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Contributed By Michael Wong, May 14, 2021 Blue medical face masks isolated on white On May 13, 2021, the CDC issued new guidance stating that those who are fully vaccinated can resume activities without wearing a mask or social distancing. Following the CDC’s announcement, President Biden lifted the mask mandate that was required by staff and visitors of the White House.   While the CDC has issued this guidance, a patchwork of state and local policies or rules are popping up making clear that we are not going to be mask free quite yet. More importantly, the CDC’s announcement contained…
Contributed By Jeff Risch and Peter Hansen, May 7, 2021 hand signing contract on white paper Contractors beware – the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has ramped up audits of contractors as labor unions and related organizations flood the IDOL with “complaints. Remember, under the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (IPWA), a prevailing wage “complaint” need not be verified or even submitted to the IDOL under penalty of perjury. The IDOL will investigate each and every “complaint” regardless of merit and, while historically the main focus of the IDOL was to ensure proper and full payment of the actual prevailing…
Contributed By Jeffrey Glass, May 6, 2021 employment law books and a gavel on desk in the library. concept of legal education. In the typical non-compete lawsuit, an employer seeks to block the defendant, often an ex-sales representative, from calling on or doing business with the company’s clients. However, in some cases, the defendant succeeds in taking some business, thereby raising the issue of monetary damages.  So, how are damages calculated in a non-compete case?  In a recent decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois addressed this issue. In Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Hill,…
Contributed By Carlos Arévalo and Molly Arranz, May 4, 2021 fingerprint scan provides security access with biometrics identification For the past several years, we have periodically reported regarding the proliferation of class actions and other litigation under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Under BIPA, entities may not “collect, capture, purchase, receive through trade or otherwise obtain” or store a person’s biometric information without informing an individual in writing about the collection or storage of said information. Entities collecting biometric information must also specify the purpose for its collection and storage and how long it will be kept.…
Contributed By Kelly Haab-Tallitsch, April 30, 2021 The Illinois General Assembly is considering a bill (H.B. 117) that would make several amendments to the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act, including extending the requirement to offer employees a retirement savings plan to employers with 5 to 24 employees. H.B. 117 was passed by the Illinois House of Representatives earlier this month and is currently pending in the Illinois Senate. Currently, Illinois employers that have 25 or more employees and have been in business at least two years are required to participate in the state-run Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program…
Contributed By Beverly Alfon and Michael Hughes, April 28, 2021 COVID-19 Pandemic Allows Unions to Make Inroads with Health Care Workers For health care workers, the issues of staffing, wages and benefits are typically what unions have focused on in their organizing campaigns. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues are heightened with the added urgency of worker safety. The realities created by the pandemic have and will likely continue to make their impact on health care workers – even prompting some who never may have considered union representation – to reconsider their position. For example, in September 2020, nurses…
Contributed By Suzanne Newcomb, April 22, 2021 As we previously discussed, Illinois has moved beyond “ban-the-box” and now significantly restricts employers’ ability to consider criminal convictions when making employment decisions. (For more details see our employer’s guide and join our complimentary webcast on April 29, 2021.) Illinois is not an outlier. Several states have enacted or are considering similar legislation. Below is a short summary of these state laws applicable to private employers. All of these statutes have exceptions. Note too, the fact that a state is not listed does not necessarily mean it has no restrictions. These…
Contributed By: Jeffrey Glass, April 19, 2021 In recent years, many states have enacted legislation directed at employment contracts containing non-compete and non-solicitation clauses. Illinois first did so in 2016 with the Freedom to Work Act (the Act), which bans certain Illinois employers from entering into non-compete agreements with low-wage employees. Now, the Illinois General Assembly has taken the matter up again with additional proposed amendments to the Act. Although the new legislation has not been finalized, some provisions that appear likely to be included in the final version are: income thresholds for employees who are not “low wage,”…
hand with pen over form Contributed by Beverly Alfon, April 16, 2021 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) EEO-1 Component 1 Online Filing System is set to open on Monday, April 26, 2021. Private employers with at least 100 employees, and federal contractors with at least 50 employees and a contract worth $50,000 or more, must file their EEO-1 data for years 2019 (previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and 2020, by Monday, July 19, 2021. Employers will be required to first file for 2019, then file for 2020 – after the 2019 report is submitted and certified.…
Contributed By Rebecca Dobbs Bush, April 8, 2021 close up of the hands of a businessman in a suit signing or writing a document The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, included a COBRA Subsidy covering 100% of COBRA premiums for “Assistance Eligible Individuals” during the period of April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.  The 100% premium subsidy will be reimbursed to employers through their quarterly payroll tax returns.  Pursuant to ARPA, employers are required to notify certain individuals about potential eligibility and details of the subsidy by May 31,…
Male doctor hand wears medical glove holding syringe and vial bottle with COVID-19 vaccine Contributed by Heather A. Bailey, April 6, 2021 The short answer is: Be careful what you wish for!  During this COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations have been at the front of everyone’s mind. Now, with the mass rollout of vaccinations across the country, employers’ main questions have been: i) Can we mandate vaccinations for our workforce or, alternatively, ii) can we ask employees whether they have been vaccinated or not (and to show proof of vaccination)? Our Labor & Employment blog has been at the forefront for…
Construction hat and gavel. Contributed by Jeff Risch, April 2, 2021, www.illinoisprevailingwage.com Big Labor continues to use local, state and federal prevailing wage laws to target contractors they have a “beef” with.  Since most prevailing wage audits are triggered by a complaint (including 3rd party complaints), trade unions and certain union-friendly organizations can easily turn in a contractor with the general assertion that the contractor is not complying with applicable prevailing wage law. While contractors and merit shop trade associations could do likewise, they typically don’t for obvious business reasons.  Having concentrated my practice on assisting contractors with prevailing wage…
Contributed by Jeff A. Risch and Allison P. Sues, March 24, 2021 As we previously blogged about, the Illinois legislature passed Senate Bill 1480, which, in relevant part, provides that unless otherwise authorized by law, an employer may only consider an individual’s criminal conviction history if there is a substantial relationship between the criminal history and the position sought or held, or if the employer can show that the individual’s employment raises an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public. Governor Pritzker has now signed the bill into…
Contributed by Jeff Risch, March 23, 2021 Private employers in Illinois now have more landmines to navigate as the state’s legislature pushed through SB1480 during its most recent “lame duck” session.  Gov. Pritzker just signed the legislation into law today!  While there are many substantive provisions and amendments to various laws contained in SB1480 (including new restrictions on the use of criminal convictions as we blogged about previously), the law also amends the Illinois Business Corporation Act (IBCA) and the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA); resulting in unprecedented compulsory reporting of race, gender and ethnicity statistics and related…
Contributed by Michael Hughes, March 16, 2021 As the 2021 construction season gets underway, and with an increasing number of construction projects being completed with a mix of union and non-union subcontractors, many workers have legitimate questions about their rights and responsibilities on such mixed-staffed projects. These questions especially can arise when a “dual-gate” system has been established (creating a “neutral” gate for union contractors and a separate, “reserved” gate for non-union contractors), or when a union is involved in different types of activities at the jobsite, such as picketing, bannering (erecting stationary signage or using the inflatable rat),…
Contributed by Carlos Arévalo and guest author Molly Arranz, March 11, 2021 Commercial air pilot and Air Force reservist Eric White filed a class action against United Airlines under the United Services Employee and Reemployment Right Act (USERRA) claiming United violated USERRA by not providing paid military leave to the same extent as other paid leave. The district court dismissed White’s lawsuit, but last month the 7th Circuit ruled that paid leave falls within the definition of “rights and benefits” employees are entitled to pursuant to USERRA. The case has been sent back to district court. Generally, USERRA provides…