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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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01 Jun 2018 In a Culture of Inclusiveness, Don’t Overlook Age

Age is the one protected class where everyone – eventually – is included. Yet as the #MeToo movement stays in the spotlight and implicit (and explicit) racial bias continues to capture headlines, it’s easy for age discrimination issues to fly under the radar.   But if you think age discrimination isn’t a big concern in today’s workplace, think again. The following examples illustrate how hiring is becoming the new battleground for age discrimination claims:   The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a major restaurant…

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28 Mar 2018 Employment Posters and Policies – Is There A Duty To Translate?

When setting workplace expectations, proactive employers should recognize the varying levels of literacy and English fluency in today’s workforce, as well as the need for employment information to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Plain English policies, which are clear to the average reader, are important.  But is there a duty to translate key employment documents or information?   Under federal law, there are at least three instances in which an employer may be required to provide notices in a language other than English:  …

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26 Feb 2018 Chicago says hands off the help – New law protects hotel workers from guest harassment

  Basic rules of etiquette and kindness should cover the workplace and extend to travel away from home – fundamentally, treat others as you would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.   And yet, some folks just can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.  Thus, a law set to go into effect July 1 within the City of Chicago will provide “panic button” protection for hotel staff against harassment and assault by hotel guests.   Known as the “hands off, pants…

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18 Jan 2018 Settlement in Flu Shot Case Provides Lessons for Mandatory Vaccine Programs

  Just as the flu has gone viral throughout the United States this winter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has resolved a religious accommodation lawsuit against a hospital that had implemented a mandatory influenza vaccine program for its employees.   The case centered on the use of a staff immunization policy at Mission Hospital in North Carolina, which the EEOC alleged did not provide sufficient safeguards for employees who wished to seek an exemption from mandatory flu shots on the basis of their sincerely…

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08 Jan 2018 Goals for the New Year: Prevent and Better Defend Employment Claims

  As sure as the calendar turns to a new year, there is no doubt that employers will see new employment discrimination charges and employment lawsuits filed.  So now is a good time for a check-up to see if you are well-positioned to minimize the risks of such claims in 2018.  Here are three quick, general pointers:   Clear Expectations. We’ve all seen it, in one form or another – the employee who, when faced with termination, will say: “I didn’t know that could get…

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28 Nov 2017 Accommodate Pregnant Employees and Nursing Mothers, or Expect Consequences

  Employers must provide pregnant employees and nursing mothers with necessary workplace accommodations or face possible legal liability in court. That’s the lesson to be learned from a recent case that is one of the first to analyze and apply certain provisions in Illinois law.   In Spriesch v. City of Chicago, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that a fire department paramedic could proceed with at least some of her claims against her employer alleging…

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13 Oct 2017 Attention Illinois Employers: 3 Handbook Policies to Revisit Now

  If you haven’t reviewed your attendance, sick leave, or pregnancy-related policies in a while, the time is right to ensure you stay up to date and prevent potential pitfalls.   Parental leave and pregnancy accommodation policies may need updates   Recent lawsuits, such as the one that the EEOC filed against Estee Lauder, claim companies’ parental leave policies violate sex discrimination laws if they provide male employees with less bonding leave upon the birth of a child than female employees receive. This serves as…

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29 Aug 2017 Illinois Governor Vetoes Employment Bills Aimed at Salary History Inquiries, Wage Issues

  Legislation in Illinois that would have outlawed employers from seeking job applicants’ compensation history has failed to become law, following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent veto.   The bill would have amended the Illinois Equal Pay Act and was aimed at the practice of seeking job applicants’ compensation history during the hiring process, which equal pay advocates contended has the effect of perpetuating the salary differences between male and female employees that may have been the result of past discriminatory practices. The proposed changes to…

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08 Jun 2017 The Age Discrimination in Employment Act Turns 50

  Put 50 candles on the cake. In 1967, the U.S. Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) with the stated purpose “to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; (and) to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.”   Now 50 years later, as baby boomers are moving through the workforce and reaching retirement, the ADEA retains its relevance even…

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17 May 2017 Hiring Teenagers This Summer? Here are 3 Key Considerations

  School’s out for the summer. If you do business in recreation, restaurants, or retail, chances are you will be employing teen workers this season. So now is a good time to learn from a few real-world examples of legal issues involving teen workers.   The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will not hesitate to come to the aid of young workers if it believes they have been subjected to sexual harassment. You can read the EEOC’s descriptions of several of its cases involving harassment…

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