Category Archives: State Developments

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2017 Legislative Developments

Schiff Hardin’s L&E Group rings in the new year with our annual reporting on certain employment-related legislative developments slated to take effect in 2017 on the federal level and in Illinois, California, New York, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Michigan, and Texas.… 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 … Continue Reading

New Regulations Implementing California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act Go Into Effect April 1, 2016

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prohibits discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace. Recent amendments to FEHA’s implementing regulations issued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing include significant new obligations for employers, and clarify a range of important issues. The amendments take effect on April 1, 2016. The full text … Continue Reading

It’s Unanimous: Employers Face an Uncertain Future After Justice Scalia’s Death

There’s no dissent here.  Justice Scalia’s unexpected passing presents a potential blow to employers in two ways.  First, the Supreme Court lost one of its most staunchly conservative justices, who often sided with management in key employment-related decisions.  Second, his death has left the Supreme Court without a clear majority and no easy mechanism to … Continue Reading

California Adopts Most Stringent Equal Pay Law in the Nation

California’s new Fair Pay Act amends existing law to enact what is widely being considered as the most stringent equal pay law in the country.  The Fair Pay Act will amend existing law in a number of significant ways, making it easier for employees to bring equal pay suits against their employers.  Under previous law, … Continue Reading

Mandatory Arbitration in Employment Cases: Ugly Duckling or Beautiful Swan?

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series Many years ago, employers and management counsel across the country cheered the birth of mandatory arbitration provisions in employment agreements. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Perry v. Thomas, it determined that because there is a clear federal policy favoring arbitration, an arbitration clause would be upheld … Continue Reading

California Legislature Issues Urgency Amendments to Paid Sick Leave Law

Only 12 days after California’s paid sick leave law took effect (AB 1522), the legislature amended the law to address some of its more challenging implementation aspects for employers.  The significant amendments include: Alternate Accrual Method AB 1522 required that employees accrue paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours … Continue Reading

Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use Held Permissible Basis to Terminate Employment

On Monday, employers were provided guidance on an issue of increasing interest: whether an employee’s off-duty marijuana use that is lawful under state law can serve as grounds for termination. In Coats v. Dish Network, Case No. 13SC394, the Colorado Supreme Court held that employers may fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even if … Continue Reading

California Decision Gives Employees Home Court Advantage

Employers in states across the country are known to shudder and cringe at the thought of contending with the vast array of employment law regulations that apply to California employers. Employers — especially those headquartered elsewhere but with employees in California — have also been known to use clauses in employment agreements with these California … Continue Reading

Indiana Amends Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Prohibit Discrimination

On April 2, 2015, following the controversy stemming from the recent signing of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (IRFRA), Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law an amendment to the IRFRA. The amendment states that the Act may not be used to discriminate in the providing of services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, … Continue Reading

FedEx Ground Found to Have Misclassified Drivers as Independent Contractors by the Ninth Circuit

In an August 27, 2014 decision, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that FedEx Ground misclassified approximately 2,300 California package delivery drivers as independent contractors from 2000 to 2007, resulting in the failure to pay certain wages and reimbursements for business-related expenses. For businesses that make use of independent contractors as part of … Continue Reading

California Passes Paid Sick Leave Law and Other Recent Legislation

On September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1522, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.” This bill requires California employers, large and small, to provide paid sick leave for their employees. California and Connecticut are the only states in the country thus far to mandate paid sick leave. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rules Franchisor Not Liable in Sexual Harassment Claim Against Franchisee

In a victory for franchisors, the California Supreme Court has ruled that Domino’s Pizza (Domino’s) was not liable as an employer or as a principal in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by an employee of a Domino’s franchisee. Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, No. S204543, 2014 WL 4236175 (Cal. Aug. 28, 2014). The plaintiff worked … Continue Reading

California Court Adopts Expansive View of Cell Phone Reimbursement Requirements

In Cochran v Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., a California court of appeal recently held that employers are on the hook for reimbursing employees who are required to use personal cell phones for work-related calls — even when such calls do not require any out-of-pocket expenditure by the employee, because they are included in the employee’s … Continue Reading

Illinois’ New “Ban the Box” Law Restricts Criminal History Inquiries of Applicants

Illinois recently joined the growing list of states and municipalities that have enacted “Ban the Box” legislation imposing restrictions on employers’ ability to inquire into applicants’ criminal history. Illinois law already restricts inquiries and employment decisions regarding sealed and expunged criminal records and arrest history. Under the new Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which … Continue Reading

Class Action Waivers in Employment Arbitration Agreements Are Enforceable, Except for PAGA Claims

In a significant reversal of prior precedent, the California Supreme Court ruled on June 23, 2014, in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, No. S204032, that employment arbitration agreements with mandatory class action waivers are generally enforceable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. … Continue Reading

Illinois Eavesdropping Law Struck Down as Unconstitutional

Illinois has been among the strictest of the “eavesdropping” states in prohibiting the secret recording of conversations without all parties’ consent. Many states have a “one-party consent” rule, under which it is permissible to record a conversation as long as at least one party (typically the recording party) consents. In Illinois, however, under Section 14-2 … Continue Reading

Illinois Joins Growing Cadre of States Recognizing Marriage Equality

Late Wednesday, before a gathering of over 2000 people at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, Governor Pat Quinn officially signed the recently passed Illinois “marriage equality act” into law. Under the Illinois Constitution, because the law was passed after May 31 without a supermajority, it will not take effect until June 1, 2014. … Continue Reading