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The Chicago Regional Solicitor's Office

SOL Region V Map ATLANTA REGION (Region IV) PHILADELPHIA REGION (Region III) NEW YORK REGION (Region II) BOSTON REGION (Region I) CHICAGO REGION (Region V) DALLAS REGION (Region VI) SAN FRANCISCO REGION (Region IX)

The Chicago Regional Solicitor's Office is responsible for most civil trial litigation and legal support for the Secretary of Labor and all agencies that make-up the United States Department of Labor for matters arising in the following states:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

The Chicago Regional Solicitor's Office and its branch offices employ approximately 59 attorneys and 14 legal support staff.

Branch Offices:

  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Kansas City, Missouri

What We Do:

The Chicago Regional Solicitor's Office:

  • recommends and prosecutes litigation at the U.S. District Court and administrative trial levels;
  • prepares legal interpretations and opinions; and
  • provides assistance to United States Attorney's offices in the prosecution of criminal cases and in defensive matters in which the Department of Labor or its employees are named in legal actions or proceedings

While the attorneys employed by the Chicago Regional Solicitor's Office may be called upon to handle cases arising out of any of the Department of Labor's program areas, the majority of work performed in this region arises out of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Wage and Hour Division, the Employment Benefits Security Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Some industries we deal with frequently include restaurants, manufacturing facilities, commercial and residential construction companies, commercial mining companies that mine minerals located above and below ground as well as entities that provide pension and welfare benefits to employees and fiduciaries that manage pension and welfare benefit plans.

Accomplishments:

  • A major steel manufacturer paid $2.4M in penalties and agreed to abate all safety and health violations at each of its facilities. In addition to correcting all violations found during a corporate-wide inspection, the company will take multiple measures to improve compliance to protect its employees. The company agreed to hire additional safety and health staff; conduct internal safety and health inspections with United Steelworker representatives; hire third-party auditors to assure hazards are identified and improvements are made; and meet quarterly with OSHA staff to implement the agreement's terms. Secretary v. Republic Steel
  • The nation's largest retailer of home furnishings paid $1.75M in penalties to resolve safety violations and agreed to take proactive steps to prevent employee injuries at all of its nationwide plants. The successful resolution requires the company to take steps to change its culture, protect its employees from further harm and work with OSHA to make significant changes to safeguard the health and safety of its employees. The firm will conduct periodic audits of its facilities to identify hazards; perform annual reviews of its safety programs; and develop internal corporate-wide monitoring of it numerous manufacturing facilities. Secretary v Ashley Furniture Industries
  • A significant court decision requires an employer to recognize the hazards of excessive heat and assure employees become acclimatized to excessive temperatures before they begin working. The employer is required to have a heat stress management plan in place and provide both employee and management training on how to recognize, report, and respond to heat related injuries and hazards. Work rules are to be implemented that encourage employees to seek assistance and evaluation when experiencing heat stress. The employer will now be required to anticipate hazards, tailor their safety programs to their workplace and take into consideration environmental conditions before employees are assigned work. Secretary v. United States Postal Service
  • A major food manufacturer with processing facilities across the country paid back wages of $500,000 to 339 female applicants and hired 53 women under an agreement reached at one of its facilities. Female applicants were denied entry-level jobs at its Minnesota turkey processing plants over an extended period of time. The company violated Executive Order 11246, which makes it unlawful for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. Under the agreement, the company will train personnel in the selection process to make certain it doesn't discriminate in its hiring practices in the future. Secretary v. Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc.
  • The Eighth Circuit Appeals Court affirmed the right of employees licensed as day care workers in the State of Missouri to be paid minimum wages and overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employer maintained it was a licensed day care center, rather than a pre-school, and therefore didn't need to comply with the pay and recordkeeping requirement of the FLSA. The appellate court upheld the lower court's conclusions that the center's use of curricula and educational services meant it was a pre-school, as defined under federal law, and was required to pay its employees in compliance. This decision requires workers in this low wage industry to be paid minimum wage and overtime compensation when the services they provide are educational in nature. Secretary v. Contingent Care LLC, et al
  • In a cooperative investigation between the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice, a high volume ferrous and nonferrous scrap processor was sentenced to five years' probation and paid $350,000 in restitution to its deceased employee's estate. The company admitted in its guilty plea in federal court that it failed to provide lockout/tagout protection and confined space protection required by OSHA regulations to its employees who were cleaning a shredder discharge pit. The employer admitted those violations caused the death of its employee who was caught in a moving, unguarded conveyor belt. In addition to the criminal conviction, the company paid OSHA a penalty of $520,000 in a related civil administrative enforcement case. United States v. Behr Iron & Steel, Inc.

Department of Labor Agencies Supported:


CONTACT INFORMATION:

    • Region V. CHICAGO
      Federal Office Building
      230 South Dearborn Street, Room 844
      Chicago, IL 60604-1502
      (312) 886-5260
      (312) 353-5698 (FAX)
      • REGIONAL SOLICITOR Christine Heri
        • DEPUTY REGIONAL SOLICITOR Richard Kordys
          • Counsel for Civil Rights Barbara Goldberg
          • Counsel for ERISA Ruben Chapa
          • Counsel for MSHA Suzanne F. Dunne
          • Counsel for OSHA Allen H. Bean
          • Counsel for Wage and Hour Linda J. Ringstad
          • Management Analyst Erica D. Goodman
    • Cleveland
      Federal Office Building
      1240 East Ninth Street, Room 881
      Cleveland, OH 44199
      (216) 522-3870
      (216) 522-7172 (FAX)
      • ASSOCIATE REGIONAL SOLICITOR Benjamin T. Chinni
        • Counsel for OSHA Patrick L. DePace
        • Counsel for Wage and Hour/Civil Rights Maureen Cafferkey
    • Kansas City
      Two Pershing Square Building
      2300 Main Street, Suite 1020
      Kansas City, MO 64108
      (816) 285-7260
      (816) 285-7287 (FAX)
      • ASSOCIATE REGIONAL SOLICITOR Vacant
        • Counsel for OSHA Evert VanWijk
        • Counsel for Wage and Hour Kim Flores