Peter G. Christian is an employment litigator at Schaefer Halleen, LLC committed to protecting the rights of individuals in the workplace. As an advocate who takes pride in representing a wide range of employees – from top level executives to blue collar laborers – Peter has secured significant victories for an array of clients in many areas of employment related litigation, and against some of the biggest corporations in the world. For his advocacy on behalf of employees, he has been named a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business each year since 2014.
Peter is an aggressive and fearless advocate motivated first and foremost by results. He has successfully prosecuted employment claims involving discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower protection, failure to pay, and other illegal treatment experienced by employees. Peter has also earned a reputation for successfully negotiating employment contracts and severance agreements for employees of all levels. His recent success includes securing one of the largest public settlements in Minnesota in recent years for an individual employee – a resolution of over $2 million for a medical professional who had alleged that he was retaliated against and defamed after blowing the whistle on illegal conduct in his workplace.
Prior to joining Schaefer Halleen, Peter worked with the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Division, primarily representing children accused of crimes. Before law school, Peter taught fifth grade in the Mississippi Delta with the Teach for America Corps, leading his students to record-setting results in reading and math proficiency, and co-founded the Delta Youth Empowerment non-profit organization.
- Juris Doctorate Degree, cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School, 2011
- Bachelor of Art’s Degree, magna cum laude, Marquette University
- Minnesota, 2011
- United States District Court, 2011
The Client: Transgender Professor at Private College
Problem: Our client was denied tenure by the college in favor of a male candidate with inferior qualifications. The selection process was littered with evidence of transgender bias among the selection committee.
Approach: Engaged the college’s counsel directly, presenting a detailed factual recitation of how the selection process was transgender-biased and criteria for tenure were subjective and flawed. The college eventually agreed to early mediation.
Solution: Secured a substantial six-figure severance package including non-disparagement provisions and a letter of reference which allowed client to transition to a tenure-track position at a more welcoming university.
The Client: 57 and 58 years old Truck Drivers for a Manufacturing Corporation.
Problem: Our clients were terminated after nearly four decades with employer after new leadership took over company and began to instate a younger workforce. Clients were not offered any severance beyond an insulting one month of health care. Company claimed that jobs were eliminated but there was evidence to suggest their job duties were taken on by new younger hires.
Approach: Strategically engaged company pre-litigation.
Solution: Negotiated and quickly secured substantial settlement, thereby allowing one client to transition into retirement and allowing the other to conduct a comprehensive and ultimately successful search for a new position without the pressure of having to accept the first thing that came his way.
The Client: 63 year old, Female Director of Large Corporation
Problem: After over four decades of outstanding performance for corporation, our client began to receive sham negative performance reviews and was subjected to ageist comments by younger boss. Client suspected that leadership was setting her up to fail in order to replace her with someone far younger.
Approach: Approached corporation’s in-house counsel directly while client was still employed.
Solution: Secured substantial six-figure severance package, including full retirement benefits, allowing client to comfortably transition into retirement.
The Client: Deaf Female Analyst of Small Company
Problem: After years of outstanding performance, client was transferred to a different branch/location. However, her new management was hostile to our client due to her need for significant accommodations, such as an ASL interpreter and a Cap-Tel phone. The new management ultimately refused to implement these accommodations, making it impossible for our client to perform her job effectively.
Approach: Engaged company directly. Drafted lawsuit but gave employer the opportunity to come to table before filing.
Solution: Negotiation resulting in offer by employer to return to old position, which client ultimately turned down in favor of a substantial severance package which allowed her to transition to a more trustworthy employer.
The Client: Collections Agent for Large Corporation
Problem: Our client was terminated after blowing the whistle on the illegal pay practices of the corporation which resulted in her being denied thousands of dollars of commission payments earned.
Approach: Aggressively prosecuted matter in federal court, using the litigation process to uncover documents which evidenced the corporation’s illegal payment practices.
Solution: Secured a substantial payment to our client along with a contractual agreement by the employer not to disparage our client.
The Client: Founder and Principal of Charter School
Problem: Our client was terminated by the school board after refusing to participate in an illegal operating practice of school involving the illegal comingling of religious expression in public education.
Approach: Drafted detailed and powerful demand letter and engaged in mediation.
Solution: Secured a significant six-figure settlement at mediation.
Illegal Conduct in the Workplace
The Client: Healthcare Professional
Problem: Client agreed to forgo other outstanding employment opportunities and join employer’s rural medical practice. Soon after starting, client’s colleague, who resisted the arrangement, began defaming our client to staff and patients in an effort to devastate his practice. The colleague even refused to do “rounds” on our client’s patients, with life threatening results. Client’s frequent reports regarding the illegal conduct to Hospital administration were ignored.
Approach: Wrote detailed proposal letter to the Hospital CEO and copied Board Members which presented breach of contract, misrepresentations in inducing client to join Hospital, as well as defamation and the ongoing interference with our client’s treatment of and relationship with existing patients. Followed up with numerous letters describing continuing interference, defamation, and retaliation for making initial reports. Hospital eventually agreed to early mediation.
Solution: Mediation, which occurred over two days, resulted in agreed upon resignation, payments amounting to over $2 million in compensation to our client, mutual non-disparagement, and limited waiver of non-compete obligation which allowed our client to promptly accept another lucrative position.
The Client: Electrical Lineman for Large Corporation
Problem: After years successful performance with for employer, our client left to pursue another opportunity with a competitor. Former employer actively attempted to prevent client from securing employment with competitors.
Approach: Prosecuted matter in state court and aggressively litigated matter, stating tortious interference and blacklisting claims. Won all initial motions.
Solution: After successfully defeating defendant’s motions to dismiss and to remove matter to federal court, negotiated and secured a substantial monetary settlement for client, including additional contractual agreement by former employer to cease obstructive behavior.
- “The Life of a Litigator” Thomson Reuters Panel, 2014
- Keynote Speaker, Teach for America, Mississippi Delta. Presentation entitled, “Go Forth and Set Fire,” 2008
- Member, National Employment Lawyers Association, Minnesota Chapter
- Member, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
- Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
- Named a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business, 2014-2020
- Robina Public Policy Fellowship, Robina Foundation, 2011
- Best Oralist Award, University of Minnesota Legal Writing Program, Oral Arguments, 2009
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By Peter G. Christian | Two earlier posts on the Schaefer Halleen website provided an introductory discussion of why legal counsel is important when a doctor is negotiating a contract and a brief disc...
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