Rachael E. Kohl is a professor at Wayne State University Law School, where she teaches a variety of courses across the law school, including in the Master of Studies in Law, the Minor in Law undergraduate program, and the J.D. program. She specializes in civil rights, labor, and employment law.
Kohl previously directed the Workers’ Rights Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. The clinic helped workers navigate their separations from work, including helping them obtain unemployment insurance benefits. Her deep knowledge of the unemployment insurance program led to her work with the United States Department of Labor, which focused on systematically improving equity and accessibility for the country’s only economic safety net for its workers.
Before discovering her passion for teaching, Kohl ran her own general law firm where she partnered with Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice in Detroit. She was also an attorney for a civil rights employment law firm, Pitt McGehee Palmer and Rivers, PC in Royal Oak, Michigan. She worked on a variety of cases, including the firm's ongoing class action lawsuits against Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency. Additionally, Kohl's practice included handling both individual and class action discrimination and retaliation lawsuits based on age, national origin, sex, race, disability, and sexual harassment, as well as violations of public policy, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
While her scholarly interests vary, her passion for civil and workers’ rights has led to her most recent publications. She has co-authored Michigan’s leading unemployment insurance practice book. She also was recently published in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy and The Clinical Law Review.
Kohl earned her law degree from Wayne State University Law School and her bachelor's degree with distinction from the University of Michigan.
Degrees and Certifications
B.A., University of Michigan
J.D., Wayne State University Law School
Survey of the Common Law and Employment Law for HR
Law and Harm
- Reconsidering "Able and Available": Using the ADA to Combat Disability Discrimination Due to Outdated State Unemployment Laws, 31 Cornell J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2021)
- How Serving Jobless Workers During the Pandemic’s Economic Recession Grounded Students: A Reflection from Michigan’s Workers’ Rights Clinic, 28 Clinical L. Rev. 169 (2021) (with coauthor Nancy Vettorello)
- Unemployment during COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Labor and Employment Law Section Lawnotes, Mich. B.J. (Fall 2021)
- Michigan needs unemployment law reform, Lansing State Journal, April 30, 2021
- Lessons From a Pandemic: The Need for Statutory Reform to Michigan’s Unemployment System, University of Michigan Poverty Solutions, March 2021
- Michigan Unemployment Benefits Law, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, February 2021 (with coauthors Steve Gray, Samir Hanna, and Nancy Vettorello), book available online.
- Lawmakers must act to protect unemployed Michiganders into 2021, Bridge Magazine, opinion editorial, December 18, 2020 (with coauthor Bella Book)
- Michigan Unemployment Insurance Drags Behind: Fair Treatment for Survivors of Interpersonal Violence and Their Employers, Mich. B.J., December 2020 (with coauthors Rebecca Shiemke and Kara Naseef)
- Urgent Need For Federal Loans To State Unemployment Agencies, National Employment Law Project Policy Brief, June 2020 (with coauthors Michele Evermore and Dillon Roseen)
- "Pleadings, Discovery, and Settlement: Checklists and Form." In Employment Termination: Procedures, Grounds, and Challenges. 2018 ed., 2-1 to 2-76. Springfield: Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2018
- The Education Achievement Authority: A Novel Solution to Public Education or Repackaging the Same Failures?, 15 J.L & Soc’y 275 (2014)