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Showing 9 posts in Illinois.

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 ›

Four big Takeaways from Illinois' Proposed Pregnancy Accommodation Rules

Illinois employers, take note — in mid-July, the State's Department of Human Rights published its proposed rules implementing the State's new pregnancy discrimination law.  As readers of this blog will know, the new law took effect at the beginning of 2015. The law imposes additional requirements and clarifies employers' obligation when it comes to accommodating pregnant employees; in effect, it requires that any pregnant employee or job applicant (including those with “conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth”) must be accommodated in the same way that disabled employees are accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  More ›

Cracks in the Fifield Armor?: New Dissent Marks First big Challenge to Illinois' Bright-Line Restrictive Covenant Rule

When continued employment is the sole consideration for a post-employment restrictive covenant (such as a noncompetition agreement), the Illinois Supreme Court requires that an employee be continually employed for a substantial period of time. Generally, a period of two-years is an adequately substantial period.  A strong dissent in a new Illinois opinion suggests that not all judges are on board with the bright-line rule recently endorsed by several Illinois courts. More ›

Illinois House Bill 4157 Extends Sexual Harassment Protections to Unpaid Interns

On August 25, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 4157, amending the Illinois Human Rights Act (the "Act") to extend the Act's sexual harassment protections to unpaid interns. Beginning on January 1, 2015, the definition of "employee" will be expanded to include unpaid interns who meet certain criteria.   More ›

Court Holds that Job-Related Evaluation Consistent with Business Necessity does not Violate ADA

In a case where the defendant construction company was represented by Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that the employer company did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it rescinded a conditional job offer to an employee who failed its job-related evaluation. The Court based its decision on the ADA regulations, which provide that an employer can defend against a discrimination claim by showing that standards, tests, or selection criteria that screen out or tend to screen out or otherwise deny a job or benefit to an individual with a disability are job-related and consistent with business necessity. In the alternative, the ADA permits an employer to conduct post-offer examinations as long as it does so for all individuals entering the same job category.

In this case, the company implemented a policy requiring that all persons applying for field positions in Illinois successfully complete a functional capacity employment test. In June 2010, the company extended a conditional offer of employment to the plaintiff carpenter whom it previously laid off for economic reasons. The offer, however, was contingent upon successful completion of the evaluation, which ultimately revealed that the carpenter was unable to meet the company's minimum lifting requirements. The company then rescinded his conditional offer because the carpenter could not perform the essential functions of the job.

The Court ruled that the post-job offer exception to the ADA's medical test prohibition applied. Even if the evaluation was not required for each employee, it properly analyzed tasks that were representative of those performed by the carpenters and contributed to the company's efforts to maintain a safe workplace.

This decision serves as a reminder to employers that post-offer examinations must be applied to all individuals entering the same position or must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. If you would like more information read Chi. Reg'l Council of Carpenters v. Berglund Constr. Co., No. 12 C 3604 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 19, 2013).

Illinois Court: Employee Handbook Created “Agreement” to Support Employees’ wage Claim, even Where Disclaimers Prevented “Contract”

A federal district court judge in Northern Illinois has ruled that an employee handbook, while not a “contract”, may still be an “agreement” upon which employees may rely — and sue. In this particular case, the judge denied the employer’s motion to dismiss a claim under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA), finding that the handbook’s statements regarding compensation were an “agreement” upon which the employees’ could base their claim, despite the handbook’s numerous disclaimers stating that no legally enforceable promise was being made. The ruling, while narrowly applied in this case to support an IWPCA claim, could potentially raise major issues for Illinois employers that rely on such disclaimers to protect themselves against claims based on handbook provisions. More ›

Illinois Supreme Court: Employer Liable for Third-Party Investigator’s Invasion of Former Employee’s Privacy

Based upon a recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois employers have an additional reason to be careful when investigating misconduct by current and former employees. In the case, Lawlor v. North American Corporation of Illinois, Case No. 112530 (Oct. 18, 2012), the State’s highest court for the first time upheld an award of significant damages to a former employee based on the former employer's invasion of her privacy during an investigation into her competitive behavior. The decision is even more significant because the defendant employer was actually held vicariously liable for intrusions committed by a third-party investigator, signaling to all employers the importance of having a policy in place for such investigations. More ›

OSHA Fines Employer $1.2 Million for Exposing Workers to Asbestos Hazards

AMD Industries, Inc.of Cicero, IL discovered asbestos containing materials on its heaters, boilers and connected pipes. Allegedly, they used their own workers, who were untrained and not issued proper protective clothing and equipment, to remove the asbestos and thereby exposed the workers to this hazard. AMD was prosecuted under OSHA's newly created "Severe Violators Enforcement Program," which targets recalcitrant employers who have previously been cited for multiple OSHA violations in the past. DOL press release.

Mexican Restaurant fined $1.2 million for violations of FLSA

A federal court has issued a judgement for $1.2 million for back wages and damages against the owner and the manager of two Mexican restaurants in Decatur, IL based on the court's finding of pervasive violations of the FLSA. The US DOL had investigated the pay practices of these restaurants and found innumerable violations of the FLSA with respect to how the wait staff and kitchen staff were paid by the restaurant. DOL press release