In the course of our labor practice over the past 34 years, we have become intimately familiar with the various Northern Illinois labor unions. We have dealt with all of them. Naturally, most of these local unions are congregated in the metro Chicago area. The six country area is one of the few remaining areas in the U.S. where unions have significant strength. As we have chronicled in our reports to you over the years, union strength in the private sector is waning dramatically. However, Northern Illinois remains somewhat of an exception and, although membership numbers are declining, labor organizations still have power, at least by comparison to other areas of the country. There is particular truth to this in the construction industry. Below is a short commentary on the most important Northern Illinois labor unions.
Clients are increasingly aware of the growing number of class action lawsuits across the United States. What should the worried company owner do? The logical response is to have independent contractors (or employees) sign a contract under which they agree to mandatory arbitration of all disputes, claims or causes of action arising out of or related to the independent contractor (or employment) relationship with the Company.
On June 8, 2018 and August 24, 2018 respectively, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a number of amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act which in the State of Illinois regulates discrimination claims due to a protected category, disability or sexual harassment claims.
Illinois is joining a growing number of States (e.g. California; Connecticut; Minnesota; New Jersey, and New York) in enacting specific legislation designated to address workplace violence in the Healthcare Industry. Effective January 1, 2019, the Health Care Violence Prevention Act (210 ILCS 160/1, et seq.) has become effective in the State of Illinois and mandates that hospitals and other healthcare providers and "custodial agencies" comply with very specific requirements aimed at protecting their workers from violence.
√ Audit compensation classifications and policies
Texas federal judge Reed O'Connor declared the Affordable Care Act invalid in a December 2018 decision that is notable but, ultimately, will likely have no impact on employers' obligations under the ACA. I'd be remiss if I didn't use this opportunity to engage in my new favorite hobby: educating employers about the ACA with the help of random southern phrases I found on Google.
Employers have a legal obligation to accommodate work-related conflicts posed by an employee's or applicant's disability or religious beliefs. This seems simple enough - be "reasonable." Yet as many business professionals and lawyers know all too well, there is a great deal of room for differences of opinion as to what constitutes a "reasonable accommodation." Considerable effort (and litigation) has gone into defining what is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (for religion). For its part the EEOC has routinely pushed the envelope; it expects employers to go to great lengths to satisfy their obligation to reasonably accommodate workers. Recent cases dealing with accommodations in the form of service dogs, sign-language interpreters, extended leaves of absence and adjusted work schedules, are just some of the positions taken by the EEOC in litigation (with varying degrees of success). Here are some examples:
Employers put their companies and themselves at great legal risk (unnecessarily!) when they assume that their pregnant employees cannot do their job just because they are pregnant.