NLRB regional director orders union election for Northwestern football players

March 27, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are entitled to a union election because they’re essentially employees of the private university located in Evanston, Illinois.

Peter Sung Ohr, Region 13 director of the NLRB, issued an order on March 26 that a union representation election be conducted. He said Northwestern’s scholarship football players are entitled to vote on union representation because they’re “employees” under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

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Illinois same-sex marriage law will spawn employment issues

by Steven L. Brenneman

On November 5, both houses of the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages. Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law. If he does, it will take effect in June 2014.

The new law will affect Illinois employers in several ways. Regarding employee benefits, employers will need to treat same-sex spouses the same way they treat opposite-sex spouses. The law will have ramifications on retirement plans and employer-sponsored health plans with spousal coverage.

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Illinois court makes noncompete agreements harder to enforce

by Steven L. Brenneman

In a decision handed down June 24, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, found a restrictive covenant unenforceable because of a lack of adequate consideration (something given in return for the employee’s agreement not to compete). The court ruled there must be at least two years of continued employment to constitute adequate consideration to support a restrictive covenant. Although this isn’t the first time an Illinois court has ruled that two years of employment are necessary, the ruling in this case is remarkable because of the following:

  • The employee signed the restrictive covenant at the time he commenced employment, yet the court rejected the employer’s argument that the employment offer itself was adequate consideration.
  • The restrictive covenant was the product of negotiations between the employee and the employer and included a proviso that the nonsolicitation and noncompete provisions wouldn’t apply if the employee was terminated without cause during the first year of his employment. Yet the court found this protection was insufficient consideration.
  • The employee voluntarily resigned after three months’ employment, but the court relied on previous decisions holding that an employee’s voluntary resignation, as opposed to an involuntary termination, makes no difference to the consideration analysis.

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Chicago teachers end strike

by Brian J. Kurtz

On what should have been the second Wednesday of the school year, Chicago teachers ended their strike against the city and returned to work. The bitter dispute brought national attention to Chicago and to the issue of education reform. The last teachers strike in Chicago took place 25 years ago. Apparently, a lot of acrimony can build up over a quarter century. So was it worth it? Who won? These questions are far more simple than their answers.

The final version of the three-year contract is reportedly still being drafted, so all the details are not yet public. As we wrote last week, the two biggest issues were the city’s proposed teacher evaluation system and whether laid-off teachers would have automatic recall to vacancies at other schools. Information published by the parties themselves and reports in the media suggest — not surprisingly — that neither side got everything it wanted in the negotiations.

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New Illinois law protects social networking passwords

By Steve Brenneman

Illinois has joined a growing trend to protect workers from employers that want access to their Facebook or other social networking accounts. On August 1, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.

Under the law, which is effective January 1, 2013, it will be unlawful for any employer to request or require an employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information to gain access to the employee’s/applicant’s account or profile on a social networking website. Similarly, the law bars employers from demanding access in any manner to such information.

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New Illinois Law Prohibits Use of Credit History in Hiring Decisions

August 12, 2010 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

by Steve Brenneman

Effective January 1, 2011, Illinois employers will have yet another restriction on their ability to make employment decisions. A new law will prohibit many employers from basing hiring, promotion, and other employment decisions on an employee or job applicant’s credit history.

The Employee Credit Privacy Act (HB 4658), which was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn yesterday, also forbids employers from inquiring about or obtaining a copy of an applicant or employee’s credit history or credit report. Illinois joins Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, and Louisiana in prohibiting the use of credit histories in employment decisions.

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