On May 20, 2020, Chicago passed the “COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance,” making it illegal for employers with employees in the City of Chicago to retaliate against employees who stay home: to follow public health orders related to COVID-19, to quarantine because of COVID-19 symptoms, or to care for an individual ill with COVID-19. Enacted as an amendment to Chicago’s Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, the Anti-Retaliation Ordinance prohibits employers from terminating, demoting, or taking other adverse action against employees who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19.

What do I need to know?

Under the Ordinance, an employer cannot terminate, demote, or take any other adverse action against an employee for obeying an order issued by Mayor Lightfoot, Governor Pritzker, or the Chicago Department of Public Health (or, in the case of subsections (2) through (4) below, a treating healthcare provider) requiring the employee to:

  1. Stay at home to minimize the transmission of COVID-19;
  2. Remain at home while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or while being sick with COVID-19;
  3. Obey a quarantine order issued to the employee (to keep an employee who has come into contact with an infected person separate from others);
  4. Obey an isolation order issued to the employee (to separate an employee with COVID-19 from others); or
  5. Obey an order issued by the Commissioner of Health regarding the duties of hospitals and other congregate facilities.

In addition, an employer cannot take adverse action against an employee for caring for an individual subject to subsections (1) through (3) above.

The Ordinance became effective on May 20, 2020, and will expire (unless City Council intervenes) when the Commissioner of Public Health makes a written determination “that the threat to public health posed by COVID-19 has diminished to the point that [the] ordinance can safely be repealed.”


Continue Reading Chicago Employers: Allow Your Employees to Obey COVID-19 Public Health Orders, or Else

Recently, Southwest Airlines won a second major victory when Northern District of Illinois Judge Seeger granted its motion to dismiss claims brought under Illinois’ unique Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). Crooms v. Southwest Airlines Co., Case No. 19-cv-2149.

Plaintiffs alleged Southwest violated BIPA by requiring them to scan their fingers when clocking in and out of work without giving them the written notice or receiving their consent as required by BIPA. When initially employed, three of the plaintiffs were represented by the Transportation Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO Local 555 (“TWU”) and were covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). The CBAs at issue provided Southwest had the “right to manage and direct the work force” and included a mandatory four-step grievance and arbitration procedure for resolution of disputes. Plaintiffs were later promoted to Ramp Supervisors, a non-union position and agreed to comply with Southwest’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Program.  The fourth named plaintiff was never covered by a CBA but was always a party to the ADR Program.


Continue Reading “This Case Does Not Belong In Federal Court” — Southwest Secures Dismissal of Illinois Biometric Lawsuit

We are pleased to share our Shelter-in-Place / Reopening Tracker.

This document identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates as well as the state-wide reopening plans, and whether local (county/municipal) orders also apply, in each of the 50 United States.

Please check back for updates throughout the pandemic.

On May 1 certain ILLINOIS employers got the green light to begin reopening, after the entry of a modified statewide stay-at-home order. Employers must require employees to maintain social distancing or must wear masks provided by the Company. We take you through the details below:

What does the order say about face covering, social distancing, and hygiene for business employers?

The order’s requirements for business employers depends on the type of business.

Are there rules for non-essential stores?


Continue Reading Reopening in Illinois? Provide a mask!

On Monday, we reported the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s (IWCC) Emergency Rule that expanded eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation benefits. On April 16, 2020, however, the IWCC, approved changes to the Emergency Rule effective immediately. The Amendments:

  • Confirm the Emergency Rule will last 150 days and will not expire prior to this period.


Continue Reading Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Issues Emergency Amendments Clarifying the New Rule

On Monday, April 13, 2020, with less than 24 hours’ notice, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission issued an emergency ruling (the “Rule”) expanding eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation benefits. Under the Rule, which will last a maximum of 150 days, certain categories of workers who claim to have been exposed to or who have contracted COVID-19 because of their job are automatically presumed to be telling the truth so they can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Prior to the ruling, Illinois employees injured on the job needed to prove their injury or illness was directly caused by their work.

The Rule only applies to proceedings before the Commission brought by workers specifically identified by the Rule:


Continue Reading COVID-19 Exposure or Diagnosis May Make Some Employees Automatically Eligible for Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In jurisdictions across the country — especially COVID-19 “hot spots” — courts have entered emergency orders suspending trials and hearings, tolling the statute of limitations, and shuttering their doors to conducting anything but the most essential business. Non-essential hearings — including hearings related to non-emergency civil matters — are being conducted through Zoom and Skype to continue court proceedings without violating shelter-in-place orders and social distancing guidelines. In jurisdictions where shelter-in-place orders consider certain “legal services” as essential businesses which must remain open, those partaking must still abide by social-distancing guidelines (including six-foot spacing, and not gathering in groups of more than a minimal number such as 5 or 10), which can make something as routine as taking in-person depositions impossible. At the same time, businesses are reeling from the economic impact of COVID-19, and may find it beneficial to slow the pace of pending litigation. Responding to interrogatories, culling through thousands of emails to find responsive documents, and taking the time to prepare for depositions may not be front-of-mind for businesses simply trying to focus on retaining employees and staying afloat.

Continue Reading Emergency Court Rules for COVID-19 Slows Litigation and Provides Choices for Businesses

Effective Saturday March 21 at 5:00 PM until the end of April 7, 2020, all Illinois residents are subject to a stay at home order from the Governor of Illinois. Governor Pritzker announced these measures at a 3:00 press conference today, March 20, 2020, at which he stated “I fully recognize I am choosing between

On March 18, 2020, Oak Park, Illinois — one of the closest suburbs to Chicago with a population of approximately 60,000 — issued a “Shelter in Place” order (the “Order”) for all Oak Park citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Order comes after a resident was found to have contracted the virus in the western part of the town earlier in the day. The full text of the Order may be found here.

The Order requires all residents to “shelter at their place of residence” from March 20 through and including April 3, although the Order may be rescinded before April 3 or extended beyond April 3. Crucially, all non-essential businesses “[a]re required to cease all activities at facilities located within [Oak Park]” except for the performance of duties necessary for maintaining the value of a business’s inventory, ensuring business security, processing payroll, and attending to employee benefit matters (referred to as “Minimum Basic Operations” in the Order). The Order also imposes broad restrictions on travel. All travel is prohibited unless deemed: (1) “Essential Travel”; or (2) necessary (a) to perform work for an “Essential Business”; or (b) to perform an “Essential Activity.”

There are several important carve-outs in this Order.

First, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences. In other words, employees may still work from home even if the employer is not an “Essential Business” (as defined below) and must close its physical office or retail space located within Oak Park. And non-essential businesses may still engage in Minimum Basic Operations as defined above.


Continue Reading Oak Park, Illinois Issues Shelter In Place Order Effective March 20