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About John

One-step-ahead labor and employment counsel

John Klages advises employers in a variety of industries in the area of labor and employment law. With more than 30 years of experience advising Fortune 500 companies employing thousands of employees, John’s practice focuses on:

  • Employment law counseling and regulatory compliance
  • Labor law advising and regulatory compliance
  • Strategic defense of labor and employment disputes

Clients have come to know John for his scrupulous preparation and attention to detail, anticipating possible twists and turns in disputes and litigation and positioning his clients for the best results. They also know him to be proactive in handling the day-to-day employee relations issues that arise. John has spoken on a variety of employment-related topics, including employment handbooks, sexual harassment, employer investigations and arbitration.

Experience in Action

  • Providing daily counseling and advice to employers in nearly every facet of labor and employment law, including employee discipline and discharge, medical accommodations, wage and hour compliance, and collective bargaining agreement matters.
  • Responding to charges of discrimination for clients before federal, state and local government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
  • Supervising defense of employment discrimination, retaliation and wrongful discharge litigation in federal and state courts for employers of all sizes in a variety of industries.
  • Representing employers in all types of traditional labor matters involving union-related issues.
  • Handling prosecution of lawsuits against unions, seeking equitable and legal relief for unlawful strike activity.
  • Assisting clients in labor negotiation strategy and drafting company bargaining proposals.
  • Supervising defense of unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
  • Providing front-line training for supervisors and managers in a variety of areas such as union avoidance, strike preparation, grievance presentation and employee discipline.


  • Represented a national client in federal and state court class and collective actions.
  • Oversaw dozens of discharge and contract interpretation arbitration hearings for one of the nation's largest employers.
  • Navigated clients through hundreds of complex disciplinary and termination decisions.

Professional Recognitions

  • Law Bulletin Media "Illinois Leading Lawyer" (2017-present: Employment & Labor: Management)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers® (2005-2009, 2013-present: Employment & Labor)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Peer Review Rated

Professional & Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section, member
  • Human Resources Management Association of Chicago, member
  • Illinois Manufacturers Association, member
  • Northwest Human Resources Council, an affiliate of Society for Human Resource Management, member
  • University of Illinois Alumni Association, member
  • St. Paul of the Cross Parish, active parishioner
  • Leading Lawyers Network, member

News & Insights


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