Employment & Labor

Employers face a known but largely unquantifiable risk when they give their employees access to their confidential or proprietary information, trade secrets, and customers.  Some ignore these risks, hope for the best, and trust that they have hired only loyal, honest, and honorable workers.  Such employers basically risk the loss of critical assets and the success of their business in the fickle hands of their employees.  The same workers whose personal career experience or that of spouses, relatives, or friends has taught them because of repeated reorganizations and their attendant reductions-in-force to doubt the loyalty of employers. In view of…
Two New Laws Encourage Employers To Overlook Past Incarceration In his inaugural address, Governor Pritzker promised to expand “true justice in our criminal justice system” and advance “economic inclusion” for Illinoisans who have previously been incarcerated. Two new laws carry out this promise and build on the efforts of 2015’s “Ban the Box” law to make it easier for the estimated 42 percent of Illinois residents with criminal backgrounds to avoid automatic disqualification and to get jobs. Illinois’ “Ban the Box” law, also known as the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” prevents certain employers or their agents from inquiring…
The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District recently ruled that Illinois’ personal jurisdiction precedent was not overruled by recent decisions made by the United States Supreme Court. Schaefer v. Synergy Flight Center, LLC, 2019 IL App (1st) 181779 (1st Dist. 2019). Specifically, the appellate court ruled that the 2013 Illinois Supreme Court case of Russell v. SNFA, 2013 IL 113909 (2013), which held that Illinois had personal jurisdiction over a French company whose parts were in an air ambulance helicopter that crashed in Illinois and killed the pilot, was not overruled by the 2017 U.S. Supreme Court case of…
Synopsis: Shocking IL Appellate Ruling That Might Set the Trucking Risk and HR Industry on Its Ear When Your Rigs Cross Anywhere Near the Nutty Land O’ Lincoln!! This $54M verdict is an IL Auto Claim Record. Plaintiffs James Denton and his wife, Theresa, of Oak Lawn, sued David L. Johnson, the truck driver, and Universal Am-Can Ltd., Universal Truckload Services Inc. and Louis Broadwell LLC, Johnson’s employers, in 2015, alleging Johnson was negligent when he failed to slow down to avoid a crash as traffic unexpectedly changed. As you will read, the verdict didn’t really come from a bad-driving claim—it…
Contrary to popular opinion, the biggest news lately out of the U.S. Department of Labor is not the fact that the agency just this week announced a final rule that would make over one million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay. Oh, no way! Why worry about minimum wage and overtime issues when the big news is forms? FMLA forms, that is. Brand. New. FMLA. Forms. In early August, the DOL published proposed new FMLA notice forms and medical certification forms, and asked the public to offer its feedback on these new forms by October 4, 2019. That…
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule concerning overtime exemptions. The rule increases the salary threshold for employees exempt under the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions (the “white collar exemptions”) from $455 per week (or $23,660 annually) to $684 per week (or $35,568 annually). Additional changes include: Increasing the total annual compensation threshold for highly compensated employees (“HCEs”) from $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year; Permitting employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments to satisfy up to 10% of the increase salary threshold; and Committing to updating the salary threshold more regularly. The new…
Agency’s Action Adds To Heavy Slate Of New Employment Laws In 2020 This morning, September 24, 2019, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published its final overtime rule. You can find it in full on the DOL’s website. The final rule is effective January 1, 2020, giving employers about 100 days to review and adjust the pay of their exempt workforce to comply with the law. 4 Key Takeaways Of The New Rules The new rule increases the salary level for the white-collar exemptions (executive, administrative, and professional). New salary level for white collar exemptions will be $684 per…
Employment Discrimination issues explained by George Bellas Chicago Business Lawyer The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all other places that are open to the general public.[1]   When it comes to employment, the ADA provides that employers covered by the statute may not discriminate against “qualified individuals” with a disability with respect to employment matters.[2]  The ADA defines such individuals as applicants or employees who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential…
September 20, 2019 by Leave a Comment Next week, my daughter is on break. She has one of those schedules where they are on for six weeks and then off for one week. They do get two weeks for winter vacation. So, since my schedule is likely to be all over the place next week, I thought I would do another blog this week since the 11th Circuit came down with a very important decision on September 17, 2019. Previously, we have blogged twice on the case, here. The case involved the question of whether the Department…
Labor Law Update: Contractors Lawfully Prohibited From Leafleting on Third Party Premises On August 23, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) determined that property owners may prohibit non-employees from accessing their premises to engage in conduct that could be protected by federal labor law. This ruling is consistent with other decisions recently issued by the NLRB, which have overturned longstanding precedent in favor of more employer-friendly standards. In February 2017, the Tobin Center for the Performance Arts (“Tobin Center”) refused to let off-duty workers employed by the San Antonio Symphony (“Symphony”), a licensee of the Tobin Center, use Tobin…
Synopsis: Will “Dynamex” Come to Illinois and Other States Soon? I consider this required reading for HR, Risk and WC claims handlers.   Editor’s comment: I truly feel my readers need to know of this “Left Coast” mess because we have no way to stop the concept in Illinois if the super-majorities in our State Senate and House want to bring it here. Our wildly liberal Governor is almost certain to sign off on it. I doubt our surrounding States will have any interest in it but you never know.   Please also note the Dynamex concept has been codified…
September 16, 2019 by Leave a Comment Today’s blog entry will focus on the decision from the 11th Circuit decided September 12, 2019, on the Massage Envy case we discussed here. In this decision, the 11th Circuit affirmed the opinion of the lower court holding that regarded as does not apply to fear of a future disability. As mentioned in the original blog entry on this case, the lower courts are split on this question. I do look for a Circuit Court split in the future on the matters discussed in this blog entry. Since we have…
Agency’s Tactics For Battling The Gender Pay Gap Now Uncertain In a not-entirely surprising September 12, 2019 notice in the Federal Register, the EEOC announced that it plans on not renewing an Obama-era rule requiring employers to provide pay data as part of their annual employer information (EEO-1) report until after it assesses whether the two years’ worth of pay data a federal court ordered it to obtain under the rule is useful to its efforts to address gender pay gap. As we reported in March, the court decided in the case National Women’s Law Center v. OMB that…
Earlier this year, the Department of Labor made clear in an opinion letter that neither an employee nor an employer may decline FMLA leave where an eligible employee is absent for an FMLA-qualifying reason.  As the DOL noted in this March 2019 opinion letter, this is particularly true even where the employee would prefer that the employer delay the designation of FMLA leave. This week, the DOL doubled-down on that opinion letter. Notably, the DOL’s earlier missive to the masses failed to address how an employer should administer FMLA leave in a union environment where a collective bargaining agreement specifically allows…
September 11, 2019 by Leave a Comment   Previously, we have discussed here and here whether a plasma center is a place of public accommodation under title III. That discussion shows there is already a split in the Circuit Courts on the issue. On August 30, 2019, the Third Circuit weighed in on this in Matheis v. CSL Plasma Inc., A published decision. They came down in favor of a plasma center as a place of public accommodation. The facts in this case are pretty straightforward. Here, you have a retired police officer with PTSD who routinely and…
Synopsis: IL Risk/HR Managers Have to Catch Up to New Salary History “Gotcha” Law.   Editor’s comment: The reason I call this a “Gotcha” law is the defenses are basically stripped away to expand reserves/exposures. The mistakes that may cost your company thousands in awards and opposing counsel’s attorneys fees which could become common. The mistakes could be innocent. You have less than three weeks to insure personnel folks in the hiring part of your company know what they have to do and NOT do.   Please note Brad Smith, J.D. is our top employment law defense attorney/partner and can…