Law and the Workplace
Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman

Partner

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm's Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage-and-hour laws; breach of employment contract; and restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). Steven is also at the forefront of defending whistleblower retaliation claims, and routinely conducts investigations arising from whistleblower reports. He has successfully tried cases to verdict in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He has also testified in defense of his investigations in federal court.

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Substantial Changes Ahead for Illinois Employers in 2020 Relating to Sexual Harassment Training, Mandatory Arbitration Agreements, and More

On August 9, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law Public Act 101-0221 (the “Act”), which enhances protections against workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.  The Act creates new laws and amends several existing ones, including the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), as summarized below: NEW LAWS The Workplace Transparency Act (“WTA”).  The Workplace Transparency Act will … Continue Reading

Illinois Enacts Workplace Transparency Act

On August 9, 2019, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed the Workplace Transparency Act (the “Act”) into law.  The Act will apply to all contracts, agreements, clauses, or waivers entered into, modified, or extended on or after January 1, 2020.  Here are the key features with respect to arbitration agreements, employment agreements and separation agreements that Illinois … Continue Reading

Illinois Bans Salary History Inquiries

On July 31, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law House Bill 834 (the “Bill”), which amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (“IEPA”) to prohibit employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s salary history.  The law becomes effective on September 29, 2019. Prohibition on Salary History Inquiries Illinois’s new ban on salary … Continue Reading

Chicago Enacts Fair Workweek Ordinance

On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council passed and Mayor Lightfoot approved a predictive scheduling ordinance known as the Fair Workweek Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). It becomes effective on July 1, 2020. The following summarizes key features of the Ordinance. Covered Employers and Employees. Covered Employers are employers in the building services, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, … Continue Reading

Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana: Impact on Employers

Illinois will soon become the eleventh state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  On June 25, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into effect House Bill 1438—the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“CRTA”).  The CRTA, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2020, leaves some open questions for employers, but there are a few … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Test for Employee Status

On May 8, 2019, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed its test for determining employee status under federal anti-discrimination laws, holding that a physician lacked standing to bring Title VII claims against the hospital at which she maintained practice privileges because she was not an employee. Levitin v. Northwest Community Hospital, No. 16-cv-3774. Background Plaintiff owned and … Continue Reading

Impactful Sexual Harassment Bill Passes Illinois Senate

On April 11, 2019, the Illinois state Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1829, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act (the “Act”).  If passed by the House of Representatives, the Act would impose new requirements and limitations on Illinois employers with respect to harassment and discrimination claims.  The following are the Act’s key features. … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Limits ADEA Protections for Job Applicants

On January 23, 2019, the Seventh Circuit held that the ADEA’s prohibition of disparate impact discrimination do not extend to job applicants. Kleber v. CareFusion Corp., No. 17-cv-1206. In Kleber, a 58-year-old attorney unsuccessfully applied for a General Counsel position within the Company’s law department. The job posting required applicants to have fewer than seven … Continue Reading

Ill. Supreme Court: BIPA Plaintiffs Are Not Required to Show Actual Harm To Have Standing

On January 25, 2019, in a closely watched case, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff need not allege or demonstrate actual harm to have standing to pursue a claim under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”).  Rosenbach v. Six Flags Ent. Corp., No. 123186.[1] The Court concluded that technical non-compliance with BIPA … Continue Reading

2019 Brings Employment Law Changes for Illinois Employers

As 2018 draws to a close, state and local lawmakers in Illinois have been passing legislation that will further regulate a variety of employers’ practices. Here is a look at what Illinois employers can expect in 2019. New Laws Effective January 1, 2019 Employee Reimbursement for Business Expenses – An amendment to the Illinois Wage … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court To Decide Scope of BIPA

On November 20, 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether a company’s technical violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) is sufficient to confer standing or whether a plaintiff must allege actual harm resulted from the violation. Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. et al., No. 123186. The Court’s forthcoming … Continue Reading

Proskauer Delivers #MeToo Webinar With EEOC Commissioner Feldblum

On September 5th, Proskauer partner Steve Pearlman had the honor of delivering a webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, which Proskauer senior associate Danielle Moss moderated.  Commissioner Feldblum is the co-author of the EEOC’s report on rebooting harassment prevention. The webinar focused on how the #MeToo movement has impacted workplace dynamics and discussed innovative solutions … Continue Reading

Illinois Expands Workplace Protections for Breastfeeding Employees

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law a bill that expands protections for employees needing to express breast milk in the workplace.  The law amends the preexisting Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act (the “Act”) in several significant ways—most notably that break time provided for the expression of milk “may not reduce an employee’s compensation” … Continue Reading

District Court Dismisses Putative FCRA Class Action For Lack Of Standing

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently dismissed a putative class action alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), finding that the named plaintiff lacked standing to pursue her claims. Saltzbreg v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., No. 17-cv-05798 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 18, 2017). The Complaint The plaintiff filed a … Continue Reading

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

7th Circuit Holds Long-Term Leave Is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

In a recent decision in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. (Sept. 20, 2017), the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s ruling that an employer did not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide an employee with a long-term medical leave of absence.  Indeed, the court found that “a long-term leave of absence … Continue Reading

Illinois Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Prohibit Employer Inquiry Into Wage History

On August 25, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would prohibit employers from asking applicants about their wage histories. The bill, known as the Illinois No Salary History Law, previously had been passed by the Illinois House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support (91-24 in the House and 35-18 in the Senate).  The … Continue Reading

Illinois Passes Religious Garb Law Clarifying Religious Protections Under Illinois Human Rights Law

On August 11, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-100, known as the “Religious Garb Law.”  The law amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) by clarifying the scope of protection for sincerely held religious beliefs. Specifically, the amendment makes clear that it is a violation of the IHRA for an … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: EEOC May Continue Investigation After Dismissal of Private Lawsuit

The Seventh Circuit recently concluded that the EEOC’s investigative powers do not end when a lawsuit related to the originating charge ends.  EEOC v. Union Pacific, No. 15-cv-3452 (Aug. 15, 2017). Background.  Two former railroad employees alleged race discrimination and retaliation in EEOC charges, asserting that they were not permitted to take an advancement test … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Limits Ability to Moot Claims of Class Representative in the Wake of Campbell-Ewald

On June 20, 2017, the Seventh Circuit ruled that a defendant cannot moot the individual claims of a putative class representative by depositing an unaccepted settlement offer with the court covering all relief purportedly owed to that representative. Fulton Dental, LLC, v. Bisco, Inc., No. 16-cv-3574 (7th Cir.). Plaintiff brought a putative class action lawsuit … 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

Effective 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 Enacts Child Bereavement Leave Act

On July 29, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Illinois Child Bereavement Leave Act (the “Act”). The Act, which became effective upon signing, provides certain Illinois employees up to ten workdays of unpaid leave to grieve the death of a child.  Employees who have been employed for twelve months or longer and worked … Continue Reading

Illinois Prohibits Non-Compete Agreements with Low-Wage Employees

Effective January 1, 2017, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the “Act”) will prohibit private sector employers from entering into non-competition agreements with employees earning a “low wage.”  The Act defines low-wage employees as those who earn the greater of: (a) the federal ($7.25 per hour), state ($8.25 per hour), or local (currently, $10.50 per … Continue Reading
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