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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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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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28 Oct 2014 Beware of the court of public opinion

As we have mentioned before on this blog, whether a court of law will enforce an employment-related restrictive covenant depends on the facts and often turns on which state’s law will apply. But whether a restrictive covenant will fly in the court of public opinion is a different matter entirely. Every now and then the media grabs hold of a legal issue and creates a frenzy of coverage. Lately, the spotlight focused on analysis of a confidentiality and non-competition agreement for employees at the Jimmy Johns…

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05 Sep 2014 New Illinois Law Will Require Pregnancy Accommodations Starting January 1, 2015

  Illinois employers should start preparing to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and new mothers – including leaves of absence – under a new law that will go into effect on January 1, 2015. Notice posting will be required and employers also may need to revise employee handbooks or policy manuals in anticipation of the effective date of the new law.   The Illinois law, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act, will allow women to request reasonable accommodations in the workplace for medical…

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23 Jul 2014 U.S. Supreme Court to hear pregnancy accommodation case in its fall term

  Must employers that provide work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations also provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work?   That is a question that the U.S. Supreme Court justices have decided they will consider in their next term,  agreeing to take up the case of Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. The issue is whether the federal  Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e(k) requires accommodations for pregnant workers such as “light duty” or…

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10 Jun 2014 Illinois moves to ban criminal background questions from job applications

Private employers in Illinois with 15 or more employees will have to revamp their job applications to remove questions about criminal background history and postpone such inquiries to the job interview or conditional job offer stage of the hiring process under legislation that is expected to be signed into law by the governor.   The so-called “ban the box” measure, titled the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act will take effect January 1, 2015, if, as expected, Governor Pat Quinn approves it. The governor already…

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03 Jun 2014 Pregnancy accommodations could soon be required in Illinois

  Illinois employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees under new legislation that is awaiting action by the governor.   The Illinois legislature passed expansive amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act that, effective January 1, 2015, will allow employees to request reasonable accommodations in the workplace for medical and other common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.   The changes will apply to employers of one or more employees, thus adding pregnancy to the existing Illinois Human Rights Act provision…

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20 Mar 2014 EEOC turns its focus to the impact of social media in employment litigation

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is concerned that efforts to access “private” social media communications through discovery in employment discrimination litigation could have “a chilling effect” on people seeking to “exercise their rights under federal anti-discrimination laws,” according to EEOC’s own summary of a recent meeting on the topic of social media in the workplace.   The EEOC held a Social Media Commission meeting at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. on March 12 to gather information about the use of social media in the…

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