Brett J. Miller

Brett Miller is a Shareholder practicing in Butzel Long’s Detroit office and is the chair of the firm’s Employment Practices Liability Insurance Sub-Practice. Mr. Miller focuses his practice on employment and labor law as well as fair housing litigation. Mr. Miller frequently defends clients in state and federal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and class action lawsuits. He also defends clients in administrative charges before numerous governmental agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, and the OFCCP. In addition, Mr. Miller devotes his practice to representing clients in traditional labor matters such as grievance arbitrations and collective bargaining.

Mr. Miller received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and Moot Court Board of Directors and received his undergraduate degree from James Madison University, cum laude, with distinction.

Mr. Miller is AV® Peer Review Rated by LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell. The AV Peer Review rating is the highest rating allowed. It attests to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics, and reflects the confidential opinions of the Bar and the Judiciary. He was named a Rising Star in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 by Super Lawyers. Rising Stars are attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or those who have practiced for ten years or less. Only 2.5 percent of Michigan lawyers are named to this list every year. He was recognized as a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Up & Coming Lawyer" in 2015 and a Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine in 2014.

Mr. Miller is a frequent speaker on Labor and Employment topics and has written numerous articles on all aspects of employment law.

Below is a sample of some of Mr. Miller’s trial, arbitration, and labor grievance experience.

Trials and Private-Party Arbitrations

Arbitration – Employee v. Restaurant Franchisee – 2006 – Arbitration regarding employee sexual harassment case against franchisee. Arbitrator never reached decision and employee abandoned claim. (Sam Morgan, Arbitrator).

Trial – Employee v. University – No cause failure to promote and gender discrimination claim.   (Wayne County, Columbo)

Trial – Employee v. Nursing Home - August 2010 - Whistleblower Protection Act case.  No cause verdict. (Genesee, Neithercut)

Trial – January 2011 – Employee v. University – Retaliation case by professor who was denied tenure. No cause. I handled numerous witnesses in this three week trial and argued directed verdict. (Wayne County, Sapala).

Second Chair Trial – May 2011, Employee v. Fotrune 100 Pharmaceutical Company – No cause gender discrimination case.  (Genesee, Yuille)

Trial – October 2011 – Employee v. Nursing Home – Successful trial result in whistleblower retaliation lawsuit. (Oakland County, Chabot)

Arbitration – October 2013 – Cleaning Chemical Company Employment/Shareholder Arbitration - successful result after multi-day arbitration on our claims for breach of fiduciary duty against Defendant and Defendant’s employment allegations against company.

Labor Grievance Arbitrations

Union v. Nursing Home (2006, James T. Ellis, arbitrator). Fist Chair discharge grievance for CNA who failed to remove soiled linens from resident room.  Discharge upheld.

Union v. Nursing Home (2007, Robert McCormack, arbitrator). First Chair seniority grievance arbitration.  Seniority reinstated.

Union v. Nursing Home (2007, Doanld Dettman, arbitrator).  First Chair discharge grievance of employee who failed to remove scissors thus endangering residents.  Discharge upheld.

Union v. Nursing Home (2007, Alan Walt, arbitrator). First chair discharge for failure to work mandatory overtime and FMLA issue.

Union v. Nursing Home (2007, Ben Kerner, arbitrator). First chair discharge arbitration for short-term employee who was seen stealing housekeeping supplies. 

Union v. Nursing Home (2009, Doyle O’Connor, arbitrator). First chair arbitration regarding whether employee entitled to benefits under union contract.   

Union v. Nursing Home (2009, Robert McCormick). First chair wage grievance where union tried to argue contract allowed workers to receive higher wages.  Arbitrator disagreed with union and Employer interpretation of the contract was deemed correct.

Union v. Nursing Home  (2011, Kathryn VanDagens, arbitrator). First chaired discharge arbitration where laundry worker accused of throwing away residents’ laundry items.

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, Paul Glendon, arbitrator). First chaired arbitration regarding employee discipline.  Discipline upheld.

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, Barry Goldman, arbitrator). First chair arbitration regarding a discharge for throwing away clothes.  Discharge upheld.

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, James T. Ellis, arbitrator). First chair class action grievance where union accused facility of misapplying contract as to holiday pay. 

Union v. Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (2011, James T. Ellis, arbitrator). First chair discharge arbitration for employee who violated zero-tolerance for violence policy. 

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, Karen Smith Kienbaum, arbitrator). First chair arbitration for discharge of employee who acted in threatening manner during orientation meeting.  Employee returned to work.

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, Bruce Lillie, arbitrator). First chair arbitration for discharge of CNA who left resident in soiled conditions.  Discharge upheld.

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, Paul Glendon, arbitrator). Employee discharged for smoking in laundry area. 

Union v. Nursing Home (2011, James T. Ellis, arbitrator). First chair discharge arbitration for Dietary Aide who was terminated for stealing dented cans of food. 

Union v. Nursing Home (2012, Peter Jason, arbitrator). First chair arbitration where employee was insubordinate and two union witnesses testified as to the improper conduct. 

Union v. Nursing Home (2013, Michael Falvo, arbitrator). First chair arbitration for employee discipline (non-discharge). 

Union v. Nursing home (2013, David Grissom, arbitrator). First chair benefits arbitration.  Matter dismissed based on brief.

Union v. Nursing Home (2014, David Grissom). First chaired arbitration regarding employee’s status change to part time. Matter settled after hearing as part of settlement of Unfair Labor Practice Charge.

Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board v. Manufacturing Client, Illinois, (2015, Brian Clauss, arbitrator).  First chaired contract interpretation grievance regarding change in plant schedule and shifts.  Arbitrator upheld employer actions and denied the union’s grievance.

Teamsters Local 512 v. Manufacturing Client, Jacksonville, Florida (2016, Richard John Miller, arbitrator).  First chaired discharge grievance involving 40 employee terminated after new computer system installed on forklift he operated and he was unable to master system. 

GMP, Local 77 v. Manufacturing Client, Albany, New York, (2017, Randall Kelly, arbitrator).  First chaired discharge grievance involving employee terminated for violating last chance agreement by refusing a drug test.  Arbitrator upheld employer discharge and the grievance was denied.

Published Works

Author, HR Resource Blawg, a labor and employment blog. (2015-present).

Co-Author with Diane Soubly, EEOC and Transgender Employee Win Big in Sixth Circuit, BUTZEL LONG Client Alert, March 2018

Author, LGBT Issues in Michigan Employment Law: a Guide, MICHIGAN BAR JOURNAL, November 2016

Author, Labor and Employment Update, OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Summer 2016

Author, Employment Law End-Arounds of Legislature Creating Headaches for Healthcare Employers, HR OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Winter 2015

Author, Why do Practitioners Continue to Seek Court Approval of FLSA Settlements? LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAWNOTES, Labor and Employment Law Section - State Bar of Michigan, Vol. 24, No. 4, Winter 2015

Author, with Lynn McGuire, EEOC Formally Includes Sexual-Orientation Discrimination as Part of “Sex Discrimination” Under Title VII; Michigan Treasury Issues Guidance on Same-Sex Spousal Benefits, Butzel Long Client Alert, July 2015; also published in OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Healthcare Human Resources Association and Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Fall 2015

Author, with Lynn McGuire, Supreme Court Same Sex Marriage Decision and DOL Overtime Expansion -– What Employers Need to Know Today, Butzel Long Client Alert, July 2015; OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Healthcare Human Resources Association and Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Fall 2015

Author, Handling Union Information Requests, MICHIGAN DEFENSE QUARTERLY, Vol. 31, No. 1, July 2014

Author, Handling Union Information Requests, LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAWNOTES, Labor and Employment Law Section - State Bar of Michigan, Vol 24, No. 3, Fall 2014

Author, Executive and Regulatory Rules: What Employers Need to Know, Legal & Compliance Excellence Essentials, HR.com, September 2014

Author, Top Five Employee Social Media Fails of 2013, Sterling Educational Services Blog, January 2014

Author, DOL Issues Guidance on FMLA Care for Adult Children, MICHIGAN LEGAL UPDATE, 2013

Author, “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Your Business: Add a Bed Bug Policy to Your Handbook.” LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAWNOTES, Labor and Employment Law Section - State Bar of Michigan, Vol 22, No. 4, Winter 2013.

Author, Sixth Circuit Upholds Jury Employment Discrimination Verdict for Employee who did not Suffer Adverse Employment Action: is “Benign Discrimination” the New “Intentional Discrimination”? MICHIGAN LEGAL UPDATE, August-July 2012.

Author, Sixth Circuit Adopts McDonnell Douglas Burden Shifting in FMLA Interference Cases. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAWNOTES, Labor and Employment Law Section - State Bar of Michigan, Vol. 22, No 1, Spring 2012.

Author, New ADAAA Regulations are Now Effective: What Does This Mean for Employers? MICHIGAN LEGAL UPDATE, Fall 2011.

Co-Author, When can an Employer Discipline an Employee Based on Social Networking. OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Healthcare Human Resources Association and Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Fall 2010.

Co-Author, The Use of the “Temporal Proximity” Argument in Retaliation Claims: Clarifying the Standard,” LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAWNOTES, Labor and Employment Law Section - State Bar of Michigan, Vol 19, No. 1, Spring 2009.

Author, When is an Employee an Independent Contractor, and What Happens if a Subcontractor Misclassifies an Employee as an Independent Contractor? AMERICAN GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF MICHIGAN LEGAL BRIEF, March 2009.

Co-Author (with John Sier and Thomas Esordi), What Your Company Should Know About the New Electronic Discovery Rules, OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Healthcare Human Resources Association and Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Winter 2008.

Author, U.S. Supreme Court Denies Sex Discrimination Claim Based on Unequal Pay, OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Healthcare Human Resources Association and Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Fall 2007.

Author, Are On-Call Employees Entitled to Overtime? H.R. OUTLOOK, Newsletter for the Healthcare Human Resources Association and Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Summer 2007.

Co-author, The Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act: What do Employees Have a Right to Know? THE PULSE, Apr. 14, 2006.

Co-author of The Ever Expanding Scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Whether Title II of the ADA Applies to Zoning Issues, THE URBAN LAWYER (2006), republished in Thompson West, ZONING AND PLANNING LAW REPORT, Vol 24 , No. 10, November 2006.

Comment, The War Against Free Music: How the R.I.A.A. Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the MP3, 82 U. DET. MERCY L. REV. 303 (2005)

Case Digest, Environmental Law – Clean Water Act – A Wetland Falls Under Federal Jurisdiction Even Though it is Located Twenty Miles From the Nearest Navigable Waterway Due to a “Significant Nexus” Created by a Manmade Drain Connecting the Two Bodies of Water. United States v. Rapanos, 339 F.3d 447 (6th Cir. 2003), 82 U. DET. MERCY L. REV. 497 (2005)

Speaking Engagements

Presenter: “Approaching LGBT Issues in Today’s Workplace: Heightened Focus on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Discrimination Claims.” ACI, National Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance; New York, New York; January 27, 2017

Presenter: "Winning in 'Overtime:' How to Save Money and Protect Your Business by Ensuring Compliance with the Wage and Hour Laws," Butzel Long Webinar, December 2016

Presenter: “LGBTQ issues in the Workplace,” Butzel Long Annual Labor, Employment, Benefits, and Immigration Seminar, Detroit, Michigan, October 2016

Presenter: “The Impact of Obergefell: LGBT Issues in the Workplace.” ExecuSummit, Employment Practices Liability Seminar, Chicago, Illinois, April 2016.

Presenter, “The Broadening Scope of Sex Discrimination Claims,” Butzel Long Annual Labor, Employment, Benefits, and Immigration Seminar, Dearborn, Michigan, November 2015.

Presenter, “How to Lose a Grievance Arbitration.” Annual Seminar, Troy, Michigan, October 2014.

Presenter, “Legislative and Regulatory Update: Recent Court, Legislative and Regulatory Decisions that Impact Employers and Human Resources Professionals.” Annual Seminar, Troy, Michigan, October 2014.

Presenter, “Legislative and Regulatory Update,” Michigan Hospital Association Business Advisory Council Quarterly Meetings (quarterly presentations 2013-2014)

Seminar Presenter, “NLRB’s Expanding Agenda,” Sterling Educational Services Beyond the Basics Seminar, Southfield, Michigan, February 2014

Seminar Presenter, “Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace,” Sterling Educational Services Beyond the Basics Seminar, Southfield, Michigan, February 2014

Seminar Presenter: “FMLA Update,” Annual Seminar, Troy, Michigan, October 2013

Seminar Presenter: “Record Retention and the Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act.” Annual Seminar, Troy, Michigan, October 2012.

Seminar Presenter: “Social Media: Navigating Polices and Best Practices,” CARE Work Life Solutions Seminar, Macomb, Michigan, April 2012.

Seminar Presenter: “The Contractor Conundrum: What You Need to Know about Independent Contractors, Employee Misclassification, and The IRS Amnesty Program.” Annual Seminar, Detroit, Michigan, December 2011.

Seminar Presenter: “How to Conduct Effective Internal Investigations.” Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association, Fall Conference, Lansing, Michigan, October 2011.

Seminar Presenter: “Strategies for Successful Employee and Labor Relations: Union Campaigns and Collective Bargaining Basics.” HRAGD Seminar, Lathrup Village, Michigan, March 2011.

Seminar Presenter: “Family Medical Leave Act Update.” Annual Seminar. Detroit Regional Chamber; October 2010.

Seminar Presenter: “Employee Wellness Programs: What You Need to Know to Avoid Liability.” Taylor, Michigan. June 2010.

Seminar Presenter: “Recommended Human Resources Topics: Demystifying the FLSA and Michigan Wage Laws; Determining whether your Worker is an Independent Contractor; and, Dealing with Leave Issues.” Snelling Staffing Quarterly Seminar. January, February, and May 2010

Seminar Presenter: “RIFs and Rightsizing: Strategies to Save Costs and Limit Liability in a Down Economy.” Community Assessment Referral & Education (CARE) Quarterly Seminar. October 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Employee Handbooks A-Z; What You Need and Why you Need it.” Snellling Staffing Quarterly Seminar, October 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Employee Wellness Programs: What You Need to Know to Avoid Liability.” AGIS Wellness in the Workplace: Best Practice Strategies Seminar, Troy Community Center; October 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “RIFS and Rightsizing: Strategies to Save Costs and Limit Liability in a Down Economy.” AGIS Summer Strategies Series. July 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Special Considerations Under Michigan’s Wage and Hour Laws.” AGIS Solution Series, June 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Legislative Acts: Integrating the New ADA, New FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Laws.” AGIS Solution Series, June 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Employee Handbooks A -Z; What You Need and Why you Need it.” Community Assessment Referral & Education (CARE) Seminar, Eastpointe, Michigan. May 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Hiring and Firing Do’s and Don’ts From a Legal Risk Management Perspective.” AGIS Breakfast seminar series April, 2009.

Seminar Presenter: “Employee Handbooks A-Z; What You Need and Why you Need it.” AGIS Breakfast Seminar Series. Birmingham, Michigan. March 2009.

Seminar Presenter, “Negotiating Separation Agreements in Difficult Termination Situations.” AGIS Breakfast Seminar Series, Birmingham, Michigan, February 2009.

Seminar Presenter, “Employment Law From A to Z in Michigan,” Lorman Education Services, Southgate, Michigan, February 2008.

Education

  • University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 2005, J.D.
  • James Madison University 2002

Recognitions

AV® Peer Review Rated by LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, "Up & Coming Lawyers Award," 2015

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star 2009-2010, 2013-2014, 2016-2018

DBusiness Top Lawyer in Metro Detroit, 2014

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor & Employment, 2018

Memberships

Michigan Healthcare Human Resource Association

State Bar of Michigan

PLUS

Michigan Healthcare Human Resources Association

Michigan Hospital Association

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