ISBA to republish Jason Tremblay’s medical marijuana article

Arnstein & Lehr LLP Chicago Partner Jason Tremblay recently authored “Medical marijuana comes to Illinois – What it means for Illinois employers,” which will be featured in the January issue of the Illinois State Bar Association’s “Best of Newsletters” column. It was originally published in the December issue of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law newsletter. In August, Governor Pat Quinn signed into effect the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act,” which takes effect January 1, 2014. Mr. Tremblay clearly outlines the details of the law and provides employers with advice on how to adapt their policies accordingly.

To read the article in full, please click here.

Lori Adelson interviewed by Fox Business for video segment on illegal interview questions

Arnstein & Lehr LLP Fort Lauderdale Partner Lori Adelson was interviewed on December 3 by Fox Business News for a video segment posted to its website titled “Common interview questions that are actually illegal”. Ms. Adelson advises that simple questions such as marital status and what country you are from are illegal to ask when interviewing prospective employees.

To watch the interview in full, please click here.

 

Jason Tremblay presents at Illinois CPA Society Chicago on common employment law mistakes

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Jason Tremblay presented “Common Employment Law Mistakes for Illinois Businesses: What Are They and How to Avoid Them” to the Illinois CPA Society – Chicago South Chapter on November 21. Mr. Tremblay’s presentation reviewed Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage and overtime standards, the employee dilemma regarding independent contractors, importance of classifying employees correctly and how to protect your trade secrets to maintain a competitive advantage.

Jason Tremblay to present to Illinois State Medical Society

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Jason Tremblay will be presenting on November 14 at the “Time for a Check-up: Improving the Business Health of Your Practice” seminar. Jason’s presentation will be about best practices for managing your workforce.

Harley Storrings writes for HR.BLR.com on lawsuits filed by Amazon.com

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Arnstein & Lehr Miami Partner Harley Storrings wrote an article for HR.BLR.com on October 29 titled, “Preventing unpaid wage and overtime lawsuits.” In the article, Harley discusses how recent lawsuits filed by warehouse employees of Amazon.com bring to light the issue of unpaid wages and overtime compensation. Mr. Storrings stresses the importance of an employer having a clearly defined policy, as well as providing tips employers should consider implementing. The HR.BLR.com website provides advice to human resource professionals.

To read the article in full, please click here.

Concealed carry comes to Illinois

Earlier this year, Illinois became the last state in the Union to pass a concealed carry firearms law.  While the law went into effect immediately, permit applications are to be made available 180 days after enactment, which will be shortly after the first of the new year. Much confusion amongst employers remains with this new law.  In a new article for Illinois Manufacturer Magazine, Chicago Partner Mark Spognardi clearly outlines the details of this new law. Topics include:

  • Requirements to obtain apply for a license
  • Where firearms under the concealed carry law are prohibited
  • An employers rights

To read the article in full, please click here.

Are Your Restrictive Covenants Enforceable? The Illinois Supreme Court Allows Fifield to Stand

The Illinois Supreme Court recently denied an employer’s leave to appeal the Illinois Appellate Court’s decision in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., No. 1-12-0327, 2013 IL App. (1st) 120327 (June 24, 2013). As a result, unless an
employee is given additional consideration beyond employment, an employee must be employed for at least 2 years in order for a restrictive covenant to the enforceable in Cook County, Illinois.

As a matter of background, and following up on our previous August 20, 2013 post on this ruling, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District (which covers Cook County, Illinois) ruled in Fifield that, when the only consideration for a restrictive covenant is employment itself (i.e. the agreement to hire the employee), at least two years of continued employment is necessary to support the enforcement of the restrictive covenant. In Fifield, the plaintiff negotiated and executed an employment agreement containing both non-competition and non-solicitation provisions, but the sole consideration for those restrictions was the fact that the employee was being hired by Premier as an “at will” employee. Three months after the plaintiff began his employment, he resigned and immediately began to work for a competitor of Premier. When Premier sought to enforce the restrictive covenants, the trial court found them unenforceable for
lack of consideration because the plaintiff had only worked at Premier for three months.

In a somewhat surprising ruling, the Illinois Appellate Court upheld this ruling and ignored years of precedence establishing that an employer’s agreement to hire an “at will” employee in the first place constituted adequate consideration
for an employee’s agreement to abide by a restrictive covenant following employment. The court added that, without additional consideration, an employee must be employed for at least two years in order to constitute sufficient consideration to enforce a restrictive covenant.

In light of the recent denial of Premier’s leave to appeal in Fifield, the Illinois Supreme Court leaves Illinois employers — at least those in Cook County — in a difficult position in enforcing restrictive covenants. By way of example, if an employer already has an existing restrictive covenant with an “at will” employee who has less than two years at the company, the employer will likely not be able to enforce the restrictive covenant. In fact, under the Fifield ruling, an employee could conceivably work for 1 year and 364 days, resign and work for a competitor across the street, and the employer is left with the likely possibility that the restrictive covenant is still unenforceable.

In light of this monumental decision, employers are now forced to implement alternative strategies to enforce their new and/or existing restrictive covenants, at least against those employees with less than two years of service. These
strategies may include developing bonus/compensation programs (both pre-and post-hire) to provide the extra consideration sufficient to enforce the restrictive covenant. Additionally, depending on the circumstances and businesses location, employers could carefully draft choice of law and jurisdiction clauses to avoid disputes within the courts in Cook County. Employers could also carefully draft special recitals by highlighting the additional consideration being given to them in consideration for their agreement to be governed by a restrictive covenant. Finally, employers could also modify their employment agreements from maintaining an “at will” relationship to one where the employee can only be terminated for cause. Of course, this last strategy should be thoroughly vetted and discussed from a business and legal perspective.

As always, we are here to discuss with you this significant case, as well as the best way to protect your business from its impact. Please contact Jason Tremblay at ejtremblay@arnstein.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss.

Mark Spognardi writes on medical cannabis and firearms issues in Illinois

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Mark A. Spognardi recently wrote two articles regarding two laws that were recently passed in Illinois regarding concealed carry and medicinal marijuana. The first article titled, “Illinois Enacts Medicinal Cannabis Pilot Program Law” for Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor on October 9. Recently, the state of Illinois enacted the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which will take effect on January 1, 2014. Mr. Spognardi clearly defines what this law entails, as well as defining the effect this law has on employers. To read the article in full, please click here.

The second article titled, “Illinois employers face firearms obligations and choices,” was published on October 14 on Inside Counsel’s website. The article is stemmed off of a recent decision by the CEO of Starbucks asking the public and its employees to not bring firearms into their store, unless they are licensed peace officers. The Illinois General Assembly recently enacted the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act on July 9, making Illinois the last state to adopt a concealed carry firearm law. The article provides an overview of how this law will affect employers. To read the article in full, please click here.

Illinois employers face challenges with new laws

In Illinois, there is growing concern and confusion amongst employers on how to handle the recently passed medical marijuana use law and the concealed carry law.  Chicago Partner Mark Spognardi recently had two articles published regarding these laws. The first article titled, “Illinois Enacts Medicinal Cannabis Pilot Program Law” was published in Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor on October 9. The law will go into effect on January 1 and the article clearly defines the details of this law, as well as what employers can do to prepare. To read the article in full, please click here.

The second article titled, “Illinois employers face firearms obligations and choices,” was published on October 14 on Inside Counsel’s website. The article is stemmed off of a recent decision by the CEO of Starbucks asking the public and its employees to not bring firearms into their store, unless they are licensed peace officers. This article provides an overview of how the new law will affect employers. To read the article in full, please click here.

Failure to complain insulates employers from harassment claims

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Mark A. Spognardi authored an article for Inside Counsel’s website that was published on September 30. The article focuses on two recent cases that involve sexual harassment claims. These cases serve as a reminder to employers to review and revise harassment policies, and to make sure supervisors and employees are trained about policies, so they can respond effectively.

To read the article in full, please click here.