New Chicago ordinance will require employers to provide paid sick leave

June 23, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

On June 22, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance that will require nearly all employers in Chicago to provide paid sick leave to employees. The ordinance, which passed 48-0 despite opposition from business and employer groups, follows the lead of similar laws in several states and more than a dozen cities. It is expected to be signed into law quickly by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and it will take effect on July 1, 2017.

The ordinance will apply to virtually all employers in Chicago, regardless of the number of employees. All businesses that have a location in the city or are subject to city licensing requirements must comply (except for employers in the construction industry).

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New laws affecting Illinois employers take effect January 1

December 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Illinois employers need to be aware of a few new laws taking effect January 1.

Ban the box

One of the new laws, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, prohibits most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after they are deemed qualified for a job.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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Illinois employers need to prepare for same-sex marriage law

May 05, 2014 0 COMMENTS

Illinois’ same-sex marriage law, which was passed last fall, is set to take effect June 1. The new law will affect Illinois employers in various ways.

Employers will need to treat same-sex spouses the same way they treat opposite-sex spouses. This will have ramifications for employer-sponsored health plans with spousal coverage and retirement plans.

Also, employee leave policies will be affected. For example, the guarantees provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act for the serious health condition of a spouse will be available to same-sex spouses. Similarly, other leave or benefit policies relating to spouses and families (e.g., bereavement leave) will need to be administered consistently for opposite-sex and same-sex married employees.

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Illinois court makes noncompete agreements harder to enforce

June 26, 2013 0 COMMENTS

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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New Illinois Law Prohibits Use of Credit History in Hiring Decisions

August 12, 2010 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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