John L. Hayes

Shareholder Chicago

Mr. Hayes counsels and represents employers on a wide variety of employment-related legal matters. He advises small privately-held employers as well as large corporations with locations nationwide on all aspects of the employment relationship. Mr. Hayes has litigated age, race, disability, and national-origin pattern-and-practice discrimination actions, retaliation and harassment cases, and wage-and-hour claims. Mr. Hayes has extensive experience litigating disputes involving restrictive covenants (non-compete, non-solicit, and confidentiality agreements), including in the context of motions seeking injunctive relief based on such agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, and related claims. Mr. Hayes also counsels and defends employers in disputes with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Illinois Department of Labor, and has broad experience counseling public accommodations about accessibility issues under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mr. Hayes has served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law in the legal writing department.


Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, and Related Claims:

Mr. Hayes regularly drafts, reviews, and counsels employers and executives regarding non-compete, non-solicit, and confidentiality agreements. Mr. Hayes also has extensive experience in high-stakes litigation, including in the context of seeking (and opposing) temporary restraining orders (TROs) and preliminary injunctions relating to restrictive-covenant agreements, and related claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, retaliation, tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair competition. Some recent examples include:

  • On behalf of an educational-technology company, defeated an emergency TRO motion in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois brought by a vendor seeking to prohibit two new company employees from commencing employment. 
  • On behalf of a national trucking company, successfully staved off an emergency TRO motion along with requests for expedited discovery.
  • On behalf of a medical-products company, obtained a TRO based on the inevitable-disclosure doctrine in the Circuit Court of Lake County, Illinois restraining a high-level salesperson from working for a competitor. After several contentious hearings and associated briefing, obtained a consent order and decree preventing the former employee from working for the competitor for a significant term.
  • On behalf of a national marketing company, obtained a consent decree in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois barring a former key employee from contracting with an important customer for a significant term. 
  • On behalf of a packaging company, defeated a motion for injunctive relief in the Circuit Court of Kane County, Illinois that sought to restrain a new sales executive from working for the company. After defeating the motion for injunctive relief, obtained the dismissal of the entire lawsuit.


Mr. Hayes represents employers of all sizes on employee issues and counseling matters, including relating to the various federal, state, and local employment statutes and laws like the FLSA, FMLA, ADA, ADEA, Title VII, and the IWPCA.

Mr. Hayes has extensive experience defending employers against charges and claims before administrative agencies and federal courts, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Illinois Department of Human Rights, Illinois Human Rights Commission, the United States Department of Labor, the Illinois Department of Labor, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Commercial Litigation:

Mr. Hayes has extensive experience in representing companies in complex business litigation.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association (Litigation, and Labor and Employment Law Sections)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Adjunct Professor, DePaul University College of Law (2009 – 2011)


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