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

Summer Hours: Make Sure Summertime Flexible Hours Work

Summer is almost here! With longer days and warmer nights on the horizon, many employers may be thinking about offering shortened or altered work weeks to their employees.  Such arrangements can boost employee morale, improve productivity and efficiency, and create an attractive recruiting tool.

A variety of approaches are available to employers interested in implementing a summer hours or flexible work schedule. For example, some employers compress the work week into four days, granting Fridays off; some allow employees to leave work early on certain days without making up the time; and others require employees to report to work earlier than normal, but permit them to leave early or take Friday afternoons off. While choosing which type of summer policy is right for your employees is important, it is also important to keep in mind the legal impact of such decisions. Continue Reading

7th Circuit Holds Mandatory Waiver of Class Claims Unlawful; Creates Circuit Court Split

In a decision that creates a split with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 7th Circuit on May 26, 2016 adopted the National Labor Relations Board’s D.R. Horton rationale and held that a condition of employment requiring employees to waive the right to bring class or collective actions either in arbitration or in judicial forums runs afoul of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, and is unenforceable as illegal.  Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, No.15-2997 (7th Cir. 2016). Continue Reading

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