In January 2020, Illinois legalized the use of recreational marijuana through the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“the Act”).  Two months later, many employees began working remotely because of the pandemic.  Today, work-from-home continues to blur the lines between “work” and “home” in countless ways, and employee drug policies are no exception.  The new world of remote work has left many employers wondering what to do with their drug policies now that cannabis is legal and their employees are remote or hybrid.  Can an employer lawfully prevent their employees from using cannabis while working from home?

Continue Reading What Do I Do With My Workplace Drug Policy Now That Cannabis Is Legal in Illinois and My Employees Are Remote?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)—the agency tasked with enforcing federal labor laws—was deputized by Congress in 1972 with authority to bring lawsuits against employers for violating anti-discrimination laws and retaliating against employees.  Since then, the agency has made a concerted and aggressive effort to challenge, among other things, standard clauses in separation agreements that have the potential to chill former employees’ participation in legal actions against their former employers, including non-cooperation and covenant not to sue clauses.  This concern is especially salient in the age of COVID-19, where many employers are using separation agreements at a breakneck pace due to the unprecedented rate of employee layoffs, and EEOC enforcement actions may be just around the corner.
Continue Reading Employee Separation Agreements Likely to Face Increased EEOC Scrutiny

On January 1, 2021, various new and amended employment laws will go into effect in California. Below is a summary of some of these laws that employers should make themselves aware of heading into the new year.  All laws discussed in this post go into effect on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
Continue Reading New Employment Laws to Look Out for in 2021

As we wrote earlier this year, every employer with employees working in Illinois is required to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training that complies with the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”).  The Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) recently released a model sexual harassment prevention training program that meets the IHRA’s requirements.
Continue Reading Employers: Do Not Forget Your Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirement

The Workers Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers with over 100 employees to follow certain notice requirements when laying off employees. 20 C.F.R. 693.6.  WARN requires employers with 100 employees or more to give affected workers at least 60 days’ notice of any plant closing or mass layoff, with exceptions for, among others, “unforeseeable business circumstances.”
Continue Reading States May Have Additional Layoff Notice Requirements Under “Mini-WARN” Statutes

On January 1, 2019, California’s Senate Bill No. 1431 went into effect, making a slight, but potentially significant amendment to Civil Code Section 1542. The prior version of the statute read: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.” SB 1431 amended Section 1542 to now read: “A general release does not extend to claims that the creditor or releasing party does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release and that, if known by him or her, would have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor or released party.” The amended version of the Code adds “releasing party” and “released party” alongside creditor and debtor, respectively, and also changes “must have materially affected” to “would have materially affected” the releasing party’s decision to settle.
Continue Reading California Legislature Amends Section 1542: Are Employer Settlement Agreements Now More Vulnerable to Attack?

The legalization of recreational use of marijuana in several states, including California, has left many employment policies vague and confused. This article offers insights to questions every employer should be asking in light of legalization.

California’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana

California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“Prop 64”) on November 8, 2016, legalizing recreational marijuana use. However, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control only began accepting, processing, and issuing licenses to commercial marijuana dispensaries as of January 1, 2018. As of April 2018, the Bureau has granted over 5,000 licenses for a variety of commercial uses, including retail sales and distribution.
Continue Reading It’s High Time to Update Your Marijuana Policies

A New York appeals court recently ruled in Edwards v. Nicolai (153 A.D.3d 440 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 2017)) that an employment termination motivated by the sexual jealousy of an employer’s spouse may support a claim for gender discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) and the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”).
Continue Reading Yoga and Massage Therapist Fired for Being “Too Cute” Sees Gender Discrimination Claim Revived on Grounds of Unjustified Spousal Jealousy

Overview

Retailers and other employers regularly consider the backgrounds of job applicants and employees when making personnel decisions. It is not illegal for employers to ask questions about an applicant’s criminal history, or to require a background check. However, whenever an employer requests background information about a job applicant or employee, the employer must comply with federal and state laws. Within the last five years, employers have been put under increased scrutiny, especially when they require criminal background checks during the hiring process. This article summarizes recent legal trends regarding criminal background checks in the employment context, and discusses how employers—particularly those within the retail industry—can ensure compliance with the law.
Continue Reading “Ban the Box” and Background Checks – Recent Trends and Movements

The new year will bring along a variety of new obligations for California employers.  Although some of the new laws clarify existing law and provide helpful guidance, several impose additional requirements.  This update highlights key provisions of some of the more notable changes taking effect in 2017.  Links to the statutes and/or prior updates regarding the same are provided where applicable.
Continue Reading California Employers – New Year, New Rules in 2017

As a reminder that non-union employees are also protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently upheld a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision holding that Staffing Network Holdings, LLC (“Staffing Network”) violated the NLRA by twice threatening non-union employees with discharge for engaging in protected, concerted activity, and for actually discharging an employee Griselda Barrera for the same. See Staffing Network Holdings, LLC v. NLRB.
Continue Reading Non-Union Employee’s “Bad Attitude” Protected by the NLRA