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The Illinois Employee Classification Act of 2008 Takes Effect

The newly enacted Illinois Employee Classification Act of 2008 took effect on January 1, 2008. The purpose of the Act is "to address the practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors." 820 ILCS 185/3 in the construction, trucking, landscaping and related industries. Under this harsh new law, severe civil fines, penalties and criminal charges may be levied against employers or contractors found to have misclassified employees as independent contractors.

The Act further authorizes the Illinois Department of Labor to assess significant fines on employers or contractors who misclassify employees as independent contractors. It also gives those aggrieved by the misclassification the right to file suit and seek substantial money damages against the employer or contractor.

This Act is of major concern to Illinois employers in the industries targeted because of the significant financial exposure as well as criminal charges that may result from violations.

Related Publications

Read [Illinois Governor’s Press Release]

Read [Illinois Department of Labor’s Proposed Rules]

Employers Should Now Be Using the New I-9 Form

As of December 26, 2007, all employers should be using the new I-9 form with their new employees. Please note that employees who continue to use the old form face severe penalties.

New I-9 Form

Employer Action That Deters Worker from Complaining is "Adverse Action" in Retaliation Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions bar any action by an employer that would likely deter a reasonable worker or job applicant from making or supporting a complaint of discrimination. The employer’s action does not need to be an “ultimate employment decision” - such as discharging or failing to hire or promote - and, in fact, it does not even need to be employment-related. The Court ruled that a reassignment of job duties, such as making the employee switch to heavier and dirtier work, can be retaliatory discrimination even though the new duties are within the job description the employee had before the change. The Court also found that a 37-day suspension without pay, even though the employee was eventually paid for this period, can be retaliatory discrimination. 

This is a significant win for employees because the new standard makes it easier to prove that an employer retaliated against an employee for opposing discrimination. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, Case number 05-259, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 4895 (June 22, 2006).  Click here to read entire case.

 

Employer Action That Deters Worker from Complaining is "Adverse Action" in Retaliation Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions bar any action by an employer that would likely deter a reasonable worker or job applicant from making or supporting a complaint of discrimination. The employer’s action does not need to be an “ultimate employment decision” - such as discharging or failing to hire or promote - and, in fact, it does not even need to be employment-related. The Court ruled that a reassignment of job duties, such as making the employee switch to heavier and dirtier work, can be retaliatory discrimination even though the new duties are within the job description the employee had before the change. The Court also found that a 37-day suspension without pay, even though the employee was eventually paid for this period, can be retaliatory discrimination. 

This is a significant win for employees because the new standard makes it easier to prove that an employer retaliated against an employee for opposing discrimination. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, Case number 05-259, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 4895 (June 22, 2006).  Click here to read entire case.

 

Ill. Sexual Harassment Victims may also Recover for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

The Seventh Circuit court of appeals has ruled that victims of sexual harassment may also sue under Illinois law for intentional torts such as intentional infliction of emotional distress. This ruling is contrary to the ruling of some courts in the past that a Plaintiff could not bring a civil rights claim in additional to Illinois state law tort claims based on the same facts. This ruling is significant because unlike, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, damages recoverable for Illinois state law tort claims are not capped. For Title VII civil rights cases, the maximum recoverable damages is $300,000 for the largest employers and range as low as $50,000 for small employers. Salley Naeem v. McKesson Drug Company, et. al., Case number 04-3816, 2006 U.S.App. Lexis 8967 (7th Cir. April 12, 2006). Click here to read the entire case

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