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Wessels Sherman Labor and Employment Law Blog

Workplace Accommodation - Nursing Mothers

In 2001, specifically July 12, 2001, the State of Illinois put in place legislation dealing with Nursing Mothers in the Workplace (820 ILCS 260/1, et seq.). This legislation required Employers, who had six (6) or more employees, to allow nursing mothers "reasonable unpaid break time each day" to express breast milk for their infant children. The Law also required that to provide this opportunity for nursing mothers, the Employer had to make "reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee could express her milk in privacy." (820 ILCS 260/15)

New Law Creates Online Complaint System for Misclassification of Workers as Independent Contractors Rather than Employees

On September 22, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed new legislation (effective July 1, 2018) called the Illinois Employee Misclassification Referral System Act.

Governor Rauner Tells the Illinois Human Rights Commission to Get Its Act Together

In a small move that will hopefully have a big impact, Governor Rauner issued an executive order in June aimed at de-clogging the backlog of over 1,000 cases at the Illinois Human Rights Commission (Commission). Any business that has experienced a case before the Commission knows how painstaking slow the process can be. On average, parties wait more than four years from the time a charge is filed until the Commission reaches a final decision.

What Illinois Employers Should Know About Vacation Pay: Frequently Asked Questions

There is a lot of confusion among employers about what is legally required in Illinois regarding vacation pay for company employees. The following are some commonly asked questions:

DOL Issues Six New Opinion Letters

On August 28, 2018, the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, issued six new opinion letters on issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act. They are summarized below:

Outsourcing Administration of Employee Leaves of Absence to a Third-Party Vendor Did Not Insulate Dollar General Store from Responsibility to Rehire Returning Service Member under USERRA

Administering employee leaves of absence is complicated. For employers of 50 or more employees there obviously are the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and D.O.L. regulations to deal with. Then there is the EEOC, which has interpreted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to require leaves of absence, or extending them under certain circumstances as a reasonable accommodation of an individual's disability. Add worker compensation laws that provide for reinstatement of employees following a work-related illness or injury, as well as an ever growing list of other federal, state and, more recently, local laws governing what employers may or may not do about employee absences and even the most experienced HR professionals have their hands full. Monitoring FMLA leave (especially intermittent leave), work-related absences, military leave, leave as an accommodation and all the legalities of when and how to return workers from such leaves, can be overwhelming. Not surprisingly, many employers have turned to outsourcing these functions, ostensibly to avoid all the hassles and legal pitfalls they present. However, as a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision demonstrates all too clearly, turning these responsibilities over to a third party does not rid an employer of responsibility, or liability, for complying with the many workplace leave laws that are at play.

Why a Handbook? The Necessity of Having an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook provides communication between employer and employee. It sets forth the requirements for employees and notifies them what they can expect from your Company as to legal obligations along with employee rights. Also, a written Equal Employment Opportunity statement gives protection to employers.

No Fault Attendance Policies

It has become a "sign of the times" that many Employers, rather than attempting to negotiate the maze of potential Legal Issues with regard to Employee Absences for sickness, child care, etc., have gravitated to what has become identified as the "No Fault Attendance Policy". Under a No Fault Attendance Policy, Employees are assigned certain points for absences regardless of the reason for those absences, and are terminated after they have accumulated enough points to generate termination and, in some cases, have exceeded the maximum number of days absent in a "No Fault Absence Policy" during a calendar or running twelve (12) month period. Employers believe that this is a very efficient way to maintain neutrality and to avoid asking people the reasons for their absences. Unfortunately, it seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking a very staunch position of disagreement with this concept.

New York City Places Caps on Uber and Lyft!

Creating a brave new world for taxi and limousine service companies, Uber and Lyft introduced their ride-hailing services approximately six years ago. Time has passed and now urban policy makers are shocked at how these very convenient and popular ride-hailing services have quickly changed transportation options in cities like New York City.

Labor News

As our readers know, a significant portion of our practice here at Wessels Sherman is devoted to representation of employers in cases involving labor unions. This runs the full spectrum from remaining union-free to dealings with organized labor involving negotiations, arbitration, strikes, picketing, boycotts, and virtually all matters coming under the general description of labor-management relations. In connection with this we keep a close eye on what is happening with labor unions. Here is an update:

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