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Wessels Sherman Labor and Employment Law Blog

Keeping Sexual Harassment Out of Your Workplace

Over the past few months (and if you go back a little longer, over the past few years), allegations of sexual harassment have permeated the media. Whether it be Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, Al Franken, or Roy Moore, the media has had a field day in discussing sexual harassment issues. There have been numerous articles written about why "our culture" has allowed this phenomenon to exist. From the extremely high judicial standard in the Courts establishing within the Law proof of sexual harassment, to the fear of individuals to report sexual harassment because of its disdain, potential skepticism and shunning of the alleged victim, to the inability to fully investigate and document claims, all have been analogized as potential problem areas giving rise to the persistence of sexual harassment.

Illinois Employers Should Use Caution with Having Low-Income Employees Sign Covenants-Not-To-Compete

The unemployment rate in Illinois continues to decline, as is the case nationally. As of the time of writing this article, the state wide unemployment rate in Illinois is 4.6% and numerous experts predict that this rate will go lower as the economy continues to improve. Some cities in Illinois have unemployment rates as low as 3.4%. What this means for employers is that it may become even more difficult to fill open positions.

IRS to Begin Collection Process for ACA's "Pay or Play" Penalties

Employers who averaged 100 or more employees over the 2014 calendar year may be receiving a notice from the IRS in the coming months relating to potential penalties for failure to offer affordable coverage to full time employees for the 2015 calendar year, in violation of the ACA's Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate. In brief, employers who met the 100-employee threshold in 2014 were required to do the following in 2015:

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Interprets Independent Contractor ABC Test More Harshly than Other States

Good news for New Jersey employers who use independent contractors! Happily, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division [in Garden State Fireworks Inc. v. NJ Dept. of Labor, A-1581-15T2 (N.J. App. Div. September 29, 2017] recently decided that a pyrotechnics company's legal relationship with its independent contractor pyrotechnicians satisfied all three parts of the "ABC test" as laid out in New Jersey's definition of independent contractor status for unemployment insurance purposes.

Sexual Harassment Protection - Chicago Style

The highly questionable activities of Harvey Weinstein and others have caused the City Council of the City of Chicago to make significant changes to its laws in an effort to reduce sexual harassment. As a result of a recent survey of numerous hotels in the Chicagoland Area, which asserts that more than half of the women surveyed were allegedly sexually harassed or assaulted on their job, the Chicago City Council passed an Ordinance with the intent of protecting Hotel Workers.

Recent Mass Shootings Have Again Raised Questions for Companies Regarding their Workplace Policies

Two of the five deadliest mass shootings in the United States have taken place over the last few months. On October 1, 2017, fifty-eight (58) people were killed at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. In that shooting, a gunman fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on a crowd of more than 20,000 gathered in Las Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. The gunman killed fifty-eight (58) people and injured more than five hundred (500). This was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Tomorrow's Workforce

While the author is seventy-two (72) and probably will be out of the workforce in a few years (?), according to the United States Census Bureau (National Population Projection Statistics), Employers will be facing some interesting changes and challenges in their future workforces. Those "changes and challenges" will not only deal with technological issues, but with actual employees!

Electronic Timekeeping - A Hidden Source of Liability

Your company utilizes electronic timekeeping software, whether purchased for internal use or provided by a third party payroll service. The system is operating, so it must be doing so legally, right? Not necessarily. On several recent occasions I discovered, much to the dismay of my clients, that the timekeeping system they have been utilizing for years was setup in a manner that violates state and federal wage and hours laws - often discovered, unfortunately and expensively, in connection with a Department of Labor audit or other legal action.

Congress Is Struggling To Handle The Gig Economy

Yet one more area of controversy for our Congress to battle over is the "Gig Economy." Should Congress regulate it through new legislation? - or is it better to leave it to the courts?

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