Timothy H Howlett

Timothy H. Howlett

Member and Labor & Employment Practice Leader

Education & Credentials


Kalamazoo College

B.A., 1970

University of Michigan School of Law

J.D., 1973
  • cum laude

Bar Admission

  • Michigan


  • Distinguished Service Award, State Bar of Michigan Labor and Employment Law Section, 2018
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers  
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment since 2003
    • 2020 "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Labor and Employment
  • Listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers, Labor & Employment since 2004
  • Recognized as Recommended Lawyer by The Legal 500, since 2017
  • Listed in the Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-2010, 2014-2017
  • Listed in Michigan Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor, since 2006
  • Named one of the Nation's Top 100 Management Employment Law Attorneys, 2009 and 2010, by Human Resource Executive Magazine

Representative Clients

  • Carhartt, Inc.
  • Central Transport
  • Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Domino's Pizza LLC
  • Greektown Casino
  • Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc.
  • Magna International Inc.
  • Nestlé USA, Inc.
  • University of Michigan

Prominent Assignments

Represented clients in high profile employment litigation covered by the media including The New York Times and 20/20.

Tried jury cases defending wrongful termination, race discrimination, disability discrimination, sex discrimination, due process and religious discrimination claims.

Lead counsel in more than 30 appeals in state and federal court. Retained as appellate counsel for a discrimination case with a final judgment in excess of 2.2 million dollars. Obtained reversal in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Lead counsel for Ford Motor Company in a federal court trial in which six plaintiffs sought in excess of 4 million dollars in damages for section 301 and ERISA claims that resulted in a defense verdict for Ford. 

Defended a financial institution accused of sex, race and age discrimination in an EEOC Commissioners’ charge and systemic investigation and several purported class actions. Successfully resolved the pending matters and worked with the client to create new monitoring procedures with the help of nationally recognized experts.

Defended a national book retailer in a race discrimination case with five plaintiffs. Plaintiffs took over 40 depositions. Utilized motion for summary disposition, special case evaluation, mediation and a special settlement conference to achieve favorable result.

Defended a national retailer in a Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower retaliation case in U.S. District Court, Sussberg v Kmart. Obtained summary judgment in published opinion even though no appellate precedent.

Defended trucking company in pregnancy discrimination case brought in U.S. District Court by the EEOC.  Obtained summary judgement and awarded costs.

Defended major airline in a significant disability case against the airline and the Wayne County Airport Authority in U.S. District Court, Thomas et al v Northwest Airlines Corporation and Wayne County Airport Authority. Successfully resolved the matter through mediation and motion practice.

Defended academic institutions in numerous cases involving faculty tenure claims and student academic and disciplinary dismissals.

Represented clients in labor and employment administrative claims and arbitrations in several states including Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, California, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Wisconsin.

Counseled clients on plant closings, significant workforce reductions and the sale of plants including analysis of labor, Warn Act, employment and discrimination issues.

Represented the Wayne County Circuit Court in collective bargaining negotiations with several unions in the consolidation of Probate Court, Recorders Court, and Wayne County Circuit Court.

Counseled high-level executives on employment contracts and separation agreements.

Professional Involvement

  • Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation
  • Chairperson, State Bar of Michigan, Labor and Employment Law Section (2011-2013)
  • Member, State Bar of Michigan, Labor and Employment Law Section Council (2005-2014)
  • Master, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Inn of Court Program (2012-2016)
  • Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association, Panel of Employment Arbitrators
  • Member, ICLE Labor and Employment Law Advisory Board
  • Member, EEOC Mediation Program Advisory Board
  • Member, CPR Employment Law Committee

Community Involvement

  • Grosse Pointe Board of Education, 1990-1998, President, 1993- 1994, 1996-1998
  • Merit Selection Panel for U.S. Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of Michigan, 2010 


  • Casellas and Soubly, Workplace Harassment Law, 2nd Edition, Bloomberg BNA, Chapter Contributing Author
  • Lindemann and Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law, 4th Ed., Chapter Chair
  • Lindemann and Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law, 2002 Cumulative Supplement, Contributing Author
  • Employment Litigation in Michigan, Third Edition (ICLE), "Discrimination Claims," Chapter Author
  • Michigan Bar Journal, "Best Practices for Employee Terminations," August, 2019
  • Michigan Bar Journal, "Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Claims: An Update," Co-Author, September, 2013   
  • Michigan Bar Journal, "The Constructive Discharge Doctrine in Michigan: A Need for Clarification," Co-author
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, "Counseling The Employer Regarding Potential Litigation After The Employment Action Has Already Occurred" (Fall 2017), Author
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, "An Update on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009" (Summer 2010), Co-Author
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, "Sixth Circuit Provides Guidance For Associational Discrimination Claims" (Fall 2009), Co-Author
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, "Gender Identity Discrimination" (Fall 2007), Co-Author
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, "Debtor’s Failure to Disclose Potential Employment Claim May Bar Later Pursuit of that Claim" (Fall 2006), Co-Author
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, "Garg: Abolishment of the Continuing Violations Doctrine Under Michigan Law" (Summer 2005), Co-author
  • Labor and Employment Law Section, the #MeTooMovement:  The Impact on Our Profession, Mid-Winter Meeting, 2018, Panelist
  • ICLE, Essential Deposition Skills: An Employment Case, 2017, Instructor
  • ICLE, Assessing The Value of Your Case, Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, 2017, Presenter
  • ICLE, Conducting a Discrimination or Harassment Investigation, 2014, Speaker
  • ICLE Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, 2012 and 2013, Moderator
  • ICLE, Independent Contractors or Employees? A Multi-Million Dollar Question, Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, 2011, Presenter
  • ICLE, Understanding and Living With the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, 2010, Presenter
  • EEOC Training Institute, 2009, Panel Member
  • ICLE, "Advising the Company on Employment Issues and Policies," Presenter
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