The haze of Springfield’s recent legislative session has cleared, and Illinois has become the latest state poised to legalize marijuana. Like many other businesses throughout the country, Illinois employers will be faced with the complexity of enforcing their drug and substance abuse policies while their employees have the legal right to use marijuana outside of the workplace.
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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 takes effect January 1, 2015, employers of 15 or more employees and employment agencies will be prohibited from inquiring into or considering any criminal records or criminal history in the initial application process. For the text of the statute, click here.
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On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled unenforceable an Illinois “fair share” law that requires in-home health care service providers to pay union fees. Harris v. Quinn, 573 U.S. ____ (2014). The Court described the petitioners as “partial public employees,” and therefore, compelling them to pay fees to a union that they did not wish to join or support violated their First Amendment rights.
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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 of the Illinois Criminal Code, individuals who knowingly use an eavesdropping device to record or intercept another’s conversation could be guilty of a felony. Because of this law, with its “two-party” consent rule, Illinois employers, for the most part, have been able to maintain their workplaces free from concern over the recording of management conversations.
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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.

When it takes effect next June, the Act repeals the same-sex marriage ban in Section 213.1 of the Illinois Marriage Act and provides that all laws of Illinois applicable to marriage (whether the laws derive from statute, administrative rule, court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law) “shall apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children.” Act, Sec.10(a). The Act specifically commands that the parties to a marriage and their children “shall have all the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law.” Act, Sec. 10(b). The Act contains a “mini-Dictionary Act” including same-sex and different-sex marriage partners in all definitions or uses of terms for “spouse” or “family” or synonyms for such terms. Act, Sec. 10(c).
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Employers in construction and landscaping industries should be aware that on July 23, 2013, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed two bills that add significant teeth to enforcement under the Illinois Employee Misclassification Act (the Act). The Act imposes penalties upon those employers that improperly misclassify employees as independent contractors. Gov. Quinn estimates that the State of Illinois loses upwards of $700 million in payroll and other employment-related taxes as a result of this misclassification.

House Bill 923 (Public Act 98-0105) will require contractors in the construction industry to report to the Illinois Department of Labor all payments made to any individual, sole proprietor or partnership not classified as an employee for work performed for the contractor. Such payments must be reported to the Department on or before January 31 following the taxable year in which the work was performed. The report must include the name, address and federal employer identification number of each individual, sole proprietor, or partnership performing the work, as well as for the contractor for whom the work was performed. Payments for the provision of equipment and materials must also be included in the report. The amount of the payments will be confidential and exempt from public disclosure, but the names, addresses and FEIN’s of the contractor, individual, sole proprietor or partnership contained in the reports will be subject to disclosure pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request.
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Illinois employers may be surprised to learn what action items may be necessary for their businesses following enactment of Illinois’ new Concealed Carry Act.

Facing a deadline imposed by the Seventh Circuit’s 2012 ruling that the state’s concealed carry ban was unconstitutional, on July 9 the Illinois state legislature overrode Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto to enact Public Act 98-0063, which includes the new Firearm Concealed Carry Act (“Act”) and related laws and amendatory legislation. The Act makes Illinois the 50th state to enact legislation allowing concealed carry, and permits Illinois residents and non-residents who meet specified qualifications to apply for a license to carry a “concealed firearm” — defined as a concealed loaded or unloaded handgun carried on or about a person or within a vehicle — in the state. Among other provisions, the Act specifies qualifications, procedures and content of applications for licenses and areas where those holding licenses will be prohibited from carrying firearms. Individuals cannot apply for a concealed carry license in Illinois until the Department of State Police issues the applications (the Department has up to 180 days to do so).
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