This summer, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois further bolstered Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act’s (BIPA) nearly unfettered private right of action in Lewis v. Maverick Transportation. In a simple but firm four-page ruling, Judge Rosenstengel denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, holding that a cause of action under BIPA does not require a plaintiff to plead that data collected is used for identification purposes. The ruling serves to highlight the apparent lack of any real technical defenses to the statute — making it imperative that companies focus on strict compliance before they find themselves in court.Continue Reading Illinois Court Eliminates Another BIPA Defense
Q. Does the Workers’ Compensation Act bar a claim for damages under Illinois’ Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA)?
A. The Illinois Supreme Court recently issued an opinion, finding that the Workers’ Compensation Act does not bar a claim for damages under BIPA.Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Rules on Workers’ Compensation Act and BIPA
Q: I read that some major companies no longer drug test applicants for marijuana. What should our company consider as we conduct a review of our workplace drug testing policy for 2022?
A: It is true that a growing number of companies appear to be eliminating workplace drug testing. There are two major reasons: expanding marijuana legalization and the pandemic-era labor shortage.
Q. My company uses dash-cams to monitor driver conduct, but the company is not located in Illinois. Do I still have to comply with the Biometric Information Privacy Act?
A. Yes, as long as the company has drivers who are Illinois residents, you must comply with BIPA. The good news, however, is that as long as your company fully complies with the statute, it can continue to use telematics.Continue Reading Drivers’ Telematics Violates BIPA
Q: How does the current National Labor Relations Board view employee handbook policies?
A: Under the Trump administration, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has shifted in a more employer-friendly direction, including with respect to workplace policies. In a December 2017 decision, the NLRB reassessed the standard for evaluating when neutral workplace rules violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In that decision, the Board defined three categories of employer handbook rules and policies: (1) rules that are generally lawful; (2) rules that warrant individualized scrutiny; and (3) rules that are plainly unlawful.
Continue Reading NLRB Provides Updated Guidance on Employer Policies and Handbooks
Q. Do you have any tips on how to ensure that our company holiday party does not lead to a new year liability?
A. As the year comes to a close, many employers often celebrate with a holiday party as a way to thank employees for their contributions. The holiday party is meant to build comradery with co-workers, and provides an opportunity for all employees, management and non-management, to “let their hair down”. A festive occasion however, can turn into a legal nightmare if employers fail to set expectations. Everyone has heard stories of an employee (or two) having too much to drink at the holiday party and making an inappropriate joke, getting “touchy” with a co-worker, or getting into a car accident. By following a few simple rules, employers can attempt to prevent such legal disasters. Below are some suggestions to help ensure that your holiday party does not end up as the focus of a lawsuit.
Continue Reading How to Celebrate the Holidays Without Ending Up in Court: Tips for Hosting a Corporate Holiday Party
Q. Our Company just terminated an employee for a social media post that was in violation of our social media policy. Will she be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits?
While unemployment compensation laws vary from state-to-state, former employees generally are entitled to benefits unless the employer can prove that the employee’s employment ended due to a disqualifying reason, such as willful misconduct or voluntary discharge.
Continue Reading Termination for Social Media Activity May Result in Unemployment Compensation Benefits
Q. Can employers prevent employees from recording conversations in the workplace.
As technology continues to advance, so does the likelihood that everything you say and do is being recorded, even in the workplace. With most employees having access to smartphones and other similar devices, there has been an increase in the number of employees engaging in surreptitious surveillance as a means of trying to document alleged wrongdoing and to assert and prove legal claims. These recordings are being used more frequently in discrimination litigation. Employees who secretly record workplace conversations often regret it, because the recordings usually depict an employer attempting to be reasonable, and it makes the employee look sneaky and manipulative. However, employers often want to prevent these recordings from happening in the first place. Whether an employer can prevent employees from recording conversations in the workplace depends on federal and state wiretapping laws, and the interests the employer is attempting to protect in relation to employee rights.
Continue Reading Surveillance in the Workplace
Q: Do I need to pay my employees if my company has closed or temporarily shut down operations due to a natural disaster or inclement weather?
A: It depends.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and in anticipation of the upcoming winter snow season, many employers are questioning whether they need to pay employees when their company cannot open due to a natural disaster or inclement weather.
Continue Reading Paying Employees during a Shutdown due to Natural Disasters and Inclement Weather
Q. My Company would like to have all applicants for employment submit to a pre-employment physical examination to ensure that they are fit for the position. Is this allowable?
A. Employers may require an applicant to submit to a pre-employment physical examination, but only after a conditional offer of employment has been made, and even then only under the following conditions:
- All other candidates in the job category must also be required to submit to the physical;
- The candidate’s medical history is kept separate from other employment-related records and is treated confidentially; and
- The results are not used to discriminate against the applicant under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or other discrimination laws.