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Director, Employee & Labor Relations

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois 60637
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
  • Employee Relations
  • Labor/Industrial Relations
University of Chicago
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Job Details

The Director of Employee and Labor Relations (ELR) is a member of the broader University Human Resources team, and directs a team of HR professionals who provide effective consultation on and resolution of employee and labor relations inquiries and issues from academic and administrative unit leaders, HR Business Partners and individual employees. The Director of ELR unites leaders, HR Business Partners and employees to promote fair treatment and the consistent and lawful application of University policies, and federal/state laws. The Director of ELR is also the University's chief labor relations representative, responsible for more than ten union bargaining units encompassing approximately 1,400 employees.

This is a strategic and operations management position reporting to the AVP-HR. The Director must function with a high level of professionalism, integrity and sound judgment. The Director of ELR is responsible for the administration of staff policy & labor agreements and the related employment and labor issues. The individual in this role collaborates with HR professionals across campus to ensure compliance with University policies and employment laws and must have  a deep  understanding of and extensive experience with employment law including FMLA, ADA, FLSA, NLRA and state laws.  

The Director consults directly with Deans, Officers and other University leaders on  complex employee and labor relations questions and will oversee the work of 5 professional staff members who consult with campus HR professionals and managers. The Director, along with ELR Consultants, will review and conduct a risk assessment for employee terminations, layoffs and other significant adverse employment actions.

The Director may also serve as the University Advocate in Arbitration Hearings, represent the University in administrative agency cases including cases before the EEOC, Illinois Department of Human Rights and National Labor Relations Board. The Director will also serve as the University's lead negotiator in collective bargaining.


Identify over-arching strategies and actions to address long-range as well as more immediate employee-related issues. Work with HR professionals across campus to understand and anticipate employee-related issues and develop approaches and potential outcomes to mitigate risk.  

Manage employee and labor-related programs and areas including: policy revision proposals, internal HR procedures and identification of internal and external best practices and protocols. Manage ELR Consultants who design and present employee and labor-related training programs. Independently interpret UChicago policies and procedures, applicable labor/employment laws, and legal decisions (in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel) and apply them to particular situations, helping to ensure consistency. In conjunction with HR Business Partners, provide counsel to employees regarding employment matters and work-related concerns.

Supervise ELR Consultants' investigations of employee complaints; may also serve as lead investigator of employee complaints; partner with Office for Equal Opportunity Programs to conduct investigations of complaints by or against students, academic appointees and staff.   

Serve as lead negotiator on UChicago collective bargaining teams. Represent UChicago in grievances, arbitrations and administrative proceedings. Independently negotiate settlement agreements with administrative agencies and unions. Provides advice and policy interpretation on human resources issues, employment law compliance, university policy and collective bargaining agreements.


Required Education:
Juris Doctor, or Master's Degree in Human Resources or Labor Relations/Industrial Relations.


Five or more years of experience representing management employing at least 1,000 employees in all aspects of labor relations, including serving as lead negotiator in collective bargaining required.

Five or more years of experience representing employers in grievance arbitrations, handling union elections, unfair labor practice cases, and other proceedings before the NLRB required.

Five or more years of experience representing employers before EEOC and/or state EEO agencies required.

Five or more years of experience advising management on the full range of employee relations matters, encompassing all federal and Illinois employment law required.


Knowledge of external administrative agencies, their functions and jurisdiction.

Experience with higher education and the issues unique to higher education settings preferred.

Proven expertise with Microsoft Office Suite, proficient PC skills required.


The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should submit a request via the Applicant Inquiry Form or call 773-702-5800. 


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