“I went to law school because I had a desire to impact civil rights,” she says. “Practicing employment law and representing employees felt like a good way to do that.”
Bertelson is known for a willingness to fight for the underdog.
Throughout her more than 30 years of practice, Bertelson has been energized by the trust and courage of so many of her clients, including many federal pro se plaintiffs she has advised. A turning point in Bertelson’s career was representing older employees in an eight-year-long age discrimination collective action.
In Kenneh v. Homeward Bound, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that Minnesota courts are not bound by restrictive federal court guidance in determining what constitutes sexual harassment under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Lead attorney Jerry Laurie and second chair attorney Kelly Jeanetta led the team, helped by amici curiae including Leslie Lienemann, Justin Cummins, Frances Baillon, Brian Rochel, Christy Hall, Jess Braverman, Amy Laurcella and Lindsay Brice. Bertelson assisted behind the scenes at the appellate level.
In her practice area, Bertelson sees a trend toward employees having more say in what they need from a workplace in terms of culture, diversity, flexibility and benefits.
She also understands both sides of an issue working as an arbitrator and mediator. She foresees more attempts at proactive resolution in the future because, she says, “Litigation will impact a potential employee’s interest in working for the company.”
Bertelson notes that many people helped her continue her long litigation practice: family, friends, colleagues, and in particular, fellow attorneys Andrea Ostapowich and Sue Kealy.
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.
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