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John Hauge is a Minnesota State Bar Association Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist who practices principally in the areas of traditional labor, employment litigation and employment advice and counsel. He represents public and private sector clients in a wide range of labor and employment matters, providing advice and counsel on issues, including: collective bargaining, contract administration, reductions-in-force and plant closing, employment discrimination claims, non-compete disputes, occupational safety and health citations, substance abuse testing issues, and wage and hour issues. John serves a broad scope of industries, including health care, hospitality, education, extrusion and fabrication, construction, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail food distribution.

John takes pride in helping clients achieve their business objectives efficiently and without disruption or unnecessary cost. Consistent with that philosophy, John works with clients to develop manager and employee training modules to reinforce policies and practices. In his management-side labor practice, John helps clients institute best practices to avoid union incursion, and to administer their contracts in a fair and consistent manner.

Practice Areas

  • Traditional Labor Law
  • Employment Litigation
  • Employment Advice and Counsel

Bar Admission

  • Minnesota, 1999

Professional Certifications, Awards and Designations

  • Certified Labor and Employment Specialist in Minnesota by the MSBA
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)


  • J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude, 1999
  • M.A.I.R., University of Minnesota, 1999
  • M.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1998
  • B.A., Carleton College, 1989

Representative Work

  • Successfully defended skilled nursing facility in NLRB litigation involving multiple unfair labor practice charges, including favorable trial verdict
  • Negotiated substantial labor cost reductions for a struggling long-time union employer in hospitality industry, and subsequently advised client through successful union decertification proceeding
  • Helped a unionized healthcare client develop a bargaining strategy and achieve substantial labor cost reductions through successful collective bargaining of multiple contracts
  • Obtained a jury verdict of $1.1 million in a complex shareholder freeze-out case involving a multi-national corporate entity
  • Defended a client against claims of discrimination, retaliation, defamation and breach of contract in federal court action, achieving dismissal of claims on summary judgment
  • Defended a client in negligence action arising from alleged assault on vehicle controlled by client, winning dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims on summary judgment
  • Negotiated exit from defined benefit pension plan in collective bargaining for client in extrusion and fabrication industry, saving the employer several $100,000s in future contributions to a risky union pension fund
  • Represented a union contractor in potentially catastrophic ERISA litigation, ending with negotiation of favorable settlement that allowed the employer to continue business operations
  • Defended union contractor against ERISA claims, culminating in the negotiation of a settlement for less than 40% of claimed damages
  • Utilized a novel legal theory to attain dismissal of ULP claims against a non-union security company arising from its refusal to allow employees to wear union buttons on their work uniforms
  • Represented an employer in OSHA administrative action involving an employee fatality, with client completely exonerated of any liability


  • “Strike Contingency Issues,” Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association’s 2018 Collective Bargaining Orientation, March 12, 2018
  • “Workplace Culture: Preventing and Dealing with Sexual Harassment and Misconduct,” Hot Topic Discussion, Minnesota Restaurant Association and Minnesota Lodging Association, February 15, 2018
  • “Employment-Related Claims Update,” Minnesota Claims Management Association, January 3, 2018
  • “Mandatory Flu Shot Policies and The Duty to Bargain – Mostly Obligations and Some Rights,” Felhaber Larson Labor & Employment Seminar, November 3, 2017
  • “Understanding and Managing Labor Relations Issues,” BHS HR/People Development Fall Conference, October 10, 2017
  • “The Legal Risks of Social Media,” Minnesota Hospitality Conference & Expo, October 5, 2017
  • “Labor Relations Issues in Health Care,” University of Minnesota, PubH7580, September 15, 2017
  • “A New Day for Employers: What Employers Can Expect From the Trump Administration,” Wells Fargo Insurance Risk Seminar Series, May 24, 2017
  • “Human Resources Management in Long Term Care: Labor Law Update”, University of Minnesota, PubH7589, September 15, 2016
  • “The DOL’s Final Rule on Overtime Exemption”, Minnesota Restaurant Association Hot Topics Seminar, August 4, 2016
  • “What Every Employment Law Attorney Needs to Know About Labor Law”, Employment & Labor Law: Federal and Minnesota, Minnesota CLE, October 12, 2015
  • “Creating and Maintaining Lawful RTW Programs in a Union Environment”, Annual Conference, Minnesota Chapter Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), September 24, 2015
  • “Organizational Management in Long-Term Care: Labor Law Update”, University of Minnesota, PubH7580, September 10, 2015
  • “New NLRB Developments in Representation Cases”, Felhaber Larson Labor Law Seminar, March 4, 2015
  • “50-plus Years Later: The Vitality of the Equal Pay Act”, Minnesota Department of Human Rights Investigator Training, January 27, 2015
  • Delivered lecture to Occupational Health and Safety International Practice Group on U.S. OSHA law and procedure, Ius Laboris, International Congress (Barcelona), May 14, 2014
  • “OSHA Best Practices for the Lodging Industry,” presented to members of the Minnesota Lodging Association at the MLA’s “Protecting Your Property” Workshop, February 6, 2014
  • “Increased OSHA Enforcement,” Best Western seminar, July 16, 2013
  • “Where Do We Keep The Shredder? The Ethical Obligations of In-House Counsel in Regards to Record Retention,” Minnesota ACC Employment Law Seminar, May 8, 2013
  • “OSHA Compliance for Medical Professionals,” Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers 21st Annual Meeting, February 27, 2013
  • “Ask the Attorneys: Your HR Questions Answered,” KPA webinar, January 10, 2013


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