Section Newsletter Articles on Employment Law

Avoiding “blanket prohibitions” on competition in employment agreements By Arthur Sternberg Labor and Employment Law, December 2011 A contractual restriction on competition by a former employee must avoid a “blanket prohibition” on competition to be enforceable. This article examines Illinois law on what is a blanket prohibition and how to avoid it.
How similar is similar? By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, December 2011 In Eaton v. Indiana Dep’t Corrections, the Seventh Circuit found that similarly situated employees must be directly comparable to the plaintiff in all material respects, including rule or policy violations.
Public employees and free speech By Matthew Feda Labor and Employment Law, December 2011 An overview of the history and current trends in the law regarding public employee free speech, as well as practical advice for bringing a claim.
New W-2 reporting requirements: What employers need to know By Derek A. Schryer Employee Benefits, November 2011 All employers that provide applicable employer-sponsored coverage during a calendar year are subject to the reporting requirement set forth in Code Section 6051(a)(14).
Case dismissed when plaintiff fails to sign settlement agreement By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, October 2011 In this case, the parties intended to enter into a settlement agreement and did so at the conclusion of an April 25, 2009 conference. In fact, the plaintiff affirmed her understanding of the settlement terms and indicated her acceptance of those terms on the record.
Court rejects employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, October 2011 The court of appeals wrote that no reasonable jury could find that the delivery of a verbal warning, based on a complaint from a coworker, constituted an adverse employment action or created an objectively hostile work environment.
Plaintiff’s case for overtime pay founders on the “administrative exemption” By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, October 2011 In this case, the plaintiff’s primary duty was directly related to the general business operations of both MediaBank and its customers, and the “administrative” exemption applied, defeating her claim for overtime pay.
Emerging issues for Illinois employers in wage and hour law By Richard L. Samson and Michael D. Ray Law Office Management and Economics, Standing Committee on, September 2011 A list of issues that Illinois employers commonly face regarding wage and hour laws, and practical advice for minimizing liability and exposure in light of the burgeoning wave of related lawsuits.
Executive fired for false cause obtains multimillion defamation award By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, July 2011 In the case of Leyshon v. Diehl Controls North America, Inc., the Illinois appellate court upheld significant compensatory and punitive damages.
Double whammy—Employers engaged in systematic wage theft best beware By Glenn R. Gaffney Federal Civil Practice, June 2011 A January, 2011 Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision now allows plaintiff class action lawyers to combine FLSA collective “opt-in” actions with state law “opt-out” class actions.
Southern District Of California finds home delivery drivers to be independent contractors, not employees By William D. Brejcha Energy, Utilities, Telecommunications, and Transportation, June 2011 The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California analyzed each of the ten "common law factors" relating to the drivers’ employment/contractor status, ultimately concluding that plaintiffs’ evidence was insufficient to overcome the Georgia law presumption of independent contractor status for the plaintiff drivers.
Covenants not to Compete in Illinois—The assault on the legitimate business interest test By Harold B. Oakley Health Care Law, May 2011 Covenants not to compete are common in employment contracts, including those of physicians. Recent decisions from the Illinois Appellate Court have introduced some controversy regarding the proper analysis of such covenants. This article explores these recent cases.
Employer cannot terminate employee based on conflict between independent medical examination and employee’s doctor By Michael R. Lied Labor and Employment Law, May 2011 In Grabs, et al. v. Safeway, Inc., et al., the appellate court concluded that when an employer is faced with conflicting medical opinions from the employee’s doctor and the employer’s Independent Medical Examiner, it may not rely solely on the IME report in terminating an employee for failing to return to work.
Illegal aliens and the balancing of immigration reform with the “in terrorem” effect By Glenn R. Gaffney Labor and Employment Law, May 2011 A look at some of the “undocumented worker” issues raised in state and federal courts, as well as the “in terrorem” effect of a defendant’s inquiry into an illegal alien’s status.
The “Facebook Firing” case—Employer limits on restricting employee use of social media By Julie Krupa and Gregory G. Thiess Corporate Law Departments, April 2011 The issue in this case stemmed from an employee’s negative comments about her employer posted on the employee’s Facebook page.
Health care reform—Guidance and then some By Michael J. Powers Law Office Management and Economics, Standing Committee on, April 2011 A look at those aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the related Health Care Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010 that are most important to employers who sponsor healthcare plans for employees.
Torts at work—Some thoughts on negligent hiring By Jim McGrath Corporate Law Departments, April 2011 Each year companies pay millions of dollars to victims harmed by their employees, based on the doctrine of vicarious liability, and more and more frequently, based on the emerging tort of negligent hiring, which is now recognized in most states.
Will disqualifying job candidates based on their current unemployment soon be prohibited? By Julie Crabbe and Gregory G. Thiess Corporate Law Departments, April 2011 Until the EEOC clarifies the circumstances under which employment status is an appropriate or inappropriate criterion for job selection, employers should evaluate carefully whether to consider an applicant’s status as unemployed in making such decisions.
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.