Practice Overview

Phyllis Karasov advises businesses on labor and employment matters. Her clients come from a variety of sectors, including construction, manufacturing, higher education, K-12 private education, nonprofit and healthcare. She provides counsel in all areas of human resources, including hiring, handbooks, regulatory compliance, discrimination, sexual harassment, discipline and termination, Americans with Disabilities Act, OSHA rules and the Family and Medical Leave Act. As a former National Labor Relations Board attorney, Phyllis is often called upon to represent clients in labor union matters including arbitrations, collective bargaining agreements and union contracts. In higher education, Phyllis is an experienced and trained investigator of Title IX complaints.

Representative Experience

Labor and Employment 

Phyllis has substantial experience drafting, interpreting and enforcing noncompetition agreements, confidentiality agreements, ‎and separation agreements.  She also has deep experience developing and drafting employee handbooks and other types of employment documents and ‎policies. She often represents clients before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. ‎

  • Provided guidance to employers on the many issues that a rise with COVID-19, including interpretation and application of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; the layoff of employees; mandatory COVID-19 testing;  gubernatorial executive orders;  drafting remote work policies; and government vaccine directives, including the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, the Federal Contractor Vaccination rule and the CMS Federal Vaccine Mandate Interim Final Rule.
  • Represented employers in complaints of discrimination filed with Minnesota Department of Human Rights, St, Paul Department of Human Rights, Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Represented employers in state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations and administrative law hearing process, resulting in recission of citations or significant reductions in the penalty or seriousness of the alleged violation.
  • Represented a construction contractor in a jurisdictional dispute.
  • Advised numerous employers on proper classification of workers as employees or independent contractors.
  • Advised numerous employers on exempt and nonexempt status of employees and other FLSA issues.
  • Negotiated collective bargaining agreements with various labor unions.
  • Advised employers how to remain non-union or how to respond to a union organizing campaign.
  • Advised employers on the discipline and termination of problem employees.
  • Advised employers who are audited by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Phyllis ‎advises private independent schools and institutions of higher education in all aspects of their ‎operation, including labor and employment law, student affairs, regulatory and compliance issues, ‎campus security, employee benefits, tax exemption and governance, and volunteer issues. 

  • Negotiated collective bargaining agrements for faculty, custodial and trade bargaining units.
  • Assisted several institutions in developing sexual harassment and sexual violence policies that conform to Title IX and other applicable state and federal regulations.
  • Represented an institution of higher education in a faculty member's lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging sex discrimination.
  • Drafted and negotiated employment contracts for administrators, including the president, chief financial offer, chief academic officer, and other highly placed executive administrators.
  • Regularly advises private K-12 schools on student issues.
  • Represented a K-12 school in a student complaint under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Represented several institutions in employee and student complaints filed with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations

  • Assisted an organization with governance issues.
  • Assisted an organization undergoing turmoil with various employee issues.
  • Assisted an organization with an early retirement incentive program, including drafting all associated legal and program documents.

View All Related Experience

Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • United States Court of Appeals - 8th Circuit
  • United States District Court - Minnesota
  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • United States District Court - Georgia (Inactive)
  • Georgia Supreme Court (Inactive)


  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Specialist


  • Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA; J.D.
  • University of Rochester, Rochester, NY; B.A. with distinction


  • Top Lawyers in Minnesota,® Minnesota Monthly, 2022
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers, Super Lawyers magazine
  • Super Lawyer®, Super Lawyers magazine
  • Minnesota Leading Attorney, Leading American Attorneys
  • Twin Cities Cardozo Society, Sidney Barrows Lifetime Commitment Award, 2014