Victor J. Kisch

Victor J. Kisch
Portland, OR

About Victor

Labor and Employment

For over 30 years, Victor Kisch has specialized exclusively in labor and employment law on behalf of employers. During that time, he served as lead counsel on some of the most significant labor and employment cases in Oregon history:   

  • Member of post-trial team that successfully reduced the largest employment law verdict in Oregon history from $19,000,000 to $1,200,000.
  • Counsel for employer in the largest union election in Oregon history. Approximately 2,500 voters (employer won).
  • Jury verdicts for Costco, PGE and Wells Fargo, among others, in trials involving age, race and retaliation.

Victor’s practice includes:

  • Employment litigation and trial work (wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, trade secrets, retaliation, wage and hour class actions);
  • Labor law or “traditional” labor law (union organizing drives, labor negotiations, NLRB practice, strikes, project labor agreements (PLAs) in the construction industry, unfair labor practices); and,
  • Advice and counsel on a wide range of labor and employment issues, such as discharges, layoffs, and the WARN Act.

Victor has been ranked by Chambers USA in “Band 1” for over a decade, the highest ranking under the Chambers peer and client rating process. 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 over ten years. He was named one of the “Top 50” attorneys in Oregon by Super Lawyers. Victor has been AV rated for over 20 years by Martindale-Hubbell®.

Labor and Employment Practice 

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 in Band 1 by Chambers USA (“universally respected”). The Labor and Employment Group is also ranked among the top L&E Groups on a national level by U.S. News & World Report.

Victor is a frequent speaker in Oregon and nationally. For over 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.

Before joining Stoel, Victor started the Labor and Employment Group at a different Portland firm (Tonkon Torp) and was instrumental in its growth. He was a partner and chair of the L&E Group from 1993 to 2005.

Victor began his career at the largest labor and employment firm in the country, Littler Mendelson, which has over 1,000 lawyers. He was an associate and a partner at the San Francisco office from 1985 to 1993.

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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.
  • Tatum 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 that worked on what is believed to be the largest verdict in Oregon history in an employment case - $19m.  The Court reduced the verdict from $19m to $1.2 million based on the pre-trial motions and the case settled soon thereafter on favorable terms.

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, and unfair labor practice charges; and negotiating collective bargaining agreements and project labor agreements (pre-hire agreements).

  • Successfully represented a Fortune 500 company, in what is believed to be the largest union election in Oregon history.
  • Represented a manufacturer in a national organizing drive in approximately 30 states.
  • Represented 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

  • Bey v. SolarWorld Resolved on favorable terms class claims involving 5-minute grace period and meal period.
  • Makaneole v. SolarWorld
  • 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.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America© (currently: Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management), 2004-2018
  • 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 nine management-side attorneys in Oregon), 2007-present. Serves on the College’s Credential Committee, which decides whether to admit applicants from Northern California, Washington and Oregon.
  • Ranked in Band 1 by Chambers USA, for 13 years (2004-2017). Comments include:
    • “Offers wide ranging practice… a great lawyer”  (2017);
    • "Excellent employment attorney" (2016);
    • "He is well respected, very timely and a great communicator” (2015);
    • “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), 2006-2017
  • 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 20 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)

Civic Activities

  • Former Board member, Lan Su Chinese Garden, former president, former vice president and executive committee member
  • Board member, Vital Life Foundation
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