Photo of John R. Hayes

John R. Hayes

Senior Counsel


Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., cum laude

Kalamazoo College, B.A.



For John the devil is in the details. Known for being meticulous and analytical, his clients benefit from his methodical approach to litigation.

John represents employers and business owners in general employment matters, including discrimination claims, and wage and hour issues. Though John is a skilled litigator, he also counsels clients on liability issues well before they reach a court room.

Having studied biology prior to law school, John has a habit of diving into new discoveries and a passion for learning. This serves his clients well as he comes to understand their industries and the details of their businesses. John entered the legal field knowing his work would impact people. He never fails to consider how each decision and outcome will impact his clients.

John doesn’t shy away from a challenge either. He once had a breach of contract case with a single plaintiff against a large corporation. Going up against a much bigger and better financed firm, John was able to secure a verdict for his client. This taught John the value of perseverance and to never quit the fight, no matter how daunting the odds may seem.

Memberships & Involvement

  • Member: Chicago Bar Association 


  • Obtained summary judgment in federal court on behalf of a library district against an employee where the employee alleged wrongful termination and harassment based on a slew of protected classes under Title VII
  • Obtained summary judgment, and defeated a cross-motion for summary judgment, in federal court on behalf of a state agency against an employee alleging national origin discrimination after contentious discovery in a lawsuit spanning almost ten years, including allegations of spoliation of evidence
  • Successfully defeated unfair labor practice charges brought against a public employer, handling it from charge through a hearing in the Illinois Labor Relations Board
  • Won a substantial verdict in state court for a developer who brought ideas, plans, and resources to the design and building of a mid-sized arena in Illinois, pursuing a theory of quantum meruit
  • Obtained dismissal of a case brought against a municipal employer and several individuals alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for the discharge of several police officers, including the chief of police, successfully challenging the plaintiffs’ claims that the defendants acted together as an enterprise to terminate the plaintiffs’ employment
  • Lead defense counsel in an ADEA wrongful discharge matter that settled favorably for the employer halfway through the federal jury trial
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of employer in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) matter where plaintiff claimed failure to accommodate and wrongful discharge due to his alleged disability, relying on the testimony of the plaintiff’s medical treaters to determine the plaintiff was not disabled for purposes of Title I of the ADA
  • Successfully defended multiple cases against a state agency brought by a former employee for wrongful discharge and retaliation in both federal and state courts, alleging violations of a myriad of statutes and common law theories, essentially getting all cases dismissed with prejudice


Contributing Author, SmithAmundsen's Labor & Employment Law Update, a labor and employment advisory blog.

Contributing Author, Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Dispatch, an HR advisory blog.


Presentations & Events