On April 21, 2021, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance (the “Ordinance”), here, prohibiting Chicago employers from: (i) retaliating against workers who receive the COVID-19 vaccine during working hours; and (ii) requiring that workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine only during non-working hours. The Ordinance takes effect immediately.

The Ordinance applies to all employers who “engage the service of at least one individual for payment.”  In addition, the Ordinance defines “worker” to mean “an individual that performs work for an employer, including as an employee or as an independent contractor.”

Under the Ordinance, an employer cannot require that its workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine during non-working hours. If a worker elects to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the employer must allow the worker to use any available paid sick leave or paid time off.

In addition, if the employer has implemented a mandatory vaccine policy under which workers are required to receive a  COVID-19 vaccine, the employer must compensate the worker for time spent receiving the vaccine, up to four hours per dose, if the dose is administered during working hours. Such compensation must be at the worker’s normal rate of pay.  An employer that requires workers to receive a vaccination also cannot require that the worker use paid sick leave or paid time off for the time taken to receive the vaccine.

The Ordinance has teeth: a worker subjected to an adverse employment action for taking time out of the work day to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can pursue a private right of action and recover: (i) reinstatement; (ii) damages equal to three times the full amount of wages that would have been owed had the retaliatory action not taken place; (iii) any other actual damages directly caused by the retaliatory action; and (iv) costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. The Commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection or the Director of Labor Standards can also pursue violations of the Ordinance in an administrative hearing or in a court of law. A violation of the Ordinance will also result in a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

We will continue to monitor and report developments relating to this Ordinance. In the meantime, employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that they are in compliance.

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Proskauer’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures, practical steps businesses can take and resources to help manage ongoing operations.

Photo of Steven J. Pearlman Steven J. Pearlman

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage-and-hour laws; breach of employment contract…

Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage-and-hour laws; breach of employment contract; and restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). Steven is also at the forefront of defending whistleblower retaliation claims, and routinely conducts investigations arising from whistleblower reports. He has successfully tried cases to verdict in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He has also testified in defense of his investigations in federal court.

Photo of Edward Young Edward Young

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the following Firm practice groups: Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets; Discrimination, Harassment & Title VII; and Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Eddie represents employers in all…

Edward “Eddie” C. Young is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the following Firm practice groups: Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets; Discrimination, Harassment & Title VII; and Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Eddie represents employers in all aspects of employment law, with a concentration on litigating complex employment disputes of all types before federal and state courts throughout the country, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state and local human rights commissions and arbitral tribunals (e.g., FINRA and AAA).  In particular, Eddie has successfully litigated employment-related disputes alleging breach of non-compete agreements, theft of trade secrets, discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, wage and hour violations, including employee misclassification claims, breach of contract, defamation, fraud and other business-related torts.  Eddie has obtained a world-wide injunction to enforce a client’s non-competition restriction on a former executive, successfully defended a client through summary judgment and appeal against retaliation claims brought by a former General Counsel, represented Fortune 500 companies in defense of high-profile harassment claims associated with the #metoo movement, and provided representation to several professional sports leagues.  He also has significant appellate experience, including successfully representing clients before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First, Second and Seventh Circuits, as well as before the United States Supreme Court.  Eddie often draws on his litigation experience to help clients avoid the courtroom by effectuating positive change in the workplace through impactful training, counseling and developing robust employment policies.

Working in a wide range of industries, Eddie represented clients in food services, financial services, medical devices, telecommunications, higher education, sports, retail, real estate and others.

Eddie has been recognized as “One to Watch” by Best Lawyers in America since 2021 and as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers since 2017. He also regularly advises clients, writes and speaks on cutting-edge legal issues, including the use of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace, and legal issues arising from the collection and use of employee biometric information.

Eddie maintains an active pro bono practice, including on-going representation of a certified class of approximately 65,000 visually disabled Chicagoans in litigation challenging the City’s lack of accessible pedestrian crosswalks.  Eddie is also a member of the Firm’s Pro-Bono Committee and is a three-time recipient of the Firm’s “Golden Gavel” award for his significant pro bono contributions.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Eddie was a cum laude graduate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He also obtained a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago Graduate School of Business. He began his practice at a national management-side employment law firm, and has also worked in the corporate human resources department of a national tax consulting firm and as a Fellow with the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Photo of Dakota D. Treece Dakota D. Treece

Dakota earned her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, where she was an Associate Editor for the DePaul Law Review and a teaching assistant for a constitutional law course and DePaul’s Academic Success Program. While at DePaul, she worked as a law…

Dakota earned her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, where she was an Associate Editor for the DePaul Law Review and a teaching assistant for a constitutional law course and DePaul’s Academic Success Program. While at DePaul, she worked as a law clerk at a labor union and as a student attorney in the Misdemeanor Clinic. Dakota received the Dean’s Certificate of Service for her volunteer efforts while in law school and was awarded the highest overall grade in her labor law course.