As of August 21, 2018, the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 260, has been amended to provide that Illinois employers that are subject to the Act must provide reasonable break time whenever the employee needs to express milk. The break time may (but not “must”) run concurrently with break time already provided. Continue Reading Expanded Protection for Nursing Mothers in Illinois

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Monday, on the eve of National Equal Pay Day, that it violates the Equal Pay Act to use pay history to justify wage gaps between male and female employees for the same or substantially similar work. The decision in Rizo v. Yovino, No. 16-15372 (9th Cir. Apr. 9, 2018) has immediate ramifications for employers in the Ninth Circuit in evaluating employee compensation. Continue Reading Consideration of Pay History to Justify Gender Wage Gaps Held Unlawful by Ninth Circuit on Eve of National Equal Pay Day

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

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 of the amended regulations can be found here. We summarize below some of the more significant provisions. Continue Reading New Regulations Implementing California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act Go Into Effect April 1, 2016

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 reverse appellate court decisions favoring employees.  With the 2016 elections nearly eight months away, and the likelihood of a replacement shrinking with each news cycle, 4-4 decisions are probably the new norm until a replacement is confirmed after the election. Continue Reading It’s Unanimous: Employers Face an Uncertain Future After Justice Scalia’s Death

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, an employee had to show that he or she was being paid less than an opposite sex colleague who was performing “equal work.”  The new law will allow employees to compare their pay with colleagues who hold different, but “similar” positions, regardless of job title. It goes into effect January 1, 2016. Continue Reading California Adopts Most Stringent Equal Pay Law in the Nation

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 despite a state law requiring a judicial forum for the employment claims at issue in the dispute. 482 U.S. 483, 491 (1987). And when the same Court decided Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp. a few years later, it held that an inequality in bargaining power is not a sufficient reason to hold arbitration clauses in employment agreements unenforceable. 500 U.S. 20, 33 (1991). Arbitration was supposed to be the magic bean that would grow into a fortress of beanstalks protecting America’s corporations from time-consuming, energy-sucking litigation. And even better, it was supposed to be inexpensive and generally designed to give employers the upper hand. After all, an arbitrator would never give a plaintiff as much as a jury of his (not ‘our’) peers, right?

Well, it was a good thought – and it was fun while it lasted. Continue Reading Mandatory Arbitration in Employment Cases: Ugly Duckling or Beautiful Swan?