Joseph Kelly represented a veteran who was fired by the city of Hopkins, reinstated after a veteran’s preference hearing, and was sued by the city for $66,000 for the costs of the hearing. The city lost that case in the end, and Kelly went to the Capitol.
Minn. Stat. sec. 197.46 now provides that the employer pays all costs associated with the hearing, and, if the veteran prevails, his or her attorney fees.
Kelly’s dedication to the rights of veterans comes naturally as a result of his own Army National Guard service, including a 2016 deployment in the North Sinai Desert. He wants to improve the hiring process for veterans and make them a protected class. This is necessary, Kelly says, because public employers are reluctant to hire veterans because they perceive they can’t fire them. “These veterans are continuing their public service by working in the public sector,” Kelly says.
Kelly also prosecutes for multiple cities in Ramsey County and represents unions in labor issues, arbitrations and mediations. He also represents police officers in disciplinary proceedings.
He recently received a General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award in recognition of the ideals of duty, honor and country. In true military fashion, he says, “My subordinates are the reason I got the award.”