Victor J. Kisch
For almost 30 years, Victor Kisch has specialized exclusively in labor and employment law, representing employers only. His practice includes (1) employment litigation and trial work (wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, trade secrets, retaliation, wage and hour class actions), (2) labor law or "traditional" labor law (union organizing drives, labor negotiations, NLRB practice, strikes, project labor agreements, unfair labor practices), and (3) advice and counsel on a wide range of labor and employment issues, such as discharges, layoffs, and WARN Act.
Victor has been ranked by Chambers USA as a first-tier labor and employment lawyer for over a decade. He is one of eight Oregon management-employment attorneys elected as a Fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers for his sustained outstanding performance in the profession. He has been included in Best Lawyers in America for ten years. He was named one of the "Top 50" attorneys in Oregon by Super Lawyers. Victor is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Labor and Employment Practice
The firm's Labor and Employment Group includes approximately 40 attorneys in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, California and Minnesota). Victor is a resident of the firm's Portland office, which is ranked in tier #1 by U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers in America® and by Chambers USA ("universally respected"). The Labor and Employment Group was also ranked among the top groups on a national level by U.S. News & World Report.
Victor blogs at www.stoelrivesworldofemployment.com and is a frequent speaker in Oregon and nationally. For five years, he wrote a monthly column in the Portland Business Journal on a wide range of Human Resources issues. He has been quoted by the Associated Press, The Oregonian, The Seattle Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Portland Business Journal and Oregon Business Magazine, and has appeared as a TV commentator on KGW Live@7, KATU, KPTV and KOIN-TV.
Victor started the Labor and Employment group at Tonkon Torp LLP in Portland, Oregon and was a partner and chair (1993-2005). Before that, he was a partner and associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C. in San Francisco, California (1985-1993).
Employment Trials and Litigation
- Nydigger v. Portland General Electric (PGE) – Defense verdict in two-week jury trial in which plaintiff claimed retaliation (whistleblower).
- Strickland v. The Portland Shipyard - Defense verdict in one-week jury trial in which two plaintiffs claimed hostile environment based on race and racial segregation.
- Langton v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. - Defense verdict in one-week jury trial in which a 69-year-old employee, who worked over 10 years for defendant, alleged age discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation.
- Tatom v. Costco Wholesale Corp. - Defense verdict in two-week jury trial defending retaliation claims arising from termination of a manager who made a sexual harassment complaint.
- Guild for Professional Pharmacists v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals – Defense judgment in three-day bench trial in federal court in an action to change pension eligibility in the collective bargaining agreement.
- Auto Dealers v. Teamsters and Machinists - Employer verdict in three-week jury trial alleging violence and property damage during a strike.
- Paul v. Asbury Motors - Member of post-trial team in race discrimination case engaged after jury verdict of $19 million. Court reduced the verdict to $1.2 million based on post-trial motions and the case settled soon thereafter.
Labor Law (NLRB, Strikes, Union Organizing Drives, Project Labor Agreements, Unfair Labor Practices)
Sometimes referred to as "traditional" labor law, Victor's practice in this area includes defending employers in union organizing drives, strike situations, unfair labor practice charges, and negotiating collective bargaining and project labor agreements (pre-hire agreements).
- Successfully represented Precision Castparts Corp., a Fortune 500 company, in what is believed to be the largest union election in Oregon history.
- Representing a manufacturer in a national organizing drive in approximately 30 states.
- Representing an assisted living company in a regional organizing drive.
- Represented largest medical center in Central Oregon in successful decertification of SEIU in 600-employee bargaining suit.
- Prevailed in labor arbitration in which $8.1 million of withdrawal liability was in dispute.
- In re Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. & General Teamsters Local Union No. 962 - Prevailed in NLRB hearing in which the Board alleged bad-faith bargaining and retaliation after a strike.
- Represent major energy companies in labor matters on a multi-state basis, including strategy for collective bargaining, defending unfair labor practices, arbitrations and strike preparation.
- Prevailed in bet-the-company alter-ego/single employer NLRB trial.
Wage and Hour Class Actions
- Holden v. Staples, Inc. - Resolved precertification wage and hour class claims relating to payments upon termination.
- Zamora v. Foster Farms - Resolved class claims precertification alleging termination pay, postings and pay stub information.
- Reyes v. Sabroso Company - Resolved class claims based on alleged time worked during orientation period.
Noncompetes and Trade Secrets
- Portland Shipyard - After a one-week trial, the court granted motion for an injunction not to compete to extend along the entire West Coast from the northern tip of Alaska to the Mexican border.
- Confidential Parties - Negotiated six-figure settlement paid by employee who was alleged to have transferred proprietary data to competitor.
Training can be a critical part of an employer's defense in employment litigation. For several years, Victor has trained executives, managers and supervisors, on a national level, on such topics as sexual harassment, discrimination, investigations, social media in the workplace and union avoidance.
List of Representative Cases
- Presley v. Freightliner, LLC, 357 F. App'x 34 (9th Cir. 2009)
- Sheppard v. David Evans & Assocs., U.S. 9th Circuit No 11-35164, 2012 US App LEXIS 19135, (D. Or. 2010)
- Noga v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 583 F. Supp. 2d 1245 (D. Or. 2008)
- Cai v. DaimlerChrysler AG, 480 F. Supp. 2d 1245 (D. Or. 2007)
- Gonzalez v. Adecco N. Am., No. 06-395-AS, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1291 (D. Or. 2007)
Professional Honors & Activities
- Elected as a Fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the highest recognition by colleagues in the field of labor and employment law (one of eight management-side attorneys in Oregon), 2007-present
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America® (currently: Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management), 2004-2015
- Ranked in tier #1 by Chambers USA, for 10 years (2004-2014). Comments include: "When I call Victor Kisch, I know I am calling an expert" (2014); "Held in high regard" (2013); "Provides practical advice in a very responsive fashion" (2012); "An expert in the field . . ." (2011); "Attracts high praise for his collaborative work ethos" (2010); "Can manage the most complicated situations, is a calming influence whenever things get heated and knows his subject inside-out" (2009); "At the top of his game—a high quality and fully engaged lawyer" (2008); "Very comfortable and pleasant person to work with" (2007); a "star," "very able, personable and gentlemanly" and "a great counselor" (2006); "Incredibly motivated...clients stress how enjoyable he is to work with,...the lengths he goes to in understanding their concerns" (2005); Praised him as a "results-oriented attorney who makes his advice practical. He really takes the time to listen to his clients" (2004).
- Listed in Oregon Super Lawyers® (Employment & Labor, Employment Litigation: Defense), every year since inception
- Selected by Super Lawyers® as one of the "Top 50" lawyers in Oregon, three years
- Listed in Portland Monthly magazine as top attorney in labor and employment
- AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated with Martindale-Hubbell® for over 10 years (highest rating in the legal profession for legal ability and ethics)
- Counsel, Portland Human Resource Management Association (PHRMA), Affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 2006
- Past instructor, Portland State University Professional Development Center, Advanced EEO Law
- Past member, Executive Committee, Labor and Employment Section, Oregon State Bar
- Past board member, Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), for 10 years (2004-2014)
- Former Board member, Lan Su Chinese Garden, former president, former vice president and executive committee member
- Board member, Vital Life Foundation
- Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1985
- School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois, M.A., 1982
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
- University of Iowa, B.B.A., 1980
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- U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
- U.S. District Court for the Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit