THE EMPLOYMENT SPOTLIGHT: Hiring, Firing, and Everything in Between

Welcome to Q4 2022! We are wishing all of our SFBBG clients and friends a strong and successful close out to the year.  As we look to the start of 2023, we highlight a few significant new laws that take effect in Illinois effective January 1:

  • The “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (CROWN) Act expanded the Illinois Human Rights Act to protect employees based upon hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists. 
  • The Family Bereavement Leave Act (f/k/a the Child Bereavement Leave Act) is expanded to cover additional family members and reasons for unpaid leave.
  • The “One Day Rest in Seven Act” (ODRISA) is amended to require that employees are afforded at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every consecutive 7-day period, and makes other changes to required meal periods.

The framework for fines imposed for violations also changes such that fines can quickly multiply (e.g., noncompliance with meal and rest break periods will now be considered separate violations on an individualized—per employee—basis). Further, thoughtful handbook updates can make or break the successful defense of employment claims.  And as a strategic aside from the increased risk of financial penalties, non-compliant handbook policies also run the risk of turning off prospective talent. 

To say the world of employment law has changed over the course of the last decade or so would comprise a significant understatement.  Major shifts in the employment domain involve factors as varied as the #metoo movement, the liberalization of state laws for medical and recreational use of marijuana, paid sick leave, ban the box legislation, adjustments to minimum wages, and of course, the acceleration of remote working brought about by COVID-19, to name just a few. 

In our employment practice, we have seen that younger workers are more informed about their employment rights than ever before, and are keen on exercising their rights and utilizing the benefits afforded to them. Managers need training and written resources to navigate the ever-changing employment landscape to ensure continued smooth operation in their employment practices and procedures. 

As we head into an era where Gen Z (born 1997-2012) is entering into and progressing in the workforce, the need to assess and update employment policies is especially compelling – both from a compliance perspective and in order to attract and retain talent.  Employers should position themselves to thrive by strategically training up their managers, and by reviewing and updating their existing policies to balance these important interests in light of changes to the applicable law.

For any questions regarding these or other employment law matters, please contact Adam Maxwell via e-mail at or by phone at (312) 648-2300.

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