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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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18 Sep 2015 New rules provide insights for pregnancy accommodations in Illinois

Since the start of the year, all employers in Illinois with one or more employees are required to provide accommodations for pregnant workers for conditions associated with pregnancy and childbirth.  Now the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC) have issued a set of proposed joint rules to assist with interpretation and enforcement of the new law.   Under amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, employers and labor organizations must…

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10 Aug 2015 “Blue-penciling” saves the day in noncompete cases – sometimes, but not always

In the sue-or-be-sued world of post-employment restrictive covenants, the outcome ultimately hinges on which side can convince a judge that it is entitled to have its way. To enforce, or not to enforce – that is the question that judges are called upon to decide.  And sometimes the answer is to enforce but with limitations.   A recent case from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is a reminder that in some jurisdictions a judge can exercise discretion to narrow an overly broad covenant…

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26 Jun 2015 EEOC revises its enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination to comport with recent Supreme Court ruling

The EEOC just issued a revised version of its Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues in order to address a number of issues related to the U.S.  Supreme Court’s recent decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, __ U.S. __135 S.Ct. 1338 (2015), which addressed the issue of disparate treatment of pregnant workers.   The newly released version of the Enforcement Guidance will supersede the prior Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination that the EEOC released in July 2014 while the Young v. UPS…

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21 May 2015 Constructive discharge case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court

While the U.S. Supreme Court is sprinting to the finish line of its current 2014-2015 term at the end of June, the court already is starting to fill its docket of cases for the October 2015 term and a constructive discharge case will be among those heard and decided in the next year.   In a nutshell, a constructive discharge claim arises when an employee asserts that an employer made working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would feel forced…

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19 Feb 2015 Putting Out a Welcome Mat for Disabled Workers: Government Guide Provides Tips for Hiring and Retention

In a continuing effort to bolster employment prospects for individuals with disabilities, a number of federal agencies have joined forces to produce a guide that encourages employers to open their doors to more disabled workers.   The publication, entitled “Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Employers,” was published online earlier this month via the whitehouse.gov site.   The guide has a number of useful pointers and links for hiring managers and supervisors who work with individuals with disabilities.  In…

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14 Jan 2015 Pregnancy Non-Discrimination Poster Now Required in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has just published its “Pregnancy and Your Rights in the Workplace” poster for employers to use in order to comply with recent amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, Illinois now requires employers of one or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions associated with pregnancy. The Illinois Human Rights Act amendments also included a requirement for employers to post a notice issued by the Illinois Department of…

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09 Jan 2015 EEOC to Consider “Best Practices” for Prevention of Workplace Harassment

While most employers likely think of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first and foremost as an enforcer of federal non-discrimination laws through its charge investigations and litigation, the Commissioners at the EEOC appear to be opening the New Year with a focus on preventative measures.   The Commissioners are scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday, Jan.14, 2015, to consider the subject of workplace harassment and specifically how employers can prevent and address harassment.   The Commission’s meeting at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, which…

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07 Jan 2015 The Interns Strike Back: An Update – Court Approves $5.85 Million Conde Nast Settlement, While Appeals Remain Pending in Other Cases

Major magazine publisher Conde Nast closed out the year with preliminary court approval of its $5.85 million settlement of a lawsuit that alleged that thousands of  individuals should have been paid at least the minimum wage for time they spent as interns for magazines such as The New Yorker.  The settlement is expected to cover more than 7,000 former interns. Thus, the parties are able to resolve their dispute without additional time, expense and uncertainty of litigation. The settlement, which will be subject to a…

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26 Nov 2014 Can you be fired for doing “The Chicken Dance” at work?

It is challenging to find a blog idea involving employment law and turkey (search engines come up with articles on the employment laws of Turkey).  So our labor law lesson of the day involves chicken instead, and comes from Sydney, Australia, where you can’t be fired, it seems, for an allegedly intimidating workplace performance of “The Chicken Dance.”   The employer, Harbour City Ferries, discharged a 51-year-old male employee and cited as one of its reasons that he had performed “The Chicken Dance” as an…

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