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Illinois Changing Employment Landscape

The Honorable J.B. Pritzker has been very busy in enacting sweeping changes to the Employment Law Landscape through the passage of various pieces of legislation in the State of Illinois. These legislative changes have modified the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Illinois Victim Economic Security and Safety Act and created the new Workplace Transparency Act, which has imposed new reporting, training and contracting requirements as well as expanding the potential legal liability of employers. As well, Amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act have raised issues with regard to the hiring process and the Organ Donor and School Activity Leave has added to the Changing Landscape.

Get Ready! All Owners of Hotels and Casinos in Illinois Must Soon Protect their Employees from Sexual Assault and Harassment with Panic Button Safety Devices!

An Illinois law, titled the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act becomes effective July 1, 2020.

So You Have A Whistleblower

Initially, the news that any individual in your company has filed an Internal Report detailing potential illegal, inappropriate or unethical behavior may seem like a terrible development and it is natural to feel shocked or concerned when such an event occurs but it is better than keeping it in the dark. Simply stated, if a "whistleblower" brings up a real problem, you may want to deal with it and get it resolved before the issue can affect the business' viability. In point of fact, a recent report in Harvard Business Review written by researchers Stephen Stubben of the University of Utah and Kyle Welch of the George Washington University found that internal whistleblowing is really a sign of a company's good health. In fact, in an analysis of over one million internal whistleblower reports at United States companies, they found that those companies that had active and viable reporting systems for internal reporting were more likely to be able to address those issues before they became costly legal problems. Do not overlook the mandates under the Sarbanes - Oxley Act that require "public companies" to have in place a procedure/plan to allow employees to engage in "anonymous whistleblowing" as part of their compliance programs. It should also be noted that under the Bounty programs established through the False Claims Act and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, those Bounty Programs may get employees to report to the government potential illegal or unethical behavior rather than to their company. When it is done internally within the organization, it is certainly better for the company than becoming embroiled in a lengthy and costly governmental investigation.

Illinois - Catching Up To California?!

Under the tripartite leadership of Pritzker, Madigan and Cullerton, Illinois is quickly attempting to "catch up" to California as a very pro-employee State.

He Who Hesitates May be Lost

While the statement "he who hesitates may be lost" has been around for decades, it may be the underpinning of a very recent Supreme Court decision. In a unanimous decision issued by the United States Supreme Court on June 3, 2019 (Fort Bend County vs. Davis, No. 18-525, Argued 4/22/19; Decided 6/3/19) the Supreme Court of the United States held that an employment discrimination plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is not a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing litigation and, therefore, Federal courts may be able to hear discrimination claims under Title VII even if workers fail to raise those claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or a state workplace bias watchdog group.

Wessels Sherman Announces Its New Office Location In Bloomington, Minnesota!

The Minnesota office of Wessels Sherman law firm has moved, taking up its new residence in one of the most iconic business locations in the Twin Cities. The new address is: Wessels Sherman, P.C.Riverview Office Towers, 8009 34th Avenue South, Suite 185, Bloomington, MN 55425

Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

By now, many of you have perused newspaper reports on the internet, and have been made aware that effective January 1, 2020, the State of Illinois has legalized recreational marijuana. It is interesting to note that the State of Illinois will be the first state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by legislative action rather than public referendum. In point of fact, the State of Illinois will be the eleventh (11th) state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Illinois and Artificial Intelligence

In the concluding days of the Illinois legislative session (extended by Speaker Madigan beyond normal closure date of May 31, 2019), the Illinois legislature passed a Fair Tax Recommendation, legalized recreational marijuana as of January 1, 2020, passed a balanced budget and increased gas taxes and other fees to pay for infrastructure, but that's not all. On May 29, 2019, the Illinois legislature unanimously passed the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act (HB 2557) which will regulate how Employers can use artificial intelligence to analyze job applicant fitness for various positions. Under the new law, which has yet to be signed by Governor Pritzker, before requesting that an applicant submit to a video interview, employers will be required to:

Biometric Information Privacy Act-Getting Stranger And Stranger

By now, every Employer in the State of Illinois is aware of the Illinois Supreme Court Decision in the Rosenbach v. Six Flaggs Entertainment Corporation and the State Supreme Court interpretation that, under the context of the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, a Plaintiff does not need to show an "actual injury" to process a claim, merely establishing that the Employer has not complied with the requirements of the Act." Those requirements are of informing Employees in writing of the specific policy for the collection of Biometric data; providing a retention schedule and guidance for permanent deletion of Biometric Information and, most importantly, procuring from the involved Employee a written release authorizing the collection of Biometric Information. If these procedures are not followed, the Employee would have a claim. As well, based on newspaper reports and an article written by this author for the Illinois Client Update, the State Legislature is considering "amending the Biometric Information Privacy Act to remove the private cause of action and make the Act solely enforceable by the Illinois Attorney General. Whether or not that Amendment will pass the Illinois Legislature is subject for debate since the Plaintiff's Lawyer's Bar seems to have a very close rapport with the Democratic Majority in the State House and Senate.

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