Kaarin Nelson Schaffer

Employment Law Super Lawyer

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Kaarin Nelson Schaffer is a partner at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP and a fierce advocate for her clients. Driven by a desire for fairness and justice, Kaarin litigates on behalf of employees across a range of employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, including gender and pregnancy discrimination, whistleblower retaliation and other forms of unlawful workplace conduct by employers.

Kaarin has been named to the list of Minnesota Rising Stars in employment litigation every year since 2014, and she regularly presents at conferences on employment law. A cum laude graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Kaarin takes her passion for the law by teaching classes in American law to students in Uruguay, South America, and serving on the board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota.

Publications and Presentations

  • Strategies for Summary Judgment in Sexual Harassment Cases, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist with Cynthia Bremer and Lawrence Schaefer, May 21, 2019
  • Court Sanctioned Permission to Sexually Harass?, Minnesota Trial Magazine, Author, Winter 2019
  • Should You Take an Employment Case?, Nevada Justice Association’s Advocate Magazine, Author, Jan./Feb. 2019
  • Avoiding 10 Leave Mistakes Employers Make–A Plaintiffs’ Attorney Perspective, Minnesota CLE, Presenter, Oct. 30, 2018
  • Should You Take an Employment Case?, Minnesota Trial Magazine, Author, Fall 2018
  • Non-Compete Agreements, Interview with WCCO Radio’s Jearlyn Steele, Aug. 19, 2018
  • What’s the Harm? - Evaluating and Proving Damages, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist with Sheila Engelmeier, Anna Prakash and Brian Rochel, May 21, 2018
  • Sexual Harassment in Employment, Interview with WCCO Radio’s Esme Murphy, Dec. 2, 2017
  • Sexual Harassment, Harvey Weinstein and Non-Disclosure Agreements, Interview with WCCO Radio, Oct. 21, 2017
  • LaPoint, Sanchez, and Friedlander – Good News from the Minnesota Supreme Court… And How to Keep It That Way, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Panelist, Sept. 12, 2017
  • Considerations and Strategies for Pregnancy Related Litigation, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist, May 23, 2017
  • Plaintiff & Defense Perspectives and Practice Pointers for Litigating Pregnancy Discrimination Claims, Pregnancy Accommodation and Non-Discrimination Handbook Chapter, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Co-Author, 2017
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Update, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist, May 2016
  • Supremely Unique: Significant Supreme Court Opinions in 2016 – Fall 2016, University of St. Thomas, Presenter, 2016
  • Felony Disenfranchisement: Why 5 Million Americans Can’t Vote This November, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Author, Oct. 16, 2012

Representative Cases

  • Weber v. CenturyLink, Embarq, and Robert Lundquist, 62-CV-17-499 (Dist. Ct. Minn. July 31, 2018) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all of plaintiff’s claims for discrimination and retaliation because genuine issues of material fact existed as to why plaintiff’s was terminated)

  • Jennifer Winkelman v. Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, 27-CV-15-2015 (Dist. Ct. Minn. Dec. 7, 2015) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims for disability discrimination and FMLA retaliation because genuine issues of material fact exited as to whether defendant’s reasons for termination were pretext)

  • Settled multiple employment law disputes with settlement values exceeding $1 million, including claims of sexual harassment under the Minnesota Human Rights Act and whistleblower retaliation under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act.

  • Tried more than a dozen civil and criminal jury trials to verdict.

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers® Super Lawyer, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, 2019
  • Super Lawyers® Rising Star, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, 2014-2018

Professional Memberships

  • National Employment Lawyers Association, Minnesota Chapter
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Minnesota Association for Justice
  • Innocence Project of Minnesota, Board Member
  • Juvenile Justice Advocates International, Board Member
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100


  • University of St. Thomas School of Law, St. Paul, MN, J.D., cum laude
  • Suffolk University, Boston, MA
  • Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA


  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota