Tom’s advocacy for workers and those without a voice has defined his legal career. He understands the courage it takes for an employee to come forward and speak out when their rights have been violated at work. Through litigation, holding public office, and leading grassroots statewide campaigns, Tom has spent 25 years as an employment lawyer, defending and promoting the civil rights of people in Minnesota and North Dakota.
His passion for justice has meant suing the state and federal governments, colleges and universities, and companies (large and small) on a wide range of discrimination and constitutional theories. That includes sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination, Equal Pay Act, housing discrimination, and retaliation claims for being fired or treated unfairly for whistleblowing.
Tom has extensive experience in civil rights litigation. In 2014, as local counsel in North Dakota, Tom helped same sex clients successfully challenge the state’s unconstitutional violation of their equal protection right to marry.
Tom’s service in the North Dakota state Senate from 2006 - 2010 allowed for a broader impact. He sponsored a bill to amend the North Dakota Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation. Working with a widely divergent group of allies he succeeded in building consensus to get the legislation passed in the Senate.
Zealous representation requires generous listening. Tom understands that, and works hard to lay out viable options to help clients make informed choices to move forward and reach their goals for their case.
State of Minnesota
State of North Dakota
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
United States District Court for the District of North Dakota
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
University of North Dakota School of Law, Grand Forks, North Dakota -
Juris Doctor - 1984
St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota - Bachelor of Arts - 1978
Honors and Awards
Fargo Human Relations Commission Special Recognition Award
for Human Rights Work - 2015
North Dakota Human Rights Coalition Arc of Justice Award - 2014
Planned Parenthood North Dakota Exemplary
Leadership Award - 2012
Dakota Outright Pride Award for Legislative
Human Rights Work - 2009
North Dakota State Bar Association Volunteer Service Award - 2002
Minnesota State Bar Association
Hennepin County Bar Association
Get in touch with Tom now.