Jon Zimring practices management-side labor and employment law with an emphasis on the practical resolution of difficult workplace problems playing themselves out internally, before administrative agencies or in the courts. Mr. Zimring also has an active practice assisting employers with prevention through proactive audits, compensation analyses, investigations and consultation and through the development of policies, procedures, systems and training. Mr. Zimring's practice includes representation of employers through the gamut of workplace issues, including traditional labor relations with unions, affirmative action compliance, wage and hour, leave and disability and all forms of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Mr. Zimring brings to bear for his clients a philosophy of legal practice which recognizes that most employers would prefer to find a way to favorably resolve their employment-related problems rather than spending vast resources in litigation over them. Having litigated numerous labor and employment matters, Mr. Zimring knows the path to victory in the courts, before administrative agencies and with unions, but also recognizes the price. He has, as a result, developed an intense focus on best strategies for avoiding litigation and entanglements with administrative agencies and unions, and where such litigation, agency or union entanglements are ongoing and unavoidable, how best to resolve them with the least expenditure of time and resources.
Mr. Zimring regularly resolves matters on behalf of employers finding themselves before, to name a few, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL"), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP"), the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), numerous state and local counterparts to these agencies and the many other federal, state and local agencies that investigate, audit compliance with and enforce labor and employment laws. Mr. Zimring's experience before these agencies has allowed him to understand what leads to resolution rather than escalation. He has developed tested strategies to successfully, practically and often creatively resolve matters before such agencies in minimally painful or disruptive ways, often crafting resolutions that are a "win-win" with the employer's corporate objectives.
Mr. Zimring has represented numerous employers in traditional labor matters, from companies finding themselves targets of union organizing efforts to employers in mature relationships with their unions. Mr. Zimring has handled counter-organizing campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, grievance arbitrations and both representation cases and unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB. For employers who are new and established government contractors and/or subcontractors, Mr. Zimring regularly guides his clients in designing and self-auditing affirmative action programs to demonstrate compliance in light of increasingly aggressive OFCCP enforcement efforts, and represents such clients in OFCCP audits.
Mr. Zimring also frequently works with clients to develop and implement proactive strategies for litigation avoidance and workplace conflict resolution before matters brew up before agencies or courts. Mr. Zimring has counseled employers facing, among other difficult challenges, high level sexual harassment complaints, mental health workplace violence and ADA accommodations issues, wage and hour and independent contractor/employee misclassification and payment system problems and the interplay among the ADA, FMLA and workers’ compensation laws. Mr. Zimring regularly provides training on all of these topics to employer audiences ranging from highest level officers and boards of directors to entry level rank and file.
- Represented federal contractor facing OFCCP Notice of Violations involving asserted seven-figure liability for minority adverse impact from unvalidated tests. Used compelling legal and statistical arguments, through re-analysis of applicant and hiring data and damages calculations, to successfully negotiate OFCCP down to a low/mid six-figure resolution with no ongoing hiring obligations.
- Represented federal contractor in compliance review showing substantial female and minority hiring shortfalls and significant adverse impact in minority terminations. Used compelling legal arguments, through re-analysis of "establishments" and disaggregation of data, to successfully bring OFCCP administrative closure of compliance review.
- Represented federal contractor in compliance review focused on compensation where contractor had already submitted compensation data showing significant gender-based compensation disparities. Used compelling legal arguments and re-analysis of data to successfully bring OFCCP administrative closure of compliance review.
- Represented federal contractor in efforts to avoid continued multi-establishment targeting by OFCCP. Guided client through self-audit and critical self-analysis, cloaked by the attorney-client privilege, of affirmative action program to develop more effective reporting and monitoring systems to satisfy current OFCCP enforcement initiatives.
- Represented federal contractor facing OFCCP Notice of Violations involving statistically significant gender based adverse impact in hiring. Used Title VII damages and mitigation principles and related legal arguments to successfully negotiate OFCCP down from high six-figure demands to low six-figure resolution.
- Counsel to new federal contractors in developing affirmative action programs to achieve voluntary compliance with changing OFCCP requirements, building human resources systems to support such programs and training both human resources personnel and managers to facilitate both the annual generation of affirmative action plans and the maintenance of a successful overall affirmative action program at a predictable and manageable yearly cost.
- Counsel to numerous employers in the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements on terms the client found favorable and in achieving and maintaining positive and productive labor relations.
- Represented employers evaluating acquisition of, and acquiring, union workforces, navigating successorship issues and negotiating new collective bargaining agreements.
- Counsel to construction, engineering and health care employers in ERISA audit and collection disputes with union pension and health and welfare funds, defending funds' litigation and/or negotiating favorable resolutions of such matters.
- Represented a construction industry employer in connection with Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service investigations arising out of claims by a pension and health & welfare fund of illegal subcontracting to evade ERISA obligations.
- Represented a nationwide retailer in successfully petitioning the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a decision of the NLRB relating to union misconduct during an election campaign.
- Counsel to manufacturing and health care businesses in the conduct of counter-organizing campaigns and representation cases before the NLRB, thwarting union efforts to organize and successfully defending unfair labor practice charges arising from the campaigns.
- Counseled large educational institution with a mentally disabled employee exhibiting potentially threatening behavior through a hornet's nest of legal issues and accomplished a result which protected the workplace and fully neutralized ADA litigation threatened by the employee's attorney through the effective use of ADA's "interactive process."
- Designed and conducted diversity training, harassment training, ADA and FMLA training, USERRA training, wage and hour training, hiring, performance review and discipline and discharge training and other programs for upper- and mid-level management for employers ranging from a nationwide Fortune 500 financial services client to numerous small employers operating at a single site.
- Counsel to many employers, including health care facilities and professional services firms, to investigate and resolve claimed harassment of employees by residents, clients, customers, supervisors and coworkers. Has conducted sexual, racial, religious and national origin harassment investigations, prepared or counseled employers on the preparation of investigation reports and counseled on both specific and systemic measures to minimize the risk of lawsuits or liability.
- Ended cycle of repeated employment litigation against construction industry client by designing and implementing preventive human resources systems, including reworking of hiring practices, development of new policies, job descriptions, performance review systems and disciplinary procedures and training of managers and rank and file.
- Represented hospitality industry client in a large wage and hour class action alleging misclassification and failure to pay overtime. Achieved favorable court-approved six figure global resolution in the face of aggressive multiple-seven-figure demands.
- Represented a pharmaceuticals manufacturer defending gender and pregnancy discrimination claims by a formerly high-achieving sales representative. Developed facts during discovery that convinced plaintiff's counsel to voluntarily dismiss the action.
- Represented a Fortune 100 financial services firm in defense of claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation in connection with the termination of a branch manager. Won summary judgment on all claims then successfully defended appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- Represented a large, publicly traded telecommunications company defending multiple ERISA and common law claims in connection with denial of severance benefits. Avoided discovery, then won summary judgment on all counts.
- Represented a large affordable housing employer in defense of a wage and hour class action for unpaid overtime based on misclassification. Reduced the scope of a potentially large class to a handful, then achieved a global settlement based only on the amount claimed by the individual named plaintiff.
- Represented a closely held retailer defending allegations of workers' compensation retaliatory discharge. Won defense verdict.
- Counsel to a multinational fast food franchisor in numerous Title VII, ADEA, ADA and employment tort cases. All have been won on dispositive motions or settled–most for less than $20,000–in the face of demands as high as $50 million.
- Counsel to publicly traded office supply and services company defending lawsuits alleging violations of the ADA, ADEA, ERISA, VEVRA and breach of employment contract, all of which were either settled on terms the client found favorable or won on dispositive motion and successfully defended before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals or the Illinois Appellate Court.
- Counsel to an online university in connection with multiple sexual and racial harassment, discrimination, disability, wage and hour and whistleblower claims. All matters won, averted or resolved on terms the client found favorable.
Affirmative Action Programs
Human Resources Counseling
Areas of Practice
- Labor and Employment Law
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
- Supreme Court of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1992
- University of Michigan, B.A. with high honors, 1989
Honors / Awards
- Listed in Illinois Super Lawyers, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
- Listed in Illinois Leading Lawyers
- Selected by The Chicago Law Bulletin as among its 2006 40 Under Forty Illinois Attorneys to Watch
- Contributing editor to The Developing Labor Law, the publication of the ABA Section of Labor & Employment
- Co-author, "OFCCP Rescinds Old Compensation Guidance, Implements New Compensation Directive," Duane Morris Alert, March 6, 2013
- "Affirmative Action in Health Care—The Danger of Waiting," Health Care Law Monthly, April 2011, Vol. 2011, Issue No. 4
- Co-author, "U.S. Government Contractor/Subcontractor Status: The Danger of Continued Complacency," BNA's Health Law Reporter, April 8, 2010
- "When Military Employees Come Marching Home - and into the Workplace," Security Systems News, February 2009
- Co-author, "Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act Amended to Expand Coverage, Increase Penalties and Toughen Enforcement," Duane Morris Alert, August 13, 2010
- "Dealing With Dr. Dangerous," Physicians Practice, October 2008
- "How to Avoid A Major Litigation Headache Under the Fair Labor Standards Act," Special Issue Brief, a publication of the American Seniors Housing Association, Spring 2008
- "Union Unfair Labor Practices," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) Labor Law Handbook, 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2006
- "Top Ten Ways Your Next OFCCP Audit May be Different from Anything You've Ever Experienced Before," Duane Morris Institute Webinar, March 21, 2012
- "A New Day for Federal Contractors: Are You Ready for the OFCCP?" Duane Morris Institute Webinar, March 2, 2011
- "Health Care on OFCCP's Radar: Affirmative Action Anyone?" Duane Morris Institute Webinar, February/March 2011
- "Avoiding Legal Problems in Dealing with Dangerous Employees," The Chicago Chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, November 18, 2010
- Speaker, "Employee Rights vs. Resident Rights," Illinois Health Care Association Annual Convention, Peoria, Illinois, September 15, 2010
- Speaker, "Giving Yourself a Fighting Chance with Unemployment," Illinois Health Care Association, Peoria, Illinois, September 14, 2010
- Speaker, "Hot Topics in Employment Law," Illinois Nursing Home Administrator's Association Summer Conference, Bloomington, Illinois, August 11, 2010
- Speaker, "Avoiding Legal Problems in Dealing with Dangerous Employees," Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, November 18, 2010
- Panelist, "Affirmative Action Programs," Duane Morris' Developments in Workplace Law and Practice 2010, Chicago, May 4, 2010
- Panelist, "Misclassification of Independent Contractors," Duane Morris' Developments in Workplace Law and Practice 2010, Chicago, May 4, 2010
- Speaker, "Family/Military Leave," Duane Morris' FLSA, Family/Military Leave, and Immigration Workshop for Healthcare Industry Leaders, Chicago, September 16, 2008
- Speaker, "Recognizing Union Activity," Illinois Health Care Association's 4th Annual Assisted and Supportive Living Symposium, Springfield, Illinois, March 18, 2008