Employment & Labor

Wages Employers frequently face a rash of absences and call-offs in the wake of a natural disaster. Generally, whether a business is required to pay an employee who misses work depends on whether the employee is exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). If an exempt employee misses work for personal reasons, but the business remains open, the employer may deduct a full day’s salary. This includes absences due to transportation problems caused by weather. Likewise, a business is not required to pay a non-exempt employee for time not worked. If a business is closed due to…
Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard the trio of LGBT cases. I was previously on record as saying that I expected sexual orientation to be a difficult call, and the transgender plaintiff would win because discrimination occurring against transgender individuals is usually based upon stereotypes. I then read the transcript of the oral argument, and it certainly didn’t work out that way. Reading tea leaves from the oral arguments is next to impossible but here goes anyway. You might ask what does LGBT rights have to do with disability discrimination. The answer to that is it does for…
Following on the heels of a much publicized incident in high school athletics, the New Jersey Division of Rights (“DCR”) issued enforcement guidance (“Guidance”) clarifying and explaining discrimination based on hairstyles, “with a particular focus on hairstyles closely associated with Black people.” The Guidance follows an incident where a high school African-American wrestler was told by a referee that he must choose between cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting the match. According to the DCR the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination’s (“LAD”) “prohibition on discrimination based on race encompasses discrimination that is ostensibly based on hairstyles that are inextricably intertwined with…
The Department of Justice is actively exploring, investigating and challenging no-poach and wage-fixing agreements between employers. The Department of Justice asserts that: that when “companies agree not to hire or recruit one another’s employees, they are agreeing not to compete for those employees’ labor. Robbing employees of labor market competition deprives them of job opportunities, information, and the ability to use competing offers to negotiate better terms of employment.” In the Southern District of Illinois, a putative class action against Jimmy Johns was allowed to proceed under a theory that its franchisees’ franchise agreement restricted franchisees from hiring each other’s…
On September 20, 2019, the Tenth Circuit held that cannabis industry employers are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Defendant contended that because the employer’s employment activities are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, the FLSA’s protections to do not apply to its workers.  This argument was soundly rejected by the Tenth Circuit – putting cannabis industry employers on notice that the FLSA and most likely other federal workplace protections apply to workers in the cannabis space.     Earlier this year we discussed the case, Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc., at the time the appeal was first argued. …
Synopsis: Pancake House Fall Down Denied by IL Appellate Court. Editor’s comment: In a mildly surprising but legally well-founded ruling, a unanimous ruling from the IL Appellate Court, WC Division considered facts about a worker who suffered somewhat severe injuries prior to getting to work. In Walker Brothers, Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, (issued September 13, 2019), the IL WC Commission awarded Claimant medical, temporary total disability (TTD), and permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Claimant was seriously injured when he had parked his car and was walking, heading to work, and fell on ice in a retail store parking lot…
Synopsis: Gene Keefe and Matt Ignoffo on Dealing With Marijuana/THC in the Workplace for Illinois and Other States. Part 1; Part 2 Next week.   Editor’s comment: Gene and Matt have developed a great presentation for your managers or the OccHealth Department of any hospital. If you are interested in a presentation and/or webinar, send a reply.   Here are the salient points on Marijuana in the Workplace. First   Understand the laws on Marijuana/THC and prescription medications that are specific to your State;   Adopt a pre-duty prescription medication and impairing substances safety policy;   Update job descriptions;  …
Four trademark infringement scenarios. Spot the real one: Late one winter night, an old pickup gives out and the driver is forced to pull off onto the shoulder of a desolate country road. Fortunately, he belongs to the Automobile Association of America. Pulling out his cellphone, the cold, tired driver accidentally dials the “other” AAA, the American Arbitration Association. He later reports his confusion to the driving group, leading one AAA to file suit against the other. So excited are a newly engaged couple with their honeymoon plans that they mistakenly try booking their flights to Rome on the Alcoholics…
Question:        I am a salaried employee and I also receive self-employment  income from a side business unrelated to my salaried employment.  Am I entitled to a qualified business income tax deduction for my earnings? Answer:          Taxpayers meeting the statutory requirements are entitled to a deduction of 20% of their qualified business income.  Qualified business income (“QBI”) generally consists of income derived from sole proprietorships and so-called pass-thru entities such as partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations where business income is reported on the owners’ personal income tax returns. Your self-employment income may be eligible for the QBI deduction.  No…
On October 2, 2019, the Supreme Court declined to review a 9th Circuit decision in a website accessibility lawsuit, Robles v. Domino’s. The 9th Circuit decision had reversed a grant of summary judgment and held that ADA Title III did potentially require that services of a place of public accommodations offered through websites and mobile apps, such as ordering pizza for delivery, be accessible, and remanded the case. Domino’s, supported by many major business groups, asked the Supreme Court to take the case and to provide direction on the application of the ADA to websites and other digital platforms. Many…
Chicago Pizza NOT Domino’s:-) Before getting started on the blog of the week, a couple of housekeeping matters are in order. First, I am delighted that you have decided to visit my blog on my birthday (October 8). For trivia nuts, it is also the anniversary of the great Chicago fire. Second, Yom Kippur starts tonight. I wish everyone the best with that. Finally, both National League series are going to a game five. Wishing all of your teams good luck with that. Congratulations to the Yankees for moving on and to the Minnesota Twins on a great season. Yesterday,…
George Bellas explains Blockchain Technology  What is bitcoin?   Is it the same as blockchain? The quick answer is that bitcoin is not the same as blockchain. “Bitcoin” is a form of cryptocurrency and “blockchain” is the concept technology that underlies it. The concept of a blockchain was first conceived in 2008 by someone names Satoshi Nakamoto, which may be pseudonym for someone or a group of people, who introduced a white paper[1] describing the open-source block chain technology that underlies the basis for the cryptocurrency known as “Bitcoin.” Blockchain is a totally disruptive technology and is now…
Savvy Illinois Employers Will Plan Ahead for Landmark Rulings Today, the Supreme Court kicks off its new term with several employment cases, including cases on appeal from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals right here in Chicago. Illinois employers should keep tabs on these cases and anticipate how the Court’s rulings will add to a bevy of new compliance obligations going into effect in 2019-20, all discussed below. LGBT Rights Under Federal Law – Will They Catch Up To Illinois Law? The Justices will consider a trio of cases that ask whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition…
Recently, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, clarified a point of defamation law which had created confusion over the years:  Whether a false statement imputing an association with a criminal enterprise, such as a street gang, can support a cause of action for defamation per se (statements that are so obviously and naturally harmful on their face that they are actionable without proof of special damages). In Hardiman v. Aslam, 2019 IL App (1st) 173196, an on-air “teaser” for a television newscast stated, “A former gang member who was once accused of beating his wife wants to be your governor.”…
Things have been absolutely crazy this week between client matters, the Jewish new year, and speaking engagements. I do want to wish everyone celebrating a happy new year. As everyone knows, I have a very strong interest in the intersection of the ADA and sports. In the very first edition of my book, which was published in 2000, I had a chapter on the ADA and sports. All of the subsequent editions have had a chapter on that as well. Finally, it isn’t unusual for me to write on the issues of disability discrimination and sports here on my…
Question: I am a salaried employee and I also receive self-employment income from a side business unrelated to my salaried employment. Am I entitled to a qualified business income tax deduction for my earnings? Answer: Taxpayers meeting the statutory requirements are entitled to a deduction of 20% of their qualified business income. Qualified business income (“QBI”) generally consists of income derived from sole proprietorships and so-called pass-thru entities such as partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations where business income is reported on the owners’ personal income tax returns. Your self-employment income may be eligible for the QBI deduction. No…