On May 28, 2021, the 7th Circuit affirmed an order of summary judgment in favor of an employer and against a former employee on her Title VII employment discrimination and retaliation claims. Vesey v. Envoy Air, Inc. d/b/a American Eagle Airlines, Inc., No. 20-1606 (7th Cir. May 28, 2021). The plaintiff, an airline agent, was terminated, according to the airline, after she abused her travel privileges. She filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that she was harassed because of her race and terminated in retaliation for reporting the harassment.
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On April 26, 2021, the 7th Circuit affirmed summary judgment for an employer on retaliation and discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). Sinha v. Bradley University, No. 20-1848 (7th Cir. April 26, 2021). One ADEA retaliation claim failed for lack of proximate cause under the cat's paw theory of liability, and the other claim was time-barred. The plaintiff alleged that his employer discriminated against him on the basis of sex, in violation of Title VII, and retaliated against him for opposing the employer's purported (discriminatory) age discrimination policy, in violation of the ADEA.
On April 8, 2021, the 7th Circuit affirmed an order of the district court that granted summary judgment in favor of an employer on a former employee's claims for race, age, and disability discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Gamble v. PCA US LLC, No. 20-2254 (7th Cir. April 8, 2021). The employer fired the plaintiff for violating its anti-harassment policy for a second time. The plaintiff asserted that he was treated unfairly during the employer's investigation, and that he was ultimately fired on account of his race, age, and disability. He sued the employer for employment discrimination in federal court.
On March 31, 2021, the 7th Circuit affirmed an order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of an employer in a lawsuit in which the EEOC alleged that an employer failed to accommodate a prospective employee's religious practices, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended ("Title VII"). Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Walmart Stores East, L.P. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 20-1419 (7th Cir. March 31, 2021). After receiving a job offer of full-time assistant manager, the prospective employee, a Seventh-day Adventist, indicated that he could not work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday.
On March 10, 2021, the 7th Circuit affirmed an order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of an employer in a lawsuit in which a former employee alleged that the employer breached the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions of an employment law settlement agreement. Pack v. Middlebury Community Schools, No. 20-1912 (7th Cir. March 10, 2021). The plaintiff had filed employment law claims against the employer. The parties resolved the employment lawsuit by executing an employment law settlement agreement.
On August 13, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the "Act") into law, which became effective on January 1, 2022, and applies to non-competition and non-solicitation agreements entered into after the effective date. The Act codifies Illinois law on non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. In so doing, the Act establishes a set of statutory requirements and express prohibitions, with which Illinois employers should immediately familiarize themselves. The Act is distilled and outlined below.
I. Statutory Requirements
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