Labor & Employment
Institutions of higher learning also benefit from Franczek’s decades of experience, and substantial reputation, in the fields of labor and employment counseling and litigation. We counsel and litigate with respect to the full range of employment laws applicable to higher education, including the ADA, FLSA, FMLA, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), and state and local laws governing employment. Franczek is unique in having been founded to concentrate upon labor and employment and upon education law. This focus continues, and it brings unparalleled resources and value to higher education institutions that work with the firm.
In the field of labor relations, our attorneys have negotiated high profile union contracts for large and small educational institutions. We have a unique ability to partner with our clients and successfully negotiate workable and economically feasible labor agreements, which maximize our clients’ achievements and assure the attainment of their immediate and long-term strategic goals.
Our long-standing relationships—with nearly all of the labor unions in Illinois, as well as with significant players in the public and private sectors in Chicago, Illinois and the Midwest—combine with our level of experience as labor relations advisors and negotiators to afford an unparalleled level of service to institutions of higher learning.
Counseling & Policy Development
We counsel institutions of higher learning in all aspects of employment compliance; this includes drafting and updating of policies, training employees about policy compliance, and “real-time” counseling to avoid conflicts. Our attorneys are experienced in developing and updating tenure and faculty-related policies, employee handbooks, compliance programs, whistleblower policies, and policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. We also draft and revise appointment letters, employee contracts, non-compete agreements, and confidentiality agreements. Prior to litigation and potential government investigations, we also counsel clients on compliance with the FLSA and the anti-discrimination laws, including the FMLA, ADA, and Title VII. We have experience investigating employee misconduct, helping clients comply with due process requirements in the context of discipline or termination of employees, drafting remediation plans as needed, and drafting and negotiating administrator contracts. Franczek attorneys have also designed, screened, and implemented reductions-in-force specifically for higher education institutions.
Franczek has extensive experience representing institutions of higher learning in agency and court actions ranging from single-plaintiff administrative proceedings or lawsuits to complex, multi-party litigation instigated by classes of employees or even by government agencies.
Our experience includes employment litigation and charges brought by faculty, staff, and students relating to non-reappointment, tenure denial, discipline, dismissal for cause, harassment, or breach of contract. We have particular experience representing institutions of higher learning, and individual administrators acting on behalf of those institutions, in multi-party actions involving tenure denial or dismissal, termination consequent to program closure, alleged discrimination, non-compete agreements, the False Claims Act, the FLSA, defamation, privacy and property issues, whistleblower statutes, and trade secrets. We also represent individual senior administrators, faculty members, or committee members who are personally sued because of their service during internal proceedings or because of other work performed on behalf of the institution.
Franczek attorneys have also defended institutions against discrimination, harassment, and other employment claims filed with or by local, state, and federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the U.S. and Illinois Departments of Labor, or local governmental agencies. This includes defending clients against EEOC actions alleging a “pattern or practice” of race and gender discrimination in connection with hiring, promotion, and pay practices.