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The Seventh Circuit Clarifies Evidentiary Standards in Employment Discrimination Cases

In Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., the Seventh Circuit stated in very clear terms that lower courts and parties to discrimination actions should not divide evidence into direct and circumstantial buckets under the familiar direct and indirect methods of proving discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court’s instruction should apply with equal force to claims brought under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. More ›

Illinois Requires Child Bereavement Leave

Illinois recently joined Oregon as the second state to require certain bereavement leave by passing a law requiring unpaid leave for employees who suffer the death of a child.

Effective as of July 29, 2016 the Child Bereavement and Leave Act requires employers to provide employees with up to two weeks (10 work days) of unpaid leave for attending a funeral, making arrangements necessitated by the child’s death, or grieving. The Act permits an employee to take leave for the death of a child, and “child” is broadly defined to include natural, foster, and adopted children (in addition to a few other legal categories of child). Of note is that the Act is not limited to children under the age of 18. More ›

COURT DISMISSES CASE FILED UNDER THE DEFEND TRADE SECRETS ACT

Earlier this year, we notified you about the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) and how it affects employers.  On August 8, 2016, a U. S. District Judge in the Southern District of Florida dismissed one of the first cases filed under the DTSA, M.C. Dean, Inc. v. City of Miami Beach, Florida, Case No. 16-CV-21731 (S.D. Fla.)  More ›

Massachusetts Passes Radical Equal Pay Law

On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act to Establish Pay Equity, which as the name aptly suggests, seeks to ensure equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts workers and equal opportunity to earn competitive salaries. The Act will take effect on January 1, 2018.

The new law prohibits any wage disparity between genders for “comparable work.” The statute defines “comparable work” as “work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions; provided, however, that a job title or job description alone shall not determine comparability.” More ›

The Writing is on the Wall, Yet Seventh Circuit Holds Sexual Orientation Is Not a Protected Class Under Title VII

Earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that Title VII does not protect employees or offer redress for discrimination based on sexual orientation.  As a result, discrimination against an employee based solely on sexual orientation is not prohibited by federal law, while discrimination against an employee based on gender non-conformity claims is prohibited. More ›

Commonsense Misconduct Not so "Common": Illinois Supreme Court Significantly Narrows Use of Commonsense Rationale in Employee Dismissal Cases for Misconduct under the Unemployment Insurance Act

In the absence of a rule prohibiting specific conduct, employers can no longer rely merely on what one would deem "commonsense"  to deny unemployment benefits. In Petrovic v. Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Supreme Court narrowed application of the “commonsense exception” to the rule that employers must show an employee willfully and deliberately violated a reasonable rule or policy of which he had notice, to deny unemployment benefits.   More ›

Seventh Circuit Upholds Tip Credit Pay for Related, Non-Tipped Duties

As those in the restaurant industry know well, federal and state law allow employers to pay tipped employees less than the required minimum wage with the expectation they will receive enough tips to make up the difference. This is referred to as a "tip credit." There has long been a battle within wage and hour suits over whether and when an employee paid under the tip-credit can still be paid the below minimum wage rate while performing "side-work" or non-serving duties that do not directly result in tips from customers. In a decision issued on July 15, 2016, the Seventh Circuit helped clarify the line, finding that an employer did not violate wage laws by paying its servers under the tip credit for side work those servers performed. More ›

NLRB Makes it Easier to Unionize Temporary Workers

On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board made it easier for unions to organize temporary workers in a 3-1 decision in the case Miller & Anderson. In doing so, the Board reversed its ruling in Oakwood Care Center, 343 NLRB 659 (2004) and returned to the standard established in M.B. Sturgis, Inc., 331 NLRB 1298 (2000).  More ›

EEOC Issues Sample Notice for Employers Offering Wellness Programs

Last month, we alerted you to some new guidance from the EEOC on wellness programs. One of the key requirements of this new guidance is that employers must give notice to participants about the information being collected through the wellness program and how that information is to be used. Yesterday, the EEOC issued additional guidance on this notice requirement, including a sample notice and a list of items employers should consider when dealing with the notice requirement.  More ›

DOL Updates Federal Contractor Regulations Prohibiting Sex Discrimination for First Time Since 1970

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to expand sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors and subcontractors. The final rule updates—for the first time in over 40 years—the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' sex discrimination regulations to align them with current interpretations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the realities of today's diverse workforce. More ›

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