Law and the Workplace

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Chicago Passes Ordinance Requiring Hotels to Provide “Panic Buttons” To Certain Employees

On October 11, 2017, the Chicago City Council passed the Hotel Workers Sexual Harassment Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), which requires Chicago hotels to develop anti-sexual harassment policies and provide employees who work alone in hotel rooms with panic buttons. Employers who fail to comply with these requirements or retaliate against employees for invoking the Ordinance’s protections … Continue Reading

Chicago Sees A Major Uptick in FLSA Litigation, Consistent With National Trends

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has emerged as one of the nation’s busiest federal district courts with respect to wage-and-hour litigation.  As reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, in 2015 alone, 542 Fair Labor Standards Act actions were filed in the Northern District of Illinois.  Between 2011 and 2015, wage-and-hour actions … Continue Reading

Cook County Suburbs Subject to Same Paid Sick Leave Obligations as Chicago

Leave of absence formEffective July 1, 2017, Cook County Ordinance 16-4229 (“Ordinance”) will allow employees who work in Cook County to accrue and use earned paid sick leave.  The Ordinance is nearly identical to Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance that passed the city’s council by a vote of 48-0 earlier this year.  Under both the Chicago law and … Continue Reading

Illinois Domestic Workers Now Guaranteed Certain Employment Rights

On August 12, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act (House Bill 1288) (the “Act”) on behalf of domestic workers employed in private homes or residences into law. With the passage of the Act, Illinois joins several states, including New York, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Oregon, in extending … Continue Reading

Chicago Task Force Proposes 5 Days Of Paid Sick Leave For Employees

Poised to join the increasing number of cities that require paid sick leave, the Working Families Task Force (commissioned by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel) recently recommended that employees in Chicago be allowed to earn at least 5 paid sick days each year. The task force is comprised of 27 members, including business, government and worker … Continue Reading

Federal Court in Illinois Finds No Overtime Due to Police For Off-Duty Use of BlackBerrys

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled in the City of Chicago’s favor on December 10, 2015, denying police officers’ claims that they were owed overtime pay for their off-duty use of work-issued BlackBerrys.  In Allen v. Chicago, the officers had alleged that there was an unwritten policy not to pay them … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds That FMLA Limitations Period Begins To Run At Time Of Each Leave Denial

On October 20, the Seventh Circuit held, in Barrett v. Illinois Department of Corrections, that a former state employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) denial of leave claim was untimely because suit was not filed until the employee was fired for her poor attendance record and not within two years of each alleged leave … Continue Reading

Cook County, Illinois Amends Human Rights Ordinance To Limit Credit Checks

Cook County, Illinois enacted a bill (No. 15-3088) that amends the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance to restrict employers from asking about or otherwise considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history in employment decisions.  The new ordinance took effect yesterday.  It is nearly identical to laws in Illinois and Chicago that were enacted a … Continue Reading

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers.  The app is cheekily called “getthememo.”  According to the article, Collectively’s mission is to create a space for workers “to speak freely about what’s happening … Continue Reading

No End In Sight For Wave of Paid Family and Sick Leave Laws

Employers have been scrambling to keep up with the multitude of paid sick leave laws that were passed in the last several years.  These laws vary by jurisdiction and often can’t be easily reconciled into a uniform policy — an issue for multi-state employers.  As reported in today’s New York Times, President Obama is asking … Continue Reading

Illinois and Chicago “Ban the Box” Laws Take Effect

Illinois’ and Chicago’s “ban the box” laws took effect on January 1.  Both laws prohibit private employers from making criminal inquiries until after an applicant has been notified of his or her selection for an interview (where the employer does not conduct an interview, it must wait until after making a conditional offer).  The two … Continue Reading

EEOC Wellness Program Suits Highlight Need for Agency Guidance

The EEOC has been pursuing litigation against wellness programs of late, arguing that certain health plan penalties render participation in wellness program health screens “involuntary” and thus violate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits medical exams unless they are  voluntary or  are job-related and consistent with business necessity.  (See recent blog post about this.)  Senate Republicans rightly criticized the EEOC general counsel … Continue Reading

Gender Pay Gap – What Are Companies Doing?

It is no secret to our readers that the EEOC and the OFCCP have prioritized compensation discrimination issues as an enforcement priority.  The general public, and hence employees, are also keenly aware of pay discrimination issues.  From Sheryl Sandberg’s and Nell Scovell’s “Lean In” book and “Lean In Circles” to the John Oliver skit on the … Continue Reading
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