California is known as one of the most progressive, pro-employee states in the country. But if the last several months are any indication, Illinois is quickly catching up.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s happening in the prairie state:

Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act   

What’s New? As of January 1, 2019, employers must reimburse employees for all “necessary” expenses. So what’s a necessary expense? Anything required of the employee in the discharge of his/her employment duties that “inure to the primary benefit of the employer.” Computers, cell phones, uniforms, etc. may all constitute “necessary” expenses that the employer is required to reimburse.

Takeaway: Employers should review their policies, job descriptions, and third party contracts to determine which positions/roles may result in necessary expenditures.


Continue Reading Is Illinois The New California For Employers?

[With special thanks to our summer associate Lennox Mark for his contribution to this post.]

Since 2000, June has been LGBTQ Pride Month in the United States. “Pride” as it has come to be known started as a way to commemorate the Stonewall riots that occurred at the end of June in 1969. It has since morphed into a month-long celebration of inclusiveness and remembrance of the struggles faced by members of this community. Many other countries and cities around the world honor and celebrate the LGBTQ community at different times throughout the year.

As we look back at the events of the last month and in honor of continuing the conversation around US Pride, we review some of the recent strides made for equality and other potentially impactful legal developments for the LGBTQ community, including those that US and OUS employers should know about.


Continue Reading Advancing LGBTQ Rights At Home And Abroad

We were delighted to hear from Vernā Myers, Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, at our Global Employer Forum in New York last month.

Vernā is a Harvard-trained lawyer, author, TED speaker and diversity advocate. She revolutionizes corporate culture. Her keynote address at the Forum challenged leaders to critically examine their own unconscious biases

Last month, we were honored to have Paul Polman, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team and Vice-Chair of the U.N. Global Compact and Former CEO of Unilever, speak at our Global Employer Forum 2019 in New York.

Paul makes the very strong point that we need to create an economic system

[With special thanks to our summer associate Lennox Mark for his contribution to this post.]

From coast to coast, state and local governments are debating and enacting legislation to broaden workplace protections for employee dress and grooming practices. And not surprisingly, employee complaints regarding employer grooming policies — that such policies contribute to discrimination by unduly burdening certain racial characteristics, religious beliefs or health conditions — are on the rise.

In February 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a statement of legal enforcement guidance expanding the definition of prohibited race discrimination to include discrimination based on hairstyle. The Commission explained that workplace “grooming or appearance policies that ban, limit, or otherwise restrict natural hairstyles or hairstyles associated with Black people generally violate [local law].” By expressly including hairstyle as a protected characteristic, the Commission effectively created a new legal claim for Black employees who suffer adverse employment actions because their natural hairstyles fail to comport with previously accepted workplace rules.


Continue Reading Employers, Are Your Grooming Policies Discriminatory?

Please join us for a complimentary breakfast briefing in Deerfield, IL starting at 7:30 am, Friday, June 21. The program, approved for D&I CLE, will explore why it is critical for employers to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace and the potential legal ramifications of failing to do so. We will also hear from a

Once again, Baker McKenzie attorneys, industry thought leaders and key clients from around the world convened (this time in New York) to answer this essential question: What is the future of work? 

One consistent theme that permeated many of our discussions can be summed up as: Inclusion or Bust.

What does this mean?

It means that as global employers, we’re moving beyond a singular focus on diversity. As guest speaker Vernā Myers says,

Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

To truly reap the rich rewards of a diverse workplace, companies must invest generously and continuously in inclusion. Many senior business leaders predict that companies that don’t will be left behind and may actually cease to exist entirely in the not too distant future.


Continue Reading Inclusion Or Bust

On April 10, the EEOC released its charge filing statistics for Fiscal Year 2018, which ran from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. These annually disclosed statistics reveal continued trends in the employment litigation space and provide an opportunity for employers to ensure their policies and practices address issues arising in the ever-changing modern workplace.

Continue Reading EEOC FY 2018 Enforcement & Litigation Data Reveal Trends In Employment Litigation

Less than two weeks ago we reported that all employers with 100 or more workers in the US would have until September 30 to provide the EEOC with pay data (read more here).

Then, just days later, on May 3rd, the Justice Department appealed the two rulings resurrecting the Obama-era mandate. Ironically, the appeal

Today is Equal Pay Day in the US. It marks the date women need to work into 2019 to earn what men were paid in the previous year. (And, in fact, this particular date does not take into account that women of color are often paid less than white women.)

Collecting, sharing, maintaining (and possibly publishing) diversity data (of any type but including gender pay) remains a significant undertaking for employers. And the complexity compounds for multinationals.

While we are still waiting to see if the EEOC will begin collecting aggregate pay data by gender (READ MORE HERE), many countries outside the US already do (e.g. the UK and Australia).

The global trend towards requiring transparency is not slowing. Just recently, France, Spain and soon Ireland have jumped aboard.


Continue Reading France, Spain And Soon Ireland, Kick Off New Gender Pay Gap Reporting Requirements