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Total Articles: 102

Clear as Mud: Illinois Courts Continue to Grapple With The “Adequacy” Of Consideration for Non-Compete Agreements

It is axiomatic that a contract requires consideration to be binding. Ordinarily, courts only inquire into the existence, but not the “adequacy,” of consideration.

Chicago Adopts ‘Hands Off Pants On’ Law to Protect Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment, Assault

To provide hospitality workers greater protections against sexual harassment and assault, the Chicago City Council passed the “Hands Off Pants On” Ordinance on October 11, 2017. The Ordinance requires all hotels in the City to adopt a panic button system and an anti-sexual harassment policy. The Ordinance was passed after months of lobbying efforts by local hospitality workers.

Will Illinois Ban Salary History Inquiries? Hang on for a Bumpy Override!

As the 2017 legislative session closed in Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed several measures relating to labor and employment issues. He rejected a statewide minimum wage increase, for example, as well as a ban on salary history inquiries. Illinois employers should be aware, however, that the governor’s veto is not the end of this legislative roller coaster.

Illinois Nursing Home Faces Employee Class Action Based on State Biometric Privacy Act

Alleging that mandatory daily biometric fingerprint scans violate employees’ privacy rights under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), employees of Paramount of Oak Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, LLC, have filed a putative class action against the nursing home.

City Council Passes “Hands Off, Pants On” and Automated External Defibrillator Ordinances for Chicago Hotels

On October 11, 2017, the Chicago City Council passed the so-called "Hands Off, Pants On" Ordinance requiring Chicago hotel employers to provide all housekeepers and restroom workers who work alone with mobile notification devises or “panic buttons” that summon hotel security or management to the employee’s location when he or she “reasonably believes that an ongoing crime, sexual harassment, sexual assault or other emergency is occurring in the employee's presence.” In passing the Ordinance, the City Council relied on, among other factors, a recent study that revealed nearly 50% of female housekeepers reported some form of sexual harassment from hotel guests. The Ordinance seeks to provide these employees with greater legal protection from sexual harassment by guests.

Employee Fingerprinting and the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act: Class Action Suits Filed

On September 29, 2017, a group of employees at Peacock Foods filed a class action lawsuit claiming that the company’s collection of employee fingerprints for time-tracking purposes violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Illinois’s Responsible Job Creation Act Creates Additional Requirements for Staffing Agencies

Illinois’s Responsible Job Creation Act, which will become effective June 1, 2018, amends the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act with the goal of strengthening staffing industry regulation. There are around 800,000 temporary workers in Illinois who will be affected by the Act. Among other obligations discussed below, the Act imposes, on day and temporary labor service agencies, an obligation to “attempt to place a current temporary laborer into a permanent position with a [third-party] client when the client informs the agency of its plan to hire a permanent employee for a position like the positions for which employees are being provided by the agency at the same work location.”

Employers Increasingly Targets of Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act Lawsuits

Although the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act has been the law in Illinois since 2008, in the past year, there have been at least 12 class actions filed against employers in Illinois state and federal courts seeking to redress alleged violations of the Act.

7 Steps Illinois Employers Should Take Based on Key Developments

Illinois employers should take into account that several new developments have hit the Land of Lincoln that will have a significant impact on workplace policies, practices and procedures. What’s more, it’s not just the state of Illinois that has enacted laws affecting the workplace, but Chicago and Cook County as well.

Why the Chicago and Cook County Paid-Sick-Leave Ordinances May Apply to Your Organization

Paid-sick-leave ordinances (PSLOs) became effective in the City of Chicago and Cook County on July 1, 2017. The PSLOs require employers to grant paid sick leave to employees on terms more generous than what most employers have historically offered. (For example, see our article, Cook County, Illinois, Issues Final Paid Sick Leave Regulations.)

Recent Illinois Developments in Employee Non-Compete and Trade Secret Enforcement Actions: What Every Employer Should Know

Over the past several months, state and federal courts in Illinois have issued several important decisions that will impact employers’ efforts to enforce post-employment restrictive covenants and protect their trade secrets. Illinois employers should carefully review these decisions when considering whether to pursue litigation to enforce a restrictive covenant agreement, such as a non-compete agreement, or hiring an employee who is subject to such an agreement.

Illinois Class Actions Spark New Attention For Biometric Data Applications

Capturing the time employees’ work can be a difficult business. In addition to the complexity involved with accurately tracking arrival times, lunch breaks, overtime, etc. across a range of federal and state laws (check out our Wage and Hour colleagues who keep up on all of these issues), many employers worry about “buddy punching” or other situations when time entered into their time management system is entered by a person other than the employee to whom the time relates.

It’s Go Time: Chicago and Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinances Come into Effect this Weekend

As we have previously reported, the Cook County (the “County”) and Chicago paid sick leave ordinances will go into effect on July 1, 2017. As of this week, both entities have now issued final regulations, which provide clarification of some of the obligations under the respective ordinances. Here, we provide a brief reminder of the key requirements of the ordinances.

Chicago Issues Final Paid Sick Leave Rules While Surrounding Suburbs Continue to Opt Out of Cook County Sick Leave Coverage

The City of Chicago has issued final rules for its Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. The Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance was passed on June 22, 2016 and will take effect on July 1, 2017.

Major Headaches Coming for Chicago and Cook County Employers When Implementing Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

As most employers in the “Chicagoland” area are hopefully already aware, both Chicago and Cook County have enacted paid sick leave (PSL) ordinances that go into effect July 1, 2017.

Cook County Minimum Wage Regulations

Last month, the Cook County Commission on Human Rights issued final interpretive and procedural rules governing the Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance, which becomes effective July 1, 2017.

Cook County, Illinois Publishes Final Rules for Sick Leave Ordinance: Employers, Are You Ready?

On July 1, 2017, the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance goes into effect. The Ordinance (at the time of this writing) provides certain employees in approximately 2/3 of the Cook County’s municipalities with paid sick time benefits.

Get Ready: An Update on the Cook County and Chicago Paid Sick Leave Laws

The Cook County Commission on Human Rights has issued its final regulations for the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance. The final regulations, which contain substantial changes from the draft regulations, can be found on the Cook County government website. The Cook County ordinance was passed on October 5, 2016, and will take effect on July 1, 2017. A model posting can likewise be found at the link above.

Draft Regulations on Cook County, Illinois, Paid Sick Leave Released

Draft regulations that will govern its interpretation and enforcement of the Cook County “Earned Sick Leave” Ordinance have been released by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights. The final regulations will be adopted by June 1, 2017, according to the Commission.

As July 1 Effective Date Approaches, Cook County Issues Draft Regulations for Paid Sick Leave

As we have previously reported, both Chicago and Cook County have passed paid sick leave laws that entitle covered employees to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Our previous alerts on these ordinances, which are linked here and here, provide background on the basic requirements of these ordinances.

Open for Comment: Cook County Commission on Human Rights Issues Draft Regulations on Earned Sick Leave Ordinance

On April 10, 2017, the Cook County Commission on Human Rights posted draft regulations for the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance. The Cook County ordinance was passed on October 5, 2016, and will take effect on July 1, 2017. The commission expects to adopt and publish final rules, a model posting, and required notices by June 1, 2017. The City of Chicago passed a virtually identical sick leave ordinance on June 22, 2016, and it too will take effect on July 1, 2017. To date, the City of Chicago has not published rules or regulations regarding the Chicago paid sick leave ordinance.

The Saga Continues: Recent Opt-Outs and Other Developments Relating to the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Act, Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act

The Village of Rosemont and the City of Oak Forest have become the latest suburban Cook County municipalities to join the Village of Barrington in opting out of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance.

Gifts that Don’t Quite Fit in Your Stocking: New Employment Laws Taking Effect in 2017

A number of new state or local laws are set to take effect in Illinois in 2017 which will require employers to update their employee handbooks, employment agreements, and other policies and procedures. We address the key changes briefly here, and include links to our previous, more detailed analyses of the various laws within the text

Illinois Employees Hit the Sick Leave Trifecta: Important Changes to Take Effect in 2017

Three recently enacted laws expanding sick leave benefits within the state of Illinois will soon impact employers with operations in Illinois: the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (effective in January of 2017); the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (effective in July of 2017); and the Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (effective in July of 2017). Below is a summary of each law.

Following Chicago’s Lead, Cook County Requires Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees

This summer, we reported that the City of Chicago had passed an ordinance requiring employers located in the City to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Last week, Cook County followed suit, passing a virtually identical version of Chicago’s ordinance that will apply to all employers within the county.

Cook County Joins Chicago and other Jurisdictions in Mandating Paid Sick Leave

Executive Summary: On October 5, 2016, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a new ordinance, which will take effect on July 1, 2017, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees working in Cook County, Illinois. In doing so, Cook County joins nearly 30 other local jurisdictions (and counting) with similar paid sick leave laws.

Cook County, Illinois, Enacts Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The Cook County “Earned Sick Leave” Ordinance mandates that employers in Cook County, Illinois, allow eligible employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each 12-month period of their employment. The Ordinance, passed on October 5, 2016, becomes effective on July 1, 2017.

Illinois Becomes Seventh State to Expand Employment Rights to Domestic Workers

On August 21, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, amending four existing state employment laws so they will now apply to domestic workers. Effective January 1, 2017, the law is expected to affect approximately 35,000 employees. With an estimated two million domestic workers nationwide, the trend to extend employment rights to domestic workers will likely continue at both the state and federal levels.

Illinois Increases Protected Leaves for Employees

Just two months after Chicago became the second city in the Midwest to require employers to provide paid sick leave,1 Illinois has enacted three laws that entitle employees to additional protected leaves. The Child Bereavement Leave Act, the Employee Sick Leave Act, and an amendment to the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act are described below.

Chicago City Council Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Effective July 1, 2017, an amendment to the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance (2-25-050) requires employers in the City of Chicago to provide eligible employees up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in each 12-month period of their employment. The Chicago City Council passed the amendment on June 22, 2016.

Chicago to Become the Second City in the Midwest to Mandate Paid Sick Leave in 2016

On June 22, 2016, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed the Chicago Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). Chicago is the second city in the Midwest this year to pass a law granting employees paid sick leave. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to sign the Ordinance into law. He emphasized his support for the Ordinance after its passage. The Ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2017, and will allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in a 12-month period that is based on the date the employee begins to accrue sick leave.

Chicago Poised to Pass the Latest Employee Paid Sick Leave Law, Following the Lead of other Cities, States

This past week, my colleague, Lindsey Marcus, reported on new paid sick leave legislation that is about to become law in Chicago. It’s significant because it reflects a growing number of states and cities joining the mandated paid leave bandwagon.

Chicago Poised to Become Next City to Require Paid Sick Leave for Employees

Yesterday Chicago became poised to join a growing group of U.S. cities to mandate paid sick leave for employees when a Chicago City Council committee passed a bill that would provide employees with at least 40 hours per year of paid sick leave. With 38 cosponsors (out of a total of 50 aldermen) and the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the so-called Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Ordinance), which amends the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance, is almost certain to become law.

Illinois Enacts Amendments to the Personal Information Protection Act

Last month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a number of amendments to the State’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) that expand the definition of protected personal information and increase certain data breach notification requirements. The amendments, highlighted below, take effect January 1, 2017.

Illinois Broadens Data Breach Protections

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed H.B. 1260 into law, which broadens the categories of protected information under the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The amendments also expand notice requirements in the event of a security breach.

Illinois Supreme Court Issue Long-Awaited Decision on Vesting of Retiree Health Care Benefits in Matthews v. Chicago Transit Authority

On May 5th, nearly a full year after it heard oral arguments in the case, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its decision in Matthews v. Chicago Transit Authority, et al., addressing the interplay between a public sector collective bargaining agreement’s provision for retiree health care benefits and Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, commonly referred to as the “pension protection clause.” The Court held that a class of employees, who had retired prior to a new CBA imposed significant health care cost increases on retirees, had an “enforceable, vested right” to the health care provisions contained in the predecessor CBA. Failure to honor that right constitutes not only a breach of contract but a violation of the pension protection clause.

Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down City of Chicago Pension Reform Legislation

Late last week, in Jones et al v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago et al (“Jones”), the Illinois Supreme Court struck down Public Act 98-641, which aimed to shore up two ailing Chicago pension funds. The decision is important for two reasons. First, citing precedent from its recent opinion overturning a prior attempt at Illinois pension reform in In re Pension Reform Litigation (“Heaton”), Jones reaffirms that the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and other public and municipal employers throughout the State of Illinois cannot address their pension funding problems by cutting benefits to current participants and active retirees in violation of the Illinois Supreme Court’s expansive reading of the pension protection clause under Article XIII, § 5 of the Illinois Constitution, even where the benefit cuts are part of a larger reform package aimed at bringing the pension funds back to solvency. Second, the decision appears to limit the ability of public employers to partner with union representatives to resolve pension funding problems when the negotiated reform package includes benefit cuts to current participants and active retirees.

Chicago Expands Human Rights Ordinance to Include Military Status

Effective March 16, 2016, Chicago employers are prohibited from engaging in employment discrimination in hiring, promotions or wages based on military status. These protections build on federal and state laws that impose reemployment obligations on Illinois employers (including accrual of seniority and benefits), as well as existing municipal protections based on military discharge status.

Illinois Narrows 'Disqualifying Misconduct' for Unemployment Insurance Benefits Claims Purposes

A recent amendment to Illinois law and an Illinois Supreme Court ruling have clarified the meaning of "misconduct" that disqualifies a former employee from collecting unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. While both the new law and the ruling provide needed guidance, employers in the state may find it harder to fight a benefit claim on this basis if they do not have specific policies in place.

Certain Illinois Employers Now Required to Post Human Trafficking Helpline

A new Illinois state law requires certain employers to post notices informing employees and other members of the public of a helpline to assist any person who is subject to human trafficking.1 This law, effective January 1, 2016, and entitled the “the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act,” largely tracks the requirements of a California law that became effective in April 2013.2

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Educational Employers Are Not Required to Arbitrate “Do Not Hire” Designation

When the Chicago Board of Education refused to arbitrate grievances concerning its “do not hire” policy, it did not violate the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act according to the Illinois Supreme Court. This case arises out of a June 2010 policy in which the Board designated as ineligible for rehire any probationary appointed teacher (PAT) who was either nonrenewed twice or who had received an unsatisfactory performance rating. The Board implemented this policy by placing a “do not hire” designation in the PATs’ personnel files.

Rauner Administration Declares Impasse, Seeks Ruling from the Illinois Labor Relations Board

Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner broke off contract negotiations with AFSCME Council 31, the union that represents nearly 40,000 state workers, and will seek a declaration from the Illinois Labor Relations Board (“the Board”) that the parties reached an impasse in their negotiations. If the Board finds that an impasse exists, the State may be able to impose its last, best offer on state employees.

‘Shoplifting and No Apprehension’ Policy Vulnerable to Whistleblower Claims, Illinois Court Finds

A retail employer is liable under the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”) when it terminates an employee for violating its “shoplifting and no apprehension” policy prohibiting employees from calling law enforcement directly about suspected shoplifting, an Illinois federal court has found. Coffey v. DSW Shoe Warehouse, Inc. a/k/a DSW, Inc., No. 14 C 4365 (Oct. 29, 2015).

Relying on the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Mach Mining, Illinois Court Holds that the Sufficiency of an EEOC Investigation is not Judicially Reviewable

As we have previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court held earlier this year in EEOC v. Mach Mining, 135 S.Ct. 1645 (2015) that courts have the authority to review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has fulfilled its statutory duty to attempt to conciliate charges of discrimination prior to filing suit. At that time we explained that, while Mach Mining was a victory for employers, the true impact of the case would depend on whether lower courts interpret the decision as requiring a true change in how the EEOC participates in the conciliation process.

Illinois Latest State to Institute Voluntary Veteran Hiring Preference

Adding to the line of other states, Illinois now joins the ranks of jurisdictions that allows for employers to establish a voluntary veteran hiring preference. The Illinois state bill becomes effective January 1, 2016.

Federal Court Split on Consideration Needed to Enforce a Restrictive Covenant in Illinois Remains Unresolved

On July 14, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided Instant Technology, LLC v. DeFazio.1 The decision was widely expected to address the current split in the Northern District of Illinois on whether two years or more of continued employment is required to enforce a restrictive covenant, absent additional consideration, as opined by the Illinois Appellate Court in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc,2 However, the Seventh Circuit did not address this issue and instead ruled that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the restrictive covenants in controversy were unenforceable under the facts of that case.

City of Chicago Increases Minimum Wage

Effective January 1, 2015, the City of Chicago increased the minimum wage within its city limits to $10.00 per hour worked for non-tipped employees and to $5.45 per hour worked for tipped employees. The previous minimum wage was $8.25 per hour and $4.95 per hour, respectively.

Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance Goes Into Effect July 1, 2015

On July 1, 2015, Chicago's Minimum Wage Ordinance goes into effect for all covered employers and employees. The Ordinance, which will raise the minimum wage for Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2019, was passed on December 2, 2014, and contains gradual increases for covered employees.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Pension Reform Unconstitutional

On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that pension reform legislation passed in 2013, commonly referred to as Senate Bill 1, violates the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution. The Court upheld a previous circuit court ruling that invalidated the law in its entirety. The Court held that the State could not rely on its inherent “police powers” to diminish the benefits of membership in a pension system. Finding that Senate Bill 1 is “merely the latest assault in this ongoing political battle against public pension rights,” the Court held the pension reform legislation unconstitutional.

Judge Orders Fair Share Payments to Continue During Litigation

On Friday, a St. Clair County court issued an order requiring all State of Illinois agencies to immediately reinstate the payment of fair share fees, deducted from non-union member State employees’ paychecks, to labor unions representing State employees. The order is a procedural victory for unions, as they will receive all fees deducted since the Executive Order but held in escrow and never paid to unions. The order does not address the merits of the underlying dispute over the constitutionality of fair share fees.

General Assembly Considers Municipal/Local Government Bankruptcy Legislation

Illinois legislators are considering a bill that would amend the Illinois Municipal Code to allow municipalities and other local government entities to file for bankruptcy. Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) has called it a “measure of last resort” for municipalities with increasing debts, including police and firefighter pension obligations. Governor Rauner has indicated previously that he supports the concept, and local leaders are evaluating the need for such protection in light of dire fiscal projections.

State Employees Seek to Join Governor Rauner in Lawsuit against Fair Share Fees

Last week, three State of Illinois employees filed a motion to intervene in Governor Rauner’s lawsuit challenging fair share fees, which is currently pending in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois. Meanwhile, in the Southern District of Illinois, a federal judge denied the Governor’s request to remove to federal court a state court lawsuit filed by labor unions representing various groups of state employees. The unions’ state court lawsuit challenges Executive Order 15-13, which instructs all state agencies to suspend immediately the withholding of fair share fees from state employees’ paychecks.

Attorney General Madigan and Labor Unions Defend Fair Share Fees

Over the past several weeks, Illinois’ largest labor unions and Attorney General Lisa Madigan took steps to defend “fair share” fees against Governor Rauner’s Executive Order suspending the collection of those fees, and his federal lawsuit attacking them as unconstitutional. On March 5, 2015 the Illinois AFL-CIO and 26 labor unions filed suit in state court to block Governor Rauner’s Order. On March 9, Attorney General Lisa Madigan intervened against Governor Rauner in the federal lawsuit he filed, and moved to dismiss the suit.

Recent Illinois Federal Court Rulings Cloud Fifield’s Bright-Line Test

Two recent rulings in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division and the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, have further blurred the “bright line” two-year consideration rule established by the Illinois First District Court of Appeals in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, 2013 IL App (1st) 120327 (cert. denied).

Governor Rauner Issues Order Eliminating Fair Share Fees

Yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Executive Order 15-13 eliminating “fair share” fees paid by state employees who choose not to join a union. At the same time, Rauner filed a complaint in federal court seeking a declaration that fair share provisions in collective bargaining agreements to which the State of Illinois is a party violate the First Amendment by forcing State employees to engage in political speech. The Order and simultaneous lawsuit signal Rauner’s intent to battle labor unions and eliminate what he refers to as the “corrupt bargain” inherent in public sector labor unions engaging in political activities.

Reminder: Amendments to Illinois Employment Laws Effective 2015

In recent months, we have reported on some significant amendments to Illinois employment laws on the horizon for 2015. Now that 2015—and these new requirements—are in full swing, we thought a brief recap and reminder of two key changes might prove helpful to Illinois employers.

Illinois Employers Must Offer Retirement Savings Program

Illinois has become the first state in the nation to enact a law requiring businesses to offer their employees a retirement savings plan. Signed into law recently by Gov. Pat Quinn, the new law, entitled “Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program,” is intended to encourage more retirement savings among workers who do not otherwise have access to retirement accounts through their employer. Although several other states have similar legislation pending, Illinois is the first state to pass such a provision.

City of Chicago Expands “Ban the Box” Law to Smaller Employers and City Agencies

Effective January 1, 2015, the City of Chicago expanded the coverage of Illinois’s “ban the box” law within city limits. The amended Human Rights Ordinance, Section 2-160-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago, effectively makes Illinois’s Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act applicable to private employers that are licensed in Chicago and/or maintain a business facility within city limits and that have fewer than 15 employees and to a number of City “agencies” including the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, the Chicago Housing Authority, and the Public Building Commission of Chicago.

Amendments to Illinois’s Eavesdropping Statute Signed Into Law

On December 30, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1342 into law, amending the Eavesdropping Article of the Illinois Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/14) that was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court last year as unconstitutional. (Our April 2014 blog post, “Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Eavesdropping Statute as Overly Broad,” covers the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in detail.) The revised eavesdropping statute, which is effective immediately, criminalizes the recording of private conversations without the consent of all parties to the conversation. The revised law provides employers with a safeguard against employees’ covertly recording coworkers in the workplace, but employers should still adopt policies banning nonconsensual recordings of private workplace conversations. Additionally, employers should be wary of taping interviews, telephone conversations, and the like—even for legitimate business reasons.

Mandatory Retirement Plans in Illinois

Is Illinois the precursor to mandatory retirement savings programs across the country the way that Massachusetts was for mandatory health care? Illinois has become the first state to require that private-sector employers offer their employees retirement benefits. The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act (S.B. 2758), signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on January 4, 2015, requires employers to offer their employees a state-run automatic enrollment payroll deduction Individual Retirement Account (IRA) program (a Roth IRA) known as the “Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Fund.” The Act’s stated purpose is to promote greater retirement savings for private-sector employees in a convenient, low-cost, and portable manner. Penalties for noncompliance may be assessed on employers by the Illinois Department of Revenue at $250 per employee per year, or $500 per employee for subsequent years.

New Illinois Employment Laws Taking Effect January 1, 2015

Along with decorations, holiday feasts, and other merriment, employers in Illinois get to celebrate the close of another year by updating their policies and practices to comply with several recently enacted laws that will take effect with the New Year. These include the following.

Illinois Employment Law Update

As 2014 comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to remind our clients with Illinois operations about the recent legislative changes with which Illinois employers must be familiar. A number of the laws are currently in effect, while others will become effective on January 1, 2015. Below is a summary of these laws.

Chicago City Council Approves Minimum Wage Increase

Today, in a special meeting called by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago City Council approved an ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour by next summer with incremental increases to $13.00 per hour by July 1, 2019.

Governor Signs Bill Calling for Greater Protections for Pregnant Employees

House Bill 8, now Public Act 098-1050, was recently signed by Governor Pat Quinn. As we reported in June of this year, the resulting amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act expand upon the anti-discrimination protections afforded expectant mothers in the workplace.

New Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation Amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act

On Monday, August 25, 2014, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law new pregnancy discrimination and accommodation amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), which will afford expectant mothers specific workplace protections during their pregnancy and childbirth. Affirmatively adding pregnancy as a protected characteristic under the IHRA, the amendments define pregnancy to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.” The effective date of the amendments is January 1, 2015. Following are the key items that Illinois employers need to know:

Employer Must Defend Against A Wrongful Death Lawsuit For Not Monitoring Employee Computer Use

An Illinois Appellate Court recently held that an employer must defend against a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that it was negligent in failing to investigate death threats that its employee had emailed to his family from his work computer, and not subsequently protecting the family from the husband’s threatened harm, which resulted in their death. Regions Bank v. Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. 2014 IL App. (5th) 130193

Minimum Wage Forecast: Developments in Springfield and Chicago, and What It Means for Employers

Across the country, at the local, state, and federal levels, elected officials have considered increasing the minimum wage. Illinois and Chicago have been no different. Over the past year, the General Assembly and the Chicago City Council have raised the issue, studied the potential impact, and introduced legislation. At times, the process has been difficult to follow. This update will explain the pending legislation, and what employers can expect in the near future.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules that Retiree Health Subsidies are Constitutionally Protected Benefits

In a 6-1 decision that may have significant ramifications, the Illinois Supreme Court held in Kanerva v. Weems that state-subsidized retiree medical premiums for certain public sector retirees are a protected benefit under the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution. This decision is important because it may significantly restrain the state’s ability to address escalating retiree medical costs by reducing the subsidies that it provides to active retirees.

General Assembly Approves New Laws for Illinois Employers

As the legislative session drew to a close at the end of May, the Illinois General Assembly approved several new laws that will affect Illinois employers beginning January 1, 2015. The laws are now awaiting approval by Governor Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign them.

Illinois Senate to Consider a Bill Providing New Protections for Pregnant Employees

Last week, the Illinois House of Representatives approved a bill to strengthen protections for pregnant employees in the workplace. HB 8, introduced by Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) and supported by Governor Pat Quinn, would amend the Illinois Human Rights Act to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. The bill would cover all working women, including full-time, part-time, and probationary employees.

Impact on Employers and Schools of Illinois Supreme Court’s Rejection of Eavesdropping Law

Employers, schools, and other entities have long relied on the Illinois Eavesdropping Act to prohibit individuals from recording conversations, meetings, classes, and other activities without the consent of all participants. Originally, this more-than-50-year-old law prohibited only surreptitious recording of private communications. However, in 1994, the law was expanded also to prohibit, with limited exceptions, the recording of any communication, regardless of whether it was intended to be private, without the consent of all participants. It also prohibited the publication of such communications. Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional, and directed the Legislature to craft a narrower law focused on truly private communications. At this point in time, Illinois law does not prohibit eavesdropping of any kind, although employers and schools likely can continue to prohibit it as a matter of policy or practice, pending action by the Legislature.

$15 Minimum Wage in Chicago on March Ballot

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners recently confirmed that in March of 2014 some Chicago residents will vote on a nonbinding ballot referendum on the following question: “Shall the city of Chicago require a minimum wage of $15 per hour for employees of companies that perform work within the city of Chicago where the employing company had annual gross revenues in excess of $50 million in the last tax year?” The question will appear on ballots as a minimum wage referendum in 102 precincts in 20 wards within the city limits. This represents approximately 5 percent of Chicago’s precincts.

Legal Alert: Illinois Employers Should Beware of the Impact of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act

Executive Summary: Illinois employers beware, if you want to prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on your property, you must post a sign stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited, according to a law that became effective earlier this year. The signage must contain specific language, and even then, employers should know it has some limitations.

Illinois' Medical Marijuana Law

On August 1, 2013, Illinois joined a growing list of states—now 20—allowing the use of medical marijuana when Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (the Act). The stated purpose of the Act is to permit individuals who are suffering from certain debilitating medical conditions to use prescribed medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms.

Illinois General Assembly Passes Pension Reform Bill

Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly adopted the Conference Committee Report to Senate Bill 1 on December 3, 2013. The bill provides comprehensive pension reform for four state retirement systems – the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), the State Universities Retirement System (SURS), the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill.

Update: Illinois Concealed Carry Notice Now Available

Earlier this summer, we reported that Illinois enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which allows individuals with a special permit to carry a concealed firearm in public. The law provides, however, a long list of locations where concealed carry is prohibited. For example, the Concealed Carry law prohibits concealed firearms in many locations including: schools; public or private colleges and universities; public parks and playgrounds; hospitals; stadiums and arenas, establishments that earn more than 50 percent of gross receipts from the sale of alcohol; and buildings controlled by local units of government. In addition, private property owners may elect to prohibit concealed carry on or into property under their control.

Illinois State Police Releases Sign Required to Prohibit Concealed Weapons on Property

As we reported over the summer, under a new Illinois law, employers seeking to prohibit individuals from bringing concealed weapons onto their private property are now required to post a sign to that effect at building entrances. In response, the Illinois State Police recently released information about the sign that property owners must post to prevent individuals from carrying concealed handguns on or into their property. Although applications for a Concealed Carry permit will not be available until January 5, 2014, and the first licenses will not likely be issued until 90 days after that, employers that own property and want to ban concealed handguns can now start posting these new signs.

Medical Marijuana Comes to Illinois in 2014 – How Do Employers Weed Through the Impact on the Workplace?

Last month, Illinois became the 21st state to adopt a medical marijuana law. The law, which is tabbed as a four-year pilot program legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, becomes effective on January 1, 2014 and allows users registered through the Illinois Department of Public Health to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days from a state licensed dispensary. Despite legislators’ remarks that the law does not impact employers’ application of their drug-free workplace policies, in the absence of regulatory guidance, the Act leaves Illinois employers with a host of questions to answer, most notably: What happens when an employee or applicant with a prescription for medical marijuana fails a drug test?

New Law on the Horizon for Illinois Employers Settling Tort Claims

On January 1, 2014, a new section of the Civil Practice Law, “Settlement of claims; payment” (735 ILCS § 5/2-2301), will take effect. The Illinois legislature passed the law in an effort to expedite the payment process in personal-injury and property-damage claims and to prevent defendants in certain civil suits from delaying payment after agreeing to settle a claim.

New Illinois Legislation Requires Settling Defendants in Certain Civil Litigation to Promptly Deliver Releases and Payments to Plaintiffs

A new Illinois law aimed at preventing defendants from delaying payment after agreeing to settle a claim will impact Illinois employers that settle certain tort claims. The new section of the Civil Practice Law, “Settlement of claims; payment” (735 ILCS § 5/2-2301), will take effect on January 1, 2014. The new law will require non-governmental defendants in certain civil cases to deliver a release within 14 days after written confirmation of an agreement to settle and pay sums due under the agreement within 30 days after a plaintiff returns the executed release.

New Medical Marijuana Law Will Impact Illinois Employers

On August 1, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, a four-year pilot program legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Illinois is the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana.

New Firearm Concealed Carry Act Directly Impacts Illinois Employers

With the enactment of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act (PA 098-0063), private licensed citizens in Illinois will be permitted to carry concealed firearms. The Act is the byproduct of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling last year in Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012), in which the court struck down Illinois’s concealed firearm carry ban as unconstitutional. Although similar laws exist in every other state, the Act marks a drastic shift from Illinois’s long-standing ban on concealed firearms and directly impacts employers.

Punitive Damages Not Available Under Cook County Human Rights Ordinance

The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that the Cook County Commission On Human Relations (the “Commission”) acted beyond the scope of its authority when it awarded punitive damages to a prevailing complainant in connection with a sexual harassment charge.

Court’s Official Recognition of Tort of Intrusion Upon Seclusion Reaffirms Privacy Rights of Illinois Employees

In Lawlor v. North American Corporation of Illinois, the Illinois Supreme Court formally recognized “intrusion upon seclusion,” a form of invasion of privacy, as a valid claim under state common law. The court also ruled that an employer can be subject to liability under this theory for the actions of outside consultants acting as the employer’s agent. The decision raises questions and concerns about employer liability arising from independent investigations of current and former employee conduct and communications, including communications that occur in traditional channels as well as through social media.

ISBE Issues Additional Guidance on Criminal Background Checks

ISBE released a Fall 2012 Guidance Document on criminal history records information (CHRI) checks, including direction on two topics that often generate confusion: background checks for student teachers and background checks for contractors that may have “direct daily contact” with students.

Second State Outlaws Employer Requests for Employees’ Facebook Passwords

In an effort to safeguard privacy rights in the “social media age,” Illinois joined Maryland in passing a law prohibiting employers from either requesting or requiring the passwords of current and prospective employees.

Legal Alert: New Illinois Law Protects Social Networking Passwords August 2, 2012

Executive Summary: Illinois has joined a growing trend to protect workers from employers who want access to their Facebook or other social networking accounts. On August 1, 2012, Governor Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.

Illinois’ New “Facebook Password” Law May Create a Host of Unintended Consequences for Employers

Earlier this spring, the Illinois General Assembly amended the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, making it unlawful for an employer to ask a current or prospective employee to provide login information to their social media accounts or profiles.

Illinois Becomes Second State to Enact Social Media Password Ban

On August 1, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that will make it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants and current employees to provide passwords or log-in information for their social networking websites. Under the law, employers will be prohibited from obtaining any information about a prospective or current employee that is not in the public domain.

llinois Now Restricts Employers' Access To Employees' Social Networking Sites

On March 22, 2012, Illinois legislature passed an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act. This bill was signed on August 1, 2012, by Gov. Pat Quinn, and takes effect January 1, 2013. This makes Illinois only the second state (Maryland was the first) to ban employers from requiring access to employee and applicant social networking sites.

llinois House Unanimously Passes Bill That Would Make University Employees Mandated Reporters

On February 29, 2012, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 3887, which would amend the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) to require university and college employees to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Such an amendment would formally enact the position announced by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) as we reported in November of 2011 that ANCRA’s reporting obligations apply to all employees of higher education institutions. If enacted into law as expected, HB 3887 would expressly make all “personnel of institutions of higher education” mandated reporters, thus requiring such individuals to report to DCFS if they have reasonable cause to believe that a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be abused or neglected.

Amendment to Open Meetings Act Requires Posting of IMRF Employee Compensation

Public sector employers need to be aware of changes to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) brought about by Public Act 97-0609 (formerly Senate Bill 1831). The Act, which became effective on August 26, 2011, contains changes in addition to providing new accelerated payments for certain salary increases provided to members of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF). It also amends the OMA to require an employer participating in IMRF to post on its website the total compensation package for each employee that has a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year. Additionally, the new law also requires an employer participating in the IMRF to post on its website, at least six days prior to approval, any employee compensation package in excess of $150,000.

New Penalty on Illinois Employers Contributing to IMRF

On May 31, the Illinois legislature passed a bill that would impose a penalty on employers that contribute to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) for certain end-of-career salary increases for IMRF-covered employees. Specifically, this new rule imposes a penalty on employers for any salary increases in excess of 6% (or 1.5 times CPI, if higher) in any of the four one-year periods used to calculate an employee’s final rate of earnings (typically, the employee’s final four years of service).

Illinois Civil Union Act’s Implications for Employers

On June 1, 2011, Illinois began recognizing civil unions in accordance with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (the “Act”). The Act’s purpose is to allow same-sex and heterosexual couples to enter into civil unions and provide them with the same legal obligations, responsibilities, benefits and protections as are afforded or recognized under Illinois law to married spouses (e.g., the ability to make emergency medical decisions for partners, adoption and parental rights, spousal testimonial privilege and state spousal benefits, including workers’ compensation and spousal pension coverage). A notable caveat (and continuing sore point for some who seek full federal recognition of same-sex unions) is that the Act does not label these civil unions as a “marriage.” Nonetheless, all rules governing annulment, divorce and property division that currently apply to couples in marriages will apply to couples in civil unions.

Illinois Civil Unions and the FMLA

In a ceremony to be held later today at the Chicago Cultural Center, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will sign a law allowing same and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions.

Performance Evaluations For All Public Employees Exempt From Disclosure Under FOIA

The Illinois Senate voted yesterday to join the House of Representatives in overriding Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto of House Bill 5154. The bill, effective immediately upon becoming law, amends the Personnel Record Review Act, 820 ILCS 40/11, to prohibit disclosure of performance evaluations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

New Illinois Law Expands Leave For Military Families

The Illinois Family Military Leave Act allows eligible employees who are the spouse or parent of a person called to military service to take unpaid leave during the family member's military service. Under the law, employees who work for an employer with more than 50 employees may take up to 30 days of leave. Employees working for employers with 15 to 50 employees can take up to 15 days of family military leave. Presently, this leave is in addition to the family military leave leave available under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

Seventh Circuit Raises Bar For Illinois Retaliatory Discharge Claims.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently raised the bar for proving retaliatory discharge claims under Illinois common law in federal court, holding that a plaintiff cannot prevail based solely on evidence that the employer’s stated reason for the discharge was false. Rather, the plaintiff must prove that his protected action was the cause of his termination.

ISBE Issues Guidelines for Complying with July 1 Compensation Reporting Deadline.

As we informed you last fall, July 1, 2010 is the first deadline for school boards to report administrator and teacher salary and benefits to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) under Public Act 096-0266, which added Sections 10-20.46 and 34-18.37 to the School Code. ISBE has issued guidance regarding the specific data required and how to submit the report through the IWAS system by midnight on July 1.

Employers Offering Insured Health Plans Required To Extend Coverage To Dependents Up To Age 26.

Employers that offer insured health benefits to Illinois employees will need to offer that coverage to unmarried dependents up to age 26 – without regard to student status – and up to age 30 for veterans residing in Illinois, under a new state insurance law set to take effect for policies issued or renewed after June 1, 2009. The Illinois House and Senate accepted Governor Rod Blagojevich’s amendatory veto of House Bill 5285 which created the new dependent coverage provisions.

New Legislation Provides Illinois Employees With Workplace Bias Claims Access To Circuit Court.

Illinois employers be aware: amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act now allow employees to commence civil actions in a circuit court. In May 2007, the Illinois Senate and House passed House Bill 1509, and Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the bill into law on August 17, 2007. The amendments will go into effect on January 1, 2008.

Illinois Human Rights Act Amended.

Last August, Gov. Blagojevich signed an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act that made significant changes to the State's employment law landscape. The changes go into effect on January 1, 2008, and will have considerable implications for Illinois employers.
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