David B. Ritter

In Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., the 7th Circuit held that an employer wasn’t required to pay employees for time spent changing into and out of work clothes and time spent traveling to and from the locker room and the work area.

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Q. We sometimes require our hourly employees to commute from the office to a two-day meeting that includes company-sponsored social activities and an overnight stay. They then return to the office after meetings on the second day. How do we pay them for this time?

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Back in 2000, the 7th Circuit held that employers are not required to reassign disabled employees to a vacant position for which they are qualified. Although the EEOC recently challenged this position in EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., the 7th Circuit held its ground, reaffirming its previous decision.

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Q. We’ve heard in the news about the recently enacted Indiana right-to-work law. Could it have an effect on Illinois employers?

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Today’s tight economy has prompted many employers to try to reduce costs—including overtime—by classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees. That hasn’t escaped the notice of the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor, which have stepped up efforts to deter misclassification.

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Every HR pro knows employers must pay overtime if an em­­ployee works more than 40 hours per week. But does an employer have to pay overtime if it doesn’t know or have reason to know that the employee worked overtime hours? No, according to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Q. Has the penalty for employer violations of the Illinois Equal Pay Act recently increased?

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Q. Does an employee who wants to take FMLA leave have to specifically ask for it by name?

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Class-action litigation returned to the spotlight with last year’s Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes. In Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the Supreme Court refused to certify what would have been the largest-ever employment class action against a private employer. Now the 7th Circuit has weighed in.

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Q. We are aware that the Illinois Civil Union Act is in effect. Could you please tell us more about it?

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