Rick counsels and advises clients in all industries and businesses on avoiding labor and employment issues and defends them in court or before administrative agencies when they are sued or charges are filed against them.
Rick is the most senior shareholder in the department and past Chair of the Employment & Labor Group. He has been practicing employment and labor law for over 40 years. He is active in the area of labor relations and defends employers before administrative agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board and in arbitrations. Rick negotiates collective bargaining agreements and gives advice on contract interpretations and general labor relation issues. His clients range from small businesses to international financial institutions. Rick’s practice also involves defending employers in employment litigation and administrative proceedings, as well as advising management on all aspects of employment relations, including claims of discrimination, defamation, sexual harassment, breach of employment agreements, non-compete agreements, and severance agreements as well as safety and health issues.
Rick also provides mediation and arbitration services as an experienced neutral, effectively helping parties resolve and settle their employment-related disputes. With his decades of experience practicing employment and labor law as an advocate, having represented employers in all industries from multi-national companies to small local enterprises, he has a unique understanding of the employment issues in litigation or threatened litigation to assist parties in settlement discussions.
Rick was recently honored by his peers as he was awarded the 2014 Leonard Lindquist Distinguished Practice award. This award is given annually to one attorney who has made an outstanding contribution to the labor and/or employment law practice and has demonstrated commitment to improving the practice of labor and/or employment law in Minnesota. This is the highest award that the Minnesota State Bar Association gives to a labor and employment lawyer in the state. Rick was also honored by Best Lawyers’ Litigation - Labor and Employment “Lawyer of the Year” in Minneapolis, 2017.
Rick has been a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers since 1998.
Learn More About Employment Litigation:
- Defended hundreds of employment discrimination lawsuits and administrative proceedings, including gender, age race, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, and sexual orientation discrimination.
- Successfully mediated a race discrimination and retaliation action prior to the commencement of litigation. This case involved an employee who complained about being treated differently and shortly thereafter was discharged. Rick was able to bring the parties together for a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Successfully mediated an age discrimination and whistleblower lawsuit, involving a 67 year-old executive who complained about illegal financial conduct by the employer, and was terminated within a week of his complaint. The employer claimed to have terminated him for falsifying his travel and expense reports.
- Mediated an extremely complex labor matter involving the National Labor Relations Board, a Union, the Union’s pension fund, and the employer involving a claim that the employer failed to make required pension fund contributions. This matter was pending in federal court as well as an unfair labor practice charge pending before the NLRB. Rick was able to bridge many of the issues with the parties and it inevitably settled.
- Represented employers in hundreds of labor law matters, including Unfair Labor Practice Charges and Elections before the National Labor Relations Board. Have negotiated hundreds of collective bargaining agreements and defended hundreds of arbitrations on behalf of employers.
- Assists employers in dealing with day-to-day employment issues, including attendance, performance and conduct problems and how to resolve those issues effectively and practically.
Articles & Presentations
October 7, 2016
Businesses with employees in California will be impacted by two recently-passed laws, one of which generally prohibits choice-of-law and choice-of-venue provisions in employment contracts with California employees and the other which penalizes employers for technical errors on pay stubs. Find out what action you can take to avoid penalties.Read More
New OSHA Injury-Reporting Rule May Require Employers to Revise Policies on Injury-Related Discipline, Post-Accident Drug Testing & Safety Incentive Programs
June 8, 2016
While there has been a lot of discussion regarding the Department of Labor’s recent release of the much-anticipated overtime regulations, some employers may have missed the issuance of another significant rule from the Department – OSHA’s Injury Reporting rule.Read More
September 1, 2015
Last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) changed over 30 years of labor law by redefining the definition of joint employer.Read More
Employer Confidentiality Rules and Other Policies: NLRB Report Discusses Lawful and Unlawful Language
March 30, 2015
On March 18, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel issued a 30-page memorandum (GC Memorandum) offering guidance on several common employer policies and handbook rules. In recent years, the NLRB has aggressively scrutinized and challenged employers’ rules covering a variety of topics. The GC Memorandum provides useful information for nearly all employers, whether unionized or not.Read More
December 16, 2014
By Rick A. Ross
In addition to now permitting employees to use the company email system to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) amended its election procedure rules last week to make it easier for unions to win elections. The new rules, which become effective April 14, 2015, will streamline the election procedure.Read More
April 9, 2014
College administrators, coaches, and many of the rest of us were surprised to learn that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are “employees” for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act and thus may vote on representation by the College Athletes Players Association, affiliated with the United Steelworkers.Read More
March 3, 2014
For the first time in nearly a decade, the National Labor Relations Board has its full complement: five members who have been confirmed by the Senate.Read More
February 3, 2014
On January 27, 2014, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that time spent donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) protective gear was time spent changing clothes, and was therefore not compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).Read More
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Presenter, “Labor Law 101: Employer Rights and Unions,” Fredrikson & Byron Employment & Labor Seminar, April 17, 2018
- Presenter, “OSHA Basics and New Rules,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 33rd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 3, 2017
- Presenter, “OSHA Basics and New Rules,” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, May 22-23, 2017
- Co-Presenter, “Open Q&A,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016
- Presenter, “The NLRB: The Adventure Continues,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 31st Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 6, 2015
- Co-Presenter, “Is the NLRB the Mad Hatter?,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 31st Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, November 6, 2015
- Co-Presenter, “Unfair Labor Practice Charges: The Use of Arbitral Deferral; Expansion of Joint Employer Liability; Update on Employee Use of Social Media,” New NLRB Rules and Decisions, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, March 25, 2015
- Co-Presenter, Fredrikson & Byron’s Labor & Employment Law Update for Construction Employers, March 5, 2015
- “Accommodating Religious Beliefs in Today’s Workplace,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 30th Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 28, 2014
Honors & Education
- St. John’s University (N.Y.C.), J.D., 1976
- Syracuse University, B.A., 1968
- New York, 1977
- Minnesota, 1987
- Wisconsin, 1987
- California, 1999
- Iowa, 2010
- U.S. District Courts for the Districts of: Southern District of New York, 1977; Eastern District of New York, 1982; Eastern District of Michigan, 1982; Western District of New York, 1984; Western District of Wisconsin, 1987; Minnesota, 1987; Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1998; North Dakota, 1999; Southern District of California, 2006; Eastern District of California, 2008; Northern District of New York, 2009
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1979
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh and Eighth Circuits, 1987
- U.S. Tax Court, 1989
- Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Best Lawyers’ Litigation - Labor and Employment “Lawyer of the Year” in Minneapolis, 2017
- The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law - Management, Labor Law - Management, Litigation - Labor & Employment
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Minnesota-Labor & Employment
- Minnesota Super Lawyers (formerly Minnesota Law & Politics), Super Lawyer-Employment Litigation: Defense, 2003-2018
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated; 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment
- Labor and Employment Law Specialist, certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association
- Leonard Lindquist Distinguished Practice Award, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2014
- Top 40 Employment Law Attorney
- American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
- New York State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
- Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section (member, Governing Council, 1999-2005, Chair, 2004-2005)
- Hennepin County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section (Chair, 1995-1996)
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Labor Employment Law Section
- California State Bar Association; Employment & Labor Law Section
- Member, American Employment Law Council
- Member of the AAA Panel of Employment Arbitrators
- Founder, Minnesota Management Attorneys Association
- Adjunct Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law, 1993-2005
- Adjunct Professor, University of St. Thomas, 1992-2004
- Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, Minneapolis, 1986-88, Partner, Employment Law & Litigation
- Roberts & Finger, New York, 1984-86, Partner, Employment Law & Litigation
- Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, New York, 1980-84 Associate, Employment Law & Litigation
- National Labor Relations Board, New York, 1976-80, Staff Attorney
- United States Army 1969-71