Monday Morning Minute
In This Issue
NFL Players to Meet Regarding New Labor Contract
ILLINOIS: Is BIPA Preempted by Workers' Compensation?
Coronavirus: Infectious Diseases and the Workplace
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                  February 3, 2020
 
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NFL UNION PLAYERS TO MEET ON NEW LABOR CONTRACT PROPOSALS  
 
Did you have a great Super Bowl LIV?  Are you at work bright-eyed, or blarney-eyed at home with an ice pack on your throbbing big head and the "flu".   Whatever.  Here is the skinny on the upcoming labor relations of the NFLPA, the ballers' union, and the contract negotiations issues that could lead to a lock out in 2021 if an agreement is not reached.  

The NLFPA has scheduled a meeting with selected representatives to conditionally consider the owners' 17 game proposal (the thing they hate the most) in exchange for ten items that they want.   It is reported that this will be the second meeting within a week.  The negotiations are to reach a successor agreement to the 10- year expiring collective bargaining agreement.  They are reportedly getting stuck, if not tense. 

Several months-ago, it was reported that players were told to prepare for a lockout in 2021 if an agreement is not reached.  Commenting on this, Cornerback Richard Sherman, SF 49rs, is reported to have said, " It's going to happen, so it's not like guys are guessing on that one."  
The agreement expires in August.  

It is reported that last weeks' talks took on a more conciliatory tone as the proposals were presented and discussed.  It is reported that the contract proposals include:  that the new CBA 17 game season does not take effect until the 2021 season; that players immediately get a economic bump-up during the remainder of the 2020 season; players get a guaranteed share of the larger revenue pool and more liberal club spending limits; eliminating punishments for smoking marijuana (not surprising); lowering of on-field penalties; and an increase in former players' post-employment benefits.  
ILLINOIS:  IS BIPA PREEMPTED BY WORKERS' COMPENSATION? 
 
Defendants are beginning a new line of legal arguments which have garnered the attention of the Illinois Appellate Court.  The argument is that BIPA claims which arise in the employment context are preempted by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (IWCA; 820 ILCS 305/et seq.)

IWCA has specifically states that: 

  • IWCA is the exclusive remedy for accidental injuries sustained by any employee arising out of and in the course of employment; and
  • an employee has no common law or statutory right to recover damages from the employer for injury or death sustained by any employee while engaged in the line of his duty as such employee other that the compensation provided by IWCA

In McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park, LLC, Circuit Court No. 17-CH-11311, Judge Mitchell granted the Defendant's motion to certify the question for immediate appeal and the Illinois Appellate Court granted application for leave to appeal on December 19, 2019.  

 

In light of this development, some trial courts are granting a stay on BIPA cases involving the employment context while the Illinois Appellate Court considers McDonald.    


CORONAVIRUS AND THE WORKPLACE- A QUICK REFRESHER CONCERNING INFECTIOUS DISEASE
 
Employers who may be faced with any level of viral or other infections in the workplace need to understand the intersection of laws and the balancing of employee rights versus duties of the employer to its workplace.  

An employee with Coronavirus or any type of infection would likely be covered under ADA (as amended) and if applicable to the employer, Family Medical Leave (federal and/or state).  

ADA:  Under ADA, an employee with Coronavirus, exposed to Coronavirus or even thought to be exposed could fall under the definition of a Qualified Individual with a Disability. An employer can make inquiries of such individual if such inquiry is job related and consistent with business necessity and then must follow the ADA guidelines pertaining to medical records.  

However if the employer determines that the employee is a direct threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others in the workplace, the employer can require the employee to disclose all relevant health information.   Also remember that an employer can require an employee to undergo medical testing based upon a reasonable belief that an employee may have been exposed to an infectious disease such as Coronavirus and is demonstrating some symptoms. 

FML: Don't forget about any intersection of family medical leave (FML) for employers who may be covered.  This type of situation would likely trigger federal and any state FMLA and the rights employees have under such laws.  

What about keeping a healthful work environment for all employees under OSHA?  When exposure to infectious diseases such as Coronavirus is likely, employers should take certain precautions to remain compliant with its duties owed under OSHA.  Employers at this time should look to the CDC's guidance which is based on industry standards as well as state health departments. 

There is no doubt there is a lot to consider as an employer, especially if such employers are in the hospitality and food service industries.  But having a well thought out and communicated "plan" in place to address these types of situations is well advised to keep the workplace calm, keep employees focused on work and keep the company profitable. 
SPOGNARDI BAIOCCHI LLP is  a law firm dedicated to partnering with companies of all sizes to address the full spectrum of legal concerns for its business.  Our commitment is to find common sense solutions that fit each clients' unique situation to labor, employment, human resources and general business needs. 

With over 50 combined years of experience among its 2 founding partners in these areas, we can assist businesses in developing custom solutions to today's tough issues.  And as litigators, who combined have over thousands of trials  "under their belts" before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies (such as the NLRB) you will find no better advocate and partner. 
 
For more information on the firm, please go to our website at www.psb-attorneys.com or Lisa at lab@psb-attorneys.com
DISCLAIMER: All content in this Monday Morning Minute is intended for general information only, and should not be construed as legal advice applicable to your particular situation.  No attorney-client relationship is created. Before taking any action based on the information contained herein, you should consider your personal situation and seek professional advice.