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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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29 Sep 2016 EEOC Continues Fight Against Mandatory Flu Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers

  Just as another flu season is upon us, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is ramping up its battle against mandatory healthcare workers influenza vaccination programs by filing at least its third lawsuit this year on the subject of accommodations for individuals who profess religious objections to being vaccinated.   In EEOC v. St. Vincent Health Center, the EEOC is alleging that a Pennsylvania healthcare organization failed to accommodate the religious beliefs of six healthcare workers who sought exemptions from mandatory flu shots…

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07 Sep 2016 Illinois Cracks Down on Noncompetes for Low-Wage Workers

  Should the teenage workers who make your deli sandwich (or bus tables or perform other routine entry-level work) be able to move from one job to another without running afoul of a noncompete? The court of public opinion thought so, as evidenced by the controversy that erupted over the Jimmy Johns sandwich chain’s much-publicized business plan that even low-level workers should be subjected to post-employment restrictions, as we reported here.   Now the Illinois General Assembly has stepped in with the new Illinois Freedom…

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02 Sep 2016 Illinois Employers Who Provide Sick Leave Must Allow Workers to Use It for Children and Family Members

  Employers who provide sick leave benefits for employees in Illinois will soon have to allow employees to use their accrued paid sick time to care for their children and other family members and not just for their own illnesses.   Starting January 1, 2017, any Illinois worker who is entitled to sick leave will be able to use it for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment for a child, spouse, or certain other family members on the same terms as sick…

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14 Jul 2016 Posting a Resume is Now Required in Illinois to Receive Jobless Benefits

  Jobseekers in Illinois who apply for unemployment benefits on or after July 17, 2016, will have to register for employment services and post at least one resume to the state’s job search website before they can receive unemployment payments (unless an exemption applies), according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).   Although the IDES is characterizing its announcement as a “reminder” that applicants for unemployment insurance benefits must show they are looking for work by registering for employment services, the requirement to post…

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08 Jul 2016 Court Provides Roadmap for Managing ‘Intolerable’ Behavior From Employee with Disabilities

  What is an employer to do when a long-standing employee with a known anxiety disorder engages in a public display of suicidal gestures and disruptive behavior? Don’t act in haste, but if careful consideration of the situation leads to a termination, the decision-making process may withstand scrutiny in court.   That’s the outcome in a recent ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Felix v. Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, which provides a thorough and detailed analysis of a challenging situation involving an employee…

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24 Jun 2016 Chicago Workers to Earn Paid Sick Leave as Trend Continues in Big U.S. Cities

Employers who have a Chicago-based workforce will need to begin preparations for their employees to earn and use up to five paid sick days per year now that the Chicago City Council has taken action to require sick time benefits.   The new requirement, scheduled to go into effect July 2017, will allow workers within the city to earn one hour of sick time for every 40 hours of work, up to a maximum of five paid days per 12-month period.  Workers also will be…

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15 Apr 2016 EEOC Consent Decrees Highlight That Employers Must Prevent ADA Claims — Or Pay the Consequences

Public consent decrees that resolved several recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) disability discrimination lawsuits are a stark reminder that clear policies and training can help employers to avoid such consequences.   A common theme of the recently-settled EEOC lawsuits is that once the EEOC files a lawsuit it will demand a public settlement that includes substantial financial terms and non-monetary relief including posting of notices in the workplace and mandatory training.   In a case that the EEOC filed against a paper manufacturing company…

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04 Mar 2016 Should Charging Parties Read Your Position Statement? EEOC Says Yes.

  The EEOC is implementing nationwide procedures that will disclose employer position statements – submitted in response to charges of discrimination – to charging parties and their attorneys upon request during the course of the EEOC’s investigation of the charge.   If the employer’s position statement is provided to a charging party, there is a 20-day period for the charging party to provide a response to the EEOC, but that response will not be provided to the respondent/employer during the investigation, according to a summary…

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26 Jan 2016 The EEOC wants to hear your opinion on retaliation claims under Title VII

  If you would like to add your two cents to the debate about compliance with anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII and other federal non-discrimination statutes, the EEOC is listening.   The EEOC has announced that it has prepared an Enforcement Guidance on retaliation and has now opened the process for public comments.  The EEOC last issued guidance on retaliation back in 1998, so now it is seeking to update its guidance to incorporate recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts…

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09 Dec 2015 Illinois Amends Unemployment Act Includes specific misconduct that can disqualify an employee from unemployment benefits

Amendments to the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, which take effect on Jan. 3, 2016, may mean employers will have a better chance of winning challenges to claims for unemployment  benefits in instances where employees have engaged in specific types of misconduct.   The changes to the Act, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law on Dec. 4, include a new list of specific employee actions that constitute misconduct sufficient to disqualify an employee from unemployment benefits.   For years, the Illinois Department of Employment Security…

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