Illinois News & Analysis

  • Pretext analysis key to beating discriminatory hiring claims

    A failure-to-hire case recently decided by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin employers) demonstrates the importance of the pretext analysis in defeating discrimination and retaliation claims. In such cases, the 7th Circuit requires employees to prove pretext (i.e., a cover-up for discriminatory or retaliatory motives). The court focused its entire discussion on the pretext issue, finding it was determinative of the outcome of the employee's timely discrimination and retaliation claims.

  • Workplace primer on attracting, retaining neurodiverse talent

    Neurodiversity represents the inherent differences in neurological structure and function. The term encompasses neurocognitive differences such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, Tourette's syndrome, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia. Most governments don't provide neurodiverse individuals with the support necessary to enter and remain in the workforce, but many multinational employers are becoming aware of the benefits of having a neurodiverse workplace.

  • 5 employee handbook pointers for Wisconsin employers

    An employee handbook is an important tool for communicating an employer's policies, procedures, and expectations. They are particularly good for assisting HR staff with onboarding new employees. Creating a well-drafted employee handbook can be challenging, particularly because it's easy to confuse it with employee contracts. Here are some things to remember when drafting and editing an employee handbook.

  • 'Long COVID' and the workplace: What a long, strange trip it's been

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many people have caught (or know others who have contracted) the virus. Most who recover from the infection do so within a couple weeks or shortly thereafter. For some, however, the symptoms have persisted for months after contracting the illness. The condition has become so common it's now dubbed as "long COVID" and its victims as "long-haulers."

  • Both friends and foes of unions stepping up their efforts

    The union movement has seen declining numbers for decades, but with a staunchly prounion advocate in the White House, union supporters are hoping to soon see progress for their cause. But union foes are hoping to thwart efforts aimed at easing the way for unionization.

  • It's time to think about the holidays: To party or not to party?

    As fall settles in, it's time to think about the upcoming holiday season. But the continuing pandemic makes it hard to plan. Will it be safe to party in person this year? Is it OK for vaccinated coworkers to gather for food, drink, and other merriment? Perhaps an alternative activity such as the Zoom parties some organizations threw last year are more appropriate. Or maybe a nice gift basket delivered to employees' homes would be a better option.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Survey finds enhancing employee experience a priority. More than nine in 10 employers (94%) say enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years. That compares with just 54% that indicated it was important to their organization before the pandemic, according to a survey from advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. The 2021 Employee Experience Survey also shows that adapting to the new reality of work will take time and require a hybrid work model, and many employers are not ready to meet that challenge. The survey also shows most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement, employee well-being, productivity, and ability to attract and retain talent. The survey also shows that while employers expect the proportion of their employees working primarily remotely will drop in three years, they expect one in four will be working a mix of on-site and remotely in three years, triple the current number.

  • Federal Watch

    Scabby the Rat survives NLRB decision. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision on July 21 finding a union didnt violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by displaying a 12-foot inflatable rat with red eyes, fangs, and claws and two large banners, one targeting a neutral employer, near the public entrance to a trade show. The NLRB General Counsel during the Trump administration had alleged the display of Scabby the Rat and the banners was unlawfully coercive. The Board had earlier solicited comments on the question. Three NLRB members joined in an opinion dismissing the complaint. In her separate concurrence, Chair Lauren M. McFerran expressed her belief the outcome of the caseLippert Components, Inc.was required by Board precedent. In a separate concurrence, members Marvin E. Kaplan and John F. Ring agreed the complaint must be dismissed to avoid creating a possible conflict with the First Amendment, but they expressed disagreement with part of the prior precedent. Member William J. Emanuel dissented, saying he would have found t

  • Biden targets noncompetes in Executive Order promoting competition

    In a recent Executive Order (EO) on promoting competition in the American economy, President Joe Biden encouraged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban or limit noncompete agreements. In doing so, he continues (and potentially accelerates) what to date has been a piecemeal effort conducted almost exclusively at the state level to limit and, in some cases, prohibit the use of noncompetes, particularly for low-wage workers.

  • Employers cautiously weigh whether to mandate vaccines

    To mandate or not to mandate COVID-19 vaccines—that's the pressing issue employers are confronting. Overall, many are still cautious about requiring the shots, and rightfully so.