Christopher Wilmes

F 312.604.2637
Christopher Wilmes is a Shareholder of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. and joined the firm in 2009. Mr. Wilmes is a litigation attorney with a great deal of experience working on civil rights, employment discrimination, and wage and hour cases.

He also is very knowledgeable about laws relating to pre-employment background checks, having spoken on this topic at conferences in a half-dozen cities around the country. Mr. Wilmes has prevailed in a jury trial against the City of Chicago and successfully argued cases in the Seventh Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Illinois Appellate Court. In 2015, the EEOC appointed Mr. Wilmes to act as a consent decree monitor in the matter of EEOC v. Source One Staffing, Inc. (N.D. III.).

Prior to joining HSPRD, Mr. Wilmes clerked for two federal judges, the Honorable Matthew Kennelly of the Northern District of Illinois, and the Honorable Joel Flaum of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. After completing these two clerkships, Mr. Wilmes was awarded a prestigious Skadden Public Interest Fellowship and spent two years working for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, providing free civil legal services to underprivileged residents of Chicago.


Northwestern University School of Law (J.D. 2005) — cum laude — Order of the Coif (2005) — Note Comment & Development Editor, Northwestern Law Review
University of Notre Dame (B.A. 2000) — cum laude


Illinois (2005)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Professional Recognition

Included on the Illinois Super Lawyers® list (2018-2022)
Selected by Lawdragon 500 as Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyer (2020-2022) and Civil Rights Lawyer (2021-2022)
Leading Lawyers — Illinois Leading Lawyer in Civil Rights/Constitutional Law and Employment Law (2017-2022)

Memberships / Associations

Member, Illinois State Bar Association
Member, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)

Presentations & Publications

American Constitution Society, Illinois Supreme Court Candidate Forum, Moderator (October 2019).

Recovering Stolen Wages From Fissured Workplaces, NELA Wage and Hour Conference (Mar. 2017).

Remedies for Workers In and Out of the Courtroom, panel discussion at The Modern-Day American Worker conference (Mar. 2016).

Protecting Employees & Job Applicants From Improper Criminal Background Checks, panelist at National Employment Lawyers Association annual convention (June 2015).

Use of Credit, Criminal, and Other Background Checks, panel discussion at the Federal Bar Association Annual Employment Law Seminar (Jan. 2015).

Legal and Social Consequences of a Criminal Record: Helping Clients Overcome These Barriers, panel discussion sponsored by the Chicago Bar Foundation (Oct. 2013).

Arrest Records as Barriers to Employment, panel discussion sponsored by the Adler School of Professional Psychology Institute on Social Exclusion (Oct. 2013).

Look Before You Leap: Thoughts on Taking a Plea, CLE Presentation to Cook County Public Defenders (Aug. 28, 2013).

Hot Topics in Employment Class Action Law, CLE Presentation to West Suburban Bar Association(Nov. 17, 2012).

Application of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to Employment Screening, panel discussion at the National Consumer Law Center Annual Conference (Oct. 27, 2012).

Challenging the Disparate Impact Caused By Employers’ (Mis)use of the Criminal Background Checks, panel discussion at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Civil Rights Training Institute (Oct. 11, 2012).

Criminal-Record-Related Barriers To Employment And Public Housing, CLE Presentation to Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas (July 29, 2011).

The Brave New World of Consumer Protection Lawsuits & Enforcement, panel discussion at the National Employment Law Project Annual Conference (Apr. 2011).

Challenging the Use of Arrest Records and Credit Histories in Hiring, panel discussion at the Impact Fund’s Annual Employment Discrimination Class Action Conference (Feb. 24-25, 2011).

Criminal-Record-Related Legal Issues, presentation at the regular meeting of the Chicago Bar Association’s Legal Aid Committee (Jan. 2009).

Criminal Records and Employment, presentation at the regular meeting of the Chicago Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Committee (Nov. 2008).



Representative Matters

Rivera v. Peri & Sons Farms, Inc., Represented H-2A guest workers in a class and collective action against a Nevada onion farm for unpaid wages, resulting in a successful settlement of $2.8 million.

Lynch v. Huberman. Obtained a preliminary injunction order on behalf of several Chicago Public Schools teachers after a district court judge held that the Chicago Board of Education had violated their First Amendment rights to political speech.

Joshaway v. First Student and Hunter v. First Transit. National class actions against the two subsidiaries of the largest public transportation provider in the United States, challenging the use of criminal background checks on employees and applicants in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. At that time, the $5.9 million settlement was the largest FCRA settlement resolving employment-related claims in U.S. history.

Arroyo v. United States of America. Successfully defended in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals a twenty-nine million dollar Federal Torts Claims Act judgment in favor of a child who was profoundly disabled as a result of medical malpractice.

Settled unpaid vacation claims on behalf of nursing home workers for $2,000,000.

Recovered well over one-million dollars for workers in the transportation industry who alleged that they were misclassified as independent contractors.

Represented plaintiffs in Fair Credit Reporting Act class action lawsuit alleging that employer denied thousands of individuals jobs based on background check reports without first providing them a copy of their report. Case resulted in settlement of $975,000.

Successfully represented a custodial worker in a jury trial against the City of Chicago. Our client prevailed in her claims that the City of Chicago violated the Illinois Human Rights Act by barring her from her workplace based on an old dismissed criminal charge.

Successfully brought Fair Credit Reporting Act claims on behalf of a job applicant who was erroneously labeled a
sex offender by a background check company.

Represented plaintiff in a $625,000 Fair Credit Reporting Act class action settlement involving a national temporary employment agency.

Recovered $550,000 in unpaid wages owed to hundreds of individuals who worked for a national tanning salon chain.

Settled wage and hour claims on behalf of a class of call center employees for $440,000.

Settled wage and hour claims on behalf of a class of warehouse workers for $400,000.

General counsel for the Central Advisory Council, a non-profit board comprised of 16 public housing residents elected to represent other residents living in their developments and to advocate for better public housing policies.

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