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By Scott Cruz on March 8, 2022 at 3:00 PM

A strong push continues for states to adopt stricter pay equity laws and enforce efforts to combat pay inequities for certain protected classes, including women and individuals of color. Many states, including Illinois, have prioritized pay equity by passing laws designed to reduce wage gaps.

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By Katherine Fechte on March 7, 2022 at 12:00 PM

President Biden signed into law the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021” on March 3. As its name suggests, the law prohibits pre-dispute arbitration agreements that require individuals to arbitrate any claim under federal, tribal or state law relating to a sexual assault or sexual harassment dispute. In other words, employers can no longer compel employees to arbitrate sexual assault or sexual harassment claims. Class action waivers are also prohibited with respect to those claims.

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By T. Christopher Bailey on January 13, 2022 at 3:30 PM

On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions addressing COVID-19 vaccine mandates implemented by the Biden Administration. In the first opinion (National Federation of Independent Business v. OSHA), by a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court blocked implementation of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that would have required all employers with 100 or more employees to adopt a policy requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and/or testing and masking policies for employees. OSHA’s ETS had recently taken effect, and the vaccination/testing requirements were set to become effective as of February 9. This ruling from the Supreme Court appears to signal the end of OSHA’s ETS.

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By Nicholas Coyle, Lauren Daming, Lauren Harris on January 3, 2022 at 4:15 PM

As in 2020, employment law in 2021 was dominated by COVID-19 as employers grappled with whether to voluntarily extend employee benefits provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, issues with working remotely, and returning to work. The new year begins with uncertainty as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide the fate of several employer vaccine mandates in just a few days. The pandemic’s challenges are sure to keep employers busy in 2022. Here are our picks for the highlights of last year and a look at what’s to come in the new year.

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By Nicholas Coyle, Lauren Daming, Lauren Harris on January 3, 2022 at 4:10 PM

Missouri

Other than a new state minimum wage ($11.15 per hour), 2022 is starting off quietly in Missouri. However, last year brought two major developments affecting employers that are summarized below. The COVID-19 Liability Shield is exactly as it sounds, providing protections for employers against suits by individuals who claim they were exposed to COVID-19. Similarly, the Domestic Violence Leave Law provides job-protected leave for individuals who need to address issues related to domestic violence.

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By Dennis Collins on November 17, 2021 at 2:45 PM

On November 5, 2021, OSHA released a previously announced Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with at least 100 employees to enact a policy requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID‑19 or submit to weekly testing. Employers are required to have a policy in place by December 5, 2021, with enforcement of the ETS to begin on January 4, 2022.

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By Dennis Collins on July 21, 2021 at 3:45 PM

President Biden is committed to promoting labor organizing in an effort to strengthen union organizing after years of declining membership. In 2020, 10.8 percent of employees, including governmental employees, belonged to a union. In the 1950s, the total union membership exceeded 30 percent, including governmental employees. In 2020, the union membership in the private sector was 6.3 percent, whereas in 1983, the unions represented 23 percent of the employees in the private sector.

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By Scott Cruz on April 21, 2021 at 2:15 PM

A new Ordinance in the city of Chicago will prohibit Chicago employers from firing or disciplining workers who leave work to get a COVID-19 vaccine during the workers’ normally scheduled work hours. The Chicago City Council unanimously approved the Ordinance on April 21, 2021, and the Ordinance goes into effect immediately.

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By Scott Cruz on March 25, 2021 at 4:15 PM

On March 23, 2021, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1480, the Employee Background Fairness Act. This impacts Illinois employers because it imposes new obligations under the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) on the way they can use criminal convictions to assess employment eligibility for applicants and current employees. It also imposes new reporting and registration requirements concerning employee demographics under the Illinois Business Corporation Act (IBCA) and the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA) and creates new whistleblower anti-retaliation protections under the IEPA.

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By Scott Cruz on March 17, 2021 at 3:45 PM

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). Among its many provisions, the ARP addresses paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and payroll tax credits for providing such paid leave.

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