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Amendments to Illinois Law Make Using Criminal Convictions in Employment Decisions a Civil Rights Violation, Outlines New Equal Pay Reporting Requirements

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 1480 into law on March 23, 2021. Effective immediately, the law significantly amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA), and the Illinois Business Corporation Act. The amendments affect employers' ability to use criminal conviction records in employment decisions and imposes new reporting requirements regarding pay equity. More ›

California Court of Appeal Rules Alleged Contractor Misclassification Not Enough to Justify Class Action

On Friday, March 12, 2021, the California Court of Appeal issued a ruling in Wilson v. The La Jolla Group that addresses the appropriate scope of class treatment for employee misclassification under Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court. Dynamex—and its later enactment into statute in the form of AB 5—established the ABC test for determining independent contractor status. More ›

DOL Delays Effective Date of Test for Determining Independent Contractor Status

Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations to simplify the test for determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. The regulations were set to go into effect on March 8, 2021. More ›

Whole Foods Prevails Against Racial Bias Claims

With political and social activism surging in the workplace, Frith et al. v. Whole Foods Market Inc. et al., may prove to be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to employee discrimination claims. At issue in the polarizing case decided in a Massachusetts' federal court was whether Whole Foods violated federal discrimination laws when it barred employees from expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing masks and apparel referencing BLM. More ›

President Biden's American Rescue Plan Would Reinstate and Expand Federally Mandated Paid Sick and FMLA Leave

On January 20, 2021, President Biden announced the principal points of his American Rescue Plan (the Plan), a new COVID-19 relief package that would revive the federal mandate on employers to provide paid sick and paid FMLA leave for certain COVID-19-related absences. On February 1, 2021, Republican lawmakers responded with a competing relief package that does not include those paid leave mandates. As of now, neither side has released a draft of the actual proposed legislation. Much of what we know comes from the announcement released by the Biden administration and a chart from Republican Senators. More ›

New Illinois House Bill Would Significantly Limit the Use of Restrictive Covenants in Employment Contracts

On January 8, 2021, a bill, HB 789 was introduced in the Illinois House that, if passed, will significantly change the treatment of restrictive covenants in the employment context. The new law would require employers to review their form contracts and modify their procedures for signing restrictive covenants. In some instances, it would forbid the use of such covenants. The bill—which would amend the existing Illinois Freedom to Work Act—is likely to pass in some form; if passed, HB 789 would go into effect on June 1, 2021. More ›

How Employers Can Prepare for the Upcoming H-1B Lottery

On March 1, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will open up the electronic registration process for cab-subject H-1B petitions, including those filed for the advanced degree exemption. The registration process will remain open until March 20; the registration fee for each H-1B candidate is $10. The USCIS will notify employers by March 31 and let them know whether their petitions have been selected in the lottery. If chosen, employers will have up to 90 days to file an H-1B petition. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 12: COVID-19 Notification Requirements

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this twelfth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: twelve drummers drumming and AB 685.

In a year marked by the pandemic, it seems rather appropriate that our 2020 series is bookended with COVID-19 laws. As the pandemic evolved, so did requirements for employers to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. Earlier this summer, Virginia became the first state to adopt emergency COVID-19 regulations. As was suspected, California followed suit and enacted its own legislation to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and also emphasize employee safety. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 11: Pay Data Reporting – Another Headache for Employers

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this ninth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: eleven pipers piping and SB 973.

The Equal Pay Act has been in play for decades and has expanded over the years. In 2015, Governor Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act, which became effective January 1, 2016. The California Fair Pay Act aimed to ensure equal pay for employees performing "substantially similar work" and also to make it more difficult for employers to justify pay disparities through the "bona fide factor other than sex" defense. Existing federal law requires certain companies to file an annual employer information report which includes data regarding demographics of the employer's workforce (EEO-1) with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). SB 973 is another attempt to minimize California's gender pay gap. A similar bill was vetoed in 2017 and then held in committee throughout 2018 and 2019. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 10: COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expanded to All Employers

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this tenth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: ten lords a-leaping and AB 1867.

AB 1867 fills a void that was left by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regarding paid sick leave. The FFCRA was enacted to provide federal paid sick leave and expanded family leave due to the pandemic, but it only applied to employers with less than 500 employees. In response, California enacted a supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave law through AB 1867. Applicable to businesses with 500 or more employees nationally, AB 1867 in essence guarantees that any employee—regardless of the size of the employer—will receive paid sick leave if needed due to COVID-19. More ›

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