Court Watch™ is a periodic publication of Vantage Legal. This publication features timely information on employment related court decisions, passed and pending legislations and pending lawsuits and settlements. See our recent editions of Court Watch™ below.
On January 27, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided in Sandifer v. U.S. Steel that donning and doffing protective gear falls within the ordinary definition of changing clothes at the beginning and end of a work day and is therefore not compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
For the first time in more than 30 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in a controversial decision that split the commissioners 3-2, issued new guidelines stating that pregnancy alone, even without other underlying medical conditions, may require employer accommodations. Illinois followed the EEOC’s lead and is in the process of implementing an Amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act.
On July 19, 2014, Illinois became the latest state to adopt a “ban the box” law. To date, 13 states and nearly 70 cities and counties have now taken the step to remove longstanding barriers to employment in their hiring policies by adopting laws that focus on ending discrimination against people with conviction and arrest histories. These laws are commonly known as “ban the box” because they eliminate the small box that would be checked on an employment application to indicate prior arrests or convictions. Illinois’ version of the law, which goes into effect January 15, 2015, prohibits certain private employers from inquiring into a prospective employee’s criminal arrest or conviction record on the application as well as any time before an interview is offered or a conditional offer of work is made.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has sued a third employer for its wellness program, after two suits were brought earlier in 2014. In all three cases, the employer offered wellness programs to all employees; however, in order to participate in the program, they had to submit to medical exams and inquiries. Importantly, those employees who did not participate were subject to a variety of negative consequences. The EEOC argues that the severity of the consequences creates a penalty for those who do not participate and therefore participation is involuntary, which violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which requires voluntary participation.
It’s that time of year again when we all reflect on the past year and resolve to make this year better. 2014 brought a lot of change in the work/employment law arena, meaning that most employers had a busy December and January making sure that they were in compliance with newly enacted employment-related regulations, checking if changes to their workforce present new requirements, and ensuring they have kept up with regular practices. This edition explores some of the new employer requirements as well as reminders to employers of the ten things all employers needed to do in January to make sure their HR house was is in order for the year to come.