American Westbrook Insurance Services

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Top Labor Updates

American Westbrook’s strategic law firm partner, SmithAmundsen, is pleased to share the below Labor & Employment Updates with our clients. The following June issue is packed with timely information for employers, including updates on medical marijuana, 401(k) plan administration, Illinois wage and hour laws, and more.

Please contact our Human Resource Services Practice Leader Greg Crawford at gcrawford@amwestbrook.com or 630.571.6198 if you are interested in more information on a particular topic, have a question or require some legal insight on an issue affecting your business. We appreciate your business and are committed to delivering information, services and resources that will positively impact your business and human capital needs and goals. 

Medical Marijuana Update: Colorado Supreme Court Upholds That Employers May Enforce Drug Free Workplace Policies
Contributed by Michael Wong

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the appellate court’s ruling that employers can lawfully terminate employees for use of medical marijuana outside of work in compliance with a drug free workplace policy in Coats v. Dish Network, 2015 CO 44 (June 15, 2015). This is an important decision for employers as many of the state laws “legalizing” marijuana for medical and/or recreational use have been recognized as providing protections from criminal laws, but are unclear as to how much, if any, civil or employment protections are provided to employees under those laws and other state laws.

The Supreme Court’s Abercrombie Decision Reminds That Neutral Work Rules Will Not Save You
Contributed by Steven Jados

On June 1, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., ruling that it was unlawful for an Abercrombie clothing store to reject an otherwise qualified applicant because, as a practicing Muslim, she wore a headscarf. That rejection arose from Abercrombie’s unfortunate application of the company’s “Look Policy,” which prohibited employees from wearing “caps”—a term that the Look Policy did not specifically define.

Does Tibble Really Cause Trouble for Employers with 401(k) Plans?
Contributed by Rebecca Dobbs Bush

Articles on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tibble v. Edison International are plentiful. Each one seems to claim with a great sense of urgency that a new increased liability is now imposed on employers. If you read enough of them, the sky seems to be falling on all those who operate and administer 401(k) plans. In reality, most of these articles appear to be quoting language from the decision completely out of context. Where an employer has been advised properly, Tibble should not require any change in the administration of an employer’s 401(k) plan.

Summary Plan Description Posted on Company Intranet Does Not Satisfy ERISA Electronic Disclosure Rules
Contributed by Kelly Haab-Tallitsch

A recent court decision from the Eastern District of New York found that posting a summary plan description (SPD) on a company Intranet, without additional notice to participants, does not satisfy the electronic disclosure rules for employee benefit plans under ERISA.

Another Appellate Court Decision Creates New Challenges for Employers Trying to Limit Big Workers’ Compensation Awards
Contributed by Les Johnson


The Illinois Appellate Court’s latest decision could make defending cases where an injured worker has permanent restrictions more challenging and costly. It increases the importance of co-opting with a trusted workers’ compensation and employment attorney earlier in the overall process.