Client Alerts and Legal Updates

We are pleased to provide several of our recent Client Alerts and Legal Updates on important new developments in labor and employment law.

New Federal Trade Commission Rule Potentially Bars Most Non-Compete Agreements

May 01, 2024

On April 23, 2024, the FTC in Washington, D.C. voted 3-2 to approve and issue a final rule that purports to ban non-compete agreements for nearly all workers of for-profit employers with limited exceptions.

Read More


July 01, 2022

The City of Chicago recently amended the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance to significantly increase workplace sexual harassment prevention requirements for employers in Chicago.

Read More


December 01, 2021

A new Illinois law goes into effect on January 1, 2022 that will impact an Illinois employer’s use and enforcement of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

Read More

Newly Published Trade Secrets Law Handbook by Linda K. Stevens

March 29, 2021

Linda K. Stevens is the co-author of the new Third Edition of the book, Defend Trade Secrets Act Handbook. The book provides guidance on trade secrets litigation throughout the country.

Read More

2 Rulings Guide On Out-Of-State Worker Jurisdiction Issues

November 04, 2020

The U.S. District Court in Chicago holds that Illinois employers can bring legal actions against their former employees in Illinois for alleged misconduct, even though the employees worked remotely and never lived or worked in Illinois.

Read More


April 10, 2020

This is a list of the current operational status of Illinois state and federal courts and key governmental agencies that enforce employment laws . . .

Read More


March 19, 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted all facets of business and the employment relationship. These are some of the most common questions that employers are asking and guidance on possible responses . . .

Read More


January 27, 2020

There are significant employment law changes in Illinois effective January 1, 2020. This checklist highlights the significant changes for easy reference . . .

Read More


October 01, 2019

Illinois’ new law banning inquiries into a job applicant’s salary history recently went into effect on September 29, 2019. It prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their prior pay . . .

Read More

Smith O’Callaghan & White webinar sponsored by Select Counsel

June 27, 2018

Terry J. Smith, Robert R. Duda Jr. and Linda K. Stevens were speakers and presenters in a webinar for corporate in-house counsel:
“Non-Competes, Trade Secrets, Departing Employees and Raiding: Key Tips for…

Read More

Linda K. Stevens was a speaker and presenter in a webinar sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

May 16, 2018

“The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Practical Lessons and Strategic Tips”

The webinar was a follow-up to a book co-authored by Linda K. Stevens, “Defend…

Read More

An Expansive View of Noncompetes at Wisconsin High Court

February 2018

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s recent decision in Manitowoc Company v. Lanning, 2018 WI 6 (Jan. 19, 2018), continues a noteworthy trend of broadly applying Wisconsin’s strict statute governing…

Read More

Using the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine in Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Cases

July 2017

Employers should take note of a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago in which the court applied the inevitable disclosure doctrine to an employer’s misappropriation…

Read More

New Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Covers Employees Working in Cook County, Illinois

May 2017

The new Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance (16-4229) goes into effect on July 1, 2017. It provides for the mandatory accrual of paid sick leave for employees working in Cook County. The new ordinance…

Read More

Illinois Federal Courts Continue to Reject Bright-Line Test for Consideration in Competition Restrictions

January 2017

One of the most significant issues in Illinois non-compete law for 2017 will be much-needed clarification by Illinois state and federal courts on the bright-line rule, …

Read More

Measuring Midstream Noncompetes in Midwestern Courts

June 2015

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently brought much-needed clarity to Wisconsin employers and helpful guidance for other jurisdictions in ruling that continued at-will employment constitutes legal consideration…

Read More

Dim Future for Illinois Bright-Line Competition Restrictions

February 2015

On Feb. 6, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago rejected the bright-line rule, created by an Illinois appellate court in the often maligned Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services Inc. decision,…

Read More

Terry J. Smith Presentation Outline on Retaliation Decisions Following Nassar And Suggestions to Avoid Retaliation Claims

October 2013

Mr. Smith was a guest speaker and presenter with U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer at the 8th Annual Employment Law Conference presented by the Chicago Law…

Read More

New Illinois Case Increases Employer’s Burden To Show Valid Consideration For Competition Restrictions

July 2013

On June 24, 2013, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District created a bright
line rule requiring that continued at-will employment last at least two years in order…

Read More

Whistleblowers May Be Protected Under Sarbanes-Oxley When Reporting Fraud Unrelated To Shareholders

April 2013

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently shed light on a current split
in the lower federal courts on whether the whistleblower provision in the…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court to Address Important Labor and Employment Issues in Fall Term

November 2012

The U. S. Supreme Court currently has five important labor and employment cases
on its docket that could have significant implications for employers. It is anticipated that the…

Read More

EEOC Identifies Key Targets In Proposed Strategic Enforcement Plan

October 2012

The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released a draft Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”) on September 4, 2012, setting forth its key enforcement priorities and identifying the…

Read More

List of Federal Court Cases Decided on Cat’s Paw Theory After Staub v. Proctor Hospital

January 2012

This Client Alert provides a list of cases showing how the Federal Courts have applied the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 131 S. Ct. 1186 (2011), in determining whether an employer …

Read More

Illinois Supreme Court Eases Burden On Employers In Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements

December 2011

On December 1, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion
favorable to employers who bring suit to enforce non-compete agreements against departing employees. Reliable Fire…

Read More

Federal Court Cases Decided On Class Action Certification After Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes

November 2011

This Client Alert provides a list of cases showing how the Federal Courts have
applied Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), in determining whether to…

Read More

Class Action Lawsuits Now More Difficult to Certify Under “Commonality” Requirement

November 2011

The U. S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes made historic changes
to the commonality requirement to class certification in a class-action lawsuit. 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2561-62 (2011). Following the 5-4 opinion by Justice Scalia…

Read More

Non-Compete Agreements Now Easier to Enforce in Texas

July 2011

The Texas Supreme Court recently relaxed the burden to enforce a non-compete
agreement under Texas law in Marsh USA Inc. v. Cook, 2011 Tex. LEXIS 465 (Tex. S. Ct. June 24, 2011). In a 6-3 decision, the Court found that a restrictive covenant that is reasonable…

Read More

SEC Adopts Final Rules On Dodd-Frank Act Whistleblower Provisions

June 2011

On May 25, 2011, the SEC adopted final rules to implement the whistleblower
provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Overall, the final rules appear more permissive and deferential to potential whistleblowers than the proposed rules…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Individuals Who Can Bring Title VII Retaliation Claims

May 2011

The U. S. Supreme Court recently expanded the law on individuals who have a
potential claim under the anti-retaliation protections of Title VII in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, 131 S. Ct. 863, 870 (January 24, 2011). In an 8-0 decision,…

Read More

Key Development in Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants Under Wisconsin Law

February 2011

On January 11, 2011, the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied a request to review an
important lower court decision on the law of employee-signed non-solicitation of customer
provisions in Wisconsin….

Read More

Federal Employment Discrimination Claims Under Section 1981 Can be Heard in Illinois State Court

January 2011

Please contact Smith O’Callaghan & White at to request a copy of this article…

Read More

Arbitration Award For Former General Counsel Vacated in Employment Discrimination and Retaliation Case

October 2010

On July 21, 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that an arbitration award reinstating the former general counsel of a well-known home improvement retailer violated Wisconsin public policy “because…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Favors Arbitration and Allows Arbitrator to Decide Enforceability of Arbitration Agreement

September 2010

On June 21, 2010, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that an arbitrator,
not a court, should determine the validity of an arbitration agreement when the agreement expressly gives such authority to an….

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Lowers Standard for Attorney’s Fees Award Under ERISA

August 2010

On May 24, 2010, the U. S. Supreme Court held unanimously that a party seeking
attorney’s fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act…

Read More

Judicial Review of Remedies Awarded in Private Arbitration of Employment Discrimination and Retaliation Claims

March 2010

In a significant and unusual case involving arbitration of employment discrimination
and retaliation claims, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently held oral…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Rules Arbitration Awards Subject to Review Under Railway Labor Act But Declines to Recognize Due Process Objections

February 2010

Arbitration of employment disputes continues to be a hot topic as the lower federal
courts generally widen the latitude given to employers…

Read More

Recent U. S. Supreme Court Rulings Raise Pleading Requirements in Federal Court Cases

January 2010

In two recent rulings, the U. S. Supreme Court has raised the minimum pleading
threshold a federal court complaint must meet to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Likely to Review Seventh Circuit’s Position on Cat’s Paw Theory in Employment Discrimination Cases

December 2009

In Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 560 F.3d 647 (7th Cir. 2009), the Seventh Circuit Court
of Appeals addressed an important and emerging issue in employment….

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court to Address Important Labor and Employment Issues in 2010

November 2009

The U. S. Supreme Court currently has several cases on its docket involving
important labor and employment issues that could have significant implications for employers. It is anticipated that the U. S. Supreme Court will be ruling in these cases….

Read More

Unusual Fact Patterns Resulting in Useful Lessons for Employers

October 2009

In the following cases involving very unusual fact patterns, employers may find useful
lessons. Although at first blush, the following cases would appear to involve rare fact circumstances, the resulting court holdings have potentially broad and practical implications for day-to-day…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Sets High Burden of Proof for Plaintiffs in All Federal Court Age Discrimination Cases

July 2009

On June 18, 2009, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that in all cases
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), regardless of theory, plaintiffs have
a stringent “but-for” standard of proof…

Read More

Congress Considers Restricting Arbitration of Discrimination Claims in Response to Recent U. S. Supreme Court Decision

June 2009

Several influential members of Congress are urging the passage of the Arbitration
Fairness Act, H.R. 1020, which would restrict the use of private arbitration to resolve employment discrimination claims. The…

Read More

Illinois Supreme Court Expands Strict Liability for Sexual Harassment: Employers Are Strictly Liable for Any Supervisor’s Harassment Under Illinois Human Rights Act

May 2009

On April 16, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court held, in a 4-2 decision (one justice
abstaining), that employers in Illinois are…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Mandatory Arbitration of Discrimination Claims under Collective Bargaining Agreements

May 2009

On April 1, 2009, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that provisions in collective bargaining agreements requiring individual union members to arbitrate Age Discrimination in…

Read More

President Obama Signs Executive Orders Impacting Employers with Federal Contracts

April 2009

President Obama recently signed four (4) executive orders, which strongly favor the
interests of organized labor and will affect private employers that enter into contracts or subcontracts…

Read More

Illinois Supreme Court to Rule on Scope of Strict Liability for Supervisor Harassment Under Illinois Human Rights Act

March 2009

The Illinois Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in the case of Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department v. State of Illinois Human Rights Commission, No. 105518 (Ill. S. Ct.) (oral argument heard on January 15…

Read More

Two Key Developments in Employment Law: Speaking Out in Internal Investigation Protected Under Title VII and Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Signed Into Law

February 2009

On January 26, 2009, the U. S. Supreme Court held unanimously that an employee who speaks out about discrimination during an…

Read More

Employee Free Choice Act: President-Elect Obama’s Most Significant Possible Change to Labor and Employment Laws in 2009

January 2009

The election of Barack Obama could bring key changes to federal labor and employment laws, but the most significant change may be the Employee Free Choice…

Read More

New FMLA Regulations Take Effect January 16, 2009

December 2008

The U. S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its final revised regulations on November 17, 2008, interpreting the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The DOL’s new regulations, in excess of 750 pages, become effective on January 16, 2009. This summary highlights some of the more…

Read More

New ADA Amendments Expand Definition of Disability

November 2008

Pursuant to recent legislation, it will soon be easier for individuals to qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). On September 25, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), under…

Read More

Judicial Estoppel: Key Defense In Discrimination Suits

October 2008

Law360, New York (September 12, 2008) — An important defense has become increasingly useful in protecting employers against employee lawsuits. The defense of judicial estoppel, as recognized most powerfully in the employment litigation setting in Cannon-Stokes v. Potter, 453 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 2006), bars a plaintiff’s…

Read More

New EEO-1 Report Due September 30, 2008

September 2008

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has implemented three modifications to the EEO-1 report to be filed by employers this year on or before September 30, 2008: (i) new race and ethnicity categories; (ii) employee self-identification…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear FMLA Waiver Case: DOL Proposes New Regulation Clarifying FMLA Waiver

September 2008

The U. S. Supreme Court recently denied certiorari in ProgressEnergy, Inc. v. Taylor,
128 S. Ct. 2931 (June 16, 2008) (Appeal from 4th Cir.) (Docket No. 07-359), declining to address
the question of whether an employee may waive claims under the Family and Medical Leave

Read More

Important Labor and Employment Cases Still Pending on U. S. Supreme Court’s Docket for 2008

August 2008

This memorandum updates the status of the labor and employment cases that remain pending on the U. S. Supreme Court’s docket for 2008. It also provides a summary of the U. S. Supreme Court decisions in labor and employment cases already announced in…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Rules in Three More Employment Cases

July 2008

On June 19, 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court announced decisions in the following three cases of significance to employers: 1. Employer Must Prove Defense That Disparate Impact Due to Non-Age Reason…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Rules: Race Retaliation Claims Are Actionable Under Section 1981

June 2008

Last week, on May 27, 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that race retaliation claims are actionable under section 1981, 42 U.S.C. §1981. CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, No. 06-1431, 2008 U.S. LEXIS 4516 (May 27, 2008). Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866…

Read More

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Strengthens Key Defense in Termination of Employee with Workers’ Compensation Injury

May 2008

On March 21, 2008, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the termination of an employee who exhausted his FMLA leave and whose continued absence due to a workplace injury violated his employer’s…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Rules: Parties May Not Contractually Provide for Extra Judicial Review of Arbitration Awards

April 2008

On March 25, 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that parties to an arbitration agreement may not contractually provide for more expansive judicial review of an…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court to Address Important Labor and Employment Issues in 2008

April 2008

The U. S. Supreme Court currently has several cases on its docket involving important labor and employment issues that could have significant implications for employers. It is anticipated that the U. S. Supreme Court will be ruling in these cases in 2008. This…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Rules in Two Employment Cases: “Me, Too” Evidence Admissible in Trial Court’s Discretion and EEOC Intake Questionnaire is Charge

March 2008

The U. S. Supreme Court announced two decisions last week that will be the first of several important labor and employment…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Likely to Review Fourth Circuit’s Position on FMLA Waivers

March 2008

In Taylor v. Progress Energy, Inc., 493 F. 3d 454 (4th Cir. 2007), petition for cert. filed, 75 U.S.L.W. 3226 (U.S. October 22, 2007) (Docket No. 07-539), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that employees cannot waive rights or claims under the Family and…

Read More

New Illinois Employment Laws for 2008

February 2008

This is a brief overview of recently enacted or amended Illinois employment laws, as of February 15, 2008, for the benefit of our clients and friends with business operations in Illinois. Illinois Human Rights Act There are several changes to the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”), effective on January 1…

Read More

Protecting Your Company’s Interests From Actions of Departing Employees in the Absence of a Restrictive Covenant or Confidentiality Agreement

December 2007

Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Breach of Duty of Loyalty Active steps to compete prior to resigning, i.e., soliciting employer’s…

Read More

Strategies for Defending Workplace Defamation Claims

November 2007

Employers are increasingly finding themselves defending a claim for defamation in addition to a terminated employee’s typical claims for…

Read More

New Illinois Law Allows Filing of Discrimination And Harassment Claims in the Illinois State Courts

September 2007

In a significant change to employment law in Illinois, the Illinois Human Rights Act was amended on August 17, 2007, to permit plaintiffs to file lawsuits alleging employment discrimination or workplace harassment…

Read More

Clearing Up Misconceptions on Relevancy and Admissibility of Prior Crimes of Dishonesty in Illinois Employment Litigation

August 2007

The legal rights of employers in defending against employment litigation are sometimes misunderstood in the pre-trial discovery stage when an employer probes into a suing plaintiff’s background prior to the…

Read More

Important Ruling for Employers: U. S. Supreme Court Tightens Deadlines for Filing Pay Discrimination Cases Under Title VII

June 2007

On May 29, 2007, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the deadline for bringing a claim of pay discrimination under Title VII begins to run when the employer makes…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court to Address Key Employment Discrimination Issues In 2007 Fall Term with Decisions Expected in Early 2008

June 2007

The U. S. Supreme Court heard four (4) cases in its 2007 fall term that could have long-lasting implications for employers and their ability to defend employment discrimination and harassment lawsuits…

Read More

Smith O’Callaghan & White’s Terry J. Smith Featured on Sky Radio’s “America’s Premier Lawyers”

January 2007

Terry J. Smith was featured on Forbes Magazine Sky Radio’s America’s Premier Lawyers in-flight radio program, which aired on American Airlines flights…

Read More

Smith O’Callaghan & White’s Terry J. Smith quoted in Chicago Tribune:

October 2006

On October 12, 2006, Terry J. Smith was interviewed and provided commentary to the Chicago Tribune on a high profile sex discrimination lawsuit pending in Chicago Federal Court (the lawsuit did not involve a client of the firm)…

Read More

U. S. Supreme Court Allows Disparate Impact Claims Under ADEA

December 2005

This is an update to employers on a recent important decision of the U. S. Supreme Court decided on March 30, 2005, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the federal age discrimination law…

Read More