Human Resources Law Blog

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an updated technical assistance document entitled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws“ on September 8, 2020. The EEOC announced that it was providing these updates “in order to create a user-friendly comprehensive guide that addresses common questions about […]

September 8, 2020

David Michael

EEOC

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As employers and employees alike shift to new protocols and procedures amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Department of Labor (DOL) reminded employers about their continuing responsibilities. Tracking Hours for Teleworkers Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division issued guidance on tracking teleworking hours for non-exempt employees. The Fair Labor Standards […]

UPDATE: In its latest update to its pandemic workplace guidance, the EEOC addresses questions employers will face as businesses reopen and employees return to work.  In advance of employees’ return, employers are encouraged to provide information to all employees about who to contact in the event they wish to request an accommodation for a disability […]

Last week, the Chicago City Council passed the COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, which aims to protect covered employees who remain at home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or are following a stay-at-home or isolation order. Effective immediately, employers may not terminate, demote or take any other adverse action against a covered employee for obeying an […]

The IRS issued Notice 2020-29 on May 12, 2020, to assist with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice provides flexibility for mid-year 2020 elections under a §125 cafeteria plan for employer-sponsored health coverage, health Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA), and dependent care assistance programs (DCAP). It also provides flexibility to carryover unused benefits in an FSA […]

Following the White House’s issuance of broad guidelines for states to implement a phased reopening of businesses subject to isolation orders stemming from the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly preparing to issue detailed guidance. While we await further direction, as businesses face the difficult questions involved […]

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has updated its FAQ page on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), explaining how employers should calculate employee leave and addressing the confusion over what a “quarantine or isolation order” means for purposes of emergency paid sick leave. As we previously wrote, the DOL provides guidance via these […]

UPDATE: A challenge to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s emergency amendment, described below, has resulted in a temporary hold on the rule.  On April 22, 2020, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) filed a complaint in Sangamon County against the IWCC and its Commissioner, Michael J. Brennan, seeking an […]

Current guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides that employers may lawfully take an employee’s temperature upon entering the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In taking this step, however, employers must consider that the time an employee spends waiting to and actually having their temperature taken may need to be paid out. While […]

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released an alert advising employers on safety tips to help protect manufacturing workers from exposure to COVID-19.  OSHA advises employers to implement the following: Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six  feet between coworkers where possible; Establish flexible working hours, including staggering shifts, if possible; Train workers […]

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released enforcement guidance for recording cases of COVID-19.  The guidance is specifically intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis and is in effect until further notice.  The guidance reviews how employers should normally implement applicable rules (found in 29 CFR § 1904) on recording […]

April 20, 2020

Jillian Molz

General

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The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has announced its implementation of expanded unemployment benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including: An additional $600 per week for individuals receiving benefits from March 29, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020. Up to 13 additional weeks of federally funded unemployment […]

A significant component of the sweeping $2 trillion economic stimulus enacted on March 27, 2020, is a $500 billion Exchange Stabilization Fund, whose intended beneficiaries include mid-sized businesses with less than 10,000 employees that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act authorizes the U.S. Treasury Department and […]

The CDC this week issued updated COVID-19 guidance for employers, supplementing its “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” by adding to its cleaning and disinfecting guidelines, social distancing best practices, and strategies and recommendations to respond to the virus. As we previously wrote about, there are […]

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a temporary rule Monday, April 6, 2020, that provides additional guidance on the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) portions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As we discussed in a previous blog post, the DOL has […]

April 7, 2020

Jillian Molz

General

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As part of the recently enacted $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Congress included expanded unemployment benefits in partnership with state unemployment agencies. The CARES Act creates a pandemic unemployment assistance program through Dec. 31, 2020, and retroactively to Jan. 27, 2020. The CARES Act will provide payment to those […]

As employers nationwide have turned to teleworking to help “flatten the curve,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20 that it will defer the physical presence requirement of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Ordinarily, the employer “must physically examine” the approved […]

To help employers grappling with how to respond and handle a variety of challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States, we have compiled some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest guidance from federal agencies when it comes to managing your employees. We have also noted where state laws […]

March 23, 2020

David Michael

General

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The Illinois Department of Employment Services adopted emergency rules for the COVID-19 crisis. The rules include: Qualification for benefits for those who are temporarily laid off An individual temporarily laid off can qualify for benefits as long as they were able and available for and actively seeking work. The individual would not have to register […]

The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019, has spread to the United States, although so far in very small numbers.  The Trump administration and the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared the virus a public health emergency.  Employers should monitor the developments related to the virus and develop a plan […]

February 14, 2020

Jillian Molz

General

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Employment laws are often grouped based on numbers – number of employees, to be exact. Sometimes, however, you can group laws by industry. This year, a number of new laws will affect Illinois hotels.   Lodging Services Human Trafficking Recognition Training Act Illinois lodging establishments will need to provide training to certain employees on how […]

The Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance, which seeks to bring predictability to employee scheduling, is effective as of July 1, 2020. Under the ordinance, covered employers will be required to provide 10 days’ notice of an employee’s schedule (increasing to 14 days on July 2, 2022). The Building Owners & Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA) filed […]

Throughout 2019, Illinois has adopted a number of laws imposing new requirements and restrictions on employers, meaning that prudent Illinois employers should consider updating their employee handbooks to ensure compliance with new laws in effect now and as of Jan. 1, 2020.  Following are brief recaps of the new laws: Salary History Ban On Sept. […]

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) yesterday issued its final rule on overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) increasing the salary thresholds for workers to be considered “exempt” and opening the door to an estimated 1.3 million workers receiving overtime pay next year. For the past 15 years, employees generally could be […]

When signed into law last month, the new Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) included a variety of provisions creating substantial changes for employers and employees starting Jan. 1, 2020.  We covered one of the provisions – mandatory annual sexual harassment prevention training – in our blog post here. The WTA also includes new restrictions on […]

The Illinois General Assembly has passed SB 75, a bill that would require all employers in the state to provide workplace sexual harassment training to employees annually, following the trend of California, New York, Delaware, Connecticut and Maine, who have passed similar laws. Failure to train employees would result in a $500 penalty to businesses […]

Early March has come in like a lion for employers, who are now facing potential new federal rules on overtime and classification, as well as changes to how much information they need to be reporting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding pay rates broken down by gender and race. Labor Department Proposes Expanding Overtime […]

March 14, 2019

Jillian Molz

General

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As we welcome 2019, the following is a recap of new laws affecting Illinois employers. Illinois Human Rights Act The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) now requires all Illinois employers to advise employees of their right to be free from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace.  Employers must post a notice provided by the […]

On August 21, 2018 the State of Illinois amended the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act to prohibit an employer from reducing an employee’s compensation for breaks for nursing mothers. Originally, employers were required to provide “reasonable unpaid break time each day” to express milk, which “must, if possible, run concurrently with any break time […]

The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a major victory for employers across America – ruling that mandatory arbitration agreements that contain a provision prohibiting any form of class or collective litigation are lawful.  The issue was ripe for consideration at the Supreme Court because there was a split among the Circuit Courts of Appeal as […]

The issue of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace vaulted to the forefront of most employers’ attention in 2017, with the #MeToo hashtag going viral and Time magazine naming as its People of the Year the #SilenceBreakers, its name for the women and men who came forward in 2017 to report sexual harassment and […]

January 4, 2018

David Michael

General

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced an immediate stay and review of an Obama-era policy requiring pay information to be included on form EEO-1.  The revised form was set to take effect with the next filing cycle in March 2018. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has always required companies to report […]

Remember last November when a federal judge put a temporary hold on significant changes to federal labor laws affecting millions of workers and their employers?  We wrote about it here. Last week, the judge issued a final ruling that struck down the proposed changes, which would have required employers either to substantially increase the pay […]

The Illinois House of Representatives has passed House Bill 2462, which aims to prevent pay discrimination against women in Illinois.  The bill amends the existing Equal Pay Act of 2003, which prohibits employers from paying wages to another employee of the opposite sex for the same or substantially similar work, where the job requires substantially […]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (in Chicago) ruled on April 4, 2017, that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin – includes discrimination based upon an employee’s sexual orientation. While the federal agency that enforces […]

Effective Sunday, January 22, 2017, all employers must have completely converted to using the new version of the Form I-9 to verify new employee identification and U.S. employment authorization (for both citizens and non-citizens).  Employers are not required to re-verify existing employees on the new Form I-9, except when an employee’s authorization documents have expired. It is imperative that all employers use this new […]

For many, January 1 signifies a time for making New Year’s resolutions, setting goals and resetting benchmarks. This year, one thing is certain: when we enter the New Year, several new or amended employment laws will take effect for Illinois employers – and inevitably affect many individuals as well.  The 2017 changes starting either January 1 […]

On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, a Texas federal court temporarily blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rule nationwide, scheduled to take effect next week on Thursday, December 1. The new overtime rule (called the Final Rule) would make about 4.2 million workers across the country newly eligible for overtime.  The Final Rule increases […]

As of Wednesday, companies are no longer subject to the Department of Labor’s “Persuader Rule” requiring disclosure of legal advice a company receives in response to union organization campaigns.  A court in Texas has permanently blocked the new Persuader Rule. Earlier this year, the Department of Labor issued the new Persuader Rule requiring public disclosure […]

The Department of Labor just announced its updates to the overtime exemptions effective December 1, 2016.  These updates (“Final Rule”) greatly impact many businesses, resulting in more than 4 million workers who are currently overtime-exempt eligible for overtime pay.  Federal labor law requires that all employees receive at least a minimum wage and that most […]

Last week, McDonald’s and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) faced off in an administrative court to determine whether the fast-food chain is liable for the actions of its franchisees as a joint employer. The case arose out of hundreds of complaints filed by fast food workers alleging they were illegally threatened, disciplined, or fired […]

Litigation over restrictive covenant agreements, including non-competes, is on the rise. Because such agreements are viewed as restraints on trade, they are generally disfavored by Illinois courts. In a recent decision, an Illinois appellate court followed suit, striking down as overbroad and unreasonable the non-compete, non-solicit and confidentiality provisions in an employment agreement. AssuredPartners, Inc. […]

Macy’s joins the growing list of employers that have violated Federal labor law.  Macy’s recently joined this list due to policies in its Code of Conduct (the “Handbook”).  A National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found these policies overbroad under the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”). In short, the Act gives employees […]

September 15, 2015

David Michael

NLRB

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Currently, employers are not required to pay overtime (time and a half) to “exempt” employees who earn at least $23,660 per year ($455 per week). Exempt employees are those employed in bona fide executive, administrative, computer and outside sales positions. (For more info, check out http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/fs17d_professional.pdf) That could change rather drastically. The DOL has issued […]

On June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in order to prevail in a disparate-treatment claim, an applicant need show only that her need for accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision, not that the employer had actual knowledge of her need. In 2008, Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman, applied for […]

In a split decision ruling on December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) held that employees have the right to use their employers’ email systems for nonbusiness purposes, including soliciting, distributing and organizing employees. The Board’s decision is limited to: Employees who already have access to their employer’s email system in the course […]

In a significant change for employers facing a union representation election, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has adopted its “final rule” amending representation case procedures.  These procedures resolve certain existing representation disputes and provide detailed guidance on the NLRB’s representation procedures, from the petition being filed to post-election issues. Under the previous […]

2014 has certainly been an interesting year at the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”).  This year has seen the joint-employer rulings to the Northwestern student-athlete representation hearing decision out of Region 13 (Chicago).  In addition, potential repercussion of the Supreme Court’s Noel Canning decision, which voids every Board decision from January 4, 2012 to […]

On July 14, 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination, the first comprehensive update on the subject since the 1983 publication of a chapter on the subject in the Compliance Manual. The new guidance sets out the fundamental Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) protections: that employers are prohibited […]

On July 21, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order (“EO”) 13672, designed to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees based upon sexual orientation and gender identity and broadly prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity across all federal employment. EO 13672 amends two prior executive orders: EO 11246, issued by President Lyndon Johnson to prohibit […]

On July 31, 2014, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (“EO”), which requires prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations and provides additional guidance to government agencies on how to consider labor violations when awarding contracts. The EO also encourages employers to settle existing disputes, ensures that workers are […]

Illinois joins the growing list of states which have enacted legislation banning employers from asking about criminal convictions on an employment application. The new law, signed on July 21, 2014, applies to private-sector employers that have 15 or more employees in the current or preceding calendar year. It becomes effective on January 1, 2015. The […]

On April 8, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order (New EO) amending Executive Order 11246 (EO 11246) to prohibit discrimination or retaliation against employees of Federal government contractors for discussing compensation along with a Memorandum to the Secretary of Labor (the Memo) directing the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary) to propose a rule directing […]

The Illinois Appellate Court recently issued a decision changing a fundamental aspect of the law on non-compete agreements in Illinois—which may cast doubt on the enforceability of non-compete agreements your company has put in place with new employees in the last two years. Prior to the court’s decision, Illinois law allowed an employer to enforce […]

Along with the New Year come a number of changes to Illinois law that are certain to impact employers. The following changes took effect January 1, 2014: Social Media. The Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, which was amended effective January 1, 2013 to prohibit employers from requiring employees to disclose usernames and passwords […]

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