The AGHL Law Labor and Employment Team has over seventy years of combined experience assisting public and private employers with their labor and employment needs. Our team provides advice and counsel on a broad range of labor and employment issues, including wage and hour compliance, workplace safety, union contract administration, medical and other leave issues, disability and religious accommodation, employment contracts and policies, and training and investigation. We assist employers in building and maintaining respectful workplaces free of discrimination and harassment, responding effectively to employee complaints, and advocating zealously in administrative and legal proceedings.
Advice & Counseling
A substantial portion of our labor and employment practice is devoted to proactive counseling and advising management in employment and labor matters, including discipline and discharge issues; wage and hour issues and audits; leave requests and ADA compliance; responding to government investigations; and the interaction between various federal and state laws. We assist employers in addressing potential employment problems early and developing effective practices and strategies to best address and avoid significant liabilities in the workplace.
Our team has extensive experience in employment law litigation in claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Equal Pay Act, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Illinois Whistleblower Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the National Labor Relations Act. We also defend employers against claims of retaliatory discharge, wrongful termination, and breach of contract.
We represent employers before the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Illinois State Labor Relations Board, the Illinois Department of Labor, the United States Department of Labor, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs as well as many other administrative bodies, and in federal and State courts. Our experience extends to handling complex claims brought by individuals or as class actions.
Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining
Our team represents management in all aspects of labor relations from effectively responding to Union organizing campaigns to properly administering collective bargaining agreements. We provide guidance to employers involved in labor negotiations and assist with the preparation of management proposals and evaluation of union proposals. We have negotiated contracts on behalf of a diverse group of employers including those in the manufacturing and health sectors, as well local school districts and municipalities. Once a collective bargaining agreement is in place, we assist employers with properly applying its provisions, communicating effectively with Union officials, and defending grievances in arbitration.
Employee Employment Agreements
The AGHL Labor and Employment Team regularly drafts, revises, and provides guidance to employers related to many different types of employment agreements. In addition to drafting agreements to define employee compensation, bonus, and performance expectations, we assist with agreements that minimize employer risk as the employment relationship evolves.
We draft confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-competition agreements necessary to protect an employer’s proprietary information and customer data, and review and revise existing agreements for compliance with the changing laws in this area. We draft, revise, and review employee separation and severance agreements and provide guidance to employers as to when and how to use such agreements effectively. We also assist employers with agreements that define their relationships with other individuals and entities, such as independent contractors, consultants, vendors, and customers.
Policies, Handbooks, and Training
Our team helps employers craft workplace policies that ensure proper management and effective compliance with State and federal laws and regulations. We regularly draft, review and revise employee handbooks for our clients to assure that they are up to date with the latest laws and regulations. We also assist clients in formulating workplace policies that address specific employer needs, as well as changes in the law as they arise, such as pandemic response.
We provide in-house training to management on hiring, discipline, unlawful discrimination, and retaliation, accommodation, and other workplace issues. We guide employers on administering the sexual harassment training required by the Illinois Human Rights Act and with navigating State and federal compensation and demographic reporting requirements. We also assist employers in conducting investigations and audits consistent with existing policies and best practices.
We assist employers with federal Form I-9 compliance, including counsel in connection with either internal or Immigration and Customs Enforcement I-9 audits. We also prepare employer-sponsored immigration petitions, including, but not limited to, E, H-1B, and L visa petitions. Further, we assist employers in navigating optional practical training and curricular practical training requirements.
Fulfilling Government Contracting Requirements
Our team members provide employers with guidance on government contracting requirements and affirmative action obligations. We advise employers entering government contracts about the requirements of such contracts or subcontracts and the potential costs associated with those obligations. We draft and revise affirmative action plans required of government contractors and we assist with audits by government agencies such as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.