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Sheila M. Cesarano is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Shutts & Bowen LLP and Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group.

A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated attorney, Sheila has been listed among the Best Lawyers in America® in Labor & Employment Law and was recently named by the Daily Business Review as one of the Top 20 Women in Law. She’s Florida Bar Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law and an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association.

Sheila has more than 35 years of experience defending Fortune 100 companies in and out of court and has represented some of the nation’s largest employers in labor and employment cases in Florida. She began her career as a trial lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board and has since represented major national clients, including Target, L’Oréal, Macy’s, Lancome, and Burger King, among others.

Sheila is experienced in defending employers in discrimination matters, including race, sex, national origin, sexual harassment, pregnancy, religion, age, and disability, as well as retaliation. She also defends hotels, restaurants and other commercial enterprises in accessibility cases brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sheila advises employers on workplace issues and works to prevent problems that may lead to litigation, including:

  • employee discipline and terminations;
  • personnel policies;
  • employee benefit plans;
  • drug testing;
  • family and medical leave;
  • wage and hour laws;
  • grievance/arbitration;
  • unfair labor practices; and,
  • union organizing campaigns.

She has handled labor and employment matters for various clients including retail manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, department stores, contractors, transportation companies, cruise lines, schools, financial institutions, airlines, insurance companies and health care providers.

Sheila frequently conducts management training seminars on prevention of workplace issues. She has spoken on employment law topics such as sexual harassment, progressive discipline, EEOC discrimination charges, drug testing, and diversity.

Representative Cases
Shelia was lead counsel for a Paris-based global cosmetics firm in its first U.S. employment trial. The jury ruled in her client’s favor on all counts, dismissing claims of age, race and national origin discrimination.


  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1977
  • University of Washington, B.S., summa cum laude, Psychology, 1974

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • Washington

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the  Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the  Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional and Civic Activities

  • American Arbitration Association
  • American Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar Association
  • Washington Bar Association


  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rated, 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Labor & Employment Law, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
    • Employment Law – Management, 2020
    • Labor Law – Management, 2020
  • Florida Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor Law, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Daily Business Review, Top 20 Women in Law, 2014
  • South Florida Legal Guide, Top Lawyer, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019