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**Please note this blog has been updated as of January 25, 2021. Read our update here.

Beginning November 20, 2020, President Trump’s Executive Order 13950 On Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (“EO 13950” or “The Order”) will fundamentally reshape the way government contractors conduct diversity training.  Signed September 22, 2020, the Order prohibits federal workplace trainings that “promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating.” Importantly for private employers, federal contractors also “will not be permitted to inculcate such views in their employees.” On October 7, 2020, the Department of Labor issued guidance in the form of “frequently asked questions” regarding EO 13950.
Continue Reading Executive Order 13950 on diversity training: Hidden traps for employers

On July 14, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) released guidance for employers regarding the state’s new “adverse judgment or administrative ruling” reporting requirement.  Following amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act, employers with at least one adverse judgment or administrative ruling must disclose to the IDHR the total number of final, non-appealable judgments or final, non-appealable rulings against the employer in which there was a finding of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination.

The guidance released this month resolves ambiguity by clarifying employers’ deadlines for reporting to the IDHR.  The deadline to report for calendar year 2019 is now October 31, 2020, and the reporting deadline will be July 1 for subsequent years.

The reporting requirement is not limited to employers with a physical presence in Illinois.  As the guidance reiterates, the reporting requirement applies to “any person employing one or more employees in Illinois.”
Continue Reading Illinois releases guidance regarding reporting rule for sexual harassment and discrimination judgments

On April 28, 2020, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) released its model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (download here), providing guidance for employers with employees operating in Illinois.

Under the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA), effective January 1, 2020, employees must receive training on sexual harassment prevention by December 31, 2020, and on an annual basis thereafter. At minimum, the training must:

  • Explain what sexual harassment is (consistent with the Illinois Human Rights Act definition).
  • Provide examples of prohibited conduct.
  • Summarize federal and state sexual harassment laws, including remedies available to victims.
  • Set out the employer’s responsibility to prevent, investigate, and correct sexual harassment.


Continue Reading Illinois releases model sexual harassment training

With the 2020 presidential primaries underway, now is the time for employers to review their voting leave policies to ensure that supervisors and human resources departments understand applicable law. In addition to avoiding legal liability, compliance with voting-related laws helps employers maintain workplace harmony during a potentially contentious period.

Currently, 30 states[1] (and Puerto

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed its prior decision and upheld an Illinois district court ruling that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not protect job applicants from disparate impact claims. But beware, as this seemingly apparent win for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin may drive employees to bring their claims under more forgiving state anti-discrimination laws, which often provide for greater damages.

Case background and decision

The plaintiff in Kleber v. CareFusion Corporation, No. 17-1206, 2019 WL 290241 (7th Cir. Jan. 25, 2019) was a 58-year-old attorney who applied for and was denied a general counsel position. The job posting sought an attorney with three to seven years of experience. CareFusion hired a 29-year-old attorney for the role. In his lawsuit, Kleber argued that CareFusion’s “cap” on experience effectively weeded out older applicants.

Initially, a three-judge Seventh Circuit panel found that the ADEA did apply to disparate impact claims by job seekers. But when the full Seventh Circuit reheard the case, it ruled 8–4 that Section 4(a)(2) of the ADEA covers only discrimination against current employees, meaning that non-employee job seekers cannot sue companies for so-called disparate impact claims alleging neutral practices that adversely affect older applicants, thus affirming the district court’s original finding. Comparing the text of various ADEA provisions, the full Seventh Circuit’s majority opinion concluded that Congress did not intend for the Act to cover applicants asserting disparate impact claims.

Importantly, the ruling does not limit an applicant’s ability to sue for intentional age discrimination, such as a potentially ageist comment by a recruiter or a job posting stating “applicants over 40 need not apply.”

The Seventh Circuit joins the Eleventh Circuit (covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia), which issued a similar ruling in 2016.

Continue Reading Seventh Circuit limits ADEA’s scope, but beware state law

The new year brought a new concern for Illinois employers: a mandatory expense reimbursement law. As of January 1, 2019, Illinois employers must reimburse all “necessary expenditures” their employees incur in the scope of employment directly related to services performed by the employer.

The amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment Collection Act (IWPCA) defines “necessary expenditures” as “all reasonable expenditures … required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties and that inure to the primary benefit of the employer.” 820 ILCS 115/9.5.

The amended law is applicable where:

  • the employer “authorized or required” the employee to incur the expense; and
  • the expense request, along with appropriate documentation, was submitted within 30 calendar days – unless a longer period is provided for by the employer.


Continue Reading Illinois mandatory expense reimbursement law now in effect

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) makes clear that agency fee agreements in the public sector are unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Although Janus dealt with government employees, the potential impact on private sector employers also demands careful consideration.

The Decision

In Janus

Ruling has encouraging implications for all employers

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that auto service advisors—employees at car dealerships who advise customers about repair work—are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements. The ruling reverses unexpected decisions by the Department of Labor and the Ninth Circuit that upended what had

A reminder to all employers with any employees who work in Chicago or elsewhere in Cook County, Illinois: ordinances mandating that you provide paid sick leave to employees who work in Chicago or Cook County take effect July 1, 2017.

As we previously reported here, under the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (and the almost identical Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance), employers must begin awarding every employee who works in Chicago or Cook County one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per year (plus up to at least 20 unused rollover hours from the previous year). Nearly any employee who works at least 80 hours within any 120-day period in either jurisdiction qualifies, but employers may require the employee to wait up to 180 days after starting employment before they may use accrued paid sick leave.  Employers can avoid the carryover and accrual requirements by “frontloading” their employees with equal or greater leave at the start of each calendar or benefit year.

Recently released interpretative rules from the City and County have added the following clarifications:

  • According to the City’s rules, “[i]n the case of a conflict between the [City’s] Ordinance and the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, the [City’s] Ordinance shall prevail within the City.”
  • After the first year of employment, an employee may use a maximum of 60 hours of paid sick leave (unless the employer has a more generous policy)
  • An employee may use paid sick leave in one-hour increments, unless the employer establishes and disseminates a written minimum-use policy
  • An employer is not required to allow paid sick leave use while the employee is on disciplinary leave
  • Paid sick leave must be paid no later than the next regular payroll period beginning after the leave was used
  • The following employees are not covered under either ordinance:
    • Employees working in construction covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”)
    • Employees covered by a CBA entered into before July 1, 2017
    • Employees covered by a CBA entered into on or after July 1, 2017, and that explicitly waives their rights under the ordinance(s)
  • Immigration status does not affect an employee’s rights under either ordinance
  • A private right of action is possible under both ordinances


Continue Reading Chicago-Area Employers: Paid Sick Leave Begins July 1

On April 4, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit broke new legal ground by ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment, also forbids sexual orientation discrimination.  Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, No. 15-1720 (7th Cir. 2017) (en banc)