Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.
Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular focus on defending companies against claims of employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive covenant violations; theft of trade secrets; and wage-and-hour violations. He has successfully tried cases in multiple jurisdictions, and defended one of the largest Illinois-only class actions in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He also secured one of only a few ex parte seizures orders that have been issued under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and obtained a world-wide injunction in federal litigation against a high-level executive who jumped ship to a competitor.
Reporting to boards of directors, their audit committees, CEOs and in-house counsel, Steven conducts sensitive investigations and has testified in federal court. His investigations have involved complaints of sexual harassment involving C-suite officers; systemic violations of employment laws and company policies; and fraud, compliance failures and unethical conduct.
Steven was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Chicago Labor & Employment Litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Chambers describes Steven as an “outstanding lawyer” who is “very sharp and very responsive,” a “strong advocate,” and an "expert in his field." Steven was 1 of 12 individuals selected by Compliance Week as a "Top Mind." Earlier in his career, he was 1 of 5 U.S. lawyers selected by Law360 as a "Rising Star Under 40" in the area of employment law and 1 of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Steven is a Burton Award Winner (U.S. Library of Congress) for "Distinguished Legal Writing."
Steven has served on Law360’s Employment Editorial Advisory Board and is a Contributor to Forbes.com. He has appeared on Bloomberg News (television and radio) and Yahoo! Finance, and is regularly quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged Steven to serve as lead counsel on amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts of appeal. He was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in employment litigation matters. He has presented with the Solicitor of the DOL, the Acting Chair of the EEOC, an EEOC Commissioner, Legal Counsel to the EEOC and heads of the SEC, CFTC and OSHA whistleblower programs. He is also a member of the Sedona Conference, focusing on trade secret matters.
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Effective August 1, 2021, the City of Chicago’s Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance was amended to provide for additional uses of paid sick leave for eligible employees. Under the Amended Ordinance, an employee who works at least 80 hours for an employer within any 120-day period while physically present within the geographic boundaries … Continue Reading
On June 25, 2021, the United States Supreme Court held that class members who could not establish “concrete harm” flowing from alleged statutory violations of Federal Credit Report Act (“FCRA”) lacked Article III standing to seek relief in federal court. (Transunion LLC v. Ramirez, No. 20-297 (U.S. June 25, 2021). Factual Background Plaintiff alleged that … Continue Reading
The Illinois Legislature recently passed a bipartisan bill, available here, that seeks to significantly amend the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (820 ILCS § 90) and impose restrictions on the use of non-competition and non-solicitation (employee and customer) restrictive covenants for Illinois employees. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Pritzker, and would … Continue Reading
On May 26, 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a series of ordinances (the “Ordinances”) which seek to implement new wage theft protections and provide certain employees with the ability to take paid “secure leave.” A copy of the Ordinances is available here. First, the Ordinances would amend the Chicago Municipal Code to provide that … Continue Reading
On April 21, 2021, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance (the “Ordinance”), here, prohibiting Chicago employers from: (i) retaliating against workers who receive the COVID-19 vaccine during working hours; and (ii) requiring that workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine only during non-working hours. The Ordinance takes effect immediately. The Ordinance applies to all employers who … Continue Reading
On May 6, 2021 Proskauer is hosting a complimentary webinar on recent changes in Illinois employment law and best practices to ensure compliance going forward. Please join Proskauer attorneys Steve Pearlman, Dakota Treece and Eddie Young as they focus on a range of topics including the Illinois Equal Pay Act, the Workplace Transparency Act, COVID-19-related … Continue Reading
On March 23, 2021, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed into law SB1480. As discussed below, the law makes significant changes to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA) and the Illinois Business Corporation Act, aimed at curtailing employer use of conviction records, imposing new reporting and registration requirements concerning employee demographics … Continue Reading
Two bills were recently introduced in the Illinois legislature that seek to limit or preclude the use of restrictive covenants for Illinois employers. First, on February 19, 2021, the Illinois House of Representatives introduced House Bill 3066 (accessible here), which seeks to eliminate the use of non-competition and non-solicitation restrictive covenants against Illinois employees unless … Continue Reading
As we have previously noted, effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act requires Illinois employers to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020, and on at least an annual basis thereafter. Such training must comport with the minimum requirements established by the Illinois Department of Human Rights’ (“IDHR”) model … Continue Reading
On November 17, 2020, the Seventh Circuit held that allegations that a defendant violated Section 15(a) of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 740 ILCS § 14/1, et seq.—which requires an employer that collects biometric information from its employees to develop, publicly disclose and comply with a data-retention schedule and guidelines for permanent destruction … Continue Reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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