This post was written by Matthew C. Luzadder and Jeffrey Hunter and originally posted on Kelley Drye’s Labor Days Blog.

Take action now to meet the new policy, training, and certification requirements.

Beginning January 1, 2018, Illinois lobbyists and their employers must comply with new sexual harassment compliance rules. Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0554 (the Act) to combat sexual harassment in the state legislature. The Act imposes sweeping new requirements on lobbyists even if they are the victims. Press reports detail a number of allegations involving legislators, including some made by lobbyists and activists. One allegation forced the Senate majority leader to step-down from his post. In addition, hundreds of women signed an open letter to bring attention to this pattern of abuse in the state capitol. It appears that discussion of sexual harassment will continue into 2018.

Before the Act, only the Legislative Inspector General could investigate allegations of legislators’ sexual misconduct. That position, however, has been vacant since 2014. Notably, more than two dozen allegations sat uninvestigated on an empty desk. Now, state law authorizes the Secretary of State Inspector General to investigate allegations and the State Executive Ethics Commission to enforce the rules. The legislature, in policing itself, requires lobbyist employers to follow much the same requirements as state agencies in combatting sexual harassment.

Kelley Drye has followed this issue closely and is advising clients on proactive steps they can take to prevent sexual harassment. Stopping the “Harveys in our midst” before they can harm our colleagues or our businesses is more important than ever before. Relying on a generic HR sexual harassment policy is not enough. Employers—not just their registered lobbyists—face new requirements with only weeks to comply. Continue Reading New Sexual Harassment Requirements for Illinois Lobbyists

This post was written by Mark A. Konkel and originally posted on Kelley Drye’s Labor Days blog.

 

Maybe we’ve all thought it at some point in our careers. But according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, you might actually be able to get away with saying it—that is, calling your boss a nasty mother****r—if you’re saying it because you care about your coworkers, and if you all swear a lot at work anyway.

So has demonstrated Hernan Perez, a former server at New York catering company Pier Sixty, and now a foul-mouthed trailblazer for questionable employee rights.  His plight, and verbatim reprints of his lurid, social media-based profanities, can be found in a decision just published by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in National Labor Relations Board v. Pier Sixty, LLC, Nos. 15‐1841‐ag (L), 15‐1962‐ag (XAP) (April 21, 2017).

[Warning: explicit vulgarities will appear below. Not that your kids read this blog, anyway.]

Continue Reading Now You, Too, Can Call Your Boss a Nasty Motherf****r

If a one-percent increase in maximum fines doesn’t dissuade employers from committing worker safety and health violations, then we don’t know what does. OSHA’s and MSHA’s higher penalties became effective January 13th, but it is worth noting that they can be applied to alleged violations that occurred prior to that date as long as the employer was cited for them after January 13th.  Congress authorized this increase in 2015 as part of the fiscal 2016 appropriation deal, which included a provision allowing several agencies to raise fines annually to keep up with inflation.  This same bill allowed OSHA in August 2016 to make a one-time catch-up adjustment, raising its maximum fines by 78%.

New maximum OSHA fines:

  • Repeat or willful violations: $126,749 (formerly $124,709)
  • Serious or other-than-serious violations: $12,675 (formerly $12,471)

New maximum Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) fines:

  • Flagrant violations: $254,530 (formerly $250,433)
  • Regular Assessment: $69,417 (old $68,300)
  • Failure to provide timely notification: $69,417 (old $68,300)