Phillip M. Kitzer
main: (612) 767-0520
direct: (612) 767-0527
Phillip M. Kitzer represents employees in claims involving whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, and False Claims Act, discrimination, workers’ compensation retaliation, FMLA retaliation, severance negotiations, and executive compensation. He has successfully litigated and negotiated severances for clients in a wide range of industries, including pharmaceutical, medical device, banking, health care, insurance and manufacturing. He recently appeared before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court in Schmitz v. U.S. Steel, a matter that successfully established a constitutional right to a jury trial for all employees in Minnesota based on retaliatory termination under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Phillip serves as a leader in the legal community. From 2013-2015, he served as President of the Minnesota affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). He also served as ex officio on the MN-NELA Board of Directors and is a member of the MN-NELA legislative committee. In 2013 Phillip worked closely with Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ) at the state capital to help pass legislation strengthening the rights of whistleblowers, and in 2014, he successfully worked with MAJ on legislation guaranteeing the right to a jury for employees experiencing discrimination and retaliation. From 2016-2019, he also served as a co-chair on the FBA L&E’s Programming and CLE Committee, and he co-chaired the Membership Committee. Phillip currently serves on the board of directors and as Secretary for MN-NELA, and on the governing counsel for the Labor and Employment Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA).
Phillip has appeared before the Minnesota Supreme Court as a member of MN-NELA’s amicus committee. His involvement includes multiple seminal and high-profile employment cases over the last decade, including Kenneh v. Homeward Bound, Inc. (improving the standard for what constitutes sexual harassment at work), Friedlander v. Edward Lifesciences (a major case expanding protections under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act), Ford v. Minneapolis Public Schools (establishing a 6-year statute of limitation in Minnesota whistleblower claims), and Smith v. City of Minneapolis (a leading case on the Minnesota Human Rights Act and alternative dispute resolution).
In 2018, Phillip was named a Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association, a designation earned by fewer than 3% of all licensed Minnesota attorneys. Phillip has been consistently recognized as a Super Lawyer or Rising Star by Super Lawyers since 2012. He was also recognized as an “Up and Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer, an award given to fewer than 30 lawyers statewide who have distinguished themselves by their legal achievements within their first 10 years of practice.
Phillip graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School where he was a managing editor for the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology and was a participant in the Duberstein Moot Court competition. Phillip enjoys distance running, camping, traveling, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.
- National Employment Lawyer’s Association (NELA) Minnesota Chapter: President 2012-2014; Vice President 2011-2012; Board Member 2010-2014, 2022-Present;
- Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Counsel Member, 2022-Present;
- MN-NELA Legislative Committee, 2013 – present
- MN-NELA Amicus Committee, 2016 – present
- NELA Member, 2010-15; 2017 – present
- 8th Circuit NELA Board Member, 2012 – 2014
- Federal Bar Association, Member, 2009 – 2022
- Federal Bar Association Diversity Committee, Board Member, 2012 – 2022
- Federal Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section, Board Member, 2015 – 2022
- Federal Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section, Co-chair, Programing & CLE Committee, 2015 – 2019
- Minnesota State Bar Association, Member, 2009 – present
- Hennepin County Bar Association, Member, 2012 – present
- Minnesota Association for Justice, Member, 2014 – present
- Volunteer Attorney, Pro Se Project, U.S. District Court, 2011 – present
- Named a Rising Star or Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023
- Named Up & Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer in 2015
- Federal Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section 2017 Chair Award
- Named Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist by Minnesota State Bar Association in 2018
Presentations & Articles
- 25 Years After Faragher-Ellerth, National Employment Lawyers Association, Chicago, IL, June 2023
- Eighth Circuit Employment Law Update, National Employment Lawyers Association – Eighth Circuit Chapter, October 2022, St. Louis, MO
- COVID-19: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going, National Employment Lawyers Association, San Francisco, CA, June 2022
- Oh Henry! An Analysis of Adverse Employment Actions and Other Legal Issues, Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnepolis, MN, May 2022
- COVID Update – Developing issues, Impacts and Legal Implications of COVID in the Workplace, Minnesota State Bar Association, November 2021
- Key Employment Cases and Important Legislation for Employee Advocates, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, November 2021
- COVID-19 Employment Law Trends, MN-Paralegal Association, Minneapolis, MN, February 2021
- COVID-19: A Plaintiffs’ Employment Attorney’s Perspective, MN-NELA, Minneapolis, MN, December 2020
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination Under Title VII – Recent Developments, FBA Labor & Employment Law Section Traveling CLE (co-hosted by FBA Puerto Rico Chapter), San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 2018; El Paso, TX, November 2018; Norfolk, VA, May 2019;
- The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws, Minnesota CLE, July 2018
- Representing Clients in Mediation, MN-FBA Federal Practice Seminar, Minneapolis, MN April 2018
- Transgender Rights in the Workplace, 8th Circuit NELA Biennial Convention, Minneapolis, MN, April 2018
- How to Work with In-House Counsel: Tips for Both Plaintiffs and Defense Attorneys, FBA Labor and Employment Section Biennial Conference, San Antonio, TX, March 2017
- Race and Religious Discrimination in the Workplace, FBA National Conference, Cleveland, OH, September 2016
- The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws, Advanced Employment Law Issues for Public Entities, Spring 2016
- Their Brand Is Crisis: Dealing with Standard Defense Attorney Tactics, 8th Circuit NELA Convention, April 2016
- Employment Law Series: The Intersection of Disability, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws, Minnesota CLE, October 2015
- Is McDonnell Douglas Too Burdensome? Circuits Question the Utility of the Decades-Old Burden-Shifting Model, The Labouring Oar, Federal Bar Association, Spring 2015
- The Changing Landscape of Retaliation Claims: Applying the “But-For” Causation Standard after Gross and Nassar, moderator, 8th Circuit NELA Conference, 2014
- Regular contributor to the Federal Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Circuit update for the Eighth Circuit, 2014 – present
- The Jury’s Still Out: Assessing the Constitutionality of the MHRA’s Ban on Jury Trials, Hennepin Lawyer 2013
- Civil Causes of Action Related to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act 176,82, MAJ Workers’ Compensation
Personable with High Integrity
“I never could have imagined I would be in a situation where I would need to seek legal advice in an employment matter. After much contemplation, I decided to fight for what was right and retained Phillip Kitzer.
Through all aspects of my case from discovery, to depositions and mediations, Phillip provided pragmatic advice while making it apparent the final decision was mine. Phillip’s professionalism, responsiveness and overall, legal knowledge was proven to be a tremendous component to obtaining the results I was seeking against my previous employer.”
Mr. Phillip Kitzer: A lawyer with a backbone and a heart!
“When searching for a lawyer it is in your best interest to hire Mr. Phillip Kitzer! Phillip is completely educated in his field. He is tough with a strong backbone. He kept me informed the whole time. Every single e-mail or voice mail that I left was returned within 1-2 days at the latest. I truly believe that he cares about not only the case but the client! He ALWAYS looked out for MY best interest. I promise when your case is final you will be bragging about Phillip and recommending him to anyone you come in contact with that needs legal counsel.”
“Phil is a great attorney. He cares about his clients and puts forward all his effort and knowledge to give the best advice possible and he is very personable. I won the case Phil handled and he made it as painless as possible for me. He goes above and beyond what he needs to. I’ve worked with several attorneys and Phil is by far the best I’ve worked with. I would strongly recommend Phil to anyone, including family and friends.”
-Derek, an Employment Client
“Mr. Kitzer is a wonderful lawyer! He was very understanding and compassionate with our situation. Phil always kept us informed with what was going on with our case and was always willing to listen about our concerns and answer any questions we had. Phil worked very hard for us and won our case, we couldn’t of asked for a better lawyer!”
-Pamela, a Wrongful Termination client
I would use him again and recommend him to friends and family!
“Phil was a very down to earth and responsive lawyer! I had need for a wrongful termination attorney and Phil made sure that I was informed of each step before it happened. He never spoke down to me and was always available to ask questions. He was successful in my case and I would highly recommend him!!”
-Carolee, a Wrongful Termination client
• Supreme Court of Minnesota
• United States District Court — Minnesota
• Juris Doctorate Degree, cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota; ManaginEditor Law Journal: Minnesota Journal of Law: Science and Technology
• Bachelor of Science Degree, University of Wisconsin, Madison