Labor and Employment Law Update

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from SmithAmundsen blog about management side labor and employment issues. We cover topics including addressing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, developing labor law, navigating through ADA(AA), FMLA and workers’ compensation issues, avoiding wage and hour landmines, key legislative, case law and regulatory changes and much more! Learn more about our firm at

In Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood v. NLRB, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit addressed the tension between a worker’s? Section 7 protected and concerted activity rights under the National Labor Relations Act and workplace harassment that’s forbidden by workplace anti-bias laws.  In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals held that the NLRB had adequate justification to rule that an employer violated federal labor law for firing a worker who wrote “whore board” on overtime sign-up sheets despite the employer’s contention that it was enforcing its anti-harassment policy.
Continue Reading Explicit Graffiti Case Illuminates The Necessity of Consistent and Uniform
Enforcement of Anti-Bias Workplace Rules

If we were to tell you that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) “Regarding Information Sharing, Cross-Agency Training, and Outreach in Areas of Common Regulatory Interest,” your response may well be “What?  Why?  And what ‘Common Regulatory Interest’ could they possibly share?”  Well, good questions.
Continue Reading The NLRB and FTC Agree to Collaborate:  What This Means for Employers

On July 12, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the federal agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws –  issued new guidance on when employers may require employees to screen/test employees for COVID-19.  The updated guidance can be found in What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws  (the “Guidance”).
Continue Reading EEOC Issues New Guidance on COVID-19 Testing

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees essentially two paths to bring lawsuits for alleged FMLA violations:  retaliation claims and interference claims.  Employers are generally familiar with the concept of retaliation, and FMLA retaliation claims tend to fit a familiar mold:  If an employee suffers an adverse employment action (e.g., termination, unpaid suspension) that is causally connected to a request for FMLA leave or other FMLA-protected activity, the employee may have a claim for FMLA retaliation.
Continue Reading Employers Must Tread Carefully In FMLA Request Discussions To Avoid FMLA
Interference Claims

Illinois employers should update their leave policies in light of the new bereavement law going into effect on January 1, 2023.  On June 9, 2022, Governor Pritzker signed into law the Family Bereavement Leave Act (“FBLA”).  The FBLA amends the Child Bereavement Leave Act (“CBLA”) and expands upon an employer’s obligations to provide unpaid bereavement leave to its employees. 
Continue Reading Attention Illinois Employers: The Family Bereavement Leave Act Goes Into
Effect January 2023

As litigation costs continue to explode, more and more businesses have been including arbitration clauses in contracts with employees and customers. These clauses, which frequently include class action waivers, allow businesses to remove lawsuits from court to the more streamlined and cost-effective arbitration system. In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently enforced arbitration clauses in a wide variety of contexts.
Continue Reading Use It or Lose It: Supreme Court Says Arbitration Clauses Can Be Waived

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade presents new challenges for employee benefit plans. By overturning the case establishing a constitutional right to abortion, the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health allows individual states to impose restrictions or outright bans on abortion. The decision is quickly leading to a patchwork of state laws that plan sponsors must now consider.
Continue Reading Employee Benefit Plan Considerations Post-Roe

Late last week, NLRB General Counsel Abruzzo issued yet another memorandum that she identified as an “Update on Efforts to Secure Full Remedies in Settlements.” She congratulated the Regional Directors for an “excellent job” implementing settlements in line with her September 2021 directives. The memorandum listed the various examples of the new make-whole remedies that Regions have secured through settlement agreements.
Continue Reading NLRB GC Abruzzo Ordered Up ‘New Make-Whole Remedies’ for Victims of Unfair
Labor Practices – and the Regional Offices Are Delivering

On June 10, 2022 Governor Pritzker signed into law two new amendments to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (“Act”) that now expose non-union general contractors to liability for the wages of their subcontractor’s employees. Essentially, the amendments open up general contractors entering into construction contracts in Illinois to potential liability for claims brought under the Act against their subcontractors, for all contracts entered into on or after July 1, 2022.
Continue Reading New Changes to Illinois’ Wage Payment and Collection Law Seeks to Pressure
General Contractors to Become Union Signatory

On January 1, 2022, we saw the Illinois minimum wage increase from $11.00 to $12.00.  Not to be outdone, the City of Chicago and Cook County are increasing their set minimum wages on July 1, 2022.
Continue Reading IL Minimum Wage 2022 Update – July 1, 2022 Increases to Chicago and Cook
County Minimum Wages and IRS Mileage Rate!

On June 15, 2022, the United States Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) partially preempts a rule of California law that invalidates contractual waivers of the right to assert representative claims under California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA).
Continue Reading Are Arbitration Agreements Mounting a Comeback in California?

In today’s age of technology and innovation, more and more employers are hiring remote employees  who live and work in a geographic location outside of where their business is located.  Remote work offers advantages, including expanding access to a wider pool of employee talent and savings on overhead costs.  But managing a multi-state workforce can be challenging.
Continue Reading Hiring Remote Employees in Other States? Make Sure Your Business is