Vedder Price

Kenneth F. Sparks

Shareholder

Chair, Traditional Labor Group

Kenneth F. Sparks is a Shareholder with over 25 years of experience in labor and employment matters.

He represents and advises private and public employers across a broad range of industries, with extensive experience working with health care organizations, in complicated labor law and litigation matters nationwide. Among his areas of concentration are union organizing and collective bargaining, including development and implementation of integrated responses to all of the litigation, publicity and strike matters that can and often do become a part of organizing and collective bargaining. He has negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements, tried cases before the National Labor Relations Board, handled organizing and decertification campaigns and related litigation, managed injunction and other legal issues growing out of nationwide and local strikes, quelled unlawful secondary boycott campaigns and handled numerous labor-related litigation matters in state and federal courts.

Mr. Sparks also has extensive experience handling employment matters before federal and state courts and agencies, and counseling employers on how to avoid such litigation. His areas of practice include a wide variety of Title VII, ADEA, FMLA, ADA duty of fair representation and related discrimination lawsuits and noncompete agreement disputes, workplace defamation actions and wrongful-discharge matters.

Mr. Sparks is a member of the Illinois State and American Bar Associations. He is also a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and the Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Sparks was selected for inclusion in 2005, 2007 and from 2011 to 2017 in Illinois Super Lawyers. In 2011, and from 2013 to 2017, Mr. Sparks was ranked in Chambers USA in the Illinois Labor and Employment category. The Legal 500 United States guide recommends Mr. Sparks in the Labor and Employment—Labor-Management Relations category. He was also selected by his peers from 2013 to 2017 as a Leading Lawyer in Employment: Management and Labor: Management.

Kenneth F. Sparks

Shareholder

Chair, Traditional Labor Group

Experience

  • Represents several major hospitals, hospital systems, nursing homes and other health care institutions
  • Represented major national trucking company during a nine-year International Brotherhood of Teamsters corporate campaign, organizing drive, national strike and successful decertification effort
  • Defending numerous Gissel Bargaining Orders; see , e.g. Overnite Transportation Co. v. NLRB , 280 F.3d 417 (4th Cir. 2002) (en banc)
  • Obtained and enforced numerous strike violence injunctions and obtained related contempt findings
  • Suppressed secondary boycott campaigns through NLRB proceedings, Section 303 damage actions and related arbitrations
  • Negotiated and advised clients regarding collective bargaining and arbitrations, including multiple first-contact negotiations
  • Successfully defended employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases in federal and state courts

Kenneth F. Sparks

Shareholder

Chair, Traditional Labor Group

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1989, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., 1986, Truman Scholar

Kenneth F. Sparks

Shareholder

Chair, Traditional Labor Group

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1997
  • District of Columbia, 1992

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Affiliations

  • Member, Bar of the District of Columbia
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois

Kenneth F. Sparks

Shareholder

Chair, Traditional Labor Group