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A Better Partnership

Louis C. Rabaut

Of Counsel | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2147

    f. +1.616.752.2500

    m. +1.616.915.5296


Lou Rabaut practices employment and labor law, representing both unionized and nonunionized employers. He frequently counsels employers on discipline and discharge decisions, employment policies, workplace safety, workplace violence and harassment issues. Former chair of the firm's Labor and Employment Group, Lou is a frequent speaker and teacher who provides in-house training sessions for client management teams.


  • University of Detroit J.D. 1982 magna cum laude
  • Detroit Institute of Technology B.A. 1977 summa cum laude


  • 1982, Michigan


  • Supreme Court of Michigan in 1982
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 1982
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit in 1986

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Labor and Employment Law Section
  • State Bar of Michigan

Teaching and Lecturing

  • Adjunct Instructor, Grand Rapids Community College, Occupational Safety and Health (1996, 1999)


  • Served as Vice President of People Services and Legal Counsel for National Heritage Academies, Inc., a charter school management company serving over 40,000 students in 71 schools across nine states
  • Serves as labor and employment counsel for Huizenga Group, which includes an auto parts manufacturer, two automation companies, two tool and die companies, an electrical contractor and a pharmaceutical packaging company
  • Serves as labor and employment counsel for BESSER Company, a global manufacturer of masonry manufacturing equipment
  • Serves as labor and employment counsel for East Jordan Iron Works, Inc., a global manufacturer of infrastructure components
  • Serves as labor and employment counsel for over a dozen organizations in the health care industry
  • Regularly engages in labor negotiations and arbitrations on behalf of management
  • Frequently conducts training sessions for management from front line supervision to senior management on labor and employment topics

Honors & Awards

  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2020 and 2017 Grand Rapids Management Labor Lawyer of the Year
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, 2007-2013
  • Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law-Management and Labor Law-Management, 2005-Present
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Leading Lawyers Michigan, 2014



  • "Healthcare reform, slow economy muddying employment waters in 2011," quoted in MiBiz, 1/19/2011
  • "Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA," University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, 1993
  • "Workers' Compensation Update," Wayne Law Review, 1993
  • Coauthor: "Taking Another Look At Covenants Not to Compete," Michigan Bar Journal, 1985
  • Periodic columnist on labor and employment issues, Grand Rapids Business Update

Legacy Matters


Community Affiliations

  • Franciscan Life Process Center
    Past Advisory Board Member
  • Grand Rapids Amateur Hockey Association
    Past President
  • Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation
    Past President and Founding Member
  • Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation
    Past Chair, Advisory Board
  • Grand Rapids Central High School
  • Grand Rapids West Catholic High School

Speaking Engagements

  • 50 or more presentations each year for trade groups and in-house training sessions
  • Frequent speaker on sexual harassment, compliance with disability and other antidiscrimination laws, health and safety law compliance, employee discharge and discipline decisions and other employment law issues
  • Moderator, Employee Benefits Panel and Labor Employment Panel, Warner 2019 HR Executive Panels, September 13, 2019, Traverse City, Michigan
  • "Show Me the Money: EEO-1 Pay Data Reporting Requirements and Conducting Pay Equity Audits," Warner webinar, June 12, 2019
  • "Technology, Employment and the Law," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 7, 2019, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Michigan's New Minimum Wage and Paid Medical Leave Laws webinar, December 19, 2018
  • “Key Employment Issues for Start-Up Companies,” Innovation Lunch-and-Learn Series, July 19, 2018, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • “Sexual Harassment and Bystander Training,” Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 3, 2018, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • “Anatomy of a Discharge," Employment Law - Mock Trial 2018, Traverse Area Human Resource Association, April 26, 2018, Traverse City, Michigan 
  • Sexual Harassment in the Workplace webinar, December 13, 2017
  • "Myth or Truth: Labor & Employment Panel," Warner Labor & Benefits Executive Panels, November 17, 2017, Traverse City, Michigan
  • "Attracting and Retaining Talent in a Family Business," 11th Annual Family Business Forum, Undefeated: The Shepler's Story, October 4, 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Moderator, "Managing an Evolving Workforce," "Attracting and Retaining Millennials" and "Wage/Hour and FLSA Issues," Warner Labor & Benefits Executive Panel, October 21, 2016, Traverse City, Michigan
  • "White Collar Rules and the Changes in Society," "How to Get and Keep an Engaged Workforce" and "Current Social Movements and Their Effect on Your Business," Mason County Manufacturers Association, October 20, 2016, Ludington, Michigan
  • "EEOC Discrimination," Warner Human Resources Seminar, June 9, 2016, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Labor & Benefits Executive Panel, Warner Seminar, October 5, 2015, Traverse City, Michigan, and October 26, 2015, Troy, Michigan
  • "Hot Topics in Labor and Employment" and "Managing Talent," Warner Human Resources Seminar, April 20, 2015, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Labor and Employment Panel, Labor and Benefits Executive Panel-Government Enforcement Initiatives, October 2, 2014, Southfield, Michigan
  • "Data Driven Human Resources" and "Succession Planning in Your Organization," Warner Human Resources Seminar, April 22, 2014, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Implementing a People Strategy," Warner Human Resources Seminar, April 29, 2013, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "When Three Strangers Meet: FMLA, ADA and Workers' Compensation" and "Understanding Leadership and Communication Styles," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 2, 2012, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Getting a Seat at the Executive Table" and "Talent Management and Succession Planning," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 25, 2011, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Wage-Hour Issues," and "Conflict Resolution," Warner Human Resources Seminar, March 23, 2010, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Reading the Tea Leaves - HR Trends and Changes for 2009," Human Resources Holiday Roundtable, December 9, 2008, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Human Resources Roundtable, December 4, 2007, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Generations in the Workplace" and "CSI: HR Manager in Crisis Management," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 10, 2007, Grand Rapids, Michigan


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