New California Law Restricts Use of Choice of Law and Other Provisions in Agreements with California-Based Employees

On September 25, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law SB 1241, which imposes new restrictions on employers’ use of choice of law, choice of venue, and choice of forum provisions in agreements with California-based employees. Continue Reading

New Illinois Law Bans Non-Competes for Low-Wage Workers

A new Illinois law soon will render invalid non-compete agreements with most lower-level employees. Governor Rauner has signed into law the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (IFWA), 5 ILCS 140/1, et. seq., which prohibits private employers from entering into non-compete agreements with “low-wage employees,” defined as $13.00 per hour or less. The law is designed to prevent abuses of non-competes against employees who pose no real threat to their employer. The IFWA applies to non-compete agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2017, the effective date of the IFWA. Continue Reading

Is the Tide Turning Against Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements?

Another federal court of appeals has weighed in on the question of whether requiring employees to waive the right to bring a class action against their employer in arbitration or court as a condition of employment violates employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Continue Reading

Don’t Leave This For Later: Advice For Employers On New Bereavement And Sick Time Laws

Two recent laws in Illinois and Chicago provide employees with unpaid leave for the death of a child or paid leave for an illness. On June 22, 2016, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance (“Sick Leave Ordinance”) guaranteeing paid sick leave to private sector and City of Chicago employees. On July 29, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Child Bereavement Leave Act (“CBLA”) into law, which provides unpaid leave to employees who lose a child. The CBLA became effective at the time of its signing, and the Sick Leave Ordinance becomes effective on July 1, 2017. Continue Reading

Scalia-less Supreme Court Term Ends With Small Victories For Employers, But Also Great Uncertainty

As the recent Supreme Court term winds to an end, the Court finds itself in a state of flux. The sudden death of longtime justice Antonin Scalia in February, and political gridlock in confirming Judge Merrick Garland, has led to uncertainty as to the future of the Court. In the midst of these changing tides, the Court issued several decisions this term that may impact employers. Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Title VII Offers No Protection Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

In the midst of a legal, political and cultural landscape expanding the rights of LGBT individuals, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has held to prior precedent in reaffirming that Title VII does not prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, __ S.Ct. __, No. 15-720 (July 28, 2016).  According to the court, though “the writing is on the wall” that sexual orientation discrimination should not be tolerated, because the writing is not in a Supreme Court opinion or Title VII, the court’s hands are tied. Continue Reading

Webinar – LGBTQ: What Every Employer Should Know

Schiff Hardin partner Tracey R. Wallace will present “LGBTQ: What Every Employer Should Know,” a webinar examining the changing landscape of federal, state, and local laws. She will prepare employers to address complaints of discrimination, issues related to the work environment, and best practices for LGBTQ employees. Continue Reading

Temporary Employees—Or Long-Term Bargaining Obligation?

The current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has done it again, once more overturning existing precedent. In a decision issued July 11, 2016, the Board abandoned its 2004 Oakwood Care Center decision (343 NLRB 659) which stood for the proposition that a unit comprising the employees of a “supplier” employer (such as a leasing or temporary agency) and those of a “user” employer was not an appropriate unit for collective bargaining purposes, absent the consent of both employers. Miller & Anderson, Inc. and Tradesman International and Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 19, AFL-CIO, 364 NLRB No. 39. Continue Reading

Business Groups Persuade Texas Judge to Issue Nationwide Injunction Against Enforcement of DOL “Persuader” Rule

Employers and their attorneys can breathe a collective sigh of relief, at least for the time being. On Monday, a Texas judge issued a nationwide injunction against the Department of Labor (DOL), preventing it from enforcing its new Persuader Rule after finding that the rule was “defective to its core.” Continue Reading

Love It or Leave It: Leaves of Absence the Focus of EEOC’s New ADA Accommodation Guidance

It is a rare employer that has not fielded employee requests for time off to address a health concern. The requests can come in many shapes and sizes: weeks or months of leave, a few days of leave, sporadic days off here and there, taking certain hours off each day, rest breaks throughout the day, or any combination thereof. Indeed, many larger employers receive these requests monthly or even weekly; some employ designated staff or even an entire department to help respond appropriately. With the ADA, FMLA, workers’ comp, employer policies, operational concerns, past practices, and other considerations all in play, the rules can be tricky, and solutions not always clear. Continue Reading

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