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Total Articles: 20

Illinois to Create Online Employee Misclassification Complaint System

Employees in Illinois who claim they were misclassified as independent contractors soon will be able to file a complaint online. A new law requires the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) to create an online employee misclassification referral system on its website.

Triple Threat: Three New Sick Leave Laws Take Effect in Illinois in 2017

Chicagoland employers are bracing for a recurring bout of compliance-related headaches as three new laws—the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, the Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance and the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act—go into effect in 2017. These laws create considerable uncertainty given the extent of their coverage, eligibility criteria and the various requirements they impose. Regardless of whether or not an employer operates in Chicago, Cook County or elsewhere in the State of Illinois, now is the time to take stock of each new law to determine whether it applies to your organization and what obligations it imposes.

Cook County, Illinois Becomes First in the Midwest to Mandate Countywide Paid Sick Leave

On October 5, 2016, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). Notably, Cook County, Illinois encompasses the City of Chicago, which passed its own paid sick leave ordinance earlier this year.1 The Ordinance is nearly a carbon copy of Chicago’s paid sick leave law, and is slated to take effect on July 1, 2017, allowing employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in a 12-month period.

Illinois Appellate Court Reminds Employers of Restrictions on Credit Checks

Recently, an Illinois Appellate Court found that Neiman Marcus violated state law by running credit checks on potential sales associates. In Ohle v. The Neiman Marcus Group, Ohle claimed that her conditional offer of employment was rescinded after the store ran a credit check revealing judgments and collections against her. Ohle argued that by running a credit check on an entry level sales associate position, Neiman Marcus violated the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act (the “Act”), and the First District Appellate Court agreed.

New Illinois Law Permits Employees to Use Accrued Sick Leave for Family Medical Care

Last week, Governor Rauner signed into law House Bill 6162, the Employee Sick Leave Act (“the Act”). Under the Act, “personal sick leave benefits” provided by employers for absences due to an employee’s illness, injury, or medical appointment are now extended to the employee's family members. In other words, beginning January 1, 2017, the Act will require Illinois employers who already provide sick leave for the employee’s own medical needs to permit employees to use that leave for the medical needs of their family members.

New Non-Compete Law Regarding Low-Wage Workers Passes in Illinois

In the wake of increasing federal and state scrutiny on the use of non-compete agreements for lower wage workers, Illinois has enacted the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the “Act”).1 The Act, which applies to agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2017, prohibits non-governmental employers from entering into “covenants not to compete” with “low-wage employees.” The Act defines “low-wage employees” as employees who earn less than the greater of (1) the hourly minimum wage under federal, state or local law or (2) $13.00 per hour. Given current federal and state regulations, the Act will apply to employees earning $13.00 per hour or below.

Illinois Freedom to Work Act: One State’s Reaction to Overreaching Non-Compete Agreements

In an effort to address possible overuse of non-compete agreements by certain employers, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. The Act prohibits private sector employers from entering into non-compete restrictions with “low-wage employees” and renders any such agreements “illegal and void.” The Act applies to non-compete agreements entered into on or after the law’s effective date, January 1, 2017.

Illinois Employers Must Provide Child Bereavement Leave

The loss of a child is never easy. Effective July 29, 2016, Illinois employers with 50 or more employees must provide eligible employees with up to 10 days of unpaid child bereavement leave following the death of a child. The Illinois Child Bereavement Leave Act supplements the leave options available under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”). However, employees who have exhausted all available leave under the FMLA may not be entitled to additional leave under the Child Bereavement Leave Act. Further details regarding the Act can be found at the link below.

New Illinois Law Provides Bereavement Leave

The Child Bereavement Leave Act (“the Act”) became effective July 29, 2016, and it provides up to two weeks (10 working days) of unpaid leave to employees in the event of the death of an employee’s child.

Illinois Revises Data Privacy Statute

Earlier this year, Illinois enacted a number of changes to the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). The amendments to PIPA, among other things, expand the definition of personal information subject to protection and change the contents of the notice that entities are required to send to affected Illinois residents in the event of a data breach. PIPA generally covers personal information that entities handle in either paper or electronic format, but the legislative revisions mainly address electronic data. The amendments take effect January 1, 2017.

Ban the Box Continues to Gain Favor with Illinois Now Joining the Movement

Recently, we wrote about New Jersey joining the “Ban the Box” movement, which is an effort to limit employer inquiries about criminal history during the hiring process. Illinois is yet another state to join the crusade.

Village of Posen's Rough Day in Court: The Perils of Challenging an Arbitration Award

The Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed an arbitrator’s decision to fully reinstate a police officer terminated for cashing workers’ compensation checks while also receiving full disability pay during recovery from an on-the-job injury. The decision serves as a reminder of just how difficult it is to successfully challenge an arbitrator’s decision in court. Failed attempts to do so can quickly become an exercise in adding insult to injury. This alert will explain the missteps, and suggest ways municipal employers can avoid rulings like this one in the future.

Illinois Embraces "Ban The Box"

On July 19, 2014, Illinois joined a growing number of states prohibiting employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories early in the hiring process.

Illinois “Bans the Box” with New Legislation

On Saturday, July 19, 2014, Governor Quinn signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (the “Act”), which limits private sector employers with 15 or more employees from inquiring into the criminal history of job applicants. Specifically, covered employers are prohibited from inquiring into or requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history early in the pre-employment process. Instead, the Act now requires that applicants be notified of their selection for an interview, or given a conditional offer if there is no interview, before any such inquiry or disclosure. This is similar to Illinois’ prohibition against inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on State employment applications.

Illinois’s New “Ban the Box” Law Prohibits Asking About Criminal Histories on Job Applications

On July 19, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, making Illinois the fifth state to bar private employers from asking job applicants about their criminal backgrounds until the applicants are deemed “qualified” for the positions. This law expands to private employers the “ban the box” rules that have applied to public sector jobs in Illinois since October, 2013.

Illinois’ New Firearm Concealed Carry Law Impacts the Workplace

The Illinois state legislature held a special session last week to override Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s recent veto of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, enacting the bill into law. The law generally allows individuals who receive a new state license to carry a concealed firearm. This law has sweeping implications for gun rights across Illinois and creates a number of concrete changes that will directly affect employers and the workplace. The following are the answers to six frequently asked questions about the impact of this law on the workplace.

New Credit History Law Goes Into Effect January 1

Effective January 1, 2011, Illinois employers who perform background checks or otherwise inquire about credit history as part of the recruitment process or in making other employment decisions must comply with the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act (IECPA), which generally prohibits inquiry into and consideration of an applicant or employee’s credit history to make decisions concerning employment, including with respect to recruiting, discharge, compensation and other terms and conditions of employment. The IECPA restricts use of a broad range of credit information without regard to the source of such information, and is not limited to credit information that is obtained from a consumer reporting agency.

New Illinois Law Limits Credit Checks By Employers.

Effective January 1, 2011, a new law signed today by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will strictly limit employers' ability to obtain and use credit history information regarding employees and applicants. The Employee Credit Privacy Act applies to most Illinois employers, but excludes banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, state law enforcement units, state and local government agencies, and debt collection agencies.

New No Smoking Law in Illinois Exposes Employers to Liability.

As of January 1, 2008, Illinois employers could face fines if they fail to prevent their employees from smoking in the workplace. Specifically, the “Smoke Free Illinois Act” requires, among other things, employers to prohibit any person from smoking in any place of employment or within 15 feet of any entrance to a place of employment. Further, the Act requires employers to clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbols in the workplace, post signs at every entrance to the workplace stating that smoking is prohibited, and remove all ashtrays from the workplace. The Act prohibits retaliation against employees who report a violation of the Act or participate in an investigation of a violation of the Act. While the Act does not require employers to provide an outdoor smoking shelter for employees, it does require existing shelters and ashtrays to be moved in accordance with the 15 foot rule. There are several exemptions outlined in the Act.

New Illinois Law Provides Penalties for Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors.

On August 6, 2007, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law H.B. 1795, the Employee Classification Act. Under the new law, construction workers are automatically deemed to be employees of the contractor unless the worker meets the specific exceptions set forth in the Act. As Governor Blagojevich explained, the purpose of the new law is "to increase protections for workers" by ensuring they are protected by basic employment and labor laws and "to help law-abiding contractors, who are being underbid by contractors who misclassify their workers [as independent contractors]."