Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-56 authorizing some businesses to reopen provided that they comply with OSHA, MDH, and CDC guidelines. The Order went into effect on May 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. and remains in effect until May 31, 2020.
We now know the basic outline of how the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will process independent contractor unemployment insurance claims.
In what may be among the first of many legal disputes arising out of the Coronavirus crisis, an employee in Illinois has filed a lawsuit against the suburban hospital where he worked as a security guard. The plaintiff, Marvell Moody, is alleging that his supervisor berated him for wearing a face mask while working as a public safety officer at Advocate South Suburban Hospital. Moody claims in the lawsuit that he wore the mask because the hospital is treating patients who have COVID-19 and he cares for his 65-year-old mother, who presents an elevated risk for COVID-19 due to recent surgeries she has undergone. The supervisor allegedly told Moody wearing the mask was against hospital policy. Left with no choice other than to assume a risk to himself and an elevated risk to his mother, Moody refused to come to work.
UNDERSTANDING THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SYSTEM IN AMERICA: Unemployment insurance benefits in the United States started in Wisconsin in 1932. Then came the Social Security Act of 1935 in which the U.S. Federal government encouraged individual states to adopt unemployment insurance plans.
In what may be the first of many to follow, Hooters restaurant chain was hit with a proposed class action lawsuit alleging WARN Act violations. The lawsuit was brought in federal court by two employees on behalf of all employees in Florida whom Hooters allegedly failed to provide with 60 days advance written notice of their layoffs as required by federal law. Although the mass layoffs occurred in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and government ordered closings, the plaintiffs contend that Hooters should have evaluated the impact of the pandemic sufficiently in advance of laying employees off. The complaint seeks 60 days' backpay and other damages for each day of advance notice employees were entitled to receive under WARN prior to being laid off. Alternatively, the complaint asks for damages caused by Hooters' alleged failure to give "as much notice as was practicable" under the circumstances, as required by D.O.L. regulations on the WARN Act. While the outcome of this lawsuit has yet to be determined, it and others likely to follow serve as a reminder to employers of the need to consider federal and state layoff and closing notification laws...even during a pandemic.
COVID-19 is about the only subject being discussed at Wessels Sherman these days. Of course, there are some exceptions, but COVID-19 is the 800-pound gorilla! While most legal commentaries on COVID-19 focus on minutiae of legislation and regulations, for this commentary we are going to focus on practical information and solutions. And, we will do so in a checklist format with resources of practical use.
As I write this article in the COVID-19 era with the purpose of assisting Illinois companies who use independent contractors, things are moving rapidly in terms of new federal laws, regulations and state guidelines. Changes are occurring at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) with shocking speed!
On April 13, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued interim guidance for enforcing OSHA's recordkeeping requirements as it relates to recording cases of COVID-19.
As COVID-19 spreads throughout America, companies are deciding whether to give pay raises to employees, especially those clearly exposed to COVID-19 risks. This is a really hot topic, so much so that we decided to spend a bit of time looking at what is happening. Most of our information is a result of internet searches over the weekend.
We are receiving phone calls with increasing regularity asking about a variety of issues generally described as refusals to work. Most frequently these scenarios involve talk, but sometimes outright threats to walk off the job. There are a whole host of fact patterns here which impact a legal analysis.