tricky FMLA Scenarios," Belin McCormick Employment Law Seminar (2009)
Honors and Accomplishments
Community & Professional Activities
Iowa State Bar Association, Member
Des Moines Lincoln High School, Coach, Mock Trial Team
American Immigration Lawyers Association, Member
American Bar Association, Member
Polk County Bar Association, Member
Living History Farms, Board Member
Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (2012-2013)
Significant Reported Cases
Stevens v. Prairie Meadows. Wrongful discharge in violation of public policy claim resulting in favorable summary judgment ruling, which was affirmed on appeal.
Shelton v. United States Postal Service. Verdict in excess of $4.6 million dollars for our client in a wrongful death action.
Carter v. Prairie Meadows. Wrongful discharge in violation of public policy claim resulting in favorable summary judgment ruling, which was affirmed on appeal.
Cross v. Prairie Meadows, et al. Sexual harassment and retaliation claim resulting in summary judgment for our client. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling in a published decision establishing multiple important legal principals previously unaddressed in our jurisdiction.
Kim v. Grand View University, et al. Race discrimination and retaliation claims resulting in favorable summary judgment ruling, which was affirmed on appeal.
Mahony v. Ultimate Nursing Services, Inc., et al. Wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, False Claims Act, retaliation and promissory estoppel claim resulting in summary judgment for our client. On appeal, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling.
Diaz v. Tyson Fresh Meats. Race discrimination and disability retaliation claim resulting in summary judgment for our client. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling in the first opinion from the Eighth Circuit to address the United States Supreme Court decision in Staub v. Proctor Hospital.
Haviland v. Catholic Health Initiatives. Fair Labor Standards Act collective action alleging uncompensated and interrupted lunch periods resulting in summary judgment for our clients.
Hayes v. Vermeer Manufacturing Corporation. Family Medical Leave Act case alleging wrongful interference with the right to leave resulting in summary judgment in favor of our client. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling.
ISU-VSC v. Iowa Veterinary Referral Center. Represented plaintiff in an action to enforce covenants not to compete against former employees resulting in the entry of a preliminary injunction in favor of our client.
Mason City Human Rights Commission v. Newbury Management Company. Housing discrimination action alleging familial status discrimination resulting in verdict in favor of our client after a bench trial.