On December 30, 2019, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, issued an opinion that discussed the circuit court's ruling that an employee confidentiality provision contained in an employment agreement was overly broad in scope and therefore unenforceable. Indeck Energy Services, Inc. v. DePodesta, et al., 2019 IL App (2d) 190043 (Dec. 30, 2019). The plaintiff-employer filed a lawsuit against former employees for breach of their employment contracts and for injunctive relief to enforce its confidentiality and noncompetition agreements. After a bench trial, the trial court directed a finding in the defendants' favor, finding, among other things, that the confidentiality agreement was void and unenforceable.
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On December 4, 2019, the 7th Circuit held that a jury verdict in favor of a defendant-employer in a disability discrimination lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Stegall v. Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, No. 18-2345 (7th Cir. Dec. 4, 2019). The plaintiff claimed that after she interviewed for a position, she received an offer of employment from the defendant at the end of her interview. She also claimed that when and because she subsequently disclosed her physical and mental disabilities, the defendant rescinded the offer of employment in violation of the ADA. She filed claims of disability and race discrimination in federal court. After a trial, the jury found that the plaintiff had a disability, that the defendant regarded her as having a disability, and that the defendant failed to hire the plaintiff. However, the jury also found that even without her physical disability, the plaintiff would not have been hired; and that her non-hiring was not unlawfully motivated based on her disabilities.
On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"), which creates two new emergency paid leave requirements in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act ("EPSLA") entitles certain employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act ("EFMLEA") permits certain employees to take up to twelve weeks of expanded family and medical leave, ten of which are partially paid. On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"), which amended certain provisions of the EPSLA and EFMLEA.
The FFCRA generally covers private employers with fewer than 500 employees and certain public agencies with one or more employees.
On March 18, 2020, the United States Senate passed the Omnibus Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act ("EFMLEA") and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act ("EPSLA"), with which employers must immediately familiarize themselves. The following is a summary of the key provisions of the EFMLEA and the EPSLA, which are expected to be signed into law by the President.
The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act:
On December 4, 2019, the 7th Circuit held that the plain language of the Uniformed Service Members Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA") covers full-time National Guard duty. Mueller v. City of Joliet, No. 18-3609 (7th Cir. Dec. 4, 2019). USERRA prohibits discrimination against those in "service in a uniformed service." In this case, a Police Sergeant took a leave of absence to report for active duty in the Illinois National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. When the Police Department placed him on unpaid leave, he resigned from his National Guard position and sued the City of Joliet and his supervisors for employment discrimination under USERRA. The issue on appeal was whether USERRA protected his National Guard duty.
On December 3, 2019, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed an order of summary judgment in favor of an employer-defendant in a lawsuit in which an unsuccessful job applicant alleged that her rights under the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act ("Act") were violated when she was not hired as a result of an investigation of her credit history. Rivera v. Commonwealth Edison Company, 2019 IL App (1st) 182676 (12/3/2019). The plaintiff claimed that the defendant's actions of investigating her credit history in connection with a conditional offer of employment and refusing to hire her because of the results of the investigation violated the Act.