Overview

For Henry Sledz, success as a labor lawyer is all about creative and responsive client service. Hank knows that time spent understanding his clients’ business operations, goals and philosophies about their employees is time well spent. For more than 40 years, clients have turned to him to help them meet their employee relations goals. 

As a result of his client-centric approach and focus on traditional labor law, Hank enjoys long-standing relationships with clients in heavily organized industries such as manufacturing, construction and trucking, as well as Fortune 500 companies in the food and dairy industry.

Hank represents these and other clients in all aspects of employment law. He has successfully litigated numerous cases in federal and state courts, and regularly represents clients in proceedings before federal and state agencies. Clients rely on Hank to help them navigate the complex maze of federal and state employment, wage and hour, and anti-discrimination laws.

An accomplished advocate, Hank has negotiated well over 100 labor agreements and has successfully represented clients in a similar number of labor arbitrations. He regularly provides union avoidance counseling, guidance during union organizing campaigns, and representation before the National Labor Relations Board. Hank takes pride in the fact that for more than 25 years, he has been the only private attorney invited to lecture and participate in the annual Food & Dairy Industry Human Resources Conference, which is attended by many of the nation’s leading high-level labor relations and human resources executives.  

  • Experience

    • Hank co-authored an amicus brief filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a national retail association. The brief argued that a class waiver in an arbitration agreement did not violate employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act and was affirmed by the Court.
    • Hank successfully defended a major grocery chain in state court against defamation allegations by a terminated employee.
    • When a Fortune 500 dairy company faced an illegal strike, Hank quickly obtained injunctive relief to stop the strike so that production was uninterrupted and there was no product spoilage.
    • Hank has defended numerous companies sued under ERISA for either withdrawal liability or alleged delinquent contributions to pension funds. Hank’s successful rebuttal of a claim for withdrawal liability under ERISA lodged against a major Midwest dairy producer saved the company more than $4 million.
    • Hank’s negotiation of multiple labor agreements covering thousands of employees for a major grocery chain helped the company realize substantial wage and health insurance savings.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1974
    • University of Illinois, B.A., 1971

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

        Professional Memberships

        American Bar Association

                    Labor and Employment Law Section

                                Development of the Law Under the National Labor Relations Act Committee Member

      • Insights

        TITLE
        Trending Legal Issue

        New Laws and Lessons for Employers After Trump's First 100 Days (Podcast)

        In this 20-minute podcast, Schiff Hardin attorneys Henry Sledz and Lauren Novak discuss important changes during the Trump Administration’s first 100 days that could hurt or help employers

        Webinar

        A New Administration: What’s In Store for Employers

        Schiff Hardin attorneys Henry W. Sledz Jr. and Lauren S. Novak will present “A New Administration: What’s In Store for Employers,” a webinar examining how the country’s new leadership will affect labor and employment law Topics will include the future of the Affordable Care Act, the new overtime rule, the NLRB, immigration reform, the Supreme Court, and federal contractor regulations and executive orders.

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        53 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017

        Three Schiff Hardin attorneys also received the prestigious Best Lawyers’ 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” award.

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        Temporary Employees—Or Long-Term Bargaining Obligation?

        Schiff Hardin Employment Law Landscape

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        Blog Post
        News Release

        91 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Illinois, Michigan Leading Lawyers Network

        The list is comprised of those attorneys who are most recommended as top lawyers among their peers.

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        NLRB Creates New Joint Employer Standard

        Schiff Hardin Employment Law Landscape

        Other Publications

        • “Labor Issues in the Transactional Side of the Project,” (co-author) Chapter 8 in Construction Law: Transactional Considerations, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (Apr. 2010)
        • “Responding to Picketing at the Worksite,” (co-author) Construction Lawyer (Fall 2008)
        • "The Developing Labor Law," (contributor) BNA (1985-2012)

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “New Laws and Lessons for Employers After Trump’s First 100 Days,” (co-presenter) Schiff Hardin Podcast (May 11, 2017)
        • “A New Administration: What’s In Store for Employers, (speaker) Schiff Hardin Webinar (Dec. 13, 2016)
        • “Independent Contractors: Another Legal Minefield for Employers” (co-presenter), Schiff Hardin webinar (Dec. 2012)
        • “Misclassification of Independent Contractors-Another Minefield for Employers”, National Retail Federation’s Committee on Employment Law, Washington D.C. (Apr. 2010)
        • “Construction Worksite Labor Problems-Administering the Cure”, American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry Annual Meeting, Palm Springs, CA (Apr. 2008)
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Hank’s pro bono work includes service as a Trustee for the Village of Clarendon Hills, Illinois, and as a member of the Board of Directors for Northpointe Resources, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing residential and employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.

      Employment Law Landscape

      New Laws and Lessons for Employers After Trump’s First 100 Days (Podcast)

      In this 20-minute podcast, Hank Sledz and Lauren Novak discuss Congress’ push to allow private companies to offer comp time in lieu of paying time-and-a-half for overtime under the Working Families Flexibility Act, how employer-friendly the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Department of Labor will be under new leadership, and other important changes during...… Continue Reading

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      How Does Register Guard Change Employer Email Policies?

      Chicago partner Henry Sledz analyzes the NLRB's reversal of its Register Guard decision, and what it means for employee rights to email use. More