The Chicago Bar Association

Chicago Employment Attorney

Chicago Employment Lawyer Protecting Your Workplace Rights

I have over 30 years experience pursuing justice on behalf of employees - fighting institutions who engage in illegal employment practices. I have represented everyone from high-level corporate executives and other professionals to administrative support staff and blue-collar workers, delivering strategic and intelligent solutions for employees faced with employment contract issues and/or seemingly overwhelming challenges in the workplace. I use my skills to take the pressure off of you.

My law firm is dedicated to providing employees with innovative strategies, tenacious representation, and practical advice. Because I have represented both individuals and businesses, I know from experience what motivates both employees and employers in employment disputes. This dual perspective shapes not just my litigation strategies, but also my approach to resolving disputes for the utmost benefit of my clients. I assist employees in Chicago, Elgin, Evanston, Joliet, Naperville, Schaumburg, St. Charles, Wheaton, and other cities in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will Counties.

Employee Rights

Can my boss really treat me like this and get away with it? Do I have to accept the way I have been treated? Employers frequently believe they have all the power - but they do not; instead individuals have certain inherent tactical advantages and rights, and employers have particular vulnerability areas and pressure points, that I know how to properly address for maximum effectiveness. I level the playing field in a practical cost-effective manner.

What can I do if my employer is retaliating against me? Employers may think they can get away with it - but that is their mistake. Retaliation claims are frequently even more powerful and effective than discrimination claims. I know innovative and time-tested strategies that have repeatedly proven successful, and that will help protect you and put you in a position of strength, not weakness, to the employer’s great surprise.

Severance Agreement Negotiation

I have negotiated and/or reviewed over 500 severance agreements over the years - and I frequently have obtained severance for individuals who were not offered any severance by their employer, as well as obtained more severance for individuals than what they initially were offered - I have a strong understanding and successful track record of what are the best approaches to maximize your monetary (salary, bonuses, commissions, benefits) and non-monetary (critical language items) severance recovery and protect your rights and interests.

When an employee’s employment ends the employer often will pay severance to the employee in exchange for a release of potential claims that the employee may bring as well as to buy the now-former employee’s silence from saying negative things about the Employer and Employer’s business in the future. This occurs both in the situation where the employer has delivered a severance agreement to the employee upon termination as well as in the situation where the employer has terminated the employee’s employment but not delivered a severance agreement to the employee.

My job (on your behalf) is to impress upon the Employer the best leveraged reasons (positive arguments and negative arguments) for why you should receive severance/ more severance, toward maximizing the amount of severance that you will receive. I am very good at convincingly getting your position across in a way that maximizes your interests and recovery.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts are frequently prepared by the employer’s attorney, and therefore often contain clauses that disproportionately favor the employer - and that place the employee at a legal disadvantage if problems arise, which can place the employee at financial and legal risk.

I have extensive experience reviewing and negotiating employment contracts and non-compete/ non-solicitation agreements (including for jurisdictions in Illinois as well as in most other states - note that I have certain valuable research tools at my fingertips covering this area of the law for Illinois as well as most other states), and have successfully litigated these matters in federal and state courts.

Once an employment contract has been entered into, I still can advise you concerning the legal ramifications and the likely enforceability of particular clauses, as well as provide you with advice regarding your options (including risks, and perhaps opportunities, that you were not aware of) and potential winning strategies. I also can and frequently do provide advice to my clients about how to exit your current Employer, whether or not to inform your current Employer about where you are going, and what to do if your Employer subsequently sends you a cease and desist letter - for each of these issues my advice is dependent on the specific facts of the matter, the law, and good practical considerations that I have honed through my years of experience in this area.

Non-Compete/Non-Solicitation Agreements

In this day and age Employers have greatly expanded the usage and attempted scope of restrictive covenants over what had been done merely 5 - 10 years ago, in an attempt to not merely protect their bona-fide trade secrets and maintain their relationships with longtime customers, but also to improperly overly-severely restrict the post-employment options of their employees - which can negatively affect individuals not just after their employment ends (by potentially reducing post-employment options and post-employment contacts), but also during their employment (by resultantly reducing their bargaining positions).

In particular, due to the very serious potential financial ramifications to you of a restrictive covenant it is very important that you consult with an attorney (preferably before entering into an employment agreement containing a restrictive covenant, but at the least when you are considering leaving such employment, or thereafter if the Employer sends you a letter after your employment with the Employer has ended threatening to enforce such covenant - which is generally done by an Employer through a “cease and desist letter”) who is familiar with such clauses - to inform you of your rights and options.

I frequently consult with employees to so advise these individuals of their rights and options, and to advise them how they can best be protected. I can help you understand your rights and options. I also may be able to negotiate (directly or indirectly) with your employer to tailor the terms of the non-compete so that you will be able to go out and earn a living, and so that it is not unreasonably burdensome to you.

Executive Compensation

I frequently provide essential legal and practical advice to a wide variety of individuals, including also in particular executive employees and other professionals. This advice (gleaned from my extensive experience) covers the gamut of: a. pre-employment advice (reviewing, revising, and negotiating proposed employment contracts); b. advice during employment (rights and options with regard to the executive employee’s employment contract, various relevant laws, and other practical considerations of the factual and legal situation and circumstances); and c. post-employment advice/ litigation (severance review and negotiation, and advice concerning my client’s rights and options depending on the legal and factual circumstances of each matter, as well as initiating and defending litigation where warranted and desired).

When a potential Employer presents a proposed employment contract to a high-level employee (and even to many medium level employees) its terms are not necessarily etched in stone and inflexible - so do not let the Employer mislead you into believing otherwise. Frequently I have been able to succeed (either behind the scenes through my client or through direct negotiations with the Employer) in making important revisions to the proposed employment contract that have numerous positive practical results for my client.

I frequently provide advice - including one-time consultations as well as ongoing advice - to my clients, and assist them (both behind the scenes through my clients communicating with their Employers or with my direct communication with the Employers, where warranted) during the time when they are employed toward having my clients best know their rights and options, and protecting their employment. I also advise my clients concerning their rights and options depending on the legal and factual circumstances of the matter.

Ongoing Employment Advice

There are numerous issues that can arise throughout the course of employment that may require the advice of an attorney. For example, an employer may attempt to change the terms of an employment contract or restrictive covenant, or an employee may need advice regarding how to best protect their employment. Additionally, an employee may seek guidance on how a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement may limit his or her future employment prospects or how to obtain/ negotiate severance when choosing to leave an employment. Consulting a Chicago employment lawyer at critical junctures can help you decide which steps you should take to further your career.

Employers as a regular course receive employment advice from their attorneys - and you should also receive such advice from a knowledgeable attorney of your choosing, to level the playing field. I deliver strategic and intelligent solutions for employees, who are sometimes faced with seemingly overwhelming challenges in the workplace. I can take some of the pressure off of you so that you can know your rights and know how to better handle your employment situation. Because I have represented both individuals and businesses, I know from experience what motivates both employees and employers in employment disputes. This dual perspective shapes not just my litigation strategies, but also my approach to resolving disputes, and protecting my clients - to your benefit.

Unemployment Hearings

I have represented employees in over 600 unemployment hearings before Administrative Law Judges/ Referees with the Illinois Department of Employment Security (“IDES”) and other states, as well as in numerous appeals to the IDES Board of Review - and I have a tremendously good track record.

Over and over again my involvement in representing claimant employees has resulted in our winning and my clients receiving their unemployment compensation benefits. In particular, I can more than level the playing field, and usually I can give you the advantage at the unemployment hearing.


Some employers believe they are all-powerful and that they have the right to do whatever they want, regardless of what the laws prohibit. When an employee actually stands up for what they believe in and complains (internally or externally) about working conditions or that their employer is engaging in illegal conduct, then some employers choose to actively (and illegally) retaliate against the employee who spoke up. Frequently it is a catch 22 for the employee - don’t speak up and continue to be subjected to the employer’s abuses; or speak up and be retaliated against by the employer.

Fortunately, there are numerous anti-retaliation laws in effect that provide protections and remedies for those employees who have been retaliated against for having in good faith spoken up and complained. Generally speaking the anti-retaliation laws provide that an employer may not take any “material adverse actions” against an employee for making a “protected complaint”, or for otherwise engaging in either: 1. “protected activity”; or 2. “protected concerted activity”.

If an Employer has terminated your employment (or otherwise committed a material adverse action against you) as a result of your protected activity, then you do not need to just take it but rather you have options - such as to file a lawsuit or, short of that, to pursue severance/ more severance (e.g. settlement short of a lawsuit). I frequently provide advice and successfully represent individuals in these situations, and obtain substantial monetary recovery for my clients (sometimes very quickly).

Seek Guidance From a Knowledgeable Employment Attorney in Chicago

Depending on the circumstances, a mere consultation with me can make a positive difference in your employment situation - sometimes being the difference between you being disciplined/terminated and that not occurring; or you receiving severance, or not - which understandably can likewise make a big impact on your peace of mind as well as on your income. Other times, our pursuing severance and/or litigation may be the way to go.

A consultation with me (in person or by e-mail and telephone) can make all the difference - and can make a real positive impact - in your employment and in your career (financially and otherwise).

If you have an employment issue/ concern, then call me to briefly discuss if it makes sense for you to come in for an appointment to my Chicago loop office to further discuss your employment situation.

Client Reviews
"I found David Porter's representation of me to be both professional and compassionate. He did a solid job of explaining my legal options and provided me with real world examples of how labor/employment law works. His support and advocacy helped me to get through a very difficult time in my professional life. I would without hesitation highly recommend him to a friend in need of a seasoned practitioner." Jack
"I can't thank you enough for dealing with the bureaucracy of the Indiana and Illinois unemployment offices. Their response to my individual communications seemed to be the default answer of "No". With your help and persistence you were able to cut through the red tape and win my Trade Adjustment Assistance, allowing me to pursue my Master's of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is a good feeling to know I can call on such a great resource in trying times." Marc
"After finding myself in a terrible position with a former employer to whom my fate was at their mercy, David Porter stepped in and negotiated a settlement plan that not only kept me out of court, but also prevented any negative references or information being leaked out to possibly hinder my future growth as a professional." Mike
Chicago Employment Lawyer Blog
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Fill out the contact form or call us at (312) 236-1207 to schedule your consultation.

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