Title IX Sexual Harassment Final Rule Goes in to Effect in August

School districts focused on how and when schools might re open in the fall must be prepared to comply with the Final Rule recently released by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), amending Title IX regulations. For the first time since Title IX’s enactment in 1972, the regulations will now define “sexual harassment” and establish detailed procedures …

Phase 3 Guidelines for Municipalities

Today, Illinois enters Phase 3 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s 5-Phase reopening plan. Although the main focus of this phase has been the reopening of certain businesses, local governments will also be affected in their operations and facilities. Phase 3 is not a return to normal, though; the Governor has released detailed guidelines and restrictions that should still be followed. General …

Legislative Changes for Local Governments Due to COVID-19

For more than two months, Governor J.B. Pritzker has been issuing Executive Orders that waive or alter a variety of laws involving local governments. These orders were designed to temporarily deal with ramifications of the COVID-19 emergency. However, when the General Assembly met in Special Session last week, many of their votes essentially ratified the Governor’s orders by making permanent …

Special Session Brings Changes for Public Safety

  The Illinois General Assembly met last week in Special Session to pass legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of its priorities was to provide extended benefits to first responders and other front-line workers who are facing the threat of coronavirus exposure every day at work.  Those changes to Chicago pensions, workers’ compensation, and PEDA benefits are detailed below, …

Special Legislative Session Addresses Remote Learning Issues

During its Special Session last week, the Illinois General Assembly did not decide when or how schools should open in light of the ongoing pandemic. However, the legislature did pass Senate Bill 1569, which made significant changes to the School Code in the event more school closures are needed. The bill also resolved certain teacher employment related issues that were …

Employers Must Inform Employees of Options for Leave

by W. Anthony Andrews   (Spring 2020 Newsletter) Employees dealing with issues of their health or their relatives’ health are entitled to job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In a recent appellate decision, the court highlighted that employees are no longer necessarily required to give their employer direct notice of that need or desire in order to …

Beyond Pensions and Pot: Other Notable Fire Service Legislation

by Shawn Flaherty   (Spring 2020 Newsletter) The 101st Legislative Session of the Illinois General Assembly just started its second year in January. The first year was a busy and productive session with single party control of the Governor’s office and both houses of the General Assembly. Governor J.B. Pritzker vetoed few bills, and several noteworthy public acts impacting the Illinois …

Post-Janus Law Obliges Public Employers to Assist Unions

by Maureen A. Lemon   (Spring 2020 Newsletter) Since the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, public unions have sought to diminish the impact of that decision, which gave public employees the right to opt out of union membership. In a nod to Illinois public unions, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law Public Act 101-620 on December 20, …

Court Affirms Line-of-Duty Death Benefits to Firefighter’s Surviving Spouse

by Carolyn Welch Clifford   (Spring 2020 Newsletter) In a novel case decided earlier this year, the Illinois Appellate Court upheld the decision of a pension fund board of trustees to award line-of-duty surviving spouse benefits to the wife of a firefighter who died of cancer. In Village of Buffalo Grove v. Buffalo Grove Firefighters’ Pension Fund and Kim Hauber, 2020 …

Employment Related Concerns: Legalized Cannabis

by Karl R. Ottosen  (Spring 2020 Newsletter) 2020 has come with new employment related matters which most of us never expected to face. One, which now seems ages ago, is the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois, which requires all employers to update policies and practices. Except for certain regulated transportation employees, CDL-licensees, and public safety personnel (and possibly employees …