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Kelly DeGance


t: 904.345.3276

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About Kelly

Kelly DeGance has extensive experience in labor and employment law, including litigating claims and defending employers in proceedings at the local, state and federal levels. Kelly routinely represents management in labor relations and arbitrations.

Practice Areas

Trial Experience

Trial experience at both the state and federal levels representing employers and educational institutions

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 age, race, sex, national origin, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, religious discrimination and other forms of employment 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; 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) and state worker’s compensation laws

Litigates claims brought pursuant to these 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

Keeps clients informed of the federal 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 transportation providers, colleges and other corporate entities in order 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 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

Labor and Arbitration

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

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


  • 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


  • 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

  • “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
  • “Close Quarters – Respect and Tolerance in a Diverse Workplace,” Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, August 2015
  • “Gender and Sexual Diversity: The Changing Landscape of Employer Responsibility in the Workplace,” Jacksonville, Florida, March 2015
  • “Group Dynamics in a Growing Business,” Jacksonville, Florida, February 2015
  • “Workplace Violence: Prevention, Response and Recovery,” Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, March 2013
  • “Union Avoidance – Communicating with Employees,” Jacksonville, Florida, July 2010
  • “Opening the Floodgates – 2009 changes to ADA and FMLA,” Holland & Knight webinar, January 2009
  • “Giving You the Dirt on the Fair Labor Standards Act,” Jacksonville, Florida, August 2007
  • “The Fair Labor Standards Act: Understanding the Basics,” Jacksonville, Florida, March 2006


  • 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.