Our practice in labor and employment law is extensive, dating back to the firm’s founding in 1934.
Whether a teacher, an autoworker, a medical professional, or a train conductor, workers of all backgrounds deserve security, fair compensation, equitable treatment, and dignity in their employment. As experienced practitioners of labor and employment law, the attorneys at Despres, Schwartz, and Geoghegan, Ltd., fight to protect those rights.
On behalf of our clients, our attorneys take legal action against employers who have committed wage theft, discriminated against their employees, retaliated against collective action, attempted to silence union representatives, or otherwise deprived employees of their rights under the law. At Despres, Schwartz, and Geoghegan, Ltd., we use results-oriented tactics to hold employers accountable, safeguard against the mistreatment and exploitation of workers, and deliver justice in the workplace.
Who We Represent
Counsel to individuals, worker’s collectives, class action groups, and unions
As part of our flexible and results-oriented approach to obtaining justice for workers, we serve as counsel to a wide variety of clients, including individuals, unions, worker’s collectives, and class action groups.
Among those we represent, we are proud to include the United Auto Workers (UAW), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers of Trainmen (BLET), the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) as well as local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as just a few of our union clients.
Our union clients value the work of our attorneys for helping to protect their members during contract negotiation, arbitration, and, when necessary, litigation.
Labor & Employment Law Experience
Our firm’s practice in labor and employment law is extensive, dating back to the firm’s founding in 1934. Nearly a century later, we continue to represent workers in every forum—arbitration, trial court, appeals court, and beyond—and often provide counsel to employees to achieve positive results without resorting to litigation. We have strong ties with community organizations and worker centers that allow us to take a comprehensive approach to addressing our clients’ concerns.
When litigation is necessary, we have successfully represented individual clients in claims involving:
- employment discrimination (Title VII, Section 1981, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, etc.)
- wage theft (Illinois Wage Payment & Collection Act)
- retaliatory discharge
- violations of other statutory rights (Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Illinois Minimum Wage Law, etc.)
We have a long and productive record of working with our union clients to achieve results on behalf of their members, whether in arbitration, contract negotiations, or litigation. In particular, we have had great success in protecting the First Amendment rights of workers who have spoken out on behalf of their unions.
In 2009, we secured a unanimous opinion in the United States Supreme Court protecting the rights of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) against management. More recently, in 2022, we won an appeal in the First Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals on behalf of a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), who was fired from his decades-long career as a bus driver for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.
We also pursue class actions on behalf of groups of workers, including claims of misclassification of employees as contractors, violations of minimum wage and overtime laws, breaches of the duty of fair representation, and constitutional due process violations. We have had great success protecting workers’ rights in the face of plant closings by filing class actions under the WARN Act, which requires employers to give workers 60 days’ notice before a closing. We have also partnered with immigration attorneys to assist with cases involving the exploitation of undocumented workers.
Let’s work together
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If you are a union leader, union member, or are interested in organizing or joining a union, our attorneys can serve as valuable counsel. To speak with an attorney, please contact us.