Illinois News & Analysis

  • Organist hits wrong notes in attempt to sue church

    Last year we reported on a case in which the court ruled a Hebrew teacher at a Jewish school fell within the "ministerial employee" exemption from coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (see "Hebrew school hears 'mazel tov' after former teacher loses claim" in our March 2018 issue). Now the 7th Circuit has returned to the topic to determine whether a Catholic Church organist is an exempt "minister" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious employers everywhere are singing.

  • Editor's note

    After four years during which Republican Bruce Rauner collided with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, the legislative floodgates seemed to have opened this spring now that Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker and the General Assembly have gone to work on their agendas. One result of this one-party rule in Springfield has been a series of measures that will impact Illinois employers in a variety of ways. In addition, the Chicago City Council, with a new mayor in charge, has likewise added to Chicago-based employers' obligations. We devote this entire issue to bringing our readers up to speed on these significant Illinois employment law changes.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair claims joint-employment comment review not outsourced. Responding to concerns from congressional Democrats, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring says his agency is not outsourcing the review of public comments on the joint-employer standard. In March, Ring wrote a letter to Bobby Scott, chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Frederica S. Wilson, chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions, saying the Board has not outsourced the substantive review of comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on what constitutes joint employment. Instead, he said the NLRB decided "to engage temporary support on a limited, short-term basis to perform the initial sorting and coding of the public comments." He said the process ensures confidentiality protections are in place, and the Board's professionals will perform the first substantive review of the comments.

  • Workplace Trends

    NFIB speaks out against predictive scheduling laws. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) issued a statement in March in opposition to state and local laws requiring employers to provide hourly workers their work schedules weeks in advance. The organization said such laws aren't always possible or realistic for small businesses. "It severely limits owners' control over their scheduling decisions and urgent business needs," the statement said. The organization pointed to laws in Oregon, Seattle, and San Francisco and said the unpredictability of staff needs in certain industries like construction and hospitality raises concerns. "The laws not only prevent employers from adjusting to market changes, bad weather, or other demands outside their control, but they also prevent employees from picking up additional work hours at a moment's notice or requesting unanticipated time off," the statement said.

  • Owner's alleged harassment is tough pill for pharmacy to swallow

    Individuals who claim to have experienced sexual harassment typically file claims under Title VII and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). But those aren't the only potential legal claims an individual can level against an employer (or former employer). In some instances, the alleged conduct supporting a sexual harassment claim also can cover claims for battery or intentional infliction of emotional distress, as one pharmacy recently learned.

  • Know the legal issues you face when employees work past 65

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 69 are still employed. That number has been steadily rising, and it's expected to reach 36 percent over the next five years.

  • Workplace Trends

    Turnover hits all-time high. Research from indicates that total workplace turnover in the United States hit an all-time high in 2018, reaching 19.3%. That's nearly a full percentage point from 2017 and more than 3.5% since 2014. The report contains data from nearly 25,000 participating organizations of varying sizes in the United States. By industry, hospitality (31.8%), health care (20.4%), and manufacturing and distribution (20%) had the highest rates of total turnover. Utilities (10.3%), insurance (12.8%), and banking and finance (16.7%) had the lowest. By area of the country, the South Central region (20.4%) and the West (20.3%) had the highest rates of total turnover. The Northeast (17.3%) had the lowest rate of total turnover in the country.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • HR manager may be taken to cleaners for allegedly protecting sexual harasser

    Think your plate is full trying to understand and comply with all the federal, state, and local laws affecting the employment relationship? A recent decision from a federal judge in Peoria examines another statute to keep in mind.

  • New technologies create new employee privacy issues

    Unless you work for a company that's very small or very low-tech by nature, chances are, one of your biggest challenges is keeping up with technology. If your competitors are taking advantage of the many new technological advances that promote efficiency and productivity while you're stuck in 1999, your business will struggle to compete.