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Sue K. Willman


Spencer Fane attorney Sue Willman

T 816.292.8162
F 816.474.3216

Sue Willman is an employment attorney who represents management exclusively on workplace legal issues. She is primarily a “preventative” employment attorney whose primary focus is to help employers: (1) prevent employment-related claims from arising by adopting legally sound, effective, and innovative HR policies, practices, and programs; and (2) make lawful, strategic and practical HR decisions on employee-specific matters that will result in a sound defense position should a claim be asserted.

Sue: (1) provides counseling on HR issues and best practices (e.g., discipline/discharge, FMLA, ADA, harassment, discrimination, wage/hour); (2) conducts HR audits; (3) develops compliance programs (e.g., ADA, FMLA and affirmative action); (4) prepares/reviews HR policies, handbooks and forms; (5) develops and conducts training programs on employment law topics; (6) advises on government audits (e.g., OFCCP, DOL, FLSA, and FMLA); and (7) defends employers on claims filed with government agencies (e.g., EEOC, DOL/WHD, and state agencies).

Sue understands business, the HR profession, and the importance of providing practical and innovative advice and options that meet a client’s needs, risk profile, and budget. She is a leading “go to” resource for employers on many employment issues with more than 40 years of experience. She has a unique combination of legal and HR experience as an employment lawyer in private practice, as an in-house employment attorney, and as an HR professional.

Sue focuses her practice in the following areas:

  • Labor and Employment
  • HR Counseling and Policy Development
  • HR and Supervisory Training
  • HR Audits and Compliance Programs
  • Defense of Employment Charges/Claims Filed with Government Agencies

Highlights of Sue Willman’s experience include:

  • Sue has developed innovative ADA compliance programs for employers. These programs include disability accommodation policies, a variety of user-friendly forms and checklists (e.g., for accommodation requests, evaluation of accommodation options, medical certification forms, leaves of absence, fitness for duty evaluations, direct threat/safety evaluations, forms, and other materials).
  • Sue has extensive and in-depth knowledge about and experience handling FMLA issues and regularly assists employers with FMLA compliance challenges and attendance issues. She was actively involved in seeking FMLA regulatory reform on behalf of employers for many years. She testified in 2002, 2005, and twice in 2007 before two U.S. Senate committees and the Department of Labor regarding the FMLA.
  • Sue is a frequently-requested trainer and presenter on HR and legal topics (including harassment, discrimination, FMLA, ADA, discipline/discharge, FLSA, best HR practices, avoiding the courtroom, and others). She has provided training for employers for more than 30 years and during that same period has made more than 300 professional presentations.


  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow, 2015-present
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), 2015-present
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Baron of the Boardroom (lifetime achievement award for business lawyers), 2015
  • Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network (GKC-BLN), Volunteer of the Year Award, 2012
  • SHRM-KC, Contributor of the Year Award, 2002
  • SHRM-KC, President’s Award, 1992
  • Missouri and Kansas Best Lawyers, Labor and Employment Law, 2008-2021
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2009-2023
  • Best Lawyers in America, Women in the Law, Labor and Employment Law, 2016
  • Preeminent Women Lawyers, Labor and Employment Law, 2013-present
  • Chambers USA, Labor and Employment Law, 2012-Present
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Lawyer Rating, 1991-Present

Contact Sue Willman at 816.292.8162 or swillman@spencerfane.com.