Brian Rochel Interviewed Regarding COVID-19 and Employment Law

On July 6, 2020, TKKR partner Brian Rochel was featured in an interview by Minnesota Public Radio about current legal protections employees have in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the article here. Brian discussed the real fear many employees have that if they raise concerns related to COVID-19, they will be […]

56th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

On this day 56 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, providing workplace, public accommodation, education, & voting protections to children, women, racial and religious minorities. Following the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (declaring African Americans citizens of […]

Supreme Court Declares Sexual Orientation Discrimination Illegal in the Workplace

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision—in Bostock v. Clayton County—that expanded civil rights workplace protections to members of the LGBT community. For years, countless Americans asked, “Can I be fired for being gay or lesbian?” or “Can I be fired for being transgender?” Prior to this decision, in a majority […]

Governor Walz’s Recent COVID-19 Order Gives Employees Important Rights

On May 13, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-54, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Among other things, the Governor’s executive order provides rights to Minnesota employees that all workers should be aware of. First, the executive order prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who ask their employers questions […]

I’ve just been Fired, What do I do Now? 10 Steps to Approach Termination

Your boss calls you into a meeting with human resources. Suddenly, you find yourself without a job and without a clue what the next step will be. Situations like this are difficult, but here are some steps to take to make sure you are able to exercise your rights and confidently move toward your next […]

SCOTUS Grants Writ of Certiorari for Three LGBT Employment Discrimination Cases

On April 22, 2019, the Supreme Court granted petitions for writs of certiorari in three LGBT employment cases. Each of the three cases addresses whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers protection against discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, […]

Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Landmark Disability Discrimination Decision

On February 27, 2019, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a major decision in favor of employees. The case, Daniel v. Minneapolis, addressed whether an employee who is disabled as a result of a work injury can bring a claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). For decades, such employees were prohibited from filing MHRA […]

Can A Whistleblower Keep Work Documents If She Is Terminated?

Employees who report illegal conduct by a company may be whistleblowers. A whistleblower may be entitled to substantial monetary awards for reporting fraud and is generally protected from retaliation. If whistleblowers do experience retaliation, they may have additional legal claims. Frequently, when an employee discovers fraud at work or by their employer, they may seek […]

I received a severance agreement, should I contact an employment lawyer?

As lawyers representing employees, we are often asked when it is a good idea to have a lawyer review a severance agreement. The short answer is: almost always. First, any severance agreement that releases legal claims (virtually all of them do) requires an employee to know whether they have any legal claims that they are […]

Equal Pay Laws Necessary Tool In Fight Against Gender Pay Gap

The “me too” and “time’s up” movements focus primarily on sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. But the movements have also raised awareness of a problem that has persisted throughout U.S. history: gender pay disparity. The gender pay gap is the gap between what men and women are paid. It refers to the average annual pay […]

Phillip Kitzer Participates on #MeToo Panel at FBA National Conference

On September 14, 2018, TKKR Employment Attorney Phillip Kitzer spoke on a panel sponsored by the Labor & Employment Section of the FBA at the Federal Bar Association’s National Conference in New York City. The panel, titled “#MeToo: Implementation and Administration of an Effective Anti-Harassment Policy,” discussed various legal issues arising out of the #MeToo movement, […]

Employment Attorney Phillip Kitzer Presents on Sexual Orientation Discrimination in San Juan, Puerto Rico

On August 3, 2018, TKKR partner Phillip Kitzer presented at a half-day advanced labor and employment law seminar in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mr. Kitzer presented on the changing law related to LGBT discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The presentation covered the history of “sex discrimination” since the bill’s passage, […]

Phillip Kitzer & Brian Rochel Present on Disability and Leave Laws at Minnesota CLE

On July 24, 2018, TKKR attorneys Phillip Kitzer and Brian Rochel presented a webcast sponsored by Minnesota CLE as part of the Workers’ Compensation series. The webcast, titled The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws, addressed the complicated employment issues that arise for employers and employees when dealing with a work-related injury, disabilities, […]

Free Speech in the Workplace?

Many people mistakenly believe that an employee cannot be fired for exercising their rights to free speech. For most employees, that is simply not true. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution generally protects citizens from government retaliation for speech. It provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of […]

Brian Rochel Presents at NELA’s 2018 Annual Convention

On June 28, 2018, Brian Rochel presented along with co-panelists Kathy Butler and David Schlesinger at the National Employment Lawyers’ Association’s (NELA) 2018 Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Brian, Kathy and David’s panel, entitled “Outside-The-Box Discovery Tools: Getting Creative with Discovery in The Era of Proportionality,” focused on practical tips and advice for employee advocates. Brian […]

Brian Rochel Moderates Panel on Proving Damages at Employment Law Institute

On May 21, 2018, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partner Brian Rochel presented a continuing legal education seminar to his peers at the Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute. The Employment Law Institute, billed as “the Nation’s best employment law conference,” is a program that attracted approximately 1,400 lawyers and employment law professionals. Rochel, together with his […]

Phillip Kitzer Presents on Panel at Minnesota FBA Federal Practice Seminar

On April 27, 2018, Phillip Kitzer joined co-panelists Judge Jeffrey Keyes and Judge Hildy Bowbeeron a panel titled “Representing Clients in Mediation” at the Minnesota chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) 44th Annual Federal Practice Seminar. Moderated by Antone Melton-Meaux, the panel discussed various techniques and considerations in mediating cases and representing clients in […]

Ideas for Negotiating a Job Offer

If you do not typically negotiate the terms of your job offer, you may want to consider doing so. There are many different aspects of a typical employment offer that you may be able to negotiate. If you do not, you may be selling yourself short. Perhaps the biggest factor in negotiating an employment agreement […]

Phillip Kitzer Presents on Transgender Rights in the Workplace at 8th Circuit NELA’s Biennial Convention

On April 6, 2018, Phillip Kitzer participated on a panel at the 8th Circuit chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association’s (NELA) biennial convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota on transgender rights in the workplace. Along with co-panelists Joni Thome, Ferne Wolf, and moderator Jill Silverstein, the panel discussed trends in the law, litigation strategies, and best practices […]

Phillip Kitzer Named MSBA Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist

On March 6, 2018, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) announced Phillip Kitzer as a new Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist. The designation was earned after Mr. Kitzer completed a rigorous approval process, including an examination, peer review, and documented experience. According to the MSBA, certified attorneys “demonstrate superior knowledge, skill, and integrity […]

What to do if you experience sexual harassment at work

By now, nearly everyone has heard of the #metoo movement, an effort to fight back against the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. The movement has highlighted the reality that sexual harassment is very common at work. The laws prohibiting sexual harassment are complicated and, unfortunately, there are aspects that […]

Favorable Settlement Changes City of Minneapolis Policies for Disabled Workers

On December 22, 2017, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel finalized a settlement agreement in Stewart, et al. v. The City of Minneapolis, an employment discrimination class action lawsuit. The agreement included significant policy changes that benefit City of Minneapolis employees who are or become disabled. Laurence Stewart, the named plaintiff, is a former employee of Minneapolis in its Public Works […]

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Attorney Phillip Kitzer Moderates Panel at FBA Labor & Employment Biennial Conference

Attorney Phillip Kitzer recently served on a panel at the FBA Labor and Employment Biennial Conference in San Antonio on a topic titled, “How to Work with In-House Employment Counsel – Tips for Both Plaintiff and Defense.” Additional panelists included Brittany Mayer-Schuler, Vice President of Legal Affairs for Elior North America, Melissa M. Heidman, Vice […]

EEOC Reaches Significant Settlement in Prayer Accommodation Case

On August 6, 2017, the EEOC reached a significant settlement in a case against Electrolux. The case involved claims by a group of Muslim employees who were denied religious accommodations. The employees had asked the company to allow them to break their fast shortly after sunset in accordance with the observation of Ramadan, the Islamic […]

With Rise of Hate Groups, Laws Prohibiting Harassment at Work are Important Tools

With the apparent increase of hate speech and hate groups on the rise in the United States, it is important for employees to keep in mind their rights to be free from hostility and harassment at work under federal and state law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) prohibits discrimination […]

Minnesota Supreme Court Affirms Broad Protection for Whistleblowers

Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of employees, holding that the Minnesota legislature intended to overrule caselaw that limited Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act (MWA) when it amended the law in 2013. The case, Freidlander v. Edwards Life Sciences, centered around the definition of “good faith.” The MWA protects employees from retaliation if they report […]

Brian Rochel Named to 2017 Up and Coming Attorneys List

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel is proud to announce that partner Brian Rochel has been named to Minnesota Lawyer’s list of 2017 Up & Coming Attorneys. Mr. Rochel was among one of only 23 honorees this year, all chosen by an outside panel consisting of past Honorees. Attorneys were selected based on their professional accomplishments, […]

Minnesota Supreme Court extends statute of limitations for some claims under Minnesota Human Rights Act

On April 12, 2017, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an opinion in Peterson v. City of Minneapolis, 2017 Minn. LEXIS 195 (Apr. 12, 2017), that may extend the statute of limitations for some employment claims brought under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Scott Peterson was a Minneapolis Police Officer for several years. In 2011, he was […]

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Brings Class Action Employment Lawsuit against City of Minneapolis

On January 6, 2017, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel initiated Stewart, et al. v. The City of Minneapolis, a class action employment lawsuit. The suit is brought in Minnesota District Court, Fourth District–Hennepin County. Laurence Stewart, the named plaintiff, is a former employee of Minneapolis in its Public Works Department. Stewart seeks classwide relief for himself […]

Gretchen Carlson Leads Fight against Sexual Harassment and Forced Arbitration at Work

Gretchen Carlson, Minnesota native and former Fox News star, is featured in an article by Time Magazine on her fight against sexual harassment at work. Carlson was sexually harassed by her boss, Roger Ailes, then Chairman of Fox News. Since taking her legal claims public, she has been a role model for victims of sexual […]

Phillip Kitzer Moderates Panel on Race and Religious Discrimination at Federal Bar Association National Conference

On September 16, 2016, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel attorney Phillip Kitzer moderated a panel on discrimination at the Federal Bar Association’s annual national conference in Cleveland, Ohio.  The program, entitled “Race and Religious Discrimination in the Workplace,” addressed the history of race and religious discrimination claims over the past 40 years. The panelists also […]

Brian Rochel Presents at NELA National Convention in Los Angeles, CA

Brian Rochel presented at the National Employment Lawyer Association’s (NELA) annual convention, held from June 22-25 in Los Angeles, CA. Brian presented as part of a panel entitled, “What I Wish I Knew When I was Starting Out as a Plaintiffs’ Employment Lawyer.” The presentation covered a wide breadth of topics, and was aimed at […]

Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer Present to Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust on ADA, Workers’ Compensation Retaliation, and FMLA Laws

On June 15, 2016, Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer presented at the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust’s (MCIT) seminar, Advanced Employment Issues for Public Entities.  The presentation, titled The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws, addressed the complications for employers when employees request accommodations related to a disability or work-related injury, or when […]

Brian Rochel recognized again as North Star Lawyer for pro bono service

Brian Rochel has been designated as a North Star Lawyer for 2015, the third consecutive year Mr. Rochel has received the designation. The North Star Lawyer designation is awarded to Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) members who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono service in 2015.  The  entire list of recipients will soon be […]

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Partners Present at 8th Circuit Employment Law Conference

 On April 14, 2016, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Brian Rochel, and Phillip Kitzer presented continuing legal education programming at the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) – Eighth Circuit Affiliate conference. NELA’s Eighth Circuit conference is held every two years, and draws employment lawyers from throughout the Upper Midwest. This years’ conference was held in […]

Excessive Use of Overly Broad Non-Compete Agreements being Called into Question

Non-compete agreements, a certain type of restrictive covenant, have been somewhat common between employers and employees for decades. But the use of non-competes, particularly very broad and restrictive ones, has spread expansively in recent years. Initially designed to be a fair tool for employers to maintain certain key trade secrets and essential client bases, non-competes […]

Minnesota Supreme Court Clarifies that Whistleblowers Have 6 Years to File Claim

What is the statute of limitations for a whistleblower claim in Minnesota?  That was the question posed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in  Ford v. Minneapolis Public Schools.  In a unanimous decision, the Court has ruled that whistleblowers have six years to bring a lawsuit against an employer under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act (“MWA”).   […]

Wage Theft Significant Problem, Minneapolis City Council to Address

Wage theft is the illegal practice of employers not paying workers for their labor, or their work. Wage theft includes failing to pay minimum wage, failing to pay overtime, failing to pay workers the wage that was promised, forcing workers to work ‘off the clock,’ and many other illegal practices. Wage theft is a major […]

Whistleblowers Reveal Widespread Fraud at Large Twin Cities Mental Health Agency

Several whistleblowers have brought to light allegations of widespread fraud by Complementary Support Services (CSS). According to allegations from federal and state prosecutors, the mental healthcare provider defrauded Minnesota’s Medicaid program for millions of dollars and provided inadequate supervision of unlicensed practitioners. The state and federal prosecutors filed suit against CSS in November of 2015. Several employees have come forward […]

Phillip Kitzer, Brian Rochel, and Doug Micko Present on Intersection of Disability, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws

On October 26, 2015, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Phillip Kitzer and Brian Rochel presented a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on the intersection between disability discrimination laws under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) and the American’s With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and Workers’ Compensation retaliation (“WCA”). […]

Minnesota Court of Appeals Holds Restrictive Covenant against Employee Not Enforceable

In a potentially significant case, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that a non-solicitation agreement was not enforceable because it did not include specific reference to consideration in exchange for the agreement not to solicit within the agreement. The case, JAB, Inc. v. Naegle, resulted in the employee’s non-solicitation agreement being unenforceable. Under basic principles […]

Brian Rochel Named Author of the Year by FBA L&E Section

Brian Rochel was presented the “Author of the Year Award” by the Labor & Employment Section of the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) at its annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. The award was given to Brian “in recognition of deep appreciation for outstanding contributions to Section publications.” Brian served as a volunteer editor of […]

Phillip Kitzer Named “Up & Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochelpartner Phillip Kitzer was recently recognized by Minnesota Lawyer as an Up & Coming Attorney for 2015, an honor bestowed on a select group of attorneys who have demonstrated outstanding work within the profession and who have fewer than 10 years of experience. This year’s award was limited to 28 attorneys throughout Minnesota, […]

Rochel Co-Organizes and Moderates FBA Labor & Employment Seminar

  On August 26, 2015, the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) Labor & Employment Section hosted a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar. The seminar was co-hosted with the Minnesota Chapter of the FBA, and was held at Faegre Baker Daniels in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brian Rochel of Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel helped organize the event along with […]

Supreme Court Recognizes Constitutional Right to Marriage Equality

Today, the United States Supreme Court agreed that the Constitution granted the liberty “to define and express their identity” by “marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.” The groundbreaking decision, available here, recognized that the personal choice […]

Brian Rochel Named North Star Lawyer for Pro Bono Service

Brian Rochel has been designated as a North Star Lawyer for 2014. The North Star Lawyer designation is awarded to Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) members who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono service in 2014.  Click here to see the entire list of recipients.

Phillip Kitzer Recognized as Up & Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer

Phillip Kitzer, partner at Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, has been named an “Up & Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer. The Up & Coming Attorneys recognition is a prestigious honor awarded to a select few attorneys in Minnesota. Recognition is limited to lawyers in their first 10 years of practice who have already distinguished themselves by […]

8th Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on FMLA Claims

The Eighth Circuit reversed summary judgment on an FMLA entitlement and discrimination claim.  In Hudson v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the Court found that sufficient evidence of FMLA discrimination and interference existed to allow the matter to proceed to trial.   ___ F.3d. ___, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8479 (8th Cir. May 28, 2015).   Plaintiff Delbert […]

Kitzer & Rochel Publish Article in FBA Labor & Employment Magazine

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer co-authored an article in the Spring issue of The Labouring Oar, published by the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) Labor and Employment Law Section. Phillip and Brian wrote the article along with Frances Baillon, partner at Baillon Thome. The article, titled “Is McDonnell Douglas Too Burdensome? Circuits […]

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Defeats Summary Judgment in MHRA Disability Claims

In Oliver v. MCTC, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel attorney Brian Rochel, along with co-counsel Michelle Dye Neumann, successfully argued against the employer’s motion to dismiss Ms. Oliver’s Minnesota Human Rights Act claims. Ms. Oliver suffered a disabling injury at work and alleged that she was terminated because of her disability, and because she requested […]

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Defeats Pretrial Motion to Dismiss, Court Limits Karst Ruling

In Jason Lindner v. Donatelli Bros. of White Bear Lake d/b/a Donatelli’s, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff Lindner’s retaliation claim. In an important opinion of first impression, the court held that Karst v. F.C. Hayer Co, 447 N.W.2d 180 (Minn. 1989), which bars discrimination claims […]

Rochel Moderates Panel of Federal Law Clerks

Brian Rochel moderated a panel of federal law clerks discussing practice pointers for employment and labor attorneys. The panel, entitled “Federal Law Clerks’ Tips on Trial and Dispositive Motions,” featured Katherine Bruce, law clerk to the Honorable Donovan W. Frank, Mark Betinsky, law clerk to the Honorable Richard J. Kyle, and Elizabeth Welter, law clerk […]

Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Landmark Ruling Ensuring Jury Trials in Retaliation Claims

Phillip Kitzer and co-counsel Michelle Dye Neumann received a favorable decision in a landmark decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court. In Darrel Schmitz v. United States Steel Corporation, Schmitz alleged he was terminated in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.  Schmitz requested a jury trial for his workers’ compensation retaliation claim under the Minnesota Constitution, […]

Kitzer & Rochel Defeat Summary Judgment in Federal Court

In Jason Lindner v. Donatelli Bros. of White Bear Lake d/b/a Donatelli’s, Brian Rochel and Phillip Kitzer defeated summary judgment in U.S. District Court. Lindner’s claims involved FMLA interference and retaliation as well as for seeking time off from work related to his disability. After 18 years of employment, Jason Lindner was fired while on FMLA leave […]