Biography Photo of Timothy H Howlett

Timothy H. Howlett

Tim has counseled employers for more than 45 years on workplace issues. During that time, Tim has successfully resolved numerous litigation matters involving substantial financial and non-financial risks. This experience has given Tim the litigation skills, judgment, and common sense necessary to guide clients facing complex workplace issues and disputes.

Education & Credentials


Kalamazoo College

B.A., 1970

University of Michigan School of Law

J.D., 1973
  • cum laude

Bar Admission

  • Michigan


  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly 
    • Hall of Fame, Class of 2021
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Labor and Employment Law Section, Distinguished Service Award, 2018 
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    • Fellow
    • Chair, Sixth Circuit Credentials Committee
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Labor and Employment Law, 2003-2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Labor Law - Management, 2022, 2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Employment Law - Management, 2021
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2020
  • Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers for Business
    • Labor & Employment, 2004-2023
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • "Recommended Lawyer," Labor and Employment Disputes - Defense, 2017-2023
  • Michigan Super Lawyers®
    • Employment & Labor, 2006-2023
    • "Top 100 Lawyers," 2006-2010, 2014-2017
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Labor & Employment Star, 2021-2024

Representative Clients

  • Carhartt, Inc.
  • Domino's Pizza LLC
  • Greektown Casino
  • Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc.
  • Magna International Inc.
  • Michigan House of Representatives
  • Nestlé USA, Inc.
  • Rolled Alloys, 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 authorities.

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, New York, Oklahoma, 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.

Selected as arbitrator in numerous employment arbitrations.

Professional Involvement

  • Life Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation
  • Life 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 


  • Author, "The 6th Circuit Clarifies Retaliation Under the FMLA," Dickinson Wright All Things HR Blog, August 2023
  • Author, "The Michigan Supreme Court Holds that Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation is Prohibited by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act,” Dickinson Wright All Things HR Blog, September 2022 
  • Author, "Practical Considerations in Employment Terminations," Dickinson Wright All Things HR Blog, February 2022 
  • Casellas and Soubly, Workplace Harassment Law, 2nd Edition, Bloomberg BNA, Chapter Contributing Author
  • Lindemann and Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law, 4th Ed., Chapter Chair
  • 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, "Last Chance Agreements – A Useful Tool," Author, Fall 2020.
  • 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, 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
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