September 23, 2019

September 20, 2019

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Note To Chicago Employers: Expansive New Work Scheduling Rules Take Effect July 2020

The Chicago City Council passed the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance on July 23, regarding advance scheduling notice for certain employees in certain industries, including healthcare, hotels, restaurants, and retail, among others. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has already indicated that she will sign the new ordinance in short order, describing it as the most expansive worker scheduling policy in the country, including the first in the country to cover healthcare employers.

The ordinance, which goes into effect in July 2020, imposes significant administrative requirements relative to the employer/employee relationship. Chicago employers should consider familiarizing themselves with them now in order to avoid penalties in 2020.

Details and Penalties of the New Ordinance

The ordinance will require covered employers operating in the City of Chicago to provide employees with 10 days advance notice of scheduled work, generally beginning on July 1, 2020. After June 30, 2022, the period of required advance notice of the work schedule will increase to 14 days. The work schedule must be posted in a conspicuous location at the workplace, or must be emailed upon the request of the employee.

In addition, the ordinance provides a carve-out for smaller employers, only applies to employees who earn less than $50,000 annually or $26.00 per hour or less, and does not apply to independent contractors or day and seasonal laborers.

Employers generally covered by the law are those who have 100 or more employees (in total, not just in Chicago), or 250 or more employees in the case of nonprofit entities. Restaurants covered by the ordinance are those with more than 30 locations and at least 250 total employees (and franchisees with four or more locations). Of the total employee count, for the employer to be governed by the law, at least 50 of their employees must be “covered” employees.

If employers make changes inconsistent with the requirements of the ordinance, the employees must receive compensation. The amount of compensation will depend on the nature of the scheduling change.

Right to Decline Work Scheduled

Employees under the ordinance have the right to decline any work scheduled that does not comply with the required advance notice period. Further, if an employer alters an employee’s schedule after the deadline, depending on the particular circumstances, the employer may be required to pay the employee an additional hour for each altered shift. The ordinance also prohibits retaliation against the employee for exercising rights conferred by the scheduling ordinance.

A number of exceptions do apply. For example, schedule changes caused by power outages, blizzards, a mutually agreed-upon shift trade, or a schedule change that is mutually agreed upon by the employer and employee and confirmed in writing.

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has been tasked with enforcing this new ordinance. Employers who violate this law will be subject to a fine of between $300 and $500 for each offense. The law also establishes a process by which an employee may initiate a civil action under the law, beginning with a written complaint to the department.

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David B. Ritter Barnes Thornburg Law Firm Labor and Employment Law Attorney Chicago
Partner

David B. Ritter is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Department and co-chairs the Logistics and Transportation Practice Group. He represents management nationwide in virtually all areas of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination and harassment claims, wage and hour disputes, non-compete, trade secret and restrictive covenants and employment torts.

With nearly 30 years of experience representing public and private companies, Mr. Ritter has...

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Norma W. Zeitler, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Chicago, Employment Law Attorney
Partner

Norma W. Zeitler is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Labor and Employment Department and the Associations and Foundations Practice Group. She concentrates her practice on employment law, and represents employers in the defense of employment discrimination, retaliatory discharge, breach-of-contract, workplace tort, and restrictive covenant cases in federal and state courts and administrative agencies. She also provides day-to-day counseling for employers on all matters that impact the employment relationship.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ms. Zeitler was an officer in the United States Army. While in the Army, she served as a communications platoon leader and intelligence officer in Germany, as a company commander in Turkey during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and as an intern to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of Legislative Affairs.

Since 2014, Ms. Zeitler has been recognized on the Illinois Super Lawyers list by the Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine. Since 2017, Ms. Zeitler has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for labor and employment.

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Peter J. Wozniak Barnes Thornburg Chicago  Labor Employment
Partner

Pete Wozniak is a vigorous advocate who strives to help his clients navigate issues that can be fraught with challenges as painlessly and efficiently as possible. He is a candid and personable counselor, offering his clients direct advice by leveraging his deep experience performing a broad range of outcome critical functions for complex labor and employment matters.

Pete represents clients across a number of industries, including transportation and logistics, restaurants, retail, manufacturing, and temporary staffing. Handling a number of high profile matters, he identifies the...

312-214-2113
Gray Mateo Harris Attorney
Partner

As a native Spanish speaker from the Dominican Republic, she has a passion for providing Spanish language representation to clients. This involves working with Spanish language witnesses and documents, including document review, depositions, mediations, administrative proceedings, internal investigations and employment and other training.

Gray has extensive experience defending employers in litigation at both the state and federal court levels through trial and appeal, and has defended employers in restrictive covenant, contract- and tort-based...

312-338-5906
Mark Wallin, Attorney, BT, Chicago, Labor Employment
Of Counsel

In order to provide the best counsel, Mark Wallin believes it is his role to understand his clients’ business needs so he can help them determine what resolution will provide the most benefit. His keen ability to understand his clients’ practical concerns allows him to advise on the best path to successfully resolve issues – whether through traditional litigation or negotiated resolution.

In the course of his practice, Mark has focused on providing the highest-level of service to his clients and building long-term relationships. Specifically, he defends employers in a wide range of...

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