Coronavirus

In the middle of a global pandemic, employers still grapple every day with the age-old question: When an employee exhausts FMLA leave and cannot return to work, does the law require the employer to provide the employee additional leave? Question 1A surely is close behind: can the employee safely be terminated at that point?  Without debate, these are among the most difficult HR issues an HR professional or in-house employment counsel faces. The Facts Take this scenario: Jim is a bus operator for the public transportation system in Columbus, Ohio, and he suffers from back pain due to spinal stenosis…
In this episode of Reimagining Law, we talk to Melanie Leonard, Esq., founder of streamlined.legal, and Bryan Sims, an attorney at Sims Law Firm, Ltd. Melanie and Bryan discuss how COVID-19 has changed the way attorneys work, simple ways lawyers can increase internal efficiencies, and technology tools for even the most technology-averse attorney. Subscribe to our channel to stay up to date on new episodes of Reimagining Law!   Timestamps  1:18 – How has COVID-19 changed the way attorneys work? What’s working and what isn’t? 3:18 – How can attorneys embrace technology, especially during the pandemic? 5:02 – What simple steps can lawyers take now…
Law school ranks high among the most stressful times in a lawyer’s career. Students must navigate intense competition, high expectations, and incessant deadlines on top of the stressors of everyday life. It’s no wonder that law students are nearly four times more likely than others to develop depression or other mental health issues. Mental health struggles are particularly relevant in 2020, as many students study virtually, far from law school campuses and the in-person support of their professors and peers. The ABA Law Student Division is raising awareness of these challenges this week in recognition of National Mental Health
Face masks are required in Illinois. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities recognized by the ADA. Accommodations regarding masks vary by situation, but the ADA is not a blanket protection against wearing a mask. Can I Make My Employee Wear a Mask Under the ADA? Public health requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic have caused contention for many businesses and individuals, few as much as being forced to wear a mask. Many people claim that wearing a face mask violates their rights. This leaves businesses facing concerns from all directions, such as: Can I require…
Awhile back, the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) issued COVID-19 guidance for election polling places. You can read the guidance on the IDPH’s website here. A summary of some of the key provisions are below: 1. Each local election authority (usually the county or election commission) must adopt a written COVID-19 prevention plan for each polling place in its jurisdiction that includes at a minimum the following: Contact person for implementation of plan Safety instructions and training on cleaning and disinfection Physical distancing protocols Worker monitoring plan Policies for ensuring compliance with social distancing, mask wearing, and disinfection of…
Buying your first home can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming to take on such a major responsibility. Regardless if you are single or married, it is important to carefully consider your mortgage and what you can afford in terms of a loan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been furloughed or laid off from their jobs for an indefinite period of time. Although they may be entitled to unemployment, those funds may not cover their monthly mortgage payment. The federal government has issued protections for tenants and mortgage loan borrowers under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and…
Is commercial real estate set to rebound after 2020? The pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders from governments and private employers has upended the commercial real estate market on a number of fronts.  And we are now looking square into the Pandemic Recession which has just begun. For now, it’s merely a matter of unpaid rents and empty spaces, which means short-term losses for building owners. But if working at home has lasting appeal—and the sometimes-resistant culture of American business changes—or if shopping from home stays at its currently heightened level of prevalence, commercial real estate could lose longer-term value.…
One of the most common causes of truck accidents in the U.S. is fatigued truck drivers. Truckers are often expected to drive hundreds of miles a day and deal with a wildly inconsistent sleep schedule. Chronic sleep deprivation can have significant effects on a person’s ability to drive safely. Sleepiness can cause reduced reaction time, decreased awareness, and difficulty paying attention. It is estimated that being fatigued makes you three times more likely to be involved in a car accident. In fact, The National Safety Council states that driving 20 hours without sleeping is comparable to driving with a…
We reported previously about the CDC’s guidance on fall holidays, including Halloween. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has now released its own guidelines for fall activities, which supplement the recently-updated DCEO guidance on other seasonal staples, such as pumpkin patches, hayrides, and haunted houses. Trick-or-Treating Trick-or-treating is allowed, provided that groups are limited to household members, social distancing is maintained from other trick-or-treaters and people passing out candy, and that face coverings are worn in addition to any costume masks. The IDPH advises sticking to outdoor areas rather than multi-family buildings, frequent use of hand-sanitizer, and handwashing…
OCR recently published a Q&A document providing expectations for compliance with civil rights laws during the pandemic. While OCR is not responsible for enforcing the IDEA, it is responsible for Section 504. Because students with IEPs are generally also protected by Section 504, the new guidance is applicable to students both with Section 504 plans and with IEPs. At the same time, OSEP published a Q&A document providing guidance specifically related to the IDEA. Much of the guidance will sound familiar, but you may find a few surprises. OCR Q&A Return to in-person instruction. OCR advises there may be circumstances…
Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum Podcast just released its latest episode, Episode 44: APA-IL Planning Law Symposium. The Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association just held its virtual 2020 State Conference featuring the APA-IL Planning Law Symposium presented by Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast. Trevor Dick from the City of Aurora joined Ancel Glink partners ShawnTe Raines, David Silverman, and Dan Bolin to discuss important legal issues affecting planners, including pandemic-time public meetings, economic recovery tools, defending religious land use cases, and more.  You can listen to the APA-IL Planning Law Symposium on the latest episode of Ancel Glink’s Quorum…
This week, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism marked its 15th anniversary. The Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rule 799 on September 29, 2005, which established a permanent Commission on Professionalism and professional responsibility CLE requirements for Illinois attorneys. Also on this date, the Court established the MCLE Board to administer the Court’s MCLE program. “For the past 15 years, the Commission has advanced the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges in Illinois,” said Martin Sinclair, Chair of the Commission. “I would like to acknowledge the Illinois Supreme Court for recognizing how incivility can undermine the effectiveness of the…
In the past week, a common ingredient used in Chinese restaurants across America has been recalled after salmonella was detected in samples of the product. On September 23, the brand Shirakiku was recalled by manufacturer Wismettac Asian Food Inc. The product is imported dried fungus, also known as tree ear fungus, black fungus, or cloud-ear fungus due to its appearance. This fungus is an edible mushroom that is commonly used in Chinese cooking in the U.S. Black fungus originated in China, but can also be found in tropical regions such as Hawaii, Nigeria, the Pacific Islands, and more. The reason…
Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives. These attorneys are teaching us how to adapt and thrive in the changing legal environment. Claudia Farfan Badillo is the owner of Badillo Law Group, P.C., where she specializes in consumer bankruptcy law. She is the current president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois and was featured in Negocios Now’s Latinos 40 Under 40 Class of 2018. How is the Badillo Law Group adapting to the changing work environment? We have gone 100% virtual. I was already doing a lot…
Failed ERP software system implementations and integrations happen frequently and the problems are legion. However, there are ways that organizations can avoid their own failures. In a recent Taft Technology Insights post, we discussed how to avoid a failure if restarting a deferred integration during COVID-19. We are frequently retained by companies whose projects are in such disarray that vendor or integrator relationships are beyond repair and disputes are heading to court. We spend a considerable amount of time reviewing contracts, emails, reports, and memos, and speaking with key figures as part of negotiating a settlement or preparing a…
Contributed by Jacqueline Lentini McCullough, September 30, 2020 The U.S. immigration system has always been something of an obstacle course. Recent developments have made it more like an intricate labyrinth with detours, hidden delays, and dead ends if you are not careful. Here are some recent developments and how they are affecting visa compliance and processing. USCIS Budget Crisis USCIS is a fee-driven agency. Fees pay 96% of its operating costs. It claims the coronavirus has caused a devastating budget shortfall. For four months they threatened to furlough 13,000 of their 20,000 employees. Ironically, a congressional inquiry showed USCIS…