3 tips on key employment law changes – KDHRA luncheon

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Anthony J Caruso, Jr, senior attorney for Wessels Sherman, spoke on “Key Employment Law Developments” at our February meeting of the Kane DuPage Human Resources Association.

Tony Caruso, Senior AttorneyTony’s presentations are always filled with humor, concrete examples, and detailed insights. Here are three tips on recent changes that impact local employers.

  1. “Ban the Box” – Enforced as of January 1, 2015, the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” limits the timing and circumstances of when an employer may ask about an applicant’s criminal record. Asking about criminal record must occur after the individual is “determined qualified for the position”, at the point of selection for an interview or after a conditional offer of employment.
    • With respect to individuals with a “criminal” background, Tony also noted that the EEOC increasingly examines whether this is a felony conviction, whether it is directly relevant for the tasks or risks in the workplace, and whether it has been recent.
  2. Amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act – Also enforced as of January 1, 2015, the state of Illinois has expanded obligations for employers with respect to pregnant employees. Reasonable accommodation must be provided to women “on account of pregnancy, childbirth,” or related medical conditions. These circumstances are treated as disabilities are treated under the ADA in terms of “reasonable accommodation.”
    • Reasonable accommodation might include: more frequent or longer rest breaks; private non-bathroom space for breastfeeding; different seating; modification or adjustment of equipment.
    • Tony recommends that the employer ask (in writing), “What accommodation are you requesting?” It is up to the employee to assess and request what accommodation she needs.
  3. Illinois Wage Payment and Collections Act – IDOL is aggressively implementing changes related to compensation.
    • When an employee begins work for a business, the employer must provide “a written notice to the employee of their rate of pay.” If the pay changes, then a new written notice must be provided. Tony noted that written notice of an annual salary might be construed as promise of a full-year salary even if employment terminates sooner. So he suggested that an employer might want to identify salary as weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
    • When paying an employee cash, the employer must provide a signed receipt with the date and amount received.
    • Employers are increasingly required to reimburse employees for all legitimate business expenses.

As always, we had a robust discussion with Tony about the implications for these legal changes.  And there were plenty of other topics to discuss.  A big thank-you to Tony for his informative presentation.

Donna Brucher, Human Resources Director for Johnson Controls in Geneva, announced that she would be retiring in March.  So this was her last KDHRA meeting.  We celebrate Donna’s career milestone, but we’ll miss her!

KDHRA 1502 - 7 The OfficeThanks to the staff of The Office in downtown St. Charles, who provided a hearty meal and great customer service.

Contact Craig or Elyse in our office for details about upcoming Kane DuPage HR Association events.

by Elyse Williamson
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