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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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02 Nov 2015 Lessons Learned: Watch What You Say: It can and will be used against you

As employment litigators, we frequently remind our clients that extreme caution must be exercised with email communications. A recent decision by the Seventh Circuit, Arroyo v. Volvo Group North America, LLC, found here, serves as a powerful reminder.   Luz Maria Arroyo was an Army reservist who, between 2005 and 2011, deployed twice to Iraq and Kuwait for periods in excess of one year each and also regularly attended weekend drills, as well as annual and other military training. Although her supervisor and others expressed…

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27 Oct 2015 NLRB Once Again Puts Employers on Notice Regarding Handbook Policies

As I’ve noted several times on this blog, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is not messing around when it comes to handbook policies.  In the last few years, the NLRB has been aggressively looking for and cracking down on policies it believes are chilling the rights of employees to take protected, concerted action under the National Labor Relations Act relating to terms and conditions of employment. For handbook purposes, it makes no difference whether the company is a union or non-union shop. While many…

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28 Aug 2015 California Strikes Again! Senate ‘OKs’ Bill Limiting Employment Arbitration

  This week the California State Senate passed a measure that would block most employers from forcing workers to agree to arbitrate labor disputes instead of filing claims with state agencies or courts.  The senate approved the measure, AB-465—which is sponsored by the California Labor Federation and has drawn fierce opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce. Following AB-465’s passage, the senate ordered the bill to the assembly. The bill would add a new provision to the Labor Code to prohibit any person from:  …

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18 Aug 2015 Federal Court Allows Arbitration After Employer’s Nine-Month Delay

  At first glance, a recent decision from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania appears to throw cold water on the generally accepted rule that an employer who waits too long to enforce its right to arbitrate employment disputes waives that right.  The case, Serine v. Marshall, Dennehy, Warner & Goggin, et al., involved an employee who sued her former employer – a law firm – in federal court and the firm waited more than nine months before seeking to pursue arbitration.   The law firm…

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29 May 2015 Are You Ready for OSHA’s Revised Hazard Communication Deadline – June 1, 2015?

  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) compliance deadline of Monday, June 1, 2015, is fast approaching. The revised standard was effective in 2012, but it has staggered compliance deadlines for various aspects of the regulations over the years.   Employers were required to train their employees on the new labeling elements as well as the new standardized safety data sheets by Dec. 1, 2013. The deadline for chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors to comply with new hazard classifications…

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20 Mar 2015 It’s That Time of Year Again and So Has Begun the Madness of Lost Productivity

  It is that time of year again when traffic to work becomes lighter and the commute easier. It is also that time when, as predictable as ever, there is a sudden surge of “sick” employees at this time. The cause of your employees’ collective “illness”? A little too much basketball.   According to a recent Yahoo Sports Poll, approximately 14 percent of employees will call in sick for the first two days of this annual tradition of college basketball playoffs. For those employees who…

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20 Mar 2015 Non-Union Employers Beware – The NLRB May Come Knocking On Your Door

  In recent years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken a very aggressive stance on policies or work rules contained in employee handbooks. While the stance has been aggressive, it has also sent mixed messages to the employer community because policies that employers may have used for decades to protect their interests and employee privacy are suddenly being stricken down by the NLRB. And whether a policy or work rule is legally sound or may violate the National Labor Relations Act often comes…

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12 Feb 2015 Signing Section 2 of I-9 Forms Can Get You in Trouble!

  You believe your I-9s are in good order, you are confident that you are not employing unauthorized individuals and are not concerned about ICE audits because you are doing everything by-the-book. Or so you thought!   On Jan. 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) in U.S. v. Employer Solutions Staffing Group II, LLC, upheld ICE’s finding and proposed assessment of $227,251.75 in fines for making a false attestation on Section 2…

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29 Oct 2014 Simply Because You Have Been Sued Doesn’t Mean That You Should Sue Back – At Least Not Immediately

  Many employers are shocked when they find out they have been sued by a former employee, and that shock frequently turns to anger. Employers often tell their lawyers that there’s no merit to the employees’ allegations, and they say they want to countersue for “malicious prosecution.” A high profile case that was recently filed in New York state court – Facebook Inc. et al. v. DLA Piper LLP (USA) et al., (Case No. 653183/2014) – provides a brief learning lesson for employers who believe…

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