Friday, July 31, 2020

Minnesota Joins the Growing List of Locations with Mask Orders

Author: Katy Fodness

Across the country, state and local mask orders are becoming more common. For those employers located in Minnesota, for example, a new mask order went into effect on July 25, 2020, pursuant to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order on masks. Under the Order, Minnesotans over the age of five must wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, unless alone. The Executive Order contains specific requirements for businesses, including provisions generally requiring workers to wear a face covering at all times when working indoors, outdoors in situations where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained or when specific industry guidance imposes stricter requirements.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Time To Review and Revisit Non-Competition Agreements?

Author: Elizabeth Duff Mendoza 

The uptick in new state laws prohibiting non-competition agreements with low-wage (and in some cases, not-so-low-wage) workers has remained steady throughout 2020. Most recently, Virginia, Rhode Island and Washington have joined a growing contingent of states prohibiting non-competition agreements with workers who do not meet certain earnings thresholds. For many employers, the earnings thresholds may be higher than expected and the penalties for violations of the new laws may be harsher than expected. This post is intended to provide a brief summary of certain new earnings thresholds and potential penalties that employers should be aware in Virginia, Rhode Island and Washington.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Key Illinois Employment Updates

Author: Emily Cantwell

We will undoubtedly remember 2020 for reasons completely unrelated to employment law. However, the State of Illinois experienced a few changes that went into effect on January 1, 2020. This post intends to provide a quick reminder of a few of the new requirements facing employers since the start of the new year.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Supreme Court Broadens Ministerial Exception to Nondiscrimination Laws for Religious Employers

Author: Rebecca Yocum

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed First Amendment protections for religious institutions in the hiring and firing of employees who play an important role in carrying out the institution’s religious mission. In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the Court upheld the dismissal of employment discrimination claims brought by two teachers against their Catholic school employers under the ministerial exception, a legal doctrine that prohibits courts from getting involved in employment disputes between religious institutions and their ministerial employees. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Union Organizing in the Time of Coronavirus

Author: Brian Woolley

Two current developments could provide a boost to union organizing efforts. Even in normal times, a workforce that is unsettled and facing an uncertain future can be fertile ground for a union organizing effort. Employees looking for certainty and stability may be more receptive to a union’s promise to solve the problems of the day. Employers should be on higher alert right now, because these are not normal times.  Workplaces may be at greater risk of union organization efforts due to the chaos in the economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the following two developments: (1) the widespread use of mail ballots and (2) a recent court order delaying revisions to the union election rules.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Supreme Court Rules: Title VII Protects LGBTQ Individuals from Discrimination

Authors: Jill Waldman

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court handed the LGBTQ community a major victory. In Bostock v. Clayton County and companion cases, the Supreme Court held that an employer who terminates an individual for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  


The Court’s ruling involved a trio of cases, with each employee filing a lawsuit under Title VII alleging discrimination based on sex. Title VII applies to employers with at least 15 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year and makes it “unlawful . . . for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual . . . because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” The issue before the Court was whether Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of . . . sex” encompasses sexual orientation or transgender discrimination. Two of the trio of cases involved employees who alleged they were discriminated against because of sex when they were discharged based on their sexual orientation and the other case involved an employee who alleged she was discharged on the basis of sex when she was fired for being transgender.

Friday, June 12, 2020

It's Time to Emphasize EAP Benefits

Author: Tammy Somogye

For many, January 1, 2020 was the start of a new decade, full of optimism and hope for the future. As of June 1, 2020, this year has brought troubling times that include fear and pain due to racial injustice, a pandemic, unemployment, and growing isolation. 


Employees across the nation are hurting. Some are grieving the loss of one or more loved ones from COVID-19. Against the backdrop of rampant unemployment, many are anxious about how long they might be employed, looming pay cuts, child care challenges, and the rising cost of food. Combined with intense feelings about injustices and other problems plaguing our country and the loss of so many lives, stress is undoubtedly at an all-time high.