Julie primarily represents business owners and employers in all areas of employment law. Her practice focuses on providing a full spectrum of legal services to management, ranging from leaves of absence and handbook compliance, to hiring and background checks, to data privacy. In addition to counseling clients on day-to-day matters, Julie litigates individual and class action matters involving wage and hour disputes, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, trade secrets, and restrictive covenants. Julie routinely appears before state and federal courts, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Julie is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Peoria County Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.
Prior to joining Davis & Campbell, Julie was in private practice at Littler Mendelson P.C., the world’s largest global labor and employment law firm exclusively devoted to representing management. During law school, Julie worked as a research assistant and served as an editor on the University of Illinois Law Review. Prior to law school, Julie worked in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition for a global technology company and real estate development firm.
401 Main St. Suite 1600
Peoria, IL 61602
Depending on class of admission, certain noncitizens may be authorized to work in the United States, pursuant to nonimmigrant visa status. Spouses of L-1A and H-1B visa holders are considered “derivative beneficiaries” and their status runs concurrently to the status of the primary beneficiary spouse. By statute, L-2 spouses are authorized for employment incident to status, thus they are not required to apply for an employment authorization document (“EAD”) prior to accepting employment in the U.S. However, previously, the instructions for Form I-765 (the application for employment authorization documents) indicated L-2 spouses must apply for an EAD, pay the $410 filing fee to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), and wait for receipt of an EAD prior to accepting employment. This process was taking up to 14.5 months, depending on the service center processing the application. Unlike the L-2, H-4 spouses are required to apply for employment authorization and an EAD prior to accepting employment in the U.S., pursuant to applicable regulations.
Filed I-765 applications commonly face extreme processing delays as individual H-4 and L-2 visa holders wait for their applications to be adjudicated, resulting in gaps in work authorization and employment, creating severe consequences for not only the visa holders, but the employers who either risk employing individuals without proper work authorization and documentation or losing the workers.
In September 2021, a class action lawsuit Shergill v. Mayorkas was initiated on behalf of plaintiffs with H-4 or L-2 status lasting longer than their initial work authorization, and each individual being required to file for an EAD extension prior to the expiration of their initial work authorization (and without seeking an additional extension of their H-4 or L-2 status). On November 10, 2021, the parties Shergill v. Mayorkas reached a settlement agreement. Pursuant to the executed settlement, L-2 visa holders are now authorized to work incident to status, and they will not be required to file for an EAD; they will instead be issued new I-94 documents which document their L-2 visa status and can be used for Form I-9 verification process. It is expected these documents will be issued within 120 days. Additionally, individuals with valid H-4 status who timely file EAD renewal applications and continue to maintain H-4 status beyond the expiration of their EAD qualify for the automatic extension of their employment authorization and EAD. This automatic extension also applies to L-2 visa holders with current employment authorization and EAD documentation.
This outcome will substantially decrease the burden of EAD renewals on USCIS – which will allow USCIS offices and their staff to devote resources to other severely backlogged petitions. Davis & Campbell will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates upon release of further USCIS guidance regarding H-4 and L-2 derivative beneficiaries. If you have any questions regarding H-4 and L-2 visas, please contact David Lubben or Carli Smith.
On November 5, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) to protect workers from COVID-19. The ETS covers employers with 100 or more employees and requires covered employers to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy unless the employer adopts a policy requiring employees to choose either to be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
When it comes to bargaining obligations that may arise under this ETS, the General Counsel for the NLRB weighed in on November 10, 2021, with a new Operations Memorandum. View Memorandum.
The NLRB’s position is that covered employers will have decisional bargaining obligations regarding aspects of the ETS that affect terms and conditions of employment to the extent the ETS provides employers with choices regarding implementation. While an employer is relieved of its duty to bargain where a specific change in terms and conditions of employment is statutorily mandated, the employer may not act unilaterally so long as it has some discretion in implementing those requirements.
The ETS affects terms and conditions of employment including the potential to affect the continued employment of those who become subject to it. To the extent elements of the ETS do not give covered employers discretion, the employer is nonetheless obligated to bargain about the effects of the decision. Whether a covered employer may implement a mandatory policy prior to a valid impasse or agreement when bargaining over effects will depend on the facts of the situation.
Moving forward on implementation of the ETS at union facilities may require an employer to analyze its collective bargaining agreement and notify the union of its implementation of the new OSHA requirement.
Governor Pritzker has signed an amendment to Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the new recreational marijuana law), and – in so doing – has effectively expanded employers’ rights to drug test and discipline for marijuana use.
First, public employers may now prohibit/discipline officers, paramedics, and firefighters from/for using and possessing marijuana when they are off-duty. The previous language merely prohibited on-duty use and possession. Second, the amendment provides that all employers (both public and private) may subject employees to random drug testing and may also subject applicants to pre-employment testing for marijuana, in addition to testing employees based on an employers’ “good faith belief” of impairment (i.e., post accident, reasonable suspicion, etc.). Employers may then discipline/terminate/not hire an employee or applicant for failing any such test.
In sum, employers do not need to observe impairment prior to testing (or subsequently disciplining) for marijuana use. However, remember that all drug tests and discipline following failed drug tests must continue to be administered via employers’ reasonable and non-discriminatory drug policies. Thus, in addition to having a drug policy in place, employers should regularly review those policies to ensure the content remains reasonable.
Nicole D. Meyer | Davis & Campbell, L.L.C.
401 Main Street, Suite 1600 | Peoria, IL 61602
(309) 673-1681 | Fax: (309) 673-1690
This message, including any attachments, may include privileged, confidential and/or inside information. Any distribution or use of this communication by anyone other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender by replying to this message and then delete it from your system. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure – IRS regulations require us to notify you that this communication, including any attachments, is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that might be imposed on you by the IRS, or for promoting, marketing or recommending tax-related matters to another party.
On February 11, 2020, Attorneys Rick Russo and Nicole Meyer will present on the amendment to the Illinois marijuana bill and its effect on employers, medical marijuana/reasonable accommodations, and how the legalization of marijuana may affect workers compensation matters for the Peoria Chamber of Commerce at the Hult Center for Healthy Living.