Employment & Labor

Contributed by Allison P. Sues, July 29, 2021 On July 23, 2021, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule to increase the minimum wage for employees of covered federal contractors and subcontractors to $15.00 per hour. This rule follows President Biden’s Executive Order calling for an increase to the minimum wage for federal contractors. The rule suggests that the minimum wage increase go into effect January 30, 2022 and increase annually beginning in 2023 based on inflation.  The Proposed Rule is not final and may be revised. The DOL is accepting comments until August 21, 2021…
Ed was an autoworker who dealt with apparent bouts of depression for which he sought intermittent FMLA leave. But he also had fistfuls of unexcused absences, so much so that he stood on the precipice of termination — one attendance point away, to be exact. Like many good employers, Ed’s employer required him to call into an attendance hotline to report his unforeseeable absences. FMLA leave also was administered by Sedgwick, a third-party administrator, so there were some extra steps in the approval process. As a prophylactic measure, Ed submitted medical certification before any absence for his flare ups, as…
Contributed by Michael Wong, July 28, 2021 Vector attention sign, please wear face mask, in flat style Just when we were starting to let loose and enjoy the summer without masks, as a result of rising number of COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant, the CDC revised their guidance for fully vaccinated individuals on July 27, 2021 with the following changes: Fully vaccinated individuals are recommended to wear masks when indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission. Fully vaccinated individuals who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after…
Vaccinations are available and states are re-opening, but the number of women in the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic is still at historic lows. As companies begin to return their workers to the office, they should also begin thinking about how to reshape diversity and inclusion efforts in……
Synopsis: New Surgical Development Greatly Lessens Carpal Tunnel Repairs. This is a “Must-Read” for the United States WC industry.  Editor’s comment: In Illinois, carpal tunnel claims and repairs skyrocketed for a time when the IL WC community was making giant PPD awards for such conditions. About a decade ago, there was a scandal, when numerous prison guards at a southern IL prison were all claiming CTS due to allegedly shaking truck steering wheels and opening/unlocking prison gates. At least one IL WC Arbitrator made CTS claims during this scandal to cash in. The IL Legislature passed new legislation limiting CTS…
Contributed by Michael Hughes, July 22, 2021 . The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled 3-1 on July 21, 2021 that labor unions may continue to use large, inflatable balloons–usually in the shape of an ugly rat–to aid in publicity of labor disputes, whether connected with traditional picketing activity or without.  The inflatable rat balloon used by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 has been nicknamed “Scabby.”  Scabby was the subject of the NLRB’s ruling.  In that case, Local 150 erected Scabby and banners at the entrance to the parking lot at an RV tradeshow.  The rat…
Synopsis: The New World of Wage Loss Diff Claims in IL Work Comp—We Can’t Ignore Rising Minimum Wage.   Editor’s comment: In my view, one of the biggest changes in IL Work Comp Law and claims practice is happening and very few people noticed. What is happening is easy to understand—the IL state-wide minimum wage is now on an escalator that won’t slow until it reaches $15 per hour in what I believe is less than 3-1/2 years on January 1, 2025. Please note the increases aren’t tentative—the changes/increases are part of IL law which has already been inked by…
Contributed By Allison P. Sues, July 16, 2021 Employment law books and a gavel on desk in the library. On June 15, 2021, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on “Protections Against Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.”  This resource reviews the impact of the Supreme Court’s Bostock v. Clayton County case and provides the EEOC’s position on what constitutes unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The EEOC’s answers to key questions on this issue are summarized below.  Does Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination extend to treatment based on…
Wage and hour violations in Illinois just got a lot more expensive. On Friday, July 9, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed an amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act that increases the penalty for underpaying wages from 2% of the amount of the underpayment per month to 5%. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up fast. Suppose a former employee claims that their employer failed to pay them $5,000 in vacation pay upon separation from employment. Employees have up to 10 years to file a lawsuit under the Act, so it may be several years…
July 3, 2021 marked National CROWN Day – the second anniversary of when California became the first state to pass a CROWN law in July 2019. CROWN laws, or laws for “Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair,” are part of a nationwide effort seeking to “ensure protection against……
A well-negotiated commercial lease can lead to a happy landlord-tenant relationship. However, unlike residential leases, commercial leases contain very few protections for the tenant. Sometimes you can negotiate for favorable terms. Sometimes your best option is to walk away. This article was derived from a livestream with Michelle Green and attorney Rebecca Lyon. The Commercial Lease: Top Six Issues for Businesses During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had to shutter their businesses, and they had lots of questions about how to get out of their commercial leases. Commercial leases, especially for small business owners, often favor the landlord very,…
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our nation and has had a particularly devastating effect on both employees and employers alike. In light of the disturbing impact on the livelihoods of millions of Americans, Congress passed  the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), which provides certain eligible individuals with six (6) months of free COBRA continuation coverage due to a qualifying event that is a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment.  Note, however, that a former employee who voluntarily quits, resigns, or retires cannot be considered an Assistance Eligible Individual (“AEI”). For employers who were forced to…
The FMLA was enacted in 1993, way back when fax machines had just begun ruling the world and we were only learning how to send an email to a friend. When the law was passed, FMLA didn’t contemplate a remote workforce, let alone one hastily relegated to their homes during a global pandemic three decades later. For well over a year, many of your employees have been working from home. Some report to a manager at the headquarters or worksite. Plenty of your remote employees, however, report to an individual who also is working remotely. And that employee is reporting…