SmithAmundsen LLC

The BIPA hits keep coming for employers and companies in Illinois. Today, in a long-awaited opinion in Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc., the Illinois Supreme Court found that a five-year statute of limitations applies to all BIPA claims. This is not welcomed news for employers as it broadens the potential exposure under this biometric law that comes with the heaviest penalties for failure to comply—even if no injury is suffered.
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Confirms a 5-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to
All BIPA Claims

2022 is now “in the books” and organized labor has to be reeling seeing the latest news. Despite all of those sensational headlines involving a few high profile employers facing union organizing drives last year, the union membership rate dropped to a new historic low in 2022.
Continue Reading Breaking News: Union Membership Rate Drops to Historic Low in 2022

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed an omnibus appropriations bill into law that includes expanded protections for pregnant and nursing employees through two new acts: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP).
Continue Reading Expanding Workplace Protections for Pregnant Workers: New Federal Law
Explained

The long-awaited SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 (“SECURE 2.0”), containing sweeping changes to workplace retirement plans, was signed into law on December 29, 2022 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. SECURE 2.0 builds on the revisions to retirement plan rules enacted by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the original SECURE Act), and makes even more aggressive changes. 
Continue Reading SECURE Act 2.0 Makes Significant Changes to 401(k) and 403(b) Plans

While we continue to absorb the impact of the National Labor Relations Board’s recent expansion of its authority to include awards for consequential damages in unfair labor practice (ULP) cases, there are  other significant pro-union decisions and directives that need to be on your radar. 
Continue Reading But Wait, There’s More – Additional Labor Law Developments You Need to Know
About

Non-compete agreements – contract clauses, usually in employment agreements, that ban an employee from working in a certain industry, or in a certain geographic area for a period of time following termination of employment – have been under increasing scrutiny by state legislatures over the last several years. Many states, including Illinois, have banned their use for workers below certain income thresholds, for example. 
Continue Reading Proposed FTC Rule Would Ban Employers From Using Non-Compete Agreements

On December 21, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a statewide pay transparency bill, Senate Bill S9427A, that will take effect September 17, 2023. New York’s Pay Transparency Law requires employers with four or more employees to disclose compensation or range of compensation to applicants and employees when posting any opportunities for hire, promotion, or transfer. The law defines “range of compensation” as the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range of compensation for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that the employer in good faith believes to be accurate at the time of the
Continue Reading The Growing Pay Transparency Trend and How Employers Should Prepare: Part 2

As labor unions continue to target banks and credit unions – employers that, as mentioned in our previous blog, unions historically avoided – employers in the financial industry must be aware of labor law developments.  It is critical that employers know and understand the rules of engagement in traditional labor law — particularly as the law develops under the current administration.  What now will trigger an unfair labor practice charge or the ire of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is much different than a few years ago.  Additionally, the rules and procedures surrounding a union organizing drive is
Continue Reading Big Labor Continues to Target the Financial Industry

On November 21, 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed Assembly Bill 8092B, amending the state’s labor law to clarify that employers cannot retaliate against employees for “any legally protected absence pursuant to federal, local or state law.” 
Continue Reading Does New York’s New Absence Law Prohibit “No-Fault” Attendance Policies?
YES, KIND OF!?!?

To strengthen enforcement and improve compliance with workplace safety standards and reduce worker injuries and illnesses, the U.S. Department of Labor is expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (“SVEP”).
Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Announces Changes to OSHA’S Severe Violator
Enforcement Program

In another pro-union decision, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) recently held that employers are responsible for all “direct or foreseeable pecuniary harms” sustained by employees as a result of an unfair labor practice.  While such remedies have been ordered sparingly in the past on a case-by-case basis, the Board now mandates such an award in every successful unfair labor practice charge.
Continue Reading NLRB Solidifies Aggressive “Make-Whole” Relief: Employers Will Face
Costlier Remedies for Unfair Labor Practices

A 2019 study conducted by the U.S. Department of labor found that food production workers in Illinois and Ohio had significantly higher injury rates than the overall rates for manufacturers in the private sector. To try and correct this trend, OSHA started the Local Emphasis Program focused on more than 1,400 manufacturing facilities in both Illinois and Ohio.
Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Rolls Out Local Emphasis Program For Food
Processing Facilities

With the holidays upon us, companies are assessing year-end to-do’s and considering what 2023 will bring. For companies employing California residents, compliance with the new California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) should be at the top of their list. Indeed, to date, companies that employed California residents had a reprieve from the consumer-facing rules and requirements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA, which is, essentially, a data privacy “bill of rights” for Californians, even impacted many companies based outside of California but only as to their consumer-side relationships.
Continue Reading The California Privacy Rights Act Brings New Data Requirements for
Employers in 2023

In 1986, the Reagan administration instituted use of the I-9 Immigrant form, requiring employers to verify their employees’ identity and eligibility to work. While the concept was simple and the current form was meant to be simple, compliance has been anything but simple and I-9 forms can feel like a minefield.
Continue Reading Avoid the Million Dollar Mistake – Five I-9 Immigration Compliance Tips
That Can Save You Time, Money, and Trouble

In another example of the Department of Labor (DOJ) pursuing criminal anti-trust cases against employers throughout the country, on October 27th, 2022, VDA OC, LLC (formerly Advantage On Call or AOC), a healthcare staffing company, pled guilty to conspiring with a competitor to assign and fix nurses salaries within a specific school district in Nevada, which violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. We have previously written in more detail regarding the DOJ’s new commitment to criminally prosecute supposed labor market collusion amongst competitors. This guilty plea is essentially the DOJ’s first “win” in its criminal enforcement of labor violations
Continue Reading The DOJ’s Focus on Employer Non-Poaching Agreements Continues