Employment & Labor

Contributed by Jeffrey A. Risch, February 25, 2021 – www.illinoisprevailingwage.com Contractors, developers, architects, owners, project managers and even public bodies often ask the same obvious question when dealing with any type of prevailing wage ordinance or law, “what are my obligations?”  While everyone involved in public construction projects want to comply with prevailing wage mandates, more often than not those involved in such projects are either oblivious to their responsibilities or are mistaken in their belief as to such responsibilities. This is not surprising in light of the great variance in prevailing wage laws, related rules and interpretations of such rules…
I am often asked to share my favorite resource materials and conferences involving the FMLA and ADA. I recognize budgets are tight this year. So, if you have the ability to attend just one conference this year on the FMLA and ADA and if you’re looking for a free FMLA resource, keep reading. First, the (Free) FMLA Bible Every February, the American Bar Association’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee publishes a comprehensive report of FMLA decisions handed down by the federal courts in the previous year. Although this little FMLA blog catches a few of the big FMLA cases as…
Contributed by Peter Hansen, Michael Wong and Sara Zorich, February 23, 2020 COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire form with medical mask and a pen on it. A question that employers often ask when someone in the workplace reports COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test is, who is the employer required to notify? Typically common sense and CDC guidelines have been that employers must engage in contact tracing and notify individuals who were in “close contact” with the person. In recent months and weeks, local and state departments of public health have continued to issue guidance, and mandates, that employers must…
Synopsis: Madigan Quits!!!! What Does It Mean for IL Work Comp and Illinois Government?   Editor’s comment: Starting in November 1970 and continuing to the end of this month, Illinois voters have seen the longest tenured state legislative leader in U.S. history in the person of Michael J. Madigan. He has had an interesting and bittersweet run. I can’t stop giggling about his statement that he “dedicated [himself] to democracy.” What an absolute hoot!—in my view the State of Illinois under Madigan has become the “least democratic” State in the history of States.   What Does Madigan’s Departure Mean to…
Keywords: Copyright, Supreme Court, Georgia, Public.Resource.Org., annotations, OCGA, Government Edicts Doctrine Introduction One would think that when a state creates an “official” code of its statutes, the public would have the right to freely copy and share that collection of laws.  One would also think that fair-minded judges would unanimously agree with this point and objurgate any view to the contrary.  Well, think again. The 2020 Supreme Court case of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org. ratifies a point that I make often: much of the copyright law of this country is a messy pig’s breakfast of uncleanly written and historically complex statutes…
Kelly, an administrative assistant for Penn State Health, racked up quite a few absences over a short period of time. Some of these absences related to GI issues that ordinarily would be covered by the FMLA. In Kelly’s case, however, she repeatedly failed to timely report these absences, which led to attendance points. Penn State Health’s call-in procedures required employees like Kelly to make two calls whenever they wanted to request FMLA leave: 1) one call to a designated “call-off” line (within 24 hours after the absence); and 2) one call to the Company’s third-party administrator to report the need for…
Contributed by Suzannah Wilson Overholt, February 17, 2020 COVID-19 stimulus package, US dollar cash banknote on American flag Congress is turning its attention to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, which is called the American Rescue Plan.  Because the package includes enhanced unemployment benefits that are currently set to lapse in mid-March, Congress is under pressure to take action by then. The following aspects of the proposal have a specific impact on employers: Restoration and expansion of emergency paid leave:  President Biden has proposed reinstating and expanding the paid sick and family leave benefits passed as part…
Contributed by Allison P. Sues and Jeff Risch, February 15, 2021 Illinois has long limited employers from considering the criminal history of an applicant or employee in making employment decisions. The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits employers from considering an employee’s arrest history, for example. In recent years, Illinois’ “Ban the Box” law disallows employers from asking about criminal convictions prior to a job offer or before a candidate is selected for an interview and, therefore, assumed to be otherwise qualified for the position in question. Now, Illinois is poised to go a step further in banning the use…
Contributed by guest author Matthew Horn, February 10, 2021 In response to an executive order signed by President Biden, OSHA recently issued updated COVID-19 guidance recommending that all employers adopt a formal COVID-19 prevention plan, incorporating the following activities and elements: Conducting a hazard assessment relating to COVID-19 exposure; Identifying control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 (such as distancing, masks, barriers, work-from-home, staggered shifts, etc.); Adopting policies that encourage sick workers to stay home and not come into work; Communicating and training employees on the policies and procedures implemented (in their native languages); and Implementing protections from…
How to Determine Your Workplace Vaccination Policy As COVID-19 vaccines begin to become available for working-age people—first for those in healthcare, then those in other “frontline” occupations, then for those at risk due to medical conditions, and finally for the general 18-to-64 population—can employers implement mandatory vaccination policies? In general, the answer is yes, according to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, although employers need to be careful on a number of fronts, starting with ensuring that the way they craft their policy does not run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue reading
By Seth Matus The Uniformed Services Employee and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) is the law preventing employers from discriminating against employees based on their service in the United States military or national guard. One of the protections provided by the USERRA is that employees taking military leaves of absence receive the same “rights and benefits” as employees taking comparable non-military absences. On February 3, 2021, the Seventh Circuit (the appeals court that covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) became the first federal court of appeals to examine what this right entails for employers. In the case of White v. United Airlines, Inc., it was…
Contributed by Michael Hughes, February 8, 2021 “Union” in block letters The mis-named Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) was reintroduced in the U.S. Congress on February 4, 2021. The PRO Act, which originally was introduced in 2019 and passed the House of Representatives in 2020, would completely change the landscape in the labor-relations world. You may recall that our recent blog post advised that reintroduction of the PRO Act likely was a priority of the Biden Administration and the revamped U.S. Congress. Billed by Democrats as legislation to support workers’ rights, the PRO Act is less…
Recently, an email I received from a HR-related organization caught my eye. The email was fashioned as a Q&A.  One of its members posed a question that I’ve paraphrased here: Our practice is to reach out to employees on FMLA leave once a month to check in and see how they are doing.  So long as we just check in and do not discuss return to work, are allowed to do this? The organization called upon a legal expert to answer, and she stated the following (again I paraphrase): Although the regulations do not speak to such conduct, these types…
Contributed by Jacqueline Lentini McCullough, February 3, 2021 Immigration Law books with a gavel on desk in the library. Last November I mentioned that the Trump Administration enacted over 400 immigration policy changes during its tenure. The changes added burdens to visa petitions, delayed processing, and made life more challenging for everyone in the immigration community. Executive Order Highlights President Biden signed a slew of prepared executive orders when he took office. Some of the orders that affect the immigrant community include: the preservation and plans to “fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; cessation of border…
Contributed by guest author Joe Demko, February 2, 2021 The pen lies on the tax form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement. The time to pay taxes 2020 was certainly a unique year for employers and employees. This includes complications with wage reporting.  Most employers have issued wage reports to their employees by the January 31st deadline and prior to the publication of this alert. These employers must now determine whether they are required to issue corrected Form W-2s. Thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (which required employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick…
New Federal Reporting Requirements for Small Business The paper work for many small businesses will be increasing. Many small businesses with 20 or fewer employees and $5 million or less in gross receipts or sales will be subject to new federal reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), a section of the National Defense Authorization Act enacted on January 1. This will include both those formed in the U.S., whether through a state or an Indian nation, as well as those formed outside the U.S. but registered to do business here. Continue reading