Brian T. Rochel


rochel@kitzerrochel.com

main: (612) 767-0520

direct: (612) 767-0528

10.0Brian Thomas Rochel

About Brian

Brian Rochel represents employees, whistleblowers and executives. Brian is certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) as an Employment Law Specialist.

Brian wins for his clients. At trial, at mediation, or in settlement negotiations, he fights to win the best result for his client. His successes include millions of dollars in awards for employees who have experienced discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violations, and much more.

Brian has appeared before the Minnesota Supreme Court as a member of the MN-NELA Amicus Committee, writing briefs in many high-profile cases. Examples include Kenneh v. Homeward Bound, Inc. (a seminal case changing the standard for what constitutes sexual harassment at work); Friedlander v. Edward Lifesciences (a major case expanding protections under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act); Sanchez v. Dahlke Trailer Sales (a seminal case on the intersection of federal immigration law and Minnesota law prohibiting employment retaliation); Ford v. Minneapolis Public Schools (establishing a 6-year statute of limitation in Minnesota whistleblower claims); and Peterson v. City of Minneapolis (a leading case on the Minnesota Human Rights Act and alternative dispute resolution).

He is a well-respected leader in employment law. Brian served as an adjunct professor at both the University of Minnesota Law School and Mitchell | Hamline School of Law. Brian has been recognized as a “Labor & Employment Star” by Benchmark Litigation each year from 2018-present, an  “Up & Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer and a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers each year from 2012-2020.

Brian was elected to serve on the Board of the Minnesota chapter of NELA from 2014 through 2017, and again in 2021. In addition, Brian serves as the Eighth Circuit representative for NELA’s Amicus Advisory Council, a committee which guides NELA’s national brief-writing priorities, and serves on Minnesota NELA’s Legislative and Amicus Committees.

Brian regularly presents and writes on issues impacting employees’ rights and is a member of several organizations. He was recognized as “Outstanding Author of the Year” by the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) Labor & Employment Section. He has also served on the boards of the National Employment Lawyers’ Association’s (NELA) Eighth Circuit and Minnesota chapters, as well as the FBA Labor & Employment Section and Younger Lawyers’ Division.

Recognition

Brian has received numerous awards and recognitions and is very active in his community, in federal, state and local bar associations, and particularly in the labor and employment field advocating for employees’ rights. Here are some examples:

-Certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) as an Employment Law Specialist

-Named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2012-2020)

-Rated a perfect 10 out of 10 (“Superb”) Avvo

-Named a “Labor & Employment Star – Midwest” by Benchmark Litigation (2018-present)

NamedUp & Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer (2017)

-Awarded the “Outstanding Author of the Year” by the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Labor & Employment Section (2015)

-Recognized as Minnesota State Bar Association North Star Lawyer for pro bono service (2014-2019)

Involvement

  • Board Member, National Employment Lawyers Association–Minnesota Chapter (MN-NELA); 2021-present, 2014-2017
  • Volunteer Attorney, Pro Se Project, U.S. District Court; 2011-present
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Minnesota Law School; 2018
  • Adjunct Faculty, Mitchell | Hamline School of Law; 2017
  • Amicus Advisory Council for the Eighth Circuit, NELA; 2021-present
  • Member, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA); 2011-present
  • Member, National Employment Lawyers Association–Minnesota Chapter (MN-NELA); 2010-present
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), Labor & Employment Section; 2011-present
  • Co-Chair, Committee on Programming and Continuing Legal Education, FBA Labor & Employment Section; 2016-2017
  • Co-Chair, Committee on Publications and Public Relations, FBA Labor & Employment Section; 2015-2017
  • Member, Federal Bar Association Labor & Employment Section; 2010-2020
  • Vice President, National Employment Lawyers Association–Minnesota Chapter (MN-NELA); 2016-2017
  • Member, Public Justice; 2019-2021
  • Board Member, FBA Younger Lawyers Division (YLD); 2015-2017;
    • Liaison to FBA Labor & Employment Section
  • Volunteer Attorney, Minnesota State Bar Association Unemployment Appeals Clinic; 2012-2017
  • Committee Member, Minnesota State Bar Association Human Rights Committee; 2012-2014
  • Board Member, National Employment Lawyers Association–8th Circuit Chapter; 2012-2014
  • Volunteer Facilitator, Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership, 2011-present; Executive Committee, 2012-2013

Presentations

Brian has appeared on radio, served as a regular contributor to a national employment publication, presented on many panels, and has been published in national and local legal periodicals regarding employment law issues. Following are examples of Brian’s presentations and published works.

Radio

Title: As State Continues to Reopen, Some Office Workers Fear COVID-19 Exposure, Retaliation

Organization: Minnesota Public Radio
Year: 2020

Link: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/07/06/as-state-continues-to-reopen-some-office-workers-fear-covid19-exposure-retaliation

Title: Employment Law Survey & Protecting Employee Rights
Organization: The Legal Journal
Type: Radio Broadcast
Year: 2012

Link:

Publications

Representative Cases

  • Dubiel v. G&K Services, File No. 27-CV-10-5234 (Minn. Dist. Ct. May 9, 2011) (jury verdict of $361,000 in workers’ compensation retaliation case);
  • Abrahamson v. National Pawn Co. of Minnesota, (Minn. Dist. Ct.  Apr. 2014) (jury verdict of $133,000 for sexual harassment and retaliation);
  • Fleck v. FMMI, (Minn. Dist. Ct. April 1, 2013) (win at trial, award of $357,000 in discrimination case–case involved two trials);
  • Sletten v. CPS, No. A12-2210 (Minn. Ct. App. June 3, 2013) (court of appeals victory reversing summary judgment on fraud and tortious interference claims and remanding for trial);
  • Helmeid v. Bd. Phys. Therapy, (Minn. Dist. Ct. Aug. 2021) (summary judgment denied in whistleblower and MHRA retaliation claims);
  • Oliver v. MCTC, (Minn. Dist. Ct. Jan. 2015) (summary judgment denied in disability and workers’ compensation retaliation claims);
  • Lindner v. Donatelli Bros. of White Bear Lake, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110268, 1 (D. Minn. Aug. 11, 2014) (summary judgment denied on FMLA and disability claims);
  • Gordon and Haggins v. The New French Bakery, File No. 27-CV-11-16306 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 2012) (court denied both of Defendant’s motions for summary judgment in their entirety).

Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Education

  • Juris Doctorate Degree, summa cum laude, Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota; Dean’s List and Articles Editor, Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy
  • Certificate in Advocacy & Problem Solving, Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, Dispute Resolution Center
  • Bachelor of Art’s Degree, magna cum laude, Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota

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