March 2021

Job seekers in Illinois will soon likely have fewer reasons to worry that past convictions will stand in the way of future employment opportunities. The Illinois legislature recently passed amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) that expand “ban the box” protections against employment and hiring discrimination based on criminal history. If signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker as expected, SB 1480 will make it more difficult for employers to justify using past convictions for adverse hiring decisions.

Darnley D. Stewart and Luis Hansen recently obtained a federal appellate victory on behalf of two female pre-trial detainees who were sexually harassed and assaulted by a corrections officer at the Riverhead Jail in Suffolk County, New York. The ruling of the appellate panel – authored by a judge appointed by former President Trump – is significant and creates new law.

In an unfortunate decision for New Yorkers concerned about COVID-19 in the workplace, a federal judge recently ruled that the state’s whistleblower protection law does not apply to workers who complain about their employer’s failure to follow public health guidance.

The narrow reading of New York Labor Law Section 740 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in HC2, Inc. v. Delaney could have a chilling effect on workers who have legitimate COVID-related concerns about returning to the workplace while the virus remains a threat to their health.