Current COVID-19 Alert

COVID Updates & Resources: Learn More

Julie A. Noel

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.

Education

  • University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., 2013)
  • University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2019)

Contact Julie A. Noel

janoel@dcamplaw.com


Office Locations

Peoria, IL

401 Main St. Suite 1600
Peoria, IL 61602

Phone: (309) 673-1681
Fax: (309) 673-1690

Julie A. Noel In the News

Work Authorization Win for Derivative Beneficiaries – Shergill Settlement to Change H-4 and L-2 EAD Requirements

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.


NLRB Clarifies Bargaining Obligations Under OSHA’s ETS

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.


Illinois Legislative Changes
SB1480 Amends Human Rights Act, Equal Pay Act and Business Corporation Act
  • Signed into law on March 23, 2021
Amendment of Human Rights Act
  • Creates new employment offense, discrimination on the basis of criminal conviction, 775 ILCS § 5/2-103.1
  • Criminal conviction includes felony, misdemeanor or other criminal offense, including sentences of imprisonment, fine, probation, and/or parole and including sentences imposed by military authorities 775 ILCS § 5/1-103(G-5)
  • Unless otherwise authorized by law, employers may not make any employment decisions (hiring, promotion, compensation, rehiring, training, discharge, discipline, tenure, or terms and conditions of employment) based on criminal convictions, unless:
    • “there is a substantial relationship between one or more of the criminal offenses and the employment sought or held” OR
    • “the granting or continuation of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public”
    • “Unreasonable risk” is not defined – but the employer has to prove it
    • “Substantial relationship” means that the job creates an opportunity for the same or similar offense to occur, and whether the circumstances for which the person was convicted are likely to happen again
  • In determining whether there is a substantial relationship between the offense and the job, the following six factors have to be considered by the employer:
    1. the length of time since the conviction
    2. the number of convictions on the record
    3. the nature and severity of the conviction and its relationship to safety and security of others
    4. the facts and circumstances involved
    5. the age of the employee at the time of the conviction
    6. evidence of rehabilitation efforts
  • If the employer preliminarily decides to take a negative employment action, it must provide written notice to the employee, which must contain:
    1. The specific conviction on which the action is based
    2. A copy of the conviction history report if any
    3. An explanation of the employee’s right to challenge the decision before it becomes final, including challenging the conviction record and providing rehabilitation information, which may be submitted within at least 5 business days
  • The employer must consider any information offered by the employee
  • If the employer decides to make the decision final, it must provide written notice to the employee, which must contain:
    1. The specific conviction on which the action is based
    2. The employer’s reasoning
    3. Any available internal appeals, and
    4. The employee’s right to file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights
  • These changes go into effect immediately as of March 23, 2021
Amendment of Business Corporation Act
  • If the employer must file an EEO-1 report with the EEOC (100 or more employees, or 50 more employees and federal contractor), the employer must file the same employment data with the Illinois Secretary of State with the annual report 805 ILCS § 5/14.05(m)
  • The Secretary of State will publish the employment data on its website
  • These new reporting requirements begin with the first annual report filed after January 1, 2023
Amendment of Equal Pay Act of 2003
  • Employers with more than 100 employees must obtain an “equal pay registration certificate” and certify compliance with federal and state discrimination and equal pay laws 820 ILCS § 112/11
  • This requirement applies to private employers, not to governmental agencies
  • To obtain the certificate, the employer must provide EEO-1 data to the Illinois Department of Labor for each county in which the business has a facility or employees, and a list of all employees during the past calendar year separated by gender, race and ethnicity, plus total wages paid to each employee during the prior calendar year
  • Wages are defined the same as in Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and include wages, salaries, earned commissions, and other forms of compensation
  • Employers must also submit to the IDOL a statement signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or other authorized agent of the business that includes the following:
    1. That the business is in compliance with Title VII, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Illinois Human Rights Act, Equal Wage Act, and Equal Pay Act of 2003
    2. That the average compensation for female and minority employees is not consistently below the average compensation, as determined by IDOL rules, for male and non-minority employees within each of the major job categories in the EEO-1 report for which an employee is expected to perform work under the contract, taking into account factors such as length of service, requirements of specific jobs, experience, skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions of the job and other mitigating factors
    3. That the employer does not restrict employees of one sex to certain job classification and makes retention and promotion decisions without regard to sex
    4. That the business corrects wage and benefit disparities when identified
    5. How often the business evaluates wages and benefits to ensure compliance with these statutes.
    6. The statement must also indicate whether the business uses a market pricing approach, or State prevailing wage or union contract requirements, or a performance pay system, or an internal analysis, or an alternative approach (which must be explained) to determine what compensation and benefits to provide to employees.
  • The issuance of an equal pay certificate by IDOL is not a defense to an Equal Pay Act violation nor is it a basis to mitigate damages to an aggrieved employee
  • Employers who do not obtain a certificate or whose certificate is suspended or revoked after IDOL investigation are subject to a mandatory civil penalty equal to 1% of gross profits
  • IDOL will conduct audits of businesses to ensure compliance with these new requirements
  • IDOL may revoke certificates that it has issued if it determines that the business has failed to make good faith efforts to comply with these Acts or has multiple violations; the employer will have a right to an administrative hearing regarding the revocation
  • Existing corporations must obtain certificates within three years, by March 23, 2024
  • New corporations must obtain certificates within three years after commencing operations
  • Recertification will be required every two years
  • Businesses are prohibited from retaliating against employees for disclosing information to company supervisors or to public bodies believed violations of this law, for providing information to public bodies at investigations, inquiries or hearing, and/or participating in enforcement proceedings, and the employee’s remedies include reinstatement, two times the amount of backpay, interest, and attorney’s fees

Amendment to Illinois’ Marijuana Law and Its Affect on Employers

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.


Cannabis Clean Up Tour with Peoria Chamber of Commerce

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.


Print Bio View All Attorneys