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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UPDATE: Chicago City Council Introduces COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, Reflecting Growing Trend

The proposed Chicago COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) that was the subject of our post on April 27, 2020, has now become law. The Ordinance prohibits Chicago employers from retaliating against employees for obeying a public health order requiring an employee to remain at home as a consequence of COVID-19.  This reflects a growing trend among … Continue Reading

Illinois May Soon Require “Essential Employers” to Provide PPE for Workers

The Illinois House of Representatives recently introduced House Bill 5769, which would create the Illinois Personal Protective Equipment Responsibility Act (the “Act”).  The Act would require “essential employers” to provide personal protective equipment (“PPE”) to both employees and independent contractors.  The Act defines an “essential employer” as an employer engaged in an “essential business” as … Continue Reading

Responding to COVID-19: Illinois Specific Considerations For Employers

The State of Illinois has taken strong measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on the State of Illinois, on March 20, 2020, the Governor first issued Executive Order 2020-10 directing Illinois citizens to stay at home. The Governor has since issued Executive Orders 2020-32 and 2020-33 extending most of … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Finds Article III Standing for an Illinois BIPA Claim

On May 5, 2020, the Seventh Circuit held that allegations that a defendant violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) by collecting a biometric information without first obtaining informed consent constituted an “injury in fact” sufficient to confer Article III standing.  Bryant v. Compass Group USA, Inc., No. 20-1443.  Prior to this ruling, a … Continue Reading

Illinois Publishes Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program

On April 28, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (the “IDHR”) published its model sexual harassment prevention training program, a copy of which is available here. As we have previously noted, effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act requires Illinois employers to train employees on sexual harassment prevention by December 31, 2020, … Continue Reading

Chicago City Council Introduces COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, Reflecting Growing Trend

On April 22, 2020, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with the backing of several Aldermen, introduced the COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), which, if enacted, would prohibit Chicago employers from retaliating against employees for obeying a public health order requiring an employee to remain at home as a consequence of COVID-19.  This reflects a growing trend … Continue Reading

Cost-Saving Alternatives to Layoffs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the sudden economic turbulence resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been exploring ways to temporarily reduce operating costs.  Many employers are seeking alternatives to layoffs.  Such alternatives may include reductions in pay and hours of work, furloughs and shutdowns of operations, and work share programs.  The following identifies the legal and practical … Continue Reading

Michigan Issues Executive Order Implementing COVID-19 Job Leave Protections

On April 3, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-36, which, effectively immediately, prohibits Michigan employers from discharging, disciplining or otherwise retaliating against an employee who misses work for certain specified periods of time because he or she: (i) has tested positive for COVID-19; and/or (ii) is in “close contact” with either an … Continue Reading

COVID-19: Navigating WARN Act Issues During These Uncertain Times

COVID-19: Navigating WARN Act Issues During These Uncertain Times As the outbreak of COVID-19 affects the country and states, counties and cities take various measures to slow the transmission, many employers are facing uncertainty and considering business contingency measures. To the extent layoffs, reductions of hours and closures are under consideration, employers need to be … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Resolve Circuit Split On Whether A Layoff Is Temporary Or Permanent Under WARN Act

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision from the Seventh Circuit in Leeper v. Hamilton County Coal, LLC, No. 19-1109, which held that a layoff was temporary, and thus did not trigger the 60-day notice requirement of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”). On February … Continue Reading

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
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