Denise L. Wheeler

Partner

Fort Myers
2320 First Street, Suite 1000
Fort Myers, FL 33901
P 239.338.4259
F 239.337.0970
E dwheeler@ralaw.com



Denise L. Wheeler

Partner

Phone: 239.338.4259
Fax: 239.337.0970
Email: dwheeler@ralaw.com

Ms. Wheeler is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by The Florida Bar and focuses her practice on representing employers in all types of employment law issues. She has extensive experience in defending employers in lawsuits brought by employees in both state and federal courts involving discrimination laws, employment contracts, wage and hour claims, non-compete issues, wrongful termination, retaliation, whistle blower, employee benefits, union and collective bargaining issues, OSHA, minimum wage and overtime claims, and general personnel matters. She also counsels management in preventive measures, handbooks and policies, liability avoidance, documentation and employee discipline advice, investigations, training, and compliance with federal, state and local employment laws.

Ms. Wheeler has represented both health care providers and hospitals throughout Florida in defending claims brought by employees including harassment, discrimination, unpaid compensation, breach of contract and non-compete issues. She has also worked extensively with clients in this industry to proactively prevent litigation by providing training, advice on discipline and drafting contract, polices and handbooks. She is also a member of the firm's Health Care Reform Team, which advises employers on compliance with the new federal health care legislation.

Accomplishments

  • AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • Selected as one of the "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by Human Resource Executive Magazine andLawdragon (2013)
  • Selected as one of the "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys - Up-And-Comers" by Human Resource Executive Magazine (2011 & 2012)
  • Named to the "Florida Legal Elite" by Florida Trend Magazinewhich represents approximately 2% of active Florida Bar members practicing in Florida (2006 & 2009)
  • Selected as a "Florida Super Lawyer" (2006-2013)
  • Selected as one of the "Top 50 Female Lawyers in Florida" byLaw & Politics magazine (2007, 2010-2012)
  • Named in Gulf Coast Business Review "40 Under 40" (2006)
  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law - Management (2010 & 2011); Civil Rights Law (2012-2014); and Commercial Litigation (2013 & 2014)

Education

  • 1994, J.D., Stetson University College of Law
    • magna cum laude
  • 1991, B.S., University of South Florida

Professional Affiliations

  • Lee County Association for Women Lawyers, Vice President (2005-2006) and President (2006-2008)
  • Lee County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Academy of Florida Management Attorneys
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District, Grievance Committee
  • American Bar Association, Employment Law Section

Community Affiliations

  • Voices for Kids of Southwest Florida, Board of Directors (2009-present)
  • Horizon Council, Member-at-Large (2007-2009)
  • Ave Maria School of Law, Member, Leadership Council (2008)
  • United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades County, Board of Directors

Publications

  • "Employers Can Save Green By Recycling Employees" - Guest Column, Tampa Bay Business Journal (April 2, 2010)
  • "Going After Gossip" - Workforce Management Online (July 2009)
  • "Recent Legislative Changes - What Are a Physician's Obligations Under the Family Medical Leave Act" - M.D. News Magazine (April 2008)
  • Featured in LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Counsel to Counsel Magazine (May 2008)

Presentations

  • "Employment Claims Can Kill You - Prescription for Best Practices Going Forward" - James M. Johnson Physician Leadership Course (2012)
  • "Must See TV - What You Can Learn From Office Sitcoms" - Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Southwest Florida (2012)
  • "DOJ Sues Jacksonville for Using Written Tests to Determine Fire Department Promotions" - 970 WFLA "AM Tampa Bay" (2012)
  • "'I'll Take Employment Law for 500' - Increase Your Employment Law Knowledge by Taking This Quiz" - Roetzel Employment Law Seminar: New Year's Resolutions (2012)
  • "Express Gratitude - That These Lawsuits Didn't Involve Your Company!" - Co-presenter, Roetzel Employment Law Seminar: New Year's Resolutions (2012)
  • "Top Concerns for Small/New Employers" - Women in Business Education Series (2011)
  • "Swinging for the Fence: Bizarre Claims" - Roetzel Employment Law Seminar: Spring Training (2011)
  • "Big Brother is Watching - Emerging Privacy Issues for Employers" - HR Florida Conference (2009)
  • "FLSA/State Wage and Hour and FMLA Changes and New Proposed Regulations: What You Need To Know To Comply" - Employment Law Update (2009)
  • "Legislative & Administrative Update" - American Society of Safety Engineers Florida Suncoast Chapter, Rotary Club of Cape Coral and Southwest Florida Roofing Contractors Association (2008)
  • "Legislative and Administrative Update: Recent & Upcoming Events" - Southwest Florida Risk & Insurance Management Society (2008)
  • "Employment Litigation Process: Legal and Practical Considerations for Employers Defending Lawsuits" - Fowler White Boggs Banker Fort Myers Employment Law Seminar, Economic Downturn: Obstacle or Opportunity for Employers? (2008)
  • "Coping with Leave Laws" - Sterling Education Services (2007)
  • "The Latest Interpretations of Current Employment Law" - Sterling Education Services (2007)
  • "Top 10 Employment Myths/Misconceptions" - Manatee Medical Society (2006) and Lee County Alliance of Legal Professionals (2005)
  • "How to Keep a Firing from Backfiring" - Charlotte County Medical Society (2006)
  • "Non-Competition Agreements and Covenants in the Healthcare Industry" - Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center (2006)
  • "Preparing to Weather the Storm" - Collier County Medical Society (2006)
  • "How to Define Legal Job Criteria and Legally Fund Aid Quality Applicants" - Sterling Education Services (2005)
  • "Overview of Confidentiality Agreement, Non-Compete Agreements and Non-Solicitation Agreements" - Sterling Education Services (2005)
  • "The Termination Process" - Sterling Education Services (2005)
  • "Employment Law for Medical Practices, What Every Practitioner Should Know" - The Florida Bar Annual Meeting (2005)
  • "Minimizing Litigation Risks When Disciplining and Terminating Employees" - Employment Law Certificate Program for HR Professionals, Council on Education in Management (2004)
  • "Family and Medical Leave Act" - Half Moon, LLC (2001)