Employment & Labor

Eugene Keefe <EKeefe@keefe-law.com> 9:00 AM (2 hours ago) to Synopsis: Illinois Has Another Awful Anti-Business Law and This Law Can’t Be Blocked by the IL WC Act. Editor’s comment: In McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park LLC, 2020 IL App (1st) 192398 (issued September 18, 2020), the Appellate Court ruled the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act do not bar a claim for statutory, liquidated damages, where such damages arise under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act where an employer is alleged to have violated an employee’s statutory privacy rights under the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The court ruled a…
After months of delays, Illinois finally released top scores for coveted cannabis dispensary licenses. The 75 available licenses went to only 21 companies. These companies will be entered into a lottery, which the state will hold next month. The scoring process and implementation of the law have come under intense scrutiny. Allegations of unfair scoring and mismanagement of the social equity intent of the law triggered multiple lawsuits. Illinois Dispensary Licenses Released Illinois’ long-awaited announcement of the winners of the cannabis dispensary licenses has drawn much criticism from around the state. Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Financial and…
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 is a United States labor law that gives workers the right to a minimum wage, as well as overtime pay when employees work more than 40 hours a week. It also prohibits employment of minors in “oppressive child labor.” When a company violates any of the FLSA regulations, employees can file a lawsuit against their employer. These violations can include wage and hour violations, such as unpaid overtime and wages that fall below minimum wage. Even when business owners unintentionally violate the terms of FLSA, it is important they understand how…
Entrepreneurial inventors are part of a unique class of small business owners. Not only are they responsible for the creation of the product that they sell, but often they must take care of the front-end business management responsibilities and costs. Though an individual may have a brilliant idea, getting the idea turned into a tangible and marketable product can cost a lot of money and take years to come to fruition. As a small business law attorney and business owner, I understand the struggles that many entrepreneurs face. To that end, I have a few tips for small business entrepreneurial…
How private is your cell phone? Smartphones provide all kinds of information that advertisers might find useful, including the user’s locations throughout the day. While this information is aggregated and anonymized—excluding names and other identifiers—it’s possible that hackers or other malevolent actors could gain access to a user’s raw data. Location tracking can be useful for a number of reasons, ranging from targeted advertising from stores and brands, to traffic monitoring and reporting on the part of GPS apps, to analyzing the growth of potential coronavirus hot spots. But people often don’t know their information is being tracked, and disclosures…
Contributed by Peter Hansen, September 14, 2020 The U.S. Department of Labor announced revised regulations interpreting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to a New York federal court decision declaring some FFCRA regulations invalid.  The revised regulations become effective September 16, 2020, and include several changes and clarifications that employers should be aware of: The Health Care Provider Exception.  The DOL limited the “health care provider” exception (which excluded certain employees from FFCRA eligibility) to employees who are “capable of providing health care services,” including “diagnostic services, preventive services, treatment services, or other services that…
No matter what your chosen industry may be, your customers or clients represent the very reason for your company’s existence. If there was no one to buy your products or services, offering them would be completely pointless. For many business owners, including a large number of my clients, offering world-class customer service is a top priority, which helps to build client relationships and improve customer satisfaction. When a customer relationship sours, however, it can be very easy to take the situation personally, especially if the customer takes his or her concerns to the internet. It is important to understand…
On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) following a federal court’s decision that invalidated a handful of regulatory provisions interpreting the FFCRA.  Although the DOL was widely expected to address the court decision through revised regulations and/or court action, these new regulations throw additional curveballs for employers already struggling to comply with extensive COVID-19-related legislation. Over the weekend, five Littler colleagues and I (including Bill Allen, Alexis Knapp, Lauren Marcus, Emilie Hammerstein, Mike Lotito) discussed, debated, even delighted in these new…
On September 8, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down portions of a January 2020 Final Rule issued by the Department of Labor. The Final Rule provided a new test for determining whether an entity is a joint employer with another entity under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule, which became effective in March of 2020, severely limited the situations in which an entity can be considered a joint employer and held liable for violations of the FLSA in a “vertical” joint employment relationship. A vertical joint employment relationship…
Chicago Overtime Lawsuit Settled for 105 Workers September 11, 2020:  Judge Kocoras entered an order preliminarily approved the overtime class action lawsuit that we reached for 105 former Chicago-area employees of Acceptance Solutions Group.  This case involves allegations that the employer did not properly calculate its Illinois employees’ regular rate of pay for overtime purposes. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged the employer failed to include commissions and incentive payments when computing employees’ overtime rates of pay, resulting in employees being paid an overtime rate that was too low and depriving them of earned wages.  The following documents can be viewed on line…
Contributed by Suzanne Newcomb, September 10, 2020 The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act or “FFCRA” requires employers with less than 500 employees to provide paid leave to employees unable to work (or telework) for various COVID-related reasons. Particularly relevant as many schools open either virtually or with combination of in person and virtual instruction is FFCRA’s mandate for paid leave to care for children not in school or daycare due to COVID-19. On August 27, 2020 the DOL added FFCRA FAQs 98-100 clarifying that: FFCRA is not triggered if the child’s school is open for in-person instruction but the…
Contributed by guest author Ryan Jacobson, September 9, 2020 With the prevalence of online consumer reviews and merciless labor organizations, companies and their executives are vulnerable to attack for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. Managing the expectations of your consumers, and of your workforce, is an important place to start. Executives who identify the problem and work diligently to arrive at viable solutions will gain a head start toward preserving the status quo. Media coverage will no doubt accelerate the harm; it is never too late to challenge the story line with a well-crafted statement…
For a first-time business owner, the prospect of buying a business can be quite overwhelming. You may not be certain where to start, what to do next, or even if you are making the right choice. That is why it is so important to work closely with an experienced business lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can help you ensure that you have considered all of the necessary details and put in the best position for long-term success. As you consider your options for buying a business, there are very important things you should be keeping at the forefront of your mind.…
The Dangers of Payroll Tax Deferment As part of a series of executive actions rolled out in early August, President Trump ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to allow the deferral of the 6.2% payroll tax on employees from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for workers making less than about $104,000 on an annualized basis.  The plan was brought forth by the White House after it became clear that Congress did not plan to play ball with the President and pass an actual payroll tax cut. After a hard look at the plan, it is obvious that small business owners should not be…
Contributed by Allison P. Sues, September 3, 2020 On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a new opinion letter shedding light on the application of the fluctuating workweek method for paying overtime wages required under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).   Under the FLSA, employers must pay nonexempt employees at least one and half times their regular rate for all hours in excess of 40 worked in an actual workweek.  For employees who work variable hours each week, the employer may use the fluctuating workweek method to compute the amount of overtime pay owed to a…