As a member of the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group, Denise focuses her practice on defending employers in workers compensation matters and providing representation and counsel to clients in employment discrimination/harassment litigation, ADA/FMLA compliance, drug and alcohol testing and workplace safety and health issues.

An experienced litigator, Denise represents public and private sector employers in all phases of employment related litigation, including before state and federal courts, arbitrators, administrative law judges and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.  Recognizing her clients’ ultimate goal is to stay out of court, Denise provides proactive counseling and training to employers to help employers comply with the law and avoid litigation.  Denise also frequently aids employers in investigating allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other incidents of workplace misconduct.  Denise’s understanding of the interplay between workers’ compensation laws, the ADA, the FMLA, Title VII and unemployment compensation is critical in helping her clients navigate the complex web these laws often create.

Denise is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of medical marijuana in the workplace.  Her articles on this topic have been published by Inc. Magazine, Corporate Counsel Business Journal, The Legal Intelligencer, and Business Woman Magazine, among others.  Denise is a member of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Medical Marijuana Taskforce and routinely advises employers regarding the impact of marijuana legalization on drug testing and workplace safety policies.  Denise is certified as a specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section and is a member of the Pennsylvania and Lancaster Bar Associations. She is the past chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section and the Labor and Employment Section of the Lancaster Bar Association.  Denise was named a 2014 and 2015 Select Lawyer and a 2019 and 2020 Rising Star. Denise is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, before the Federal District Courts in the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Pennsylvania, before the Third Circuit Court and before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Denise resides in Lancaster Township with her husband and two daughters. Since moving to Lancaster, Denise has given her time to community organizations focused on children.  Currently, Denise serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run Lancaster and is the coach liaison for St. John Neumann Girls on the Run Team.  Denise also serves on the board of Directors and Chairs the Personnel Committee for Union Community Care, is a Director at Large for the Lancaster Bar Association, is a member of the Planning and Policy Committee at Lancaster Catholic High School and is the former chair of the parent School Board at St. John Neumann Catholic School.  Denise served on the Board of Directors of the Hands-on House Children’s Museum for six years, has volunteered with Junior Achievement and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Lancaster.  In her spare time, Denise enjoys running, reading, spending time at the beach and rooting for all Philadelphia sports teams.


University of Delaware, B.A., Criminal Justice, 2002

Temple University, Beasley School of Law, J.D., 2005


Unsung Hero Award, The Legal Intelligencer, 2021

Rising Stars, 2019, 2020

Select Lawyers, 2014, 2015

Top 100 People by Pennsylvania Business Central, 2017

Certified Workers’ Compensation Law Specialist, Pennsylvania Bar Association


Pennsylvania Bar Association

  • Workers’ Compensation Law Specialty Certification
  • Workers’ compensation law section
  • Women in the profession committee
  • Young Lawyers Division
  • Women’s Law Section

Lancaster Bar Association

  • Director at Large, 2023
  • Employment and Labor Law Section, Chair (2017)
  • Workers’ Compensation Section-Past Chair (2013)

Lancaster Chamber

Union Community Care, Board of Directors, 2017-present; Member, Personnel Committee, 2007-present

St. John Neumann Catholic School (formerly St. Anne School) – Member Parent School Board 2013 – present (former President 2017 & 2018)

Hands-on-House Children’s Museum of Lancaster, Board of Directors  2006-2012 (Chair 2011-2012)

Girls on the Run Lancster/Lebanon, Chair, 2021, Board Member 2015 – present; Vice Chair (current); Chair of Governance Committee 2018-2020

Leadership Lancaster

  • Member Program Committee
  • 2009 Core Class Graduate

Junior Achievement

  • Classroom Volunteer
  • Mentor/Facilitator for the Young Women’s Futures Symposium

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • Mentor for the Women in Business mentoring program


U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court – Middle District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court – Western District of Pennsylvania

U.S. Circuit Court – Third Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court



Bar Admissions



May 19, 2023 - Medical Marijuana, Employees Who Drive and the Risk of a DUI?
The Legal Intelligencer

March 8, 2023 - Lancaster County Judge Addresses Definition of “Under the Influence” for Purposes of the Safety Exception in the PA Medical Marijuana Act
McNees PA Labor & Employment Blog

October 26, 2021 - PA Medical Marijuana Act Requires “But For” Causation to Succeed on Discrimination Claim, Federal Judge Says
PA Labor & Employment Blog

September 10, 2021 - President Biden Issues Executive Order and Announces Plans for Mandatory Vaccination Requirements for Federal Contractors, Large Employers, and Others
McNees Employer Alert

August 10, 2021 - PA Superior Court Affirms the Existence of a Cause of Action for Discrimination Under the Medical Marijuana Act
McNees PA Labor & Employment Blog

November 9, 2020 - Ruling offers some clarity on medical marijuana and work

October 1, 2020 - Drug Testing, Medical Marijuana And CBD Oil . . . Oh, My!
Corporate Counsel Business Journal

September 28, 2020 - Quietly, fiercely, she paved a path for women working in law
Lancaster Online

February 18, 2020 - Update - Medical Marijuana in the Pennsylvania Workplace
Business Woman Magazine

May 30, 2018 - Medical Marijuana and Its Impact On the Workplace
The Legal Intelligencer

March 20, 2018 - Medical Marijuana Clouds Drug Testing for Many Workplaces
Corporate Counsel Business Journal

October 15, 2017 - Businesses That Fail to Protect Employees Face Legal Peril
Lancaster LPN News

August 2, 2017 - Business Interests Huddle With Lawmakers Over Protz Ruling That Removed IREs
WorkCompCentral Inc.

August 1, 2017 - Relief Sought for Potential Workers' Comp Whammy
Central Penn Business Journal

July 26, 2016 - Medical Marijuana In The Workplace - Video

January 15, 2016 - 5 Steps Every Employer Should Take To Effectively Manage Workers' Compensation Claims

January 14, 2016 - Workers' Compensation Update: Recouping Workers' Compensation Costs In A Subsequent Medical Malpractice Case


September 29, 2023 - The ABCs of Childcare

March 11, 2022 - Two McNees Attorneys Sharing Workplace Safety Insights Amid Post-COVID Workforce Challenges

June 10, 2021 - 30th Annual Labor & Employment Seminar

February 23, 2021 - Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

March 2, 2021 - Updates in Labor & Employment Law

September 18, 2020 - COVID-19 and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know

June 4, 2020 - POSTPONED until 2021 - 30th Annual Labor & Employment Seminar

February 20, 2020 - If I Had a Crystal Ball: 2020 Legal Updates

January 29, 2020 - Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania – What Employers Need to Know

January 9, 2020 - Coffee with Counsel - Medical Marijuana

January 29, 2020 - Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act

December 12, 2019 - Medical Marijuana

November 7, 2019 - Top Ten Things Employers Need to Know About Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

October 30, 2019 - Navigating Difficult Employee Situations from Hire to Separation and Beyon

October 15, 2019 - The Risks Associated with Medical Marijuana in the Workplace and What to do About Them

June 4, 2019 - McNees Attorney to Serve as Key Speaker at Insurance Agency Seminar

April 24, 2018 - Employment Law Year in Review

February 12, 2018 - McNees Attorneys to Speak at Greater Pottstown SHRM

February 15, 2018 - Legal Updates 2018

June 9, 2017 - 27th Annual Labor & Employment Seminar

August 9, 2017 - Medical Marijuana Versus a Drug Free Workplace

April 25, 2017 - 2016-2017 Labor and Employment Year in Review

July 29, 2015 - Workers' Compensation Benefits Web


June 10, 2022 - McNees Chair, Attorney Named to 2022 CPBJ Power 30 Law and Lobbyist List

March 11, 2022 - Two McNees Attorneys Sharing Workplace Safety Insights Amid Post-COVID Workforce Challenges

August 31, 2021 - McNees Attorney Tapped to Advise Human Resources Professionals

August 23, 2021 - McNees Chair and Attorney Appear on Central Penn Business Journal’s 2021 Power 30 List in Law & Lobbyists

July 5, 2021 - New qualifying conditions, telemedicine visits and 90-day supplies . . . revisions to the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act

May 5, 2021 - McNees Attorney and Diversity Initiative Recognized by The Legal Intelligencer

February 23, 2021 - McNees Attorney Provides Medical Marijuana in the Workplace Update for Central PA LERA

September 17, 2020 - McNees Attorney to Co-Present Virtual Workshop on COVID-19 and Workers Compensation

June 29, 2020 - Thirteen McNees Attorneys Among 2020 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars List

June 29, 2020 - McNees Attorney to Serve as Vice Chair of Girls on the Run Lancaster/Lebanon

February 20, 2020 - McNees Labor & Employment Attorneys to Present at Greater Pottstown SHRM February Meeting

January 21, 2020 - McNees Labor & Employment Attorney to Present at Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP Services’ Breakfast Meeting

December 3, 2019 - McNees Attorney Presenting on Medical Marijuana at Trout, Ebersole & Groff, LLP’s Payroll & Business Seminar

November 7, 2019 - McNees Labor & Employment Attorneys to Present at McKonly & Asbury’s Collaborate 2019 Conference

October 23, 2019 - McNees Attorney Presenting at Lancaster Bar Association Employment Law Summit

October 15, 2019 - McNees Labor & Employment Attorney Presenting at 2019 PAR Solutions Conference

October 14, 2019 - McNees Attorneys to Provide Labor & Employment Law Updates at Annual HRACC Seminar

June 4, 2019 - McNees Attorney to Serve as Key Speaker at Insurance Agency Seminar

May 9, 2019 - McNees Attorneys Among 2019 PA Super Lawyers and Rising Stars List

January 7, 2019 - McNees Elects Attorneys Adeolu Bakare, Devin Chwastyk and Denise Elliott into Membership

August 13, 2018 - McNees Attorney to Take Part in ABA Webinar on Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

April 19, 2018 - McNees Attorney Denise Elliott Earns Workers’ Compensation Law Specialty Certification

February 12, 2018 - McNees Attorneys to Speak at Greater Pottstown SHRM

January 10, 2018 - McNees Attorney Elected to SouthEast Lancaster Health Services Board of Directors

July 26, 2017 - McNees Attorney Denise Elliott Elected President of St. Anne’s School Parent Board

July 25, 2017 - McNees Attorneys to Speak at PA Municipal Legal Update

December 8, 2015 - McNees Attorneys Selected as 2015 Select Lawyers

July 30, 2015 - McNees Attorney Denise E. Elliott Presented "Workers' Compensation Benefits Web"

June 30, 2015 - McNees Attorney Denise E. Elliott Elected To The Board Of Directors For Girls On The Run Lancaster

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