Calendar module icon


 View all calendars is the default. Choose Select a Calendar to view a specific calendar.

Event Details

Return to Previous

March 5, 2021
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
This is a virtual seminar -- access information/links will be provided upon registration.
$129-Members/Organizational Associates of Members (others from the same employer); $199-Non-Members
Facebook Twitter Email

2021 Virtual Public Sector Employment Law Seminar

Friday, March 5, 2021

2021 Public Sector

Conducted by:

Friday, March 5, 2021
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

We're going Virtual For This One!  The 2021 ELS will be held virtually, through an on-line platform.

Featuring the Following Plenary Sessions:
  • If You Were the Arbitrator, How Would You Rule?  Sharpen your skills in this interactive session, where participants are given the facts relating to contract interpretation and disciplinary grievances, hear oral arguments from CBS LLP attorneys, and decide how you would rule.  Each case will be followed by insights and analysis from noted Illinois arbitrator Edwin H. Benn. Ed Benn has been an arbitrator since 1986. Amazingly, Ed has issued over 5,900 total grievance and interest arbitration awards. Significantly, he has issued more interest arbitration awards under the IPLRA than any other Illinois arbitrator. We are pleased and honored that Ed will be joining our program.
  • Collective Bargaining Trends and Issues – Bob Smith will review recent Illinois and National public sector collective bargaining trends and issues.
  • The Fastest 30 Minutes in Labor Law – CBS LLP attorneys will present two-minute updates on a number of current labor relations and employment law issues.

And, your choice of two breakout sessions:

Each registrant plans a unique curriculum by selecting two unique breakout sessions described below.  Registrants will choose one breakout class in the morning, and the other in the afternoon.

Please Note:  There have been changes to the breakout sessions and schedule since the program was first announced earlier this month.  In light of the anticipated passage of the Police Reform Bill (HB 3653), IPELRA has replaced the "Body Cameras and Workplace Surveillance" breakout with a session on "Legislative Police Reforms," which focuses on the anticipated impact and effects that HB 3653 will have for all Illinois public employers.  Yes, you read that right ... ALL public employers.  Even employers who do not employ police officers are impacted by provisions in this legislation.  There were also changes in the time slots for a couple of the breakout sessions. 

The sessions/agenda below are the current options, as reflected on the registration form.


(1) Interest Arbitration Update
Interest arbitration results are one of the key predictors of possible contract settlements, even if your bargaining unit does not include police officers or firefighters.  With an uncertain economy, a pandemic, protests and riots, and plenty of labor and employment legislation, keeping an eye on interest arbitration trends is more important than ever before.  How are arbitrators deciding disputes over wages, insurance, and other key bargaining issues?  What factors most influence their decision making?   Arbitrator Ed Benn will join the panel during this session as they review recent arbitration trends and respond to questions from the floor.

(2) Based On A True Story …
This presentation will take the “craziest” real life employee situations and work through the legal landmines associated with these scenarios.  What may seem obvious may not be so obvious and while you may think you have “heard it all” you haven’t even scratched the surface.

(3) Labor and Employment Issues That We Will All Face In 2021
New Year’s Eve will not be a panacea for the HR challenges faced in 2020.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on how public sector employers provide services as well as the fiscal stability of some.  In the midst of financial pressures, new questions abound.  Will the FFCRA be extended?  Can public employers mandate vaccinations?  Discussions about police reform continue to be pressing.  What do the Supreme Court, White House, and Congress look like, and how will that impact public sector employment?  This session will focus on labor and employment lessons learned during 2020 and what to expect in a challenging 2021.


(4) Cutting Edge Employee Benefit Strategies
Line-of-duty disability, PSEBA, PEDA and other legacy costs are spiraling out of control without any reason to believe that the State government in Springfield will modify these unfunded mandates.  This breakout session will explore important provisions within the Pension Code, PEDA and PSEBA, which employers might creatively use and exploit to reduce legacy costs.  We will discuss how employers can proactively create formal hearing processes and use other tools to better investigate and adjudicate claims for benefits. In addition, we will highlight some of the lesser known statutory tools that employers have utilized to reduce exposure and defend claims for benefits.

(5) Social Media, Public Employee Privacy, and Public Access
Particularly during election season, dealing with social media can feel like the Wild Wild West. But, it is far from a lawless landscape. In fact, there are a multitude of federal and state laws that directly impact how, when, and under what circumstances, public employees and elected officials may use social media. This directly impacts personnel matters like employee discipline and expectations of privacy. We will also explore the intersect between social media related laws, the concept of privacy expectations, including relating to social media and disciplinary records, as well as access to such records by the public.  By learning how these various issues intersect, what laws are in play, and what you need to do to develop a game plan to effectively address issues, you can successfully stymie any mayhem, leaving you with a more manageable matter.

(6) Legislative Police Reforms
On January 13, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed a massive police reform bill (HB 3653) that (if signed by Governor Pritzker) will result in significant changes to a variety of criminal law policies and procedures. Although it is still too early to tell whether Governor Pritzker will sign “as is,” or whether he will exercise his amendatory veto powers by modifying certain provisions, it is safe to say that HB 3653 will have a significant impact on public sector labor and employment matters for years to come.  For example, HB 3653 (as currently drafted) would modify the negotiability of police officer residency requirements for Illinois communities over 100,000, add new whistleblower protections for all public employees as part of the Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act, mandate the wearing of body cams for all law enforcement agencies by 2025, and modify certain interrogation provisions found in the Uniform Peace Officer’s Disciplinary Act. Also of note is a new police officer decertification process that will be administered by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board.  This breakout session will summarize these and other aspects of HB 3653, including the collective bargaining implications of implementing many of these anticipated changes in light of existing of union contract provisions.


8:30 – 8:45 am


8:45 – 10:30 am

Plenary Session:  If You Were the Arbitrator, How Would You Rule?

10:30 – 10:45 am


10:45 – Noon

AM Breakouts:         Interest Arbitration Update
                                   Based On A True Story ...
                                   Labor & Empl. Issues That We Will All Face in 2021

Noon – 1:15 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 – 2:30 pm

PM Breakouts:         Cutting Edge Employee Benefit Strategies
                                   Social Media, Privacy & Public Access
                                   Legislative Police Reforms

2:30 – 2:45 pm


2:45 – 4:30 p.m.

Plenary Sessions:     Collective Bargaining Trends and Issues
                                      Fastest 30 Minutes

Scheduled Clark Baird Smith LLP Presenters:

Ted Clark
James Baird
Robert Smith
Jill Leka
Yvette Heintzelman
James Powers
Benjamin Gehrt
Roxana Underwood
Paul Denham
Kelly Coyle
Matt Soaper


Advance online registration is required and must be submitted by February 26, 2021.  You may choose to pay via credit card or check.

Registration is limited to non-union human resource and management professionals, department directors and/or municipal administrators and management attorneys.

Confirmations:  Registration/payment confirmations (as well as invoices for check payers) will be emailed to registrants upon completion of online registration.  

Deadline for cancellation is February 26, 2021.  Cancellations received after that date and no shows will be considered nonrefundable.

Approval is being sought for CLE credit for attorneys,
as well as HRCI and SHRM recertification credits