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Employment Policies and Procedures Archives

Don't Have a Neutral Absenteeism Policy: Warning to Employers!

Some Illinois employers may have neutral absenteeism policies that "administratively terminate" any employee who has failed to return to work from a medical leave of absence after a stated period of time such as one year or some other period of time set by the company.

Avoiding Employment Lawsuits

Over my rather lengthy career as a Management-Oriented Labor/Employment Lawyer (started November 6, 1972 with the Walgreen Company), I have seen a drastic and very unfortunate change in the Employer-Employee relationship. Over the last ten (10) years, there has been an over 500% increase in Employee Litigation. You do not need a Lawyer to tell you that Employment Litigation is expensive, both in the financial commitment and the time-productivity loss commitment. Here are a few of my suggestions for trying to eliminate or limit Employee Litigation:

The NLRB Erases Unfair and Arbitrary Policy Standard

In December 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a new decision which should help employers more easily determine if their handbook policies are legal under the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). The NLRB delivered a new standard, via December's Boeing Company decision [365 NLRB No. 154 (Dec. 14, 2017)], by which the NLRB will test the legality of workplace policies. This decision is substantial for both union and non-union workplaces as the NLRB has been expanding its enforcement of handbook policies at non-union companies.

Lessons Learned: Effective Documentation

"The importance of documentation" is an axiomatic, and almost trite, battle cry that human resource professionals constantly beat into the psyches of their supervisors - quite often to no avail. But what, really, is "documentation?" When do you do it? How do you do it? And, what, exactly, are you supposed to document? More importantly, have you ever conveyed this information to your supervisors?

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.

Communications with Applicants, Current and Former Employees: Best Practices

Every day, as a regular part of doing business, employers need to discuss applicants or current and former employees. Communications have changed and evolved over the years and these communications can be in the form of any of the following:

An Employer Must: Keep Records of All Important Employee Interactions

At Wessels Sherman, we cannot stress to our Illinois clients enough the importance of good record keeping. Employers of all sizes will say, "of course we keep our important records" and indeed they will have every time card, pay stub, and employment application for the previous five years (as they should). Those types of records are very important and do help protect employers from future wage and hour lawsuits under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and other laws. However, many businesses fail to keep records of events or interactions which may have a less obvious but still enormous impact in protecting them from discrimination lawsuits down the road.

Expanding Title VII?

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' landmark decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Case No. 15-1720), which established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination on the issue of sexual orientation, may be an indication that the Courts are willing to adopt much more inclusive positions towards gay workers and may, as well, keep moving in that same direction with regard to transgender employees. It is quite clear from a review of print and social media that LGBT advocates are becoming much more aggressive in the challenging of perceived discrimination in the workplace. Clearly, the Legal Basis behind the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in Hively could also be used in future Cases to widen the scope of protection for transgender workers.

Being Caught in a Tangled Web

In the March, 2017 Client Alert, the Author submitted an Article on giving guidance to Employers in the creation of good documentation to substantiate and defend Employment Decisions when those Decisions are called into question. While the presence (or lack thereof) of good documentation can be the success or failure in any Employment Litigation, there are certain situations where an Employer's documentation may create a "tangled web" in which an Employer catches himself/herself.

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Phone: 630-377-1554
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Wessels Sherman Joerg Liszka Laverty Seneczko P.C.

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