Karl Butterer is an established litigator with 20 years of highly successful legal experience representing governmental entities, manufacturers, small businesses, health care providers, and large corporations. He joined the firm in 2012 and currently concentrates his practice in the areas of employment, torts, civil rights, contract disputes as well as commercial litigation. Karl has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell and was given the top AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating. Additionally, American Lawyer Media has selected Karl as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment.
Karl gives employers practical advice from the initial hire to the termination of the employment relationship to help them comply with the law and avoid litigation. Recent representative matters include:
- Advised commodity trucking and harvesting company regarding wage and overtime policies to comply with Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Prepared independent contractor agreements for advertising firm's salespeople.
- Worked with manufacturing, health care, and municipal clients to develop employee handbooks and hiring procedures to facilitate human resources operations and avoid litigation.
- Developed leave policies and procedures for growing home nursing care employer to comply with Family Medical Leave Act.
- Counseled human resources directors of variety of small and medium sized businesses regarding employee disciplinary, termination, and severance issues.
- Conducted internal investigation for municipal employer regarding charges of sex discrimination and retaliation.
Karl takes a vigorous and proactive approach in pursuing his clients’ interests. Sometimes litigation is a client's best or only option. Recently, Karl litigated a variety of state, federal and administrative matters, including:
- Defended mid-sized company in National Labor Relations Board administrative proceedings against a charge that company terminated worker for engaging in activities protected by National Labor Relations Act.
- Defended majority shareholder against complaint filed by minority shareholder alleging misappropriation of corporate opportunities.
- Filed complaint and request for preliminary injunction to enforce non-compete agreement on behalf of employer health care provider.
- Defended municipal employer against gender discrimination and retaliation charges filed with Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
- Litigated property easement dispute between Lake Michigan riparian property owners.
Karl is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Indiana University School of Law. He served as a member of the Executive Committee for the Litigation Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. He also served on its Board of Trustees and Chaired the Membership Services Committee. Additionally, he represented the 17th Circuit as elected representative to the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly.
Honors & Recognitions
AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America® 2020-2021 (Commercial Litigation)
Best Lawyers in America® 2021 (Employment Law – Management)
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Michigan
- State Bar Representative Assembly for 17th Circuit
- Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
Industry & Professional Associations:
- Grand Rapids Bar Association, Executive Committee for Litigation Section
- Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Board of Trustee Member and Chair of Membership Services
- Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys
- County Road Association of Michigan, Associate Member
- Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids
- University of Michigan Club of Grand Rapids
- The Employers' Association
- City of Grand Rapids
- Income Tax Board of Review
- Housing Appeals Board
Recent Blog Posts
Michigan Labor & Employment Law Blog
- Biden Administration Executive Orders Impacting Employment Law Issues
- EEOC Issues New Guidance on Religious Discrimination and Accommodation of Religious Beliefs
- The Pro-Union PRO Act passes the U.S. House of Representatives
- Remote Work in the Pandemic Age: Employer Obligations and Best Practices
- Supreme Court Upholds Right of Employers to Opt Out of ACA Contraceptive Mandate on Religious or Moral Grounds
- U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Workplace Discrimination on the Bases of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is Prohibited Under Title VII
- Update MIOSHA Emergency Rules in the Workplace, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, May 25, 2021
- Michigan Employers Permitted to Resume In-Person Work May 24, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, May 11, 2021
- MIOSHA COVID-19 Emergency Rules for Employers Extended for Six Months, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, April 14, 2021
- An Eye on the Future of COVID and the Workplace, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, March 25, 2021
- MIOSHA to Increase Inspections of Manufacturers’ COVID Preparedness and Response Plans and Remote Work Policies, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News, November 23, 2020
- Governor Whitmer Signs Extension of Unemployment Benefits into Law and Other COVID-19-Related Legislation, Foster Swift Labor & Employment Law News E-blast, October 23, 2020
News & Events
- Hot Employment Law Topics for HR Teams in 2021, Foster Swift, February 25, 2021
- Employer Guidance for a Lawful and Safe Re-Opening, Foster Swift, May 27, 2020
- Hiring, Investigating and Discipline/Discharge in the Law, Foster Swift: Developing Labor Law Update, May 9, 2018
- Employment and labor laws that can affect the dairy industry, Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference (GLRDC), February 8, 2018
- Hiring, Investigating and Discipline/Discharge in the Law, Foster Swift: Developing Labor Law Update, February 7, 2018
- Employment Practices, Liability Insurance Policies and Claims; A Lawyers Perspective, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society, May 23, 2017
- When Employees Need to Home School, Material Handling & Logistics (MH&L), September 10, 2020
- Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2021 Best Lawyers in America©, August 20, 2020
- 42 Foster Swift Attorneys Listed as Best Lawyers® 2020, August 15, 2019
- Foster Swift Elects Four New Shareholders, January 25, 2016
- Free Webinar Addresses How to Discipline and Terminate Employees, June 5, 2015
- Eight Foster Swift Attorneys Admitted to Practice Before Supreme Court, November 2, 2012
Indiana University School of Law, J.D., 1994
University of Michigan, B.A., 1989
Bar and Court Admissions
State Bar of Michigan
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan