Steering Clear of “Disparate Impact” for Age Discrimination

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating in employment matters against older workers. Overt discrimination is easy to spot and relatively easy to prove in court. Most employers understand this and will (wisely) refrain from saying such things as, “Let’s get rid of the dinosaurs.” Continue reading “Steering Clear of “Disparate Impact” for Age Discrimination”

Volunteers and Independent Contractors May Be Entitled to Protection under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Editor’s Note: Most churches make extensive use of volunteers in their children’s ministries. Churches need good policies to guide in the selection and supervision of volunteers. A good policy will mandate background checks for all volunteers.

John Doe pastors a growing congregation by the name of Growing Church (“GC”). GC operates a host of programs, including men’s and women’s bible studies, a ministry to the teenagers, and a thriving children’s ministry. Recently, one of the church members approached Pastor John and suggested that GC start doing criminal background checks on all the volunteers who interact with the church’s teenagers and children. Pastor John along with the elders agreed, and GC immediately took steps to implement screening procedures on all of its volunteers. Continue reading “Volunteers and Independent Contractors May Be Entitled to Protection under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”

Notice by Snail Mail May Be Out-of-Date

A federal appellate court recently ruled that the “mailbox rule” – a legal presumption of mail delivery when a stamped letter is placed in the mailbox – may be out of date.

In a case regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on August 5th that an employer did not prove its employee actually received notice of FMLA compliance requirements merely because it placed correspondence in a stamped envelope and put the envelope in the U.S. mail.[1] Continue reading “Notice by Snail Mail May Be Out-of-Date”

Get Ready for Pregnancy Accommodation Rules Coming in 2015

The Human Rights Act has long banned discrimination based upon pregnancy and childbirth, but new amendments recently signed into law—and effective on January 1, 2015—will significantly expand those protections. The amendments seek to protect pregnant women from discrimination in the workplace by expanding the protections available to pregnant employees and job applicants. Continue reading “Get Ready for Pregnancy Accommodation Rules Coming in 2015”

Medical Marijuana and Employment Practices

Last September, Illinois became the 21st state to adopt a medical marijuana law. The law is a four-year pilot program that will assess the value of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Under the new law, users may register with the Illinois Department of Public Health as a patient with a legal prescription to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. The registered user may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days from a state licensed dispensary. Continue reading “Medical Marijuana and Employment Practices”

New Law Prohibits Illinois Employers from Asking Job Applicants about Criminal Background until After Job Offer is Made

A new employment law signed by Governor Pat Quinn last week and effective in 2015 will prohibit employers of over 15 employees from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal background until after an offer of employment has been made.

This legislation is intended to help ex-offenders secure employment upon their release from prison and become productive members of society. It means that any question in an employment application that asks about criminal matters must be removed from the application. A person may be judged solely on his or her qualifications for the position offered, and questions about criminal matters must be treated for hiring purposes as if they were questions about a disability. That is, they are valid only after the offer and not before. Continue reading “New Law Prohibits Illinois Employers from Asking Job Applicants about Criminal Background until After Job Offer is Made”

How Much FMLA Leave is Reasonable?

A federal court of appeals has given clear direction for employers who are faced with an employee whose illness or disability makes it impossible to return to work when Family Medical Leave expires.  The case exemplifies the conundrum when a number of well-meaning but sometimes contradictory federal laws apply to the fact situation. Continue reading “How Much FMLA Leave is Reasonable?”

Avoid Risky Executive Compensation Schemes

Two Illinois nonprofits that were in the news in recent years provide good examples of ill-considered schemes to hide the compensation of their chief executives.

Executive Club of Chicago. In 2007, The Executive Club of Chicago’s long-time CEO raised eyebrows and brought on an inquiry by Crain’s Chicago Business when she formed a solely owned company and hired it as the employee base for the Club.  She was the manager.  Because the cost of management was not revealed in the Club’s 990s, it was impossible for anyone to tell how much she was paid. Continue reading “Avoid Risky Executive Compensation Schemes”

Job Applicants with Criminal Records Present Challenges to Employers

The Employer’s Dilemma

Employers wishing to hire an applicant with a criminal record are faced with a dilemma. The Department of Labor estimated in 2012 that one in three American adults has a criminal history record.  Many of these individuals apply to jobs unaware that they have a record, believing their record has expired, or thinking their convictions are irrelevant to the position. This makes it increasingly important for employers to draft hiring policies that comply with applicable state and federal requirements.1 Continue reading “Job Applicants with Criminal Records Present Challenges to Employers”

Concealed Carry Gun Laws and How They Affect Your Organization

In July of 2013, Illinois became the 50th state to allow concealed handguns to be carried by its citizens.  Starting in January 2014, Illinois citizens will be able to file online applications for a concealed carry permit.  It is time to learn about how these laws work and what your responses to them – as an Illinois business – might be. Continue reading “Concealed Carry Gun Laws and How They Affect Your Organization”