Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Employment Law

Double whammy—Employers engaged in systematic wage theft best beware By Glenn R. Gaffney Labor and Employment Law, March 2011 Effective January 1, 2011, new amendments to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act establish a two percent penalty of the unpaid wages due an employee for each month of underpaymen, and also now provides that employees need not file a claim with the Department of Labor prior to filing a private right of action.
Plaintiff’s uncorroborated testimony wards off summary judgment By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, March 2011 If based on personal knowledge or experience, uncorroborated testimony can create disputed material facts. Courts at summary judgment stage should not weigh the evidence or determine the credibility of the testimony; those tasks are for the fact finder.
A snowy day and exempt employees’ pay By Richard A. Russo Labor and Employment Law, March 2011 Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, do exempt employees have to be paid their salary for days they are absent on account of their employer closing the business due to inclement weather? May an employer require exempt employees to use vacation days/paid-time-off for time missed as a result of the employer closing its business due to inclement weather? Apparently “yes,” according to the United States Department of Labor and applicable case law.
The Supreme Court and retaliation in the “zone of interests”: Thompson v. North American Stainless By Stephen E. Balogh and Adam B.E. Lied Labor and Employment Law, March 2011 Thompson filed a retaliation claim against his employer, American Stainless, alleging that he had been fired in retaliation because his fiance, also employed by American Stainless, had complained about sex discrimination.
Appeals court nixes jury’s $1 million-plus jury verdict By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, February 2011 A look at the recent case of Casanova v. American Airlines, Inc.
Fitness-For-Duty exams upheld By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, February 2011 As the recent cases of Brownfield v. City of Yakima, Washington and Wisbey v. City of Lincoln, Nebraska demonstrate, it may be easier to justify such exams in law enforcement-related occupations.
Prevailing Wage Act bites contractor By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, February 2011 The Illinois Department of Labor determined that a construction project constituted a public works project subject to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, and the subcontractor's employees had not been paid the prevailing wage.
“Employer bashing” or “concerted action”: Consider your electronic use policy By Frank M. Grenard Corporate Law Departments, January 2011 An employee was recently terminated after posting complaints about her employer on her Facebook page, in violation, the employer claims, of its employment policy. What is too restrictive? What is appropriate? The case is scheduled for hearing on January 25th, 2011.
Company whisteleblowers get new incentives and protections By Gregory G. Thiess Corporate Law Departments, December 2010 The recently enacted Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act extends Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections to some private companies.
NFL’s labor fight predicted to be expensive By Margaret Nunne Alternative Dispute Resolution, December 2010 If the owners and the NFL Players Association are unable to come to an agreement, it would mean the first work stoppage since 1987.
Recent Supreme Court decisions in employment law: New Process Steel, LP v. NLRB & City of Ontario v. Quon By Ryan Wangler and Eric Wudtke Bench and Bar, December 2010 In New Process Steel, the Court examined the validity of decisions rendered by a two- rather than a three-person National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) panel. In Quon, the Court evaluated the extent of a government employee’s Fourth Amendment rights regarding searches by his government employer.
Court authorizes employee-by-employee safety penalties By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, October 2010 Recent changes to OSHA clarify that an employer who fails to provide its employees with respirators or workplace training faces not just one violation, but violations for each employee affected.
The Erie rule as applied in Gacek v. American Airlines, Inc. By Zeke McCartney Corporate Law Departments, October 2010 The court in Gacek held that when a retaliatory discharge case governed by state law is litigated in a federal court, the federal court must apply the state standard to a motion for summary judgment.
Credit history pre-employment checks proscribed by new Illinois Act By Frank M. Grenard Corporate Law Departments, September 2010 The Credit Privacy Act, effective January 1, 2011, prohibits employers from, among other things, ordering a prospective employee's credit report and using it as a reason not to hire.
Section 4(d): To sue or not to sue in the circuit court. That is not the question. The question is how do you do it. By Kelly Johnson Workers' Compensation Law, September 2010 A look at the case of Keating v. 68th and Paxton, L.L.C. and Oglesby Management Company.
Are your computer employees exempt from overtime? By Betsy Johnson Corporate Law Departments, August 2010 The consequences of misclassifying an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act can be very significant to employers’ business models and can be very costly.
Rutan v. Republican Party-based challenge will finally get a court hearing By William A. Price Administrative Law, August 2010 The Rutan ruling, which grew out of state government practices in Illinois, made it illegal to base government hiring and promotion decisions based on politics, except for policy-making positions.
Employer’s media policy violates labor law By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, July 2010 An examination of Trump Marina Associates, LLC, in which an employer was found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining and enforcing unlawfully broad rules regarding employees and their dealings with the media.
False claims law: What employment attorneys need to know By Ronald B. Schwartz Labor and Employment Law, July 2010 Labor and employment law lawyers who represent employees should have sufficient knowledge of the Federal False Claims Act to be able to spot potential qui tam Relator cases.
Representing gender-variant people in claims of employment discrimination by private employers By Joanie Rae Wimmer Labor and Employment Law, July 2010 The law in this area is rapidly developing and in flux. And because of applicable fee-shifting statutes, representing gender variant people in employment discrimination claims is an opportunity for Illinois practitioners both to work in an exciting and developing area of the law, and, to be compensated adequately for their work.
Employers beware: How do you protect against the significant legal risks posed by the use of contingent workers? By Daniel N. Janich Business Advice and Financial Planning, June 2010 If companies do not structure the use of contingent workers properly from a legal viewpoint, they could face considerable legal and financial risks.
Employer’s expense tax relief ordinance FAQs State and Local Taxation, June 2010 Frequently asked questions relating to an employer's expense tax.
The Impact of Health Care Reform in 2010-2011 By Bernard G. Peter Corporate Law Departments, June 2010 A discussion of legislative changes that will affect employers and employer-sponsored group health plans beginning 2010 and 2011.
Pay your law firm employees properly or risk falling into a financial snakepit By James B. Zouras Administrative Law, May 2010 What may begin as a simple misunderstanding—a poorly-handled layoff or even a workers’ compensation matter—can turn into an unexpected and costly nightmare for the employer. As is often the case, a small nugget of prevention can equal a goldmine of cure.
Court upholds bonus forfeiture for going to work for competitor By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, April 2010 This decision provides employers in Illinois a possible way to discourage employees from going into competition without the need to seek enforcement of a noncompete agreement.
EEOC beats back challenge to its jurisdiction to issue administrative subpoenas By Paul E. Freehling Labor and Employment Law, April 2010 An employer has a greater chance of persuading a federal appeals court to hold part or all of an EEOC administrative subpoena by showing that compliance would be unduly burdensome, rather than arguing the subpoena is outside the EEOC's jurisdiction.
Return-to-work evaluation is medical exam under ADA By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, April 2010 Employers intending to use a return-to-work examination must determine whether the EEOC's seven factors suggest that the examination is in fact a medical examination. If so, the examination must be justified as job related, and backed by business necessity.
The hiring process—Legal considerations By Michael R. Lied Law Office Management and Economics, Standing Committee on, March 2010 Some highlights of the law of hiring and employment-- A must-read for any attorney who is also an employer.
A commentary on guns at work By Jim McGrath Corporate Law Departments, February 2010 Today Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states that do not permit some form of carrying a concealed firearm, and each year bills are introduced in the Illinois legislature that would permit concealed carrying, but have not yet seen the light of day. But, in March 2009, more than 5,100 gun owners marched in Springfield to demand a right to carry a concealed weapon, and plan on doing it again in March 2010, and until a law is finally passed.
Retailer crowd control—OSHA steps into the picture By Frank M. Grenard Corporate Law Departments, February 2010 In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee died after being knocked down and trampled by a crowd of “Black Friday” shoppers in New York. In July of 2009, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) cited Wal-Mart, claiming it should have foreseen the possibility that crowds of shoppers could crush employees and it proposed a $7,000 fine, the maximum penalty amount for a serious violation.