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We advise and represent a wide range of hotel, restaurant, and tourism employers on employment, labor, and employee benefits matters. Given our experience in the industry, we are the qualified “go to” firm for hospitality employers in Chicago.

We understand the unique and complex legal challenges and issues that our hospitality clients face when it comes to managing their employees. Based on our experience in the hospitality industry and our laser-like focus on employment and labor law, we are uniquely qualified to assist clients in this industry on all of their labor and employment needs.

We also understand that well trained employees and managers are the most valuable assets for hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality-related businesses. We believe that investing in employee training fosters a positive and productive workplace and helps to avoid potentially devastating human resources issues and resulting liability. For this reason, since 1994, we regularly have hosted annual labor and employment and hospitality conferences providing focused training and guidance on cutting edge labor and employment issues that impact the industry. We also provide focused, employer specific training to individual clients on a variety of topics including, anti-harassment, union avoidance, managing in a union environment, and FMLA and ADA compliance among other topics of concern to hospitality employers. We have the resources to provide a curriculum to introduce hospitality managers and employees to these issues, with a specific focus on your Chicago-area operations. Our programs are designed to build the confidence and practical management skills needed to effectively handle legally sensitive situations.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully represented a hospitality industry employer in federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act litigation
  • In a five-day jury trial, obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of Illinois’ largest grocery retailer (Wise v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc.)
  • Represented Illinois’ largest grocery retailer in obtaining termination of a longstanding consent decree with the EEOC in a case alleging a “pattern and practice” of ADA discrimination (EEOC v. Jewel Food Stores Inc.)
  • Obtained a significantly favorable judgment for a major national retailer in a race discrimination, whistleblower retaliation and FMLA retaliation case brought by a former human resources director. A federal district court in New Jersey not only dismissed the employee’s claims in their entirety, but also awarded attorneys’ fees in favor of the retailer on a counterclaim asserting that the employee breached a binding confidentiality agreement by taking confidential company documents that she claimed supported her lawsuit
  • Obtained summary judgment for a large multi-practice physicians group in Northwestern Indiana in a case alleging claims of sexual harassment, Title VII retaliation, and Medicare fraud whistleblower retaliation (Gibbs v. Medical Specialists)
  • Obtained summary judgment after securing dismissal of class claims for an energy company in a lawsuit alleging that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by demoting allegedly disabled employees for excessive absenteeism
  • Obtained favorable decision on behalf of the defendant when the Seventh Circuit Court affirmed summary judgment in a highly publicized same sex harassment and retaliation case (Bernier v. Morningstar)
  • Obtained voluntary dismissal of FMLA lawsuit on behalf of third party administrator (under 29 C.F.R 825.106(b)(2)) within weeks of filing of the complaint (Tillotson v. The Manitowoc Company and Matrix Absence Management, 2016)
  • Prevailed on summary judgment in race discrimination and retaliation action on behalf of local luxury hotel (Carter v. Thompson Hotels/Sax Hotel, May 2013)
  • Secured complete dismissal of ADA and FMLA claims in a federal court lawsuit filed by a former college registrar (Wirey v. Richland Community College, 2012)
  • Obtained early dismissal of reverse race discrimination employment discrimination action where federal court ruled that plaintiff did not allege facts amounting to an actionable discrimination claim (Pazur v. Target Corporation, 2011)
  • Served as one of the lead defense counsel in a 20-plaintiff Title VII sexual discrimination and sexual harassment case on behalf a Fortune 100 national retail company. Responsible for the majority of Plaintiffs’ depositions and led the day-to-day management of the case. Favorable settlement achieved during discovery. (Feb. 2010)
  • Won FMLA and ADA case, when summary judgment was affirmed where Court found that Plaintiff did not place employer on notice of the need for FMLA leave (Moody v. Colson Caster Corp., 2006)
  • Successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement for a McCormick Place vendor’s 1,000 unionized workers just days before a major meeting was to begin

Other Labor and Employment Services

In addition to employment litigation, we represent hospitality clients and other clients in the full-range of labor and employment, employee benefits and immigration matters.

  • Labor Relations

Our firm is a powerful advocate for employers and a formidable adversary to unions. We provide creative and effective solutions to challenging labor relations problems. We aggressively pursue client goals at the bargaining table, in arbitration, and in the courtroom. We work with non-unionized employers to develop and implement effective strategies for preventing and defeating union organizing campaigns. We are a respected adversary—unions know we’ll anticipate both their negotiation tactics and campaign plans.

  • Employment Counseling

We serve as a trusted partner and powerful advocate for employers ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to small businesses, and including educational institutions and public-sector employers. We partner with employers to create effective workplace practices and provide practical solutions while meeting long-term business goals and minimizing litigation and regulatory risk. When litigation is unavoidable or strategically necessary, we are passionate advocates for employers formulating and executing creative, smart and effective strategies to defend our clients’ interests.