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Kelly DeGance

Partner

t: 904.345.3276
e: [email protected]

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About Kelly

Kelly has extensive experience in labor and employment law, including litigating claims and defending employers in proceedings at the local, state, and federal levels.  Kelly also represents management during labor arbitrations and while negotiating collective bargaining agreements, and she provides advice and counsel on compliance issues and throughout the grievance process.  In addition to her litigation experience, Kelly serves as outside general counsel for multiple clients, where she provides advice on a broad range of legal issues.  Kelly is AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is proud to be consistently named to the Best Lawyers in America listing.   


Practice Areas

Trial Experience

Has tried many cases, both jury and non-jury, in state and federal courts.

Labor and Arbitration

Represents management in collective bargaining negotiations and disputes, unfair labor practice charges, throughout the grievance process, and has also represented clients in numerous labor arbitrations. 

Regularly provides workplace training on union avoidance, positive associate relations, and management strategies for successfully working with unions.

Wage and Hour Litigation

Defends individual claims as well as collective actions brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and claims for wages, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.

Represents clients during investigations conducted by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Provides advice and counsel to clients to ensure compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act.

Regularly provides training and conducts workplace seminars on topics related to wage and hour compensation.

Civil Rights Litigation

Represents employers in claims alleging all forms of discrimination at both the administrative agency level and in state and federal courts.

Appointed by the United States District Court to represent a client in a Constitutional rights case involving claims of excessive force and was awarded by the federal bench for her work on that case.

Higher Education

Represents educational institutions in a variety of employment matters, including faculty grievance issues, contractual disputes, issues related to academic freedom and tenure, and claims of discrimination and harassment.

Conducts training for educational institutions on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and routinely provides advice and counsel on the requirements of FERPA.

Defends academic institutions against various claims made by students.

Employment Contracts, Non-Competition Agreements and Workplace Issues

Litigates the enforceability of contractual provisions within employment contracts, including non-competition agreements and other restrictive covenants.

Prosecutes and defends claims for breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, and civil conspiracy.

Provides advice and counsel to clients with respect to various workplace issues, including hiring, discipline, and termination of employees.

Routinely conducts workplace investigations into claims of harassment, discrimination, and other unlawful practices.

Interplay Among Medical Leave Laws

Provides advice and counsel to clients regarding the interplay among the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), and state worker’s compensation laws.

Litigates claims brought pursuant to medical leave laws and conducts seminars and workshops to educate organizations on how to avoid potential claims.

Reductions in Force (RIF)

Provides advice and counsel to clients regarding best practices with respect to terminations and reductions in force.

Regularly conducts adverse impact analyses for clients.

Advises clients on federal and state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requirements with respect to mass layoffs and plant closings.

Independent Contractor versus Employee

Conducts internal audits nationwide for corporate clients, transportation providers, and colleges and universities to assess whether workers are properly classified as independent contractors versus employees.

Whistleblower Claims

Defends employers against claims made pursuant to the public and private whistleblower laws.

Civil Litigation

Defends clients against breach of contract claims, fraud and other tort claims, breach of warranty claims, Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) claims, Truth in Lending Act (TILA) claims, and other consumer protection statutes.

Advises clients and defends claims against corporations brought pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).


Previous Experience

Prior to co-founding Alexander DeGance Barnett, Kelly spent seven years working within the national labor, employment and benefits practice group at the law firm of Holland & Knight. Preceding that, Kelly served as a judicial law clerk to The Honorable Howard T. Snyder, United States Magistrate Judge. Before attending law school, Kelly worked as a mental health counselor.


Honors & Distinctions

  • AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Leadership Jacksonville, Class of 2011
  • Holland & Knight 2010 Class of Rising Stars
  • Federal Bar Association 2009 Spirit of Giving Award
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono Champ 2007
  • Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement 2002, Florida Coastal School of Law, as recognition for graduating number one in class

Memberships

  • The Florida Bar, Labor and Employment Section
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • National Association for College and University Attorneys
  • Chester Bedell Inn of Court
  • Jacksonville Bar Association

Admissions

  • The Florida Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Speaking Engagements

  • “Employer Guide for Providing Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA,” Jacksonville, Florida, September 2023
  • “Best Practices for Conducting Lawful & Effective Job Interviews in 2023,” Jacksonville, Florida, August 2023
  • “Disciplinary Actions, Documentation, and Discharge,” Jacksonville, Florida, March 2023
  • “Weingarten Training,” Jacksonville, Florida, February 2023
  • “Maintaining a Healthy Environment in a Diverse Workplace,” Jacksonville, Florida, April 2022
  • “Union Avoidance and Positive Associate Relations,” Denver, Colorado, September 2021
  • “Management Training in a Union Environment,” Jacksonville, Florida, July 2021
  • “How to Conduct an Effective and Thorough Workplace Investigation,” Jacksonville, Florida, November 2020
  • “Effective Communication in a Diverse Workplace,” Jacksonville, Florida, January 2020
  • “Employment Practices in Educational Settings – Requirements and Best Practices,” Gulfport, Florida, October 2019
  • “Navigating Student Accommodations and the OCR Process,” Gainesville, Florida, May 2019
  • “Identifying, Eliminating, and Preventing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace,” Frazeysburg, Ohio, September 2018

Education

  • Florida Coastal School of Law, J.D., with highest honors, Class Rank: 1
  • University of West Florida, M.A., summa cum laude, Psychology
  • University of Florida, B.S., Psychology

Community Involvement

  • Board of Directors, Leadership Jacksonville, past member
  • Chair, Leadership Jacksonville Selection Committee
  • Board of Directors, Junior Achievement
  • Board of Directors, Guardian ad Litem
  • Board of Directors, Sulzbacher Center, past member
  • Leadership Jacksonville volunteer

Outside of the Office

Outside of the office, Kelly spends most her time with her husband, Telis, and with her two children, Amanda and Christopher. Kelly also enjoys running, travel, and quality time with her family and friends.