Michael Palmer is a partner in the South Bend, Indiana and Grand Rapids, Michigan offices of Barnes & Thornburg. He primarily represents private and public sector employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. Michael also devotes a portion of his practice to fair housing issues.
In his labor and employment practice, Michael handles union-related issues, employment litigation, general employment counseling, and immigration compliance. In union-related matters, he represents management in union organizing campaigns and elections, unfair labor practice charges or other NLRB proceedings, collective bargaining, strike preparation and arbitration proceedings.
Michael's employment-related litigation practice includes representing employers before state and federal courts, and administrative agencies in cases alleging employment discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of employment contract, wage and hour violations, workplace torts, wrongful discharge, and enforcement of non-compete agreements. He actively litigates cases in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois.
Michael not only litigates cases, he devotes a substantial portion of his practice to helping employers avoid litigation. To that end, he regularly counsels employers on matters such as disciplining and discharging employees, drafting and enforcing employment contracts and restrictive covenants, developing employee handbooks and policy manuals, and numerous other issues involving Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and other state and federal labor and employment laws. Along these same lines, Michael also regularly conducts compliance audits for clients (including wage and hour audits, immigration compliance audits, and leave of absence audits ), and reviews, edits and drafts employer policies and handbooks.
In addition, Michael has developed a niche in immigration compliance. As the federal government began increasing its scrutiny of employers' immigration practices, Michael also began to focus on this area of the law. He represents employers during government immigration raids and audits, defends executives and companies in federal criminal proceedings involving alleged immigration violations, helps companies conduct their own internal I-9 audits, developed and implemented an immigration compliance programs for companies to reduce the risk of immigration compliance issues, and gives presentations on immigration compliance issues at employer organizations throughout Indiana, Michigan and Illinois.
Finally, Michael devotes a substantial portion of his practice to fair housing issues. He defends housing authorities, property managers and developers in lawsuits and charges alleging claims under the Fair Housing Act, the United States Housing Act, the U.S. Constitution, various civil rights statutes, HUD regulations, and common law. Mr. Palmer also counsels and trains housing clients on compliance with HUD regulations, state and federal housing discrimination laws, and best practices for addressing landlord/tenant issues involving public housing tenants.
Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg in 2004, Michael practiced in Chicago for seven years. He is admitted to practice in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, and before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 6th and 7th Circuits, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana and the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan. Michael graduated, with honors, from the Loyola University - Chicago School of Law in 1997. He received his B.A. in sociology and government from the University of Notre Dame, where he also captained Notre Dame's soccer team to the NCAA tournament in 1993.