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Worker’s Rights and Protections – Are You Entitled to a Meal Break?

Web Admin - Saturday, October 21, 2017

Illinois employee rights attorneyEmployers may know the laws that pertain to their business and the rights that their employees possess, but they are not always willing to reveal such information. For example, an employer might not explain to you that you may be entitled to time off work under the Family Medical Leave Act if your child, spouse, or parent becomes ill. Some may even know you are dealing with an illness in the family and refuse to tell you because it would hurt their bottom line. 

Rest breaks – particularly lunch breaks – are another area where employers are sometimes less than straightforward. They may imply that you are not entitled to one, or they may avoid your questions if you ask. Some will even go so far as to terminate an employee that asserts their rights, but they will usually try to find another reason to list in their files because they know it could land them in legal trouble. Learn more about your rights to rest breaks, and discover what an experienced attorney can do for you in your wrongful termination or unpaid wages case. 

Employee Meal Breaks in Illinois 

While there are several federal labor laws that protect employees from discrimination and harassment, those pertaining to meal breaks fall under each state’s jurisdiction. As such, an employee’s right to a meal break is governed by Illinois state law, which states that employees are entitled to a meal break after they work 7 ½ hours in a day. The break may be unpaid, but it must last at least 20 minutes. The employee cannot be required to perform work duties while on their break, and they cannot force an employee to stay on premises unless certain criteria apply. 

When Employers Fail to Provide Breaks 

Employers who violate state law by not providing meal breaks to eligible employees may be held liable for their actions by the state or through litigation. The latter typically stem from cases brought against the employer by former employees, who may be seeking lost wages or other damages. Employees may be eligible for additional compensation if they were wrongfully terminated for trying to assert their right to a rest period. 

Unfortunately, the legal process for pursuing damages is both complex and arduous. Employees are also at a distinct disadvantage in employment litigation matters. Much of this is due to the employer’s access to resources, including that of a legal professional to protect their business. Employees are encouraged to seek experienced legal assistance with their wrongful termination or rights violation case. 

Contact Our Schaumburg Employee Rights Attorney 

If you or someone you love has experienced a loss because of a violation of meal or rest periods, contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC for assistance. Dedicated and experienced, our Schaumburg employee rights attorneys can aggressively represent your case. No matter what the situation, we will pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Get started by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call 847-934-6000 today. 

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Source: https://www.illinois.gov/idol/FAQs/Pages/meals-breaks-faq.aspx

Tips for Dealing with the Four Most Common Problem Employee Types

Web Admin - Friday, September 29, 2017

Rolling Meadows employment law attorneysWhile most employees show up to work on time, do their job, and need little guidance or direction, there are some that seem to be more trouble than they are worth. Thankfully, it is possible to manage these problem individuals, and in some cases, the payoff is well worth the effort. The following information can help you learn more about dealing with problem employees, including those that may be a risk to your company, and it can help you discover how an experienced employment law attorney can protect your business. 


The Negative Employee 

Some people are negative in every setting and every situation, and you can almost guarantee that they will shoot down any great ideas that your team members come up with. These same individuals may also be resistant to change, and they may try to recruit others against any new policies or changes within the company. That can make the dangerous in any company, but they may be especially problematic in companies and industries that change rapidly or frequently. If you have one of these individuals on your payroll, put their inner critic to good use. Allow them to assist in situations where positive results matter the most - just make sure you keep them out of leadership roles. 

The Perpetual Victim 

Perpetual victims are the type of people that always have something going on – and it is never their fault. They struggle with accountability, and there is always an excuse if a project is late or not up to par. While not overly detrimental to the future of your business, these individuals can hurt productivity, and if given an important or time-sensitive project, you can almost guarantee that something will go wrong. 

The best way to deal with these individuals is to have an honest and open talk about your expectations for them regarding attendance, performance, and other areas where they may be struggling. Make sure to also discuss the importance of accountability and reliability, and set up clear consequences and parameters for subpar performance. 

The Narcissist 

Narcissists tend to care only about themselves. They are unconcerned with the ways that their actions and inactions impact their team, and they only perform when there is something in it for them. If you are dealing with a narcissistic employee, consider carefully whether they are worth the effort. Some may be particularly brilliant, but not all are. The latter group may be more trouble than they are worth, but those with exceptional talent may be worth the effort – especially if you can find a way to get them to work in ways that benefit both themselves, and their team. Just know that you may not be successful at converting these individuals into valuable employees 100 percent of the time. 

How Our Rolling Meadows Employment Law Attorneys Can Help Your Business 

Problem employees can do damage that goes beyond bruised team morale and late projects; they may file a lawsuit against your company, or they may make crucial mistakes that harm your company’s image. Keep a handle on these issues, and many others, by ensuring your company has a clear and concise employee handbook with expectations and consequences clearly outlined. Contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC and ask how our Rolling Meadows employment law attorneys can assist with your company’s needs.


Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245065#

Employee Conduct – How Off-Duty Behavior Can Affect Your Business, and What You Can Do About It

Web Admin - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Illinois employment law attorneysAs every business owner knows, an employee’s conduct while on the job can have a negative impact on a company’s image and brand – but what of conduct outside of work? As evidenced by the current investigation into the Chicago water department, sometimes, it more about what your employees do off the clock than what they do while working. Learn how you can mitigate against off-duty behavior issues as an employer, and what you can do if you are ever faced with litigation because of an employee’s on- or off-duty conduct.

The Chicago Water Scandal Investigation

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, state officials are currently investigating the personal emails of a long-time employee, which were purportedly used to send numerous anti-gay, racist, and sexist emails. The public nature of his job, department, and the investigation could have long-term implications on the government entity’s image – even if the allegations turn out to be untrue.

Mitigating Against Both On- and Off-Duty Behavior

Although there are many stipulations, exclusions, and requirements that employers need to be aware of, they can (and should) attempt to mitigate against any unsavory on- or off-duty behavior that may reflect poorly on their business. One of the ways of doing this is the employment contract. In it, you can specify types of behavior that will not be tolerated, regardless of whether the employee is on or off the clock. Further, you may have the right to request access to things like offensive social media posts that may affect your company’s image.

How Our Schaumburg Employment Law Attorneys Can Help

Employers are not required to hire an attorney for the drafting of an employment contract, but it is highly recommended. As previously mentioned, there are some important laws that must be adhered to in such contracts, and any failure or violation could result in litigation against your company. Do not take the risk. Instead, contact an experienced employment law attorney for assistance.

Whether your business is facing litigation, needs help getting started, or is just now expanding to include more employees, Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help. Our Schaumburg employment law attorneys are skilled in all areas of employment law and we will work hard to protect your company and its image. Learn more by scheduling a personalized, no-obligation consultation. Call our offices at 847-934-6000 today.


Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Sources: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-water-department-emails-capuzi-20170724-story.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2389&ChapterID=68




Examining Illinois’ School Visitation Rights Act

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Small businesses must overcome numerous obstacles if they wish to be successful. One of the bigger challenges is knowing what time off an employee may be entitled to under Illinois state law. The Illinois’ School Visitation Rights Act falls under this umbrella. The following information can help you learn what the Act covers, how to handle staffing issues that may arise because of it, and what the consequences may be for companies that fail to comply.

What the Law Protects

Employees who have children are typically required to attend a minimum of two parent-teacher conferences per year. Some children may have higher needs, either because of behavioral issues or special needs that require the use of Individualized Education Plans or other educational provisions. The School Visitation Rights Act provides employees with an allotted amount of time for attending these meetings, regardless of their regular work schedule (up to eight hours during any given school year, but no more than four hours on a single day).

Provided the employee follows the seven-day, advance written request requirement, employers must give this time off without retaliation. Further, employees are permitted to make up their time, whenever reasonable, on a different shift or day, during the same pay period. If making up the time is not reasonable, or the employee does not wish to do so, the employer is not required to pay for the allotted time off work. Made up time must be paid at the employee’s regular rate.

Dealing with Staffing Issues

Large corporations often have an easier time at accommodating many of the employment laws. Small businesses are often at a disadvantage – usually because they do not have the staff to cover an employee when the time is requested off. However, there are a few strategies that employers can use to mitigate against the issues.

Cross-training all employees, use of temp services, and filling the hours yourself are all plausible options that allow business to continue as normal. Just be aware of the laws that pertain to overtime pay and temp workers if you choose to utilize these options. Alternatively, the employer may wish to hire another employee on a part-time basis – one who can work as a fill-in when others need time off work.

Contact Our Long Grove Employment Law Attorneys for Your Small Business Needs

Illinois’ employment laws are constantly changing, and that can make staying compliant difficult for small businesses. Drost, Gilbert, Anderson & Apicella, LLC can help. Backed by decades of experience, our Long Grove employment law attorneys can assist with everything from the creation of employee handbooks to litigation. Schedule your consultation by calling us at 847-934-6000 today

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Sources:

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/04/14/illinois-employment-law-101/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2409&ChapAct=820%A0ILCS%A0147/&ChapterID=68&ChapterName=EMPLOYMENT&ActName=School+Visitation+Rights+Act.



New Illinois Law Offers More Sick Leave Flexibility to Eligible Employees

Web Admin - Friday, February 03, 2017
Arlington Heights employment law attorneysData indicates that over 1.5 million Illinoisans care for family members. Sadly, many of them have had to make difficult choices while juggling work and the responsibility of caring for an ill loved one. A new employment law, implemented at the beginning of 2017, may mitigate some of the challenges and difficulties they experience. The following explains this law more in depth, and provides key information on what to do if your employer is failing to meet the requirements of the new law. 

Covering the Basics

The new law has redefined personal sick leave, giving employees the right to use their sick leave time to care for a sick child, parent, spouse, or other immediate family member or dependent. Further, an employers cannot deny, threaten, suspend, or demote an employee for attempting to exercise the rights afforded to them by the new law. Of course, there are some limitations and exclusions that employees need to be aware of - especially if they believe their employer may be in violation of the law.

Law Does Not Require Employers to Offer Sick Leave

Although the new law does expand sick leave for those that already have it, it does not require employers to start or implement a paid sick leave program. There is a law for the Chicago area that will require all employers to offer sick leave to eligible employees, but this only applies to the city of Chicago, and it does not go into effect until July 1, 2017. 

Employers Can Limit Sick Leave Time for Family Members

If an employer offers paid sick leave to their employees, they can restrict the amount of time that an employee can use for a family member. That is to say, employers do have the right to restrict their employees from using more than half of their paid sick leave benefits for a family member. Further, the employer does not have to extend the leave an employee is permitted to take under the Family Medical Leave Act. 

Filing a Case Against Your Employer

If you believe that you have been wrongly terminated, punished, or threatened with punishment for exercising your right to paid sick leave under the new law, contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Dedicated and experienced, our Arlington Heights employment law attorneys will fight to protect your rights. Schedule a personalized consultation to learn more. Call us at 847-934-6000 today.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Source:

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/illinois-sick-leave.aspx

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20170114/entlife/170119473/

How the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act Protects Whistleblowers

Web Admin - Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Illinois employment law attorneysFood is a necessary element of human survival. It is also the most common source of foodborne illness. To reduce the occurrence, companies that manufacture, process, package, distribute, transport, or otherwise participate in the handling of food are held to certain safety standards. Furthermore, employees are protected when they notify the authorities of a violation. Unfortunately, a company that is willing to violate safety standards may also be willing to violate employment laws. If you suspect that you were wrongfully terminated or otherwise retaliated against by your employer for whistleblowing, know your rights and your options.

Protections Offered to Whistleblowers

Under the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), employees are protected from employer retaliation if they provide information about a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C), or if they report an act that they reasonably believed to be a violation. This includes reports made to the employer, the state attorney general, or federal government. Employees are also protected when they refuse to participate in an act that they believe may be in violation of the FD&C, and/or if they participate in proceeding against their employer for a violation of the FD&C.

What is Employer Retaliation?

Retaliation from an employer can come in many forms. It could be a wrongful termination or a layoff, a demotion, disciplinary action, denial of a promotion, intimidation or threats, job reassignment, or blacklisting for employment within the same industry. Essentially, it is any negative action that affects your employment, income, or employability – all of which are strictly prohibited by law.

Understanding Your Rights

If you reported your employer for a violation or otherwise engaged in protected actions and suspect that you have been retaliated against by your employer, you have the right to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If, upon investigation, your employer is found to have been in violation of the FSMA and the protections that it offers you, you may be owed compensation for your losses, including:

- Re-employment,
- Payment for lost wages,
- Restoration of benefits,
- Additional monetary or benefits relief.

How Our Employment Law Attorneys Can Help

Complaints involving a violation of the FSMA are complex and time sensitive matters. Furthermore, you need to ensure that all facts about your case are included in your claim. Our Arlington Heights, Illinois employment law attorneys know how to effectively navigate these complaints and can help ease the stress you may be feeling after the loss of employment, benefits, or income. To learn more, contact DGAA and schedule a confidential consultation today.

Ken Apicella
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Source:https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3714.pdf

Getting the Overtime Pay You Deserve

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 07, 2016

overtime pay you deserve, Illinois Employment Law Attorneys Countless workers in Illinois are eligible for overtime compensation when they work more than their standard work week worth of hours. For those overtime compensation eligible workers, once 40 hours of work is put in for a week, anything above and beyond that should be compensated at a rate of time and a half. Workers who are typically eligible for overtime pay protections are general laborers (not agricultural laborers), workers who are compensated through tips, and many blue collar workers. Some salaried workers may also be eligible, depending on their circumstances. 

Anyone who believes that they have been wrongly denied compensation for overtime hours that they have worked should consult with an experienced employment law attorney at our law office. Our professionals can help you determine if you are eligible for overtime compensation by your employer. 

Workers’ Overtime Compensation Rights Under the Law

Certain workers are eligible for overtime compensation at a rate of time-and-a-half under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA is a federal law which protects workers from grueling hours without pay. A worker who believes that he or she has been wrongly denied overtime pay can file a claim with the wage and hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL will review the employee’s claim, and will determine whether an investigation needs to be conducted into the alleged violation of the FLSA by the employee’s employer. 

When the employee’s claim is found to be valid, the DOL will pursue the back wages from the employer on the worker’s behalf. The employee can also sue his or her employer for owed back wages as well. 

Under the FLSA and Illinois law, workers who are executives, administrators, professionals, and some computer workers who earn at least $455 a week are exempt from overtime compensation. This means that these workers are not entitled to overtime pay if they work more than their standard 40-hour work week. Independent contracts, and some live-in employees are also exempt from unpaid overtime protections. External sales people are also often exempt from overtime pay protection laws. 

There are several exemptions to the overtime pay laws, and these exemptions can be confusing. Tests are used to determine if a worker qualifies for protection, and sometimes it is difficult to determine whether you are eligible under the laws or not. An experienced employment law attorney can help you assess your eligibility for unpaid overtime compensation protection. 

If you are concerned that your employer is not compensating you for overtime that you have worked, and you believe that you are eligible for overtime pay protection under the FLSA and Illinois law, you should consult with an Illinois employment law attorneys today. Our law firm serves the communities of Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

      Ken Apicella

      About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.




Sources:
https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/statutes/fairlaborstandact.pdf
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2400&ChapterID=68

My Employer is Discriminating Against Me for Taking Time Off Under the FMLA

Web Admin - Friday, May 06, 2016

employer discrimination, taking FMLA, Illinois Employment Law AttorneyMost workers have a federally protected right under the Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take up to 12 weeks off from work, unpaid, to care for themselves or a close family member who is sick or injured. Additionally, workers do not have to fear losing their job or being discriminated against or retaliated against. 

If you believe that you are an employee who is eligible for FMLA protection, but are worried that your employer has unlawfully violated your FMLA rights, you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.

Examples of When a Person Can Take Time Off Under the FMLA

There are several instances when a worker can take unpaid leave from his or her job under the FMLA. Examples include:

- When a worker is ill, injured, or has a serious medical condition;

- When a worker needs to provide care for his or her spouse, child, or parent who has a serious medical condition or illness;

- When a worker is incapacitated due to pregnancy;

- When a worker needs prenatal care before a child birth;

- Child birth;

- When a worker needs to provide care to his or her newborn child; or

- A worker is pacing a child up for adoption or into foster care. 

How Do Workers Use FMLA Leave?

When a worker has notice ahead of time that he or she will need to take time off from work under the FMLA, he or she must provide his or her employer with 30 days of notice if possible. When advanced notice is not possible, or the need to take time under the FMLA is sudden and unplanned, workers need to provide notice as soon as possible. Works must follow their employer’s normal policies concerning taking leave. 

Employers Must Respect Your FMLA RIghts

If you are a worker who is eligible for FMLA protection, then your employer must comply with the law and allow you to take the qualifying time that you need. Employers are not permitted to interfere with your rights under the FMLA, nor can an employer restrain you or deny you your FMLA rights. Your employer is also prohibited from discharging you, or discriminating against you, for exercising your rights under the FMLA. 

Discrimination could take the form of:

- Treating you differently after you took FMLA time off;

- Denying you promotions or certain work projects or assignments;

-Giving you a bad review for no good reason other than that you took time off under the FMLA; and/or

- Deeming you ineligible for promotions or bonuses because you took time off under the FMLA. 

No one who is eligible for FMLA protections should be denied his or her rights by his or her employer. If you believe that your employer has improperly taken action against you or has discriminated against you for taking unpaid leave under the FMLA, you should consult with an Illinois employment law attorney today. 

Our law firm serves the communities of Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

    Ken Apicella

    About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.




Source: 
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/29/chapter-28

What is Wrongful Termination?

Web Admin - Friday, April 08, 2016

wrongful termination, Illinois Employment Law AttorneysLoosing a job can be devastating to both you and your family. However, because Illinois is an at-will employment state, employers are generally allowed to terminate employees for whatever reasons they so choose. Still, this is not to say that all bases for termination are legal. 

When you are concerned that your employment termination was a wrongful termination, or you believe that your termination was in some way illegal, then you should discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney to learn more about your rights.

Wrongful Termination 

There are legal protections in place to protect workers from wrongful termination. “Wrongful termination” does not necessarily mean that you feel your termination is unfair or unjustified. Rather, “wrongful termination” implies that the termination violates the law in some way. An employer may not terminate an employee for the following reasons:

- If the termination would violate an employment contract;

- If the termination was made on a discriminatory basis;

- If the termination is retaliatory for the employee exercising his or her rights. For instance, the following are impermissible grounds upon which to terminate an employee: 

- Filing a worker’s compensation claim;

- Filing a workplace safety complaint; 

- Filing a sexual harassment action; and

- Reporting wrongdoing in the company, i.e., whistle-blowing. 

- For taking legally protected time off from work for things such as jury duty, military leave, or time needed to care for oneself or his or her family members under the Family Medical Leave Act. 

Each of the above identified grounds for a termination would be a “wrongful termination” since each one violates the law in some way. 

Employment Contracts

Employees who have an employment contract are not considered to be “at will” employees. Rather, employment contracts impose a legal obligation between the employer and the employee—the employee will remain employed until the termination of the contract. Early termination of the employee would be an early termination of the contract, which is a violation of the terms of the contract. 

Discriminatory Termination 

Termination of an employee on the basis of discrimination is a violation of state and federal employment discrimination laws. There are certain legally protected statuses upon which an employee cannot be discriminated. These include the employee’s age, sex, race, religion, disability, national origin, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, unfavorable military discharge, arrest record, and lack of a permanent mailing address.

Retaliatory Termination

Employees have certain protected rights in Illinois under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and Illinois case law. Under these laws workers are allowed to exercise their rights without having to fear being terminated from their job. Employees can report instances of illegal conduct to the appropriate government authorities, and can also refuse to participate in company activities that the worker believes to be illegal. 

Employment law issues, such as wrongful termination, can be confusing. However, a skilled attorney can help. Please contact one of our experienced Illinois employment law attorneys today. Our Illinois law firm serves the communities of Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Palatine, Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

    Ken Apicella

    About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Sources: 

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.aspDocName=077500050HArt%2E+2&ActID=2266&ChapterID=64&SeqStart=600000&SeqEnd=1200000

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2495


Severance Agreements

Web Admin - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

severance agreements, Illinois employment law attorneyIndividuals who are facing termination from employment may be offered a severance package. The terms of this package are contained within a severance agreement. Employees facing termination should pay careful attention to the terms placed within the agreement and be sure that they understand what the terms mean before signing. 

Provisions in Severance Agreements

Severance agreements are important to employers and employees. For employers, they provide protection against the employee filing a lawsuit against the employer in the future. For employees, the agreement describes what payment and benefits they will receive. Additionally, provisions can be included to protect against what will be said to future prospective employers about the reasons for the termination. The following are several of the most common issues that are addressed in severance agreements: 

- Severance Pay: Payment for the termination is usually offered in some term of weeks (for example, five weeks of pay). It is common for the offer to be based on the length of employment, such as one week of pay for each year of employment.

- Vacation Pay: Employees are entitled to payment for earned, but unused vacation time.

- Non-compete Agreement: If the employer and employee entered into a non-compete agreement, the employer should provide a copy of it to the employee and remind him or her of the terms and conditions. Additionally, changes to the non-compete can be made during severance negotiations and placed in the agreement.

- Returning Equipment: A discussion of what happens to any property of the employer (such as a company phone, laptop, or keycards) that is in the possession of the employee should be included in the agreement. This provision should explain how and by what date the property must be returned.

- Future Jobs: For the terminated employee, it is likely that he or she will be searching for a new job. In that case, it is important for the employee and his or her former employer to agree on how the employer will communicate with prospective employers. If the employee and employer give different reasons for the termination, it can be detrimental in the search for a new job. Additionally, the parties may enter into a non-disparagement clause, which states that neither of them will make disparaging remarks about the other to third parties. A non-disparagement clause should specifically define what cannot be said.

- Claims Waived: This is often the most important provision for employers. Under this provision, the employee relinquishes any right to file a lawsuit against the employer. It should define all of the types of claims and lawsuits that are barred.

- Employees Over 40 Years Old: These types of employees are protected by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). Workers 40 years of age and older must be given 21 days to review the severance agreement prior to signing it. Further, they have seven days after signing the agreement to change their mind and revoke it. 

Helping Employees 

If you are faced with a severance agreement negotiation, you should contact a skilled Illinois employment law attorney as soon as possible. Our team can help you understand the provisions in severance agreements, which can help you secure benefits and protect your rights. We proudly represent individuals the communities of Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. We look forward to hearing from you. 

      Ken Apicella

      About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/history/35th/thelaw/owbpa.html



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