Illinois Appellate Court Clarifies BIPA Statutes of Limitations

On September 17, 2021, the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court — which covers appeals from Cook County, Illinois — addressed a hotly contested issue under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA): which statutes of limitations apply to BIPA claims? In Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc. (2021 IL App (1st) 200563), the court concluded that a five-year limitations applies to some BIPA claims and a one-year limitations period applies to others.

There is no statute of limitations in BIPA which has led to litigation over which limitations period under Illinois law should apply to BIPA claims. In Tims, the plaintiff, a former employee of defendant, filed a class action complaint alleging that defendant did not comply with certain BIPA provisions in connection with its so-called biometric time clocks. The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing these claims were untimely under Illinois’ one-year limitation period for “slander, libel or for publication of matter violating the right of privacy” under 735 ILCS 5/13-201. The trial court denied the motion, concluding instead that the Illinois “catch-all,” five-year limitation period under 735 ILCS 5/13-205 for “all civil actions not otherwise provided for” applied to the plaintiff’s BIPA claims.

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California Court of Appeal Upholds Dismissal of ‘Unmanageable’ PAGA Claim

On September 9, 2021, the Second District of the California Courts of Appeal ruled in Fred Wesson v. Staples the Office Superstore, LLC that trial courts have “inherent authority” to strike claims under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) if they will not be manageable at trial. As the first precedential decision on this issue from a California court, this case provides employers with a welcome potential defense to some PAGA claims.

Facts and Background

Under PAGA, employees in California are empowered to bring claims on behalf of other employees (and the state of California) for violations of the California Labor Code. Critically, plaintiffs need not meet class action requirements or go through class action procedures to bring claims under PAGA on behalf of other employees. As a result, unlike class actions, employers have had relatively limited recourse to challenge wide-reaching PAGA claims, sometimes brought on behalf of hundreds or thousands of employees.

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President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan Mandates Vaccines for Many Employees

On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced his six-pronged COVID-19 Action Plan, which will have a significant impact on employers across the country by mandating vaccinations for many employees. Many key details — including what exemptions may apply to mandatory vaccinations — remain unknown until additional federal guidance is provided in the upcoming weeks.”

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NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission Presses Pause on Physical Evaluation Requirement for Drug Testing

As we discussed in a previous alert, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) brought new employment protections for job applicants and employees who lawfully use cannabis off-duty. In addition, CREAMMA preserved an employer’s right to conduct drug testing of its workforce, but added a new requirement: testing for suspected use of cannabis must be accompanied by a physical evaluation to determine the employee’s level of impairment while engaged in performing job duties, as conducted by an individual certified to opine on the employee’s state of impairment.

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EEOC Extends Deadline for Submitting and Certifying 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Reports to Monday, October 25, 2021

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has again extended the deadline for submitting and certifying 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Reports to Monday, October 25, 2021. Previously, the EEOC extended the original deadline from July 19, 2021 to August 23, 2021. The EEOC explained that it extended the deadline due to the continuing impact of the pandemic on business operations. But the EEOC also stated that it will make no additional changes to the filing deadline, and that all eligible filers must submit their data by October 25, 2021.

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Vaccine Passport, S’il Vous Plaît

As jurisdictions across the world grapple with the effects of the more infectious delta variant, many governments either have taken or are considering more restrictive measures to reduce infection rates and community spread of COVID-19.  To encourage individuals to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, countries have developed creative initiatives, including by offering lottery tickets for cash prizes and tickets to soccer (i.e., football) matches, entering raffles to win cars, offering soused herring and providing barbeque sausage sandwiches.  Despite these incentives and other forms of encouragement, vaccine hesitancy lingers.  As such, some countries in which the “carrot” (i.e., reward) approach has not enticed enough individuals to receive a vaccination now have resorted to the “stick” (i.e., punishment) approach to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination rates.  France is an example of a country that has taken a tougher stance on encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.

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