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

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

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

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 Webinar – LGBTQ: What Every Employer Should Know

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 Temporary Employees—Or Long-Term Bargaining Obligation?

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

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 Summer Hours: Make Sure Summertime Flexible Hours Work

If you read most any national news feed this week you are likely to come across the federal government’s unveiling of the U.S. Department of Labor’s final overtime rule (the Final Rule), which approximately doubles the salary basis test for employees to be eligible for the overtime exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule, which will become effective on December 1, 2016, will mean big changes for the way many employers structure personnel and compensation. It is not too late, and certainly not too soon, for employers to start preparing for the increased salary test to take effect. Continue Reading It’s Time to Act: DOL’s New Rule Expanding Overtime Eligibility to Take Effect December 1, 2016

As spring turns into summer and the weather warms up, employers may notice an increase in employee absences. While spotty or unpredictable attendance can cause staffing issues and frustration for employers, certain absences, even irregular ones, may be protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The FMLA entitles eligible employees to twelve workweeks of unpaid leave during any twelve-month period, either consecutively or on an intermittent basis in certain circumstances, including when medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member or because of the employee’s own serious health condition.

While intermittent leave is designed to serve the needs of employees who need to be absent from time to time to address legitimate health problems, occasionally, employees’ use of intermittent leave can create serious headaches for employers and raise concerns about FMLA abuse. Below are two common scenarios of possible FMLA abuse and strategies for employers to address these issues. Continue Reading Intermittent Leave or Spring Break? Tips to Help Prevent FMLA Abuse

For decades, the California Wage Orders have required employers to provide employees “with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” Following passage of the California Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), so-called “suitable seating cases” have become a common feature of California’s employment litigation landscape, with plaintiffs’ lawyers filing dozens of cases addressing thousands of employees, all seeking recovery of substantial penalties for failure to comply with the seating requirement. Despite the apparent simplicity of the Wage Order language, lower courts have failed to reach any consensus as to how it should be construed. Continue Reading You May Want to Sit Down for This: California Supreme Court Clarifies Employer’s Duty to Furnish Suitable Seating To Employees