The Illinois General Assembly has struck again. On August 11, 2017, Governor Rauner signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act providing that discrimination includes a practice by an employer imposing upon a person as a condition of obtaining or retaining employment, including promotion, advancement, or transfer, any terms or conditions that…
A slew of new laws went into effect on January 1 in Illinois. Below are key labor and employment laws:
A recent federal circuit court of appeals decision shows a growing change in how courts define an “employer” for the purpose of establishing liability under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
As we previously reported, the minimum salary amount for an exempt employee since 2004 was $455/week or $23,660/annually. On July 6, 2015, the DOL announced its proposed rule which, in part, would mandate that employers have to pay an exempt employee a minimum salary of $970.00/week, or $50,440/annually.
On August 28, 2015, St. Louis Mayor Slay signed a bill, approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, into law as Ordinance 70078 that would have raised the minimum wage in St. Louis City from the current rate of $7.65 per hour. Ordinance 70078 was set to increase the current minimum wage to $8.25 per hour on October 15, 2015, with additional increases taking place on a yearly basis – $9.00 on January 1, 2016, $10.00 in 2017, and $11.00 on January 1, 2018. In 2019 the ordinance provided for increases to the minimum wage based on the rate of inflation. The ordinance states its purpose was “for the preservation of public peace, health and safety.” It expressly identified the intent to address local concerns for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of St. Louis.
In a case straight from “Bad Grandpa” the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals further confirmed an employer’s obligation to provide a work environment free of all forms of discrimination and harassment. In Chavonya Watson v. Heartland Health Laboratories, the 8th Circuit “assumed” for sake of analysis that an employer can be held liable under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) for harassment by a third-party who is not an employee. Ultimately, however, the 8th Circuit found that the incidents of harassments did not rise to the level of “hostile work environment” and affirmed summary judgment on behalf of the employer.
On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board issued a long-anticipated decision in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. By a three-to-two vote the Board reconsidered its test for when employers are considered joint employers, thus triggering bargaining obligations for an employer which may not be the direct employer of a bargaining unit.
The National Labor Relations Board has continued its well-established pattern of finding routine and generally accepted personnel practices as an unlawful infringement on employee’s free speech rights. Conventional wisdom is to maintain confidentiality of informant and witness statements in internal investigations. In doing so, employers routinely request or recommend employees to maintain the confidential nature of the facts discussed during the investigation in order to maintain the neutrality and objectiveness of witnesses. To further promote objective and fair investigations, The Boeing Company promulgated a general workplace notice to employees that recommended employees refrain from discussing a case during a pending investigation. Makes perfect sense right? Wrong?!?
A frequent question to lawyers who practice traditional labor law focuses on the recognition and bargaining obligations of employers who become successors to a business. When an employer merges with or acquires another business whose employees in a particular collective bargaining unit are represented by a union, certain obligations arise. If an employer qualifies as a successor in a situation in which it takes over the unionized business of another employer, the acquiring employer succeeds to the collective bargaining obligations of the former employer.
Employee arbitration provisions and agreements have been under increased scrutiny. However, in a 2015 case, Hewitt v. Honorable Kristine Kerr, the Missouri Supreme Court enforced an agreement to arbitrate against a former employee of St. Louis Rams. The case is a helpful refresher on Missouri law on arbitration agreements for employers who wish to arbitrate employment claims.