Law and the Workplace
Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman

Partner

Steven 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 testified in defense of his investigations in federal court. In addition, 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.

Steven is recognized for his accomplishments and thought leadership in the field of labor and employment law. He was one of just two lawyers named to the Ethisphere "Attorneys Who Matter" list in the area of labor and employment, one of five U.S. lawyers selected by Law 360 as a "Rising Star Under 40" in the area of employment law and one of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company from a field of 1,200 nominees. He has also been named as an Illinois Super Lawyer and recognized by The U.S. Legal 500. Also, Steve is a 2014 Burton Award Winner for "Distinguished Legal Writing."  Steven was also named to the Law 360 Employment Editorial Advisory Board (2014 and 2015).

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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

Illinois Passes Family Caregivers Leave Law

Effective January 1, 2017, the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (the “Act”) will allow employees to use employer-provided personal sick leave benefits to care for an ill or injured family member or attend a medical appointment with a family member.  The Act defines an eligible family member—i.e., an  individual the employee is taking leave to … 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

Comment Letter Requests SEC Require Public Companies To Furnish Gender Pay Ratio Data To Investors

In a February 1, 2016 comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Pax Ellevate Management LLC Chair Sallie Krawcheck and Chief Executive Officer Joseph F. Keefe requested that the SEC take steps to require companies to annually disclose gender pay ratio information to investors.  In the alternative, Krawcheck and Keefe requested that the … 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

Supreme Court Concludes That EEOC Conciliation Efforts Are Reviewable by Courts

On April 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously concluded that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) efforts to conciliate a matter before filing suit—a statutory requirement of Title VII—can be reviewed by the courts. Mach Mining, LLC. v. EEOC, No. 13-1019 (April 29, 2015). The Court reversed a Seventh Circuit ruling that the EEOC … Continue Reading
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