The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19—recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization—has created a myriad of practical and legal issues for employers seeking to prioritize employee health and wellness while continuing to meet business and customer needs.  The situation remains extremely fluid, with new developments and issues emerging by the minute.

Continue Reading Coronavirus Pandemic: Top Questions and Answers for Employers

Although not yet (and hopefully never) classified as a pandemic, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is already impacting U.S. companies in a variety of ways, including from an HR perspective. Although as of the date of this posting 90 percent of reported cases of coronavirus are in China, all employers, regardless of size or location, must be ready to respond to employee questions regarding the virus and to take appropriate measures if the virus continues to spread. In this post, we highlight five things your company can do now to prepare. Continue Reading Coronavirus: 5 Things Employers Can Do Today to Prepare for Tomorrow

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued its much anticipated final rule on the joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Resolving a dispute at the agency that persisted for over four years, the final rule is welcome news for many employers – particularly franchisors and businesses that regularly engage supplemental or contingent workers from third-party agencies – who are less likely to be considered joint employers under the final rule. Continue Reading NLRB Joint-Employer Final Rule: Good News for Employers

When plaintiffs sue companies alleging that their websites do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), courts start by answering two threshold legal questions. Does the ADA apply to websites? And if it does, which websites does it apply to? At least seven federal circuit courts have answered these questions and have reached three different conclusions. Until recently, California courts had provided little guidance. But on September 3, 2019, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal decided Thurston v. Midvale Corporation (Case No. B291631). Thurston clarifies that commercial websites with a “nexus” to a physical location are subject to the ADA. Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Aligns with Ninth Circuit on ADA Website Accessibility Standards

The new decade brings Schiff Hardin’s Labor & Employment Group’s annual legislative update, summarizing new legislation in 2020 under federal law and in Illinois, California, New York, Michigan, and the District of Columbia.

Continue Reading 2020 Labor and Employment Legislative Developments

Following the trend that began in New York and California, Illinois’ own #MeToo-inspired legislation, called the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA), applies to all Illinois employers[1] and takes effect on January 1, 2020. Continue Reading New Year’s Reminder: Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training and Related #MeToo Protections to Take Effect in Illinois

Most Illinois employers are already aware of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Cannabis Act) which, among other things, legalizes recreational use of marijuana in Illinois effective January 1, 2020.  On December 4, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law amendments to the Cannabis Act that, at a glance, appear to offer hope for employers seeking clarity about when they may discipline or refuse to hire an individual based on marijuana use. While the amendments make clear that employers may test applicants and employees for marijuana, the law continues to remain unclear as to what an employer may do with a positive marijuana result. Continue Reading Illinois Recreational Marijuana Law Amendments Permit “Reasonable” Drug Testing But Leave Uncertainty

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the final version of its anticipated overtime exemption rule, setting a new annual salary threshold for “white collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at just over $35,000 per year.  In the DOL’s press release accompanying the final rule, the agency anticipated its action will “make 1.3 million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay.”  The new rule will take effect on January 1, 2020.[1] Continue Reading Increase in FLSA Overtime Exemption Threshold Expected to Make More than One Million Employees Newly Eligible for Overtime Pay

On September 11, 2019, the California Senate passed Assembly Bill 5 (A.B. 5), which – if signed into law – will codify the so-called “ABC Test” utilized by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex v. Superior Court of Los Angeles to hold that the company’s delivery drivers were employees, not independent contractors, for the purpose of applying California Department of Industrial Relations Wage Orders. The bill, which California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign, will have major implications on so-called “gig economy” workers, potentially leading to many being reclassified as employees rather than independent contractors. Continue Reading Pending Major Worker Reclassification Law Aims to Burst California’s “Gig Economy” Bubble

As the #MeToo movement continues to sweep the country, on August 9, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law Illinois Senate Bill 75 (now Public Act 101-0221) which will mandate statewide sexual harassment training for employers in Illinois and add other obligations and restrictions aimed at curbing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Taking effect in just a few short months, the Act will require at least some policy, practice, and/or contracts revisions by virtually all Illinois employers.

Substantively, Senate Bill 75 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) and the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) in numerous significant ways, and enacts the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) and Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act.

Unless otherwise noted, these amendments and new laws take effect January 1, 2020. Continue Reading Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training and Other Sweeping #MeToo Protections to Take Effect in Illinois