Maria de las Nieves (Nieves) was influenced from a young age by the work and activism of her single mother worked to provide health care and educational services to in Central Washington’s Yakima Valley, including through work with migrant farmworkers and community organizations. It was this background that created Nieves’ interest in employment law and drew her to her first legal job with mentor and workers’ rights activist Robin Potter, who later became her law partner.
Nieves represents workers in wage and hour, False Claims Act, and employment discrimination and retaliation litigation. She has significant litigation experience at the state and federal level, as well as with local administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. Nieves’ experience includes representation of single plaintiffs, class and collective actions at all stages of litigation, and she has litigating False Claims Act cases and large class action cases with exceptional results, including a $14 million settlement in a class action sexual harassment case in Brown, et al. v. Cook County, et al., No. 17-cv-8085 (N.D. Ill. 2020).
Nieves is a 2009 graduate of DePaul University College of Law. She serves on the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and is VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on its Executive Committee. She also chairs NELA’s Low Wage Worker Practice Group and serves on its Legislative Action Committee and is a member of NELA’s Illinois affiliate, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the National Lawyers Guild’s Chicago Labor and Employment Committee. Nieves serves on the ARISE Chicago Legal Advisory Board and serves on the Board for In These Times Magazine.
Nieves frequently lectures on various employment law matters, including at NELA’s Annual Conventions, NELA Illinois’ Seventh Circuit Conference, the Decalogue Society, Illinois Legal Services Committee for Immigrants, and a variety of other organizations. Nieves co-authored a brief on behalf of amici curiae Steve Viscelli, Domingo Avalos, Gabriel Procel, Brion Gray, James Zuber, Hector Zelaya, Desiree Ann Wood, the Wage Justice Center and Real Women in Trucking, Inc. in the case, New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, __ U.S. __, 139 S.Ct. 532, 202 L.Ed. 2d 536 (2019).
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois